How I transformed a boring old brown armchair into a gold statement chair

Oct 5, 2020

I don’t know about you but sometimes I get an idea into my head and even though it may be a ridiculous notion I have to give it a go. I think it’s known as being headstrong, bloody minded or wilful!

Whichever description applies it’s the reason why I find myself having not one but TWO gold armchairs. Like everything it has a little story behind it so bear with, or scroll down to the tutorial part.

What do you do with an old brown armchair that you didn’t really want in the first place?

No, the answer isn't throw it away! When we moved to this house there was a funny little room just off the lounge which lead to the utility room. We decided to use it as a playroom but it soon became clear that we needed a settee in there for the boys to sit on to watch tv but there was no extra money in the budget having just moved house.  So, I scoured Facebook Local and scored a squishy brown leather settee that was suitably distressed and cheap as chips, £25 if I remember rightly. It was comfy, did the job and looked fine with a throw chucked over it.

You can only buy it if you take the chair as well!

The downside was that the people who were selling it would only let us have it if we took the armchair as well (basically they couldn’t be bothered to get rid of it). So, we ended up with an armchair which we had no use or space for and it was unceremoniously plonked in the kitchen. Boy it was ugly (but looked much better when I covered it with a sheepskin rug and many cushions) but it was also incredibly comfy and quickly earned its keep by becoming the most used chair in the house. School bags and shopping bags were always dumped on it, kids climbed on it, dogs slept on it etc. etc. So I was loath to get rid of it. It brought people into the kitchen and made it a really sociable space.

Throw back to when the kitchen was half-way to being deliciously dark

After about five years (I seriously put up with it for that long for the aforementioned reasons) I decided I couldn’t stand looking at this tatty old brown chair for one minute longer so the only thing for it was to give it a little bit of an upcycle and spray paint it GOLD.

I had absolutely no idea if it would be successful or not, but figured that I had nothing to lose, as in theory it hadn’t cost me anything (woman’s logic). I am of the opinion that anything can be transformed with a bit of gold spray paint so why would a chair be any different?

Research – Nah!

I would like to tell you that I spent ages & ages researching whether leather could be sprayed gold, which type of paint to use, how to prep the surface etc. but I’m not that type of girl.

All I knew was that I had a few cans of Rustoleum Metallic Brilliant Finish gold spray paint in the garage and that was all the encouragement I needed. So, I dragged the chair outside and started spraying. Within thirty minutes I had the beginnings of a “blinged up” chair and it looked fabulous.


Rustoleum Metallic Brilliant Finish Bright Gold Spray Paint

A ridiculous amount of people have asked me how I did it. I appreciate most people aren’t as daring as I am and like to see a few instructions and pics so I decided to "take one for the team" by acquiring another armchair to do a little tutorial for you.


There are a few things I feel I should mention before you rush off to find a suitable victim/chair as I am slightly anxious that someone may try to sue me having ruined a family heirloom.

Both times I have used chairs that meant nothing to me, they weren’t expensive or precious.

Both times I've chosen a squishy leather chair to work with rather than a rigid one - I just feel it looks better.

Choose a really nice day to do your spray painting. Spray paint doesn’t seem to adhere as well in damp or cold conditions and because it was nice weather I left the chair outside for a few nights to dry properly and to "deodorise" as there is a bit of an after smell.

I didn’t used a top-coat of varnish. The paint hasn’t come off on me or on anything else but hey, you may wish to put a coat of varnish on – it's your call totally. A clear matt varnish would be what I would suggest but do your own research.

Be mindful of where you spray the chair – spray paint does travel quite far!

Wear a mask – we’ve all got one right!

So how did I do it?

Choose your chair. I prefer a squishy chair with folds, I think it’s possibly more forgiving to work with.

Both times I’ve chosen a brown chair – the gold paint seems to go on nicely over a brown finish.

Don’t spend a fortune on the chair – there really is no need. I like the thought of using something that is preloved and destined for landfill, rescuing it and transforming it from an ugly duckling into a resplendent golden swan.

If you spend a bit of time on Facebook Local, Gumtree or look at local charity shop sites you will get a chair for £20 max. Don’t be afraid to ask them to deliver – most places will if you offer to pay the fuel.

Give it a wipe down, get in under the creases, check for loose change, old crisp packets etc!

There were a few scuffs on one of my chairs. I just lightly sanded them with a fine sandpaper so they were flat.

Do read the instructions. Shake the can for as long as it says and hold it as far away from the chair as it instructs.

Decide where you are going to spray it. I did it on the lawn! Yes, you will have gold grass but you can mow it and no one will be any the wiser. Or put it on a dust sheet - don’t underestimate how far gold spray paint will travel in the air. Wear a mask and old clothes.


I spray painted the chair on the grass. The grass can be mowed and the gold paint will vanish

Here we go!

Start by giving the can a really good shake. Keep the can approx. 6 inches away from the surface and spray in a long continuous sweeping movement from side to side.

The key here is to build the colour up. It may look very pale to start with but don’t be tempted to keep adding more even though its very tempting. Just concentrate on getting an even coverage.

Spray in long even sweeps to let the colour build up

Remember to keep shaking the can.

You’ll know when you are getting a bit over enthusiastic as you will get a build-up of paint and it will run. Just stop! Put the can down and get a wet wipe and blot it.


If you get runs like this just lift the paint off by blotting with a wet wipe

Let each coat dry properly – two hours should be enough for each coat if it’s a nice warm day.

After the first coat I turned the chair upside down and sprayed the bottom edges – maybe do this twice. Let it dry in-between coats.

Turn it back upright and separate any squishy folds and give it a quick spray in-between/underneath etc. You can hold the leather back by using a bit of masking tape.

Give the whole chair another couple of coats - By the third or fourth coat it will look amazing.

Let it dry – I left mine outside for about 3 days – mainly to get rid of the smell.


I couldn't resist styling it up in the garden !

If you wanted to use a clear varnish go for it!

And there you have it – easy peasy. It’s not at all difficult, it’s just about being patient really.

I used four cans of Rustoleum Metallic Brilliant Finish gold spray paint (it’s not a paint for fabric – I tried that and it didn’t give me the finish I was looking for).

The beauty of this is if in a year or so you feel it needs a little pep up just take it outside and give it a respray.

This is not a sponsored post but Rustoleum did give me the spray paint.



  1. Heidi Harris

    Bloody Brilliant!!!!!

    • Sally

      So glad you like it Heidi -thank you.


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