it seemed like a good idea at the time…



So long ago that I think it may have been pre-internet (seriously, there was a time before online, I swear) I read a magazine article by a woman who was the queen of thrifting — as an example, she actually once found a signed Joan Miro print for $10. She would buy interesting looking yet tired wingback chairs and simply paint the upholstery to give them a new look before she got around to recovering them. She said it gave them a sort of damask feel. You see where this is going. I made the mistake of leaving some IKEA chair cushions out all winter, and this spring they were dirty, faded, and water stained. But because I didn’t want to just chuck them, I had the brilliant notion that I would paint them — just like my thrift store idol! Well, painting cotton-covered cushions is not the same as painting old upholstery. Or maybe painting them with a flat latex interior paint is a bad idea. Whichever it is, the first coat looked okay, I suppose, but the effect was like sitting on a cushion made of sandpaper. Guess I’ll be breaking down and making a trip to IKEA after all. This year I’ll bring the cushions inside in September. — Mary T.

From our partners

It looks pretty enough in the photo. Maybe you could bring out a nice cotton towel to toss over the cushion when you want to sit down? And take the towel back in when you are done, so the pretty painted cushion can be seen?

It’s not exactly form following function, but probably cheaper than a trip to IKEA.

Mary T.

Yeah, you may be right. As long as you’re not wearing shorts, it’s not that bad. : )

Hmmm, I have never heard of painting upholstery or cushions. Sorry it didn’t work out. Before you give up maybe you can try dying them? Or going to Ikea again is easy enough.


There used to be a decorating show on tv, Trading Spaces or something, and the “designers” used to spray paint upholstery on a regular basis. The premise was that you redecorated your neighbor’s house and they redecorated yours. I can not imagine the horror of coming home and finding that they had spray painted your couch.

Mary T.

OMG, so many of the Trading Spaces makeovers horrified me in so many ways. I would have died to come home and find my bedroom remade into a bordello! That would be a hilarious post on its own — the most hideous Trading Spaces makeovers. Hmmm…


HA! Do it, Mary! Oy! That show gave me the willies. Please! I used to think, no more theme rooms!! I love transformation shows, but I felt like it was just a world of no.

Sarah L.

hildi and the cardboard bedroom? that’s at least five posts. horrible.