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Interiors-Savvy Woman Saves £970 By Painting Faux Leather Sofa

December 14, 2020, 11:00 AM
  • Vanessa Brooks, 49, says painting her taupe faux leather sofa a modern shade of grey for £30 saved her from spending over £1,000 on a new one
  • The “wild” idea inspired a whole room refresh for a total of £180 (sofa included) thanks to some clever upcycling
  • Is thrilled with the “fresher, more modern” budget room revamp and shares her top tips for stealing her style

It’s amazing how a lick of paint can totally transform a room. Many home interiors fans are jumping on the painted furniture bandwagon, but did you know that your sofa could be just as easily revamped with a tin of paint and a paintbrush?

Vanessa Brooks’ stunning living room makeover, with her faux leather sofa as the centerpiece, is a case in point. The interiors savvy woman, 49, who lives with her partner and 14-year-old daughter in Woodborough, Nottingham, spent just £180 revamping the room over 11 days, including just £30 on the sofa paint job alone. She says it saved her the best part of £1,000, compared to splashing out on a new couch.

“I’ve been wanting to redecorate this space for some time but was struggling to decide on a colour scheme based on my taupe sofa,” says Vanessa, who was made redundant from her job as a PA/legal secretary in August and is currently in the process of starting a new business as a professional declutterer and interior design consultant. “I’d had the beige taupe colour scheme for about six years and was ready for a change.”

She stumbled across a social media forum for chalk paint fans, which opened her eyes to the different ways to use the paint – including giving faux leather furniture a new lease of life.

“I didn’t want to buy another sofa. I really couldn’t justify the cost of a new one, as there was absolutely nothing wrong with the one I had. Plus, I loved the style of it and it would have been very difficult to get something similar,” she told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk. “I had previously tried Frenchic chalk paint and loved the outcome so I thought I’d try it on the sofa.

“I wasn’t 100% sure if it would work and I was nervous about doing it, but I think it turned out great. It feels fresher, and more modern now. It has certainly saved me from spending over £1,000 on a new leather sofa.

What’s more, the cost of painting the sofa alone was minimal, taking just one tin of Frenchic’s Wolf Whistle mixed with half a tin of Spitfire, which rings in at approximately £30.

“The overall cost of revamping my sitting area was £180, all of which I spent on paint,’ she says. “Redecorating this room was a lockdown project and it took me 11 days in total. During this time, I painted all the ceilings, including the vaulted ceiling, as well as walls, doors and skirting boards. I had so many aches and pains afterwards – and bruises on my shins from leaning on ladders – but I was dedicated to getting it finished.”

Vanessa chose the grey colour scheme, due to its enduring appeal, and because she finds it easy to combine with other hues.

“Painting the sofa was a little wild,” she jokes. “Firstly, I gave it a good clean with sugar soap. Once the material was dry, I mixed a combination of Wolf Whistle and Spitfire (80/20%) from Frenchic’s The Lazy Range. I added a little water to thin the paint, with the aim of helping it to go on more smoothly. I then applied it using an oval brush designed especially for chalk paint.

“It covered extremely well and it only needed two coats,” she says. “Afterwards, I buffed the sofa with Rust-Oleum Furniture Finishing Wax using a soft cloth to seal the paint. I found the process quite easy and it only took me an afternoon to do.

“Overall, I think the outcome is great. I love the colour and it gave me inspiration to redecorate the rest of the room.

Over the next 10 days, Vanessa tackled the other areas, using a shade of Spitfire on the feature walls and lampshades, as well as City Slicker on the radiators – also from the Frenchic range.

“I wanted a look that was a little more dramatic and modern compared to what it was originally, and I think I achieved that,” she says. “Frenchic paint is the best. I literally go looking for things to paint with it. I was surprised at how well the paint went on the lampshades and the radiators. They feel great too, as the paint has a lovely texture to it.

“I would not like to put a guarantee stamp on painting faux leather sofas but it worked for me. I would definitely do it again and if I liked the style of the one I currently have I would definitely consider painting it first, rather than spending money on a new one – especially if it’s in good condition.

As an upcycling enthusiast, Vanessa’s flair for making a big impact on a little budget comes in handy.

“I tend to upcycle my existing furniture, such as vases and ceramics, if I want them to blend in with a new colour scheme,” she says. “I also make my own orchid arrangements and have painted my own abstract canvases, which you can see in the pictures."

If you want to copy her style, take this advice: “Firstly, make sure you declutter by removing items that are not liked or needed anymore,” she says. “Think less is more, and try upcycling what you have. Paint your pots and vases, and have a go at making an abstract artwork or some textured cushion covers. There’s lots of ideas and inspiration on Pinterest and YouTube.

“I have always had a flair for design and home interiors,” she continues. “I’ve designed all the rooms in my home and have been complemented numerous times on my design style. This is why I decided to study for a Diploma in Professional Interior and Design, which I completed about five years ago.

“I am always thinking of ways to improve the look of a shelf, or how cushions should be displayed, but I do get it wrong sometimes.

“I love Frenchic, and I have two further projects in mind: my fireplace and possibly my oak kitchen units.”

Tom Church, Co-Founder of LatestDeals.co.uk comments: “It may be surprising to know that you can revamp a faux leather sofa with paint, but Vanessa has shown that it’s a simple and affordable way of giving this sitting room staple a new lease of life.

“With many of us spending more time at home, budget-friendly ways to redecorate are more popular than ever.

“Upcycling is more than just a fun weekend project – it’ll save you hundreds compared to splashing out on new pieces. Plus, you’ll be doing your bit for the environment by cutting down on waste.”

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