How to Paint Leather Furniture

How to paint leather furniture, dye leather, chair, couch

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Who would have thought?!

Giving your leather chair or couch a makeover is entirely possible. You don’t have to replace the entire piece, you just have to find the right product. Leather paint!

Better known as Reluv Leather Renew.

How to paint leather furniture, dye leather, chair, couch

When I first told my husband I was painting the couch, he said that wasn’t possible. After I showed him the paint product I had in mind, he looked impressed and said, “I can’t keep up with your ideas.”

I took that as a compliment.

Now, in all honesty, I think this room could use a sectional.

We have a lot of kids coming and going from this house and movie watching is a little crowded. But, I am stickler for trying to coordinate with the era of the house and I don’t want to spend the money on a new couch right now, so this will have to do.

I bought this couch off Craigslist for $200! Sometimes, I look for years for the the perfect piece, but I found this couch within minutes of going online. The seller was about 15 minutes from my house and she said that she had posted the ad had only been live for 20 minutes and already the phone was ringing off the hook. First come, first serve, she said.

Game ON! We piled the kids in the truck and made a beeline for her house. And you know who got that couch!!

How to paint leather furniture, dye leather, chair, couch

Ok, my plan was to darken the couch up a bit. I wanted to give it a “worn saddle” look.

Like this.

How to paint leather furniture, dye leather, chair, couch


Ok, let’s get to the tutorial . ..

Materials Needed

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Takes 2 hours to paint an entire couch

How to paint leather furniture, dye leather, chair, couch

How to Paint Leather Furniture Tutorial

  • Wipe down all the leather with acetone on a rag to clean it
  • Wear gloves and work in sections applying the leather paint.
    • Apply a thin layer of the gel-like paint.
    • I only used half of my tiny can for the whole couch (!)
  • Go back and dap the wet paint with a wadded up cloth to give the look of texture.
    • If you are painting over hobnail, this is the time to wipe off the paint on them, as well.
  • Throw away gloves, chip brush and rags.
  • Let dry for 48 hours in a well ventilated room.

How to paint leather furniture, dye leather, chair, couch

How to paint leather furniture, dye leather, chair, couch

And the Before pic again. . .

How to paint leather furniture, dye leather, chair, couch

Here are some after pics, I like that the dog is on the couch to show the contrast.

How to paint leather furniture, dye leather, chair, couch

She used to be able to be completely camouflaged sleeping on the couch.

How to paint leather furniture, dye leather, chair, couch

It would have turned out closer to the inspiration picture if the original color was more tan/golden. But, I am loving the boost in patina on our leather couch.

See the Farmhouse Living Room Plans here.

To see the finished room, visit the Farmhouse Living Room Reveal!

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  1. January 25, 2017 / 7:39 PM

    Wow, I had no idea you could do that. I had to stop by and take a look. Looks great! just love your sweet dog too

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 26, 2017 / 3:58 PM

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Deb. It was definitely a product I will be using again. I am already eyeing other leather pieces to paint in my house. haha!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 26, 2017 / 3:59 PM

      Oh, I am so glad you are excited to try this! Thank you for the pin!

  2. Melinda
    January 26, 2017 / 1:03 PM

    wow,i would of never guessed you could do this……maybe there is a leather chair or couch in my future!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 26, 2017 / 4:00 PM

      Girl, it is a whole new world, isn’t it? I have already been looking over Craigslist with new eyes.

  3. pamela
    January 26, 2017 / 6:42 PM

    Have a sofa that has a faded spot. This looks wonderful, no need to get a new sofa you made my day

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 31, 2017 / 1:30 PM

      Oh, this makes me so happy!

  4. Tanya Hulbert
    January 26, 2017 / 8:52 PM

    I never knew this could be done! I’m impressed you had the guts to try it and the couch looks lovely! Nice work…once again!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 31, 2017 / 1:32 PM

      Haha, maybe I am a little crazy with my projects. But, if an idea flops I can always deter my readers,so that’s good.

  5. Lizianthus
    January 26, 2017 / 10:09 PM

    Your sofa looks great! I spray painted a leather stool (like a M.D.’s swivel stool) changing it from green to red using regular craft spray paint. The sales person said they didn’t know if it would crack or not. It has been 3 years of a lot of use and no cracking or peeling and still looks like new!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 31, 2017 / 1:32 PM

      Good news, I am so glad to hear it!

    • Denise
      February 3, 2018 / 6:34 PM

      I spray painted a vinyl ottoman using vinyl paint and it has cracked and peeled horribly. I’m so disappointed. It was originally burgundy and I painted it white. Any suggestions would be appreciated. It looked great until the cushion was sat on. Now I’m baffled as to what to try.

      • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
        February 18, 2018 / 6:37 PM

        Oh, I’m so sorry! I’ve never dealt with vinyl before but it sounds like it might not be fixable 🙁

      • Denise
        February 24, 2019 / 7:53 PM

        I did this also with the same results. I used automobile interior upholstery paint that I got from the auto parts store. It didn’t work either. I then sanded and reapplied. It still flaked in a few spots when it I sat on it. I’m not giving up but still thinking about it. I’m thinking about sanding again and applying a white chalk paint. What do you think? I’ll let you know.

        • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
          February 26, 2019 / 11:34 PM

          Hmmm, I have never used chalk paint on leather. It doesn’t sound like it will work, but have you checked Pinterest on that idea?

  6. January 27, 2017 / 4:49 AM

    Sarah that is one beautiful couch. You gave it a whole new life. I had no idea that they have paint for this sort of thing. You learn something new every day a!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 31, 2017 / 1:33 PM

      Mary, thank you so much, I think I may even do a second coat to darken it even more, we will see.

  7. January 27, 2017 / 6:03 AM

    This is so awesome. You scored a great sofa. Love the nailhead trim. We have a leather chair that is in horrible disrepair, but I just can’t bring myself to get rid of it. After a bit of repair, this could be a great way to liven it up. Pinning!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 31, 2017 / 1:34 PM

      OH, I hope you can save your chair! And, yes, I LOVE nailhead trim, too!

  8. January 27, 2017 / 5:02 PM

    This is great information. I have been wondering about this because I would love to paint my leather couch. Thanks so much, pinned.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 31, 2017 / 1:34 PM

      Thank you for pinning, I hope you can change your couch. Let me know how it goes!

  9. January 30, 2017 / 12:31 PM

    The finished product is lovely! And you’ve reinspired me to keep checking Craiglist for amazing finds (sometimes it can be a little discouraging!!).

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 31, 2017 / 1:35 PM

      Tell me about it, now if I see a couch with good lines but too light of a color I know it could still work for my purposes.

  10. February 5, 2017 / 7:21 AM

    This product looks interesting. I definitely want to look into. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      February 6, 2017 / 9:22 AM

      Yes, it is one of those paints that make me look at Craigslist couches differently now.;)

  11. February 7, 2017 / 12:35 PM

    Hi, Sarah! Love, LOVE that sofa ~ actually, leather anything, so I’m excited to find this great project! That piece looks so refreshed, and the pillows are especially yummy/comfy! I’m like you ~ I think it could go even darker, but I love the worn texture of the patina you’ve achieved with the first coat. Btw, I like that teal paint on your walls … but I know you want to lighten! Following you to keep up with your great plans (& that sofa)! kj

    p.s. No surprise, the pup always has the best seat in the house!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      February 10, 2017 / 5:32 AM

      Oh, you are so sweet! I have been thinking about that second coat on the couch, I think I will try to get that done this weekend.

      I love the teal walls, too, I can see myself using that color somewhere else, but for now the room is so much brighter and cleaner feeling.

      That dog! She is more than spoiled!;)

  12. Janet
    May 22, 2017 / 9:40 AM

    Could this paint be used on a leather that is cracked but not torn? What results could be expected? I have a bone colored sofa with marks from my two cats so I would like to “fix” it.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      May 27, 2017 / 12:45 PM

      Janet, yes, go for it! That’s how my couch was. It will kind of heal the scratches and put a protective coating on the leather.

      • Jessica
        April 16, 2020 / 6:03 AM

        I know you did this a few years ago now, how did it hold up? I’m looking into painting my sectional, but I’m concerned that it won’t last long before it starts wearing off/peeling or cracking!

  13. Diana
    September 17, 2017 / 3:13 PM

    Will it cover up magic marker left by grandkids?

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      September 19, 2017 / 6:22 PM

      No. I would try to get it off with the magic eraser first and then paint it.

  14. Alicia Payne
    November 12, 2017 / 9:36 AM

    I love your couch it looks refreshed! Did you have to cove the nailed trim or paint around it? Did paint get on it? I have a couch I’ve wanted to do but the trim scared me away.

    • Alicia Payne
      November 12, 2017 / 9:38 AM

      Sorry that was to say cover not cove, need to re-read

  15. July 10, 2018 / 6:50 PM

    Oh my your couch is gorgeous. I was going to throw out my husband’s leather recliner, but now I’m going to paint it! One of seams on the arm is unraveling, I know I can fix that and now I can redo the recliner! One question, does the texture or feel of the leather change?
    By the way your pooch is adorable!
    Thanks for the info and the inspiration!

  16. Sayra Butterfield
    November 24, 2020 / 10:22 AM

    I found your blog while looking for tips on refinishing an old couch, I’d love to hear how things have held up a few years later!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      December 6, 2020 / 8:13 PM

      It is doing great, its currently in the man cave / movie room out in our garage/shed!

  17. Julia
    April 10, 2021 / 4:41 PM

    We have a couch with metal grommets/trim; did you cover yours or pop them off when you painted

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