How To Paint Leather Furniture Like a Pro

Bob Thomas


Breathing new life into your old leather furniture can seem like a daunting task, but with the right techniques, materials, and a bit of patience, you can transform your worn-out couch or chair into a stunning centerpiece.

In this comprehensive guide, I'll share my personal experiences as a qualified painter and decorator to help you paint your leather furniture with ease and confidence.

Quick Summary

  1. Clean and prep your leather furniture
  2. Apply a leather deglazer
  3. Choose the right paint and tools
  4. Apply a primer and multiple thin layers of paint
  5. Seal the paint with a protective finish
  6. Allow the furniture to dry completely before use

Clean and Prep Your Leather Furniture

Before diving into the painting process, it's crucial to clean and prep your leather furniture properly.

Remove any dust, dirt, and debris by wiping the surface with a damp cloth, followed by a dry cloth to remove any moisture.

Inspect your furniture for any damages like cracks, tears, or peeling and repair them with a leather repair kit if needed.

Apply a Leather Deglazer

To ensure optimal paint adhesion, it's essential to remove any existing surface treatments or oils from the leather.

Apply a leather deglazer, like Angelus Leather Preparer and Deglazer, using a lint-free cloth or sponge in a well-ventilated area.

Wipe the surface gently, taking care not to oversaturate the leather. Allow the deglazer to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Choose the Right Paint and Tools

Select a paint specifically designed for leather, such as Angelus Acrylic Leather Paint, which is flexible and durable, ensuring your painted furniture will last.

Avoid using regular acrylic or latex paints, as they can crack and peel over time.

Gather the following tools and materials:

Leather paint
Specifically designed for use on leather surfaces, ensuring flexibility and durability
Various sizes for precision and larger strokes; to apply the paint evenly on the furniture
Painter's tape
To protect and mask off areas of the furniture that you don't want to paint
Mixing cups
For customizing paint colors, combining different shades, and measuring correct quantities
Lint-free cloths
To clean the leather surface before painting, ensuring no dust or debris interferes with paint
Alternative to lint-free cloths for cleaning the surface and can also be used for paint effects

Apply a Primer and Multiple Thin Layers of Paint

Using painter's tape, mask off any areas you don't want to paint, like hardware or trims.

 Apply a thin layer of leather primer, such as Angelus Leather Primer, to help the paint adhere better and create a smoother finish.

Start by applying thin, even layers of paint, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next.

This technique ensures a more flexible and durable finish.

Depending on the color and coverage you want, you may need to apply 3-5 layers of paint.

Remember to paint in long, even strokes, avoiding any brush marks or drips.

Seal the Paint with a Protective Finish

To protect your painted leather furniture from wear and tear, apply a clear, water-based acrylic finish, like Angelus Acrylic Finisher.

Choose a matte, satin, or glossy finish, depending on your desired look. Apply 2-3 thin layers, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next.

Allow the Furniture to Dry Completely Before Use

Allow your furniture to dry for at least 24-48 hours before using it to ensure the paint and finish are fully cured.

Avoid placing heavy objects or applying pressure to the painted surface during this time.

Additional Tips and Tricks

  1. Practice on a small, inconspicuous area: If you're new to painting leather furniture or unsure about the color, test the paint on a small, hidden area before applying it to the entire piece. This will give you a chance to see how the paint looks and adheres to the leather.
  2. Work in a well-ventilated area: Leather paints and deglazers can produce strong fumes, so always work in a well-ventilated area to ensure your safety. If possible, work outdoors or open windows and doors to allow for proper air circulation.
  3. Take your time: Painting leather furniture is not a race. Take your time to ensure the best results. Rushing the process can lead to mistakes, uneven paint coverage, or an unsatisfactory final result.
  4. Customize your paint colors: If you can't find the exact color you want, don't be afraid to mix leather paints to achieve your desired shade. Just be sure to mix enough paint to cover your entire piece, as it can be challenging to recreate the same color later on.
  5. Maintain your painted leather furniture: To keep your painted leather furniture looking its best, clean it regularly with a damp cloth and mild soap, followed by a dry cloth. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives, as they can damage the painted surface. Condition the leather with a leather conditioner specifically designed for painted leather, such as Angelus Leather Paint Conditioner.

Frequently  Asked Questions Section (FAQs)

Q. Can I use regular acrylic paint on leather furniture?

  A: Regular acrylic paint is not recommended for leather furniture, as it lacks the flexibility and adherence properties required for a long-lasting finish.

Instead, use specialized leather paint designed for use on leather surfaces.

Q. How long does it take for leather paint to dry?

  A: Leather paint typically dries to the touch within 15-30 minutes.

However, it's essential to allow the paint to cure for at least 24-48 hours before using the furniture to ensure a durable and long-lasting finish.

Q. Is it possible to remove leather paint if I'm not satisfied with the results?

  A: Removing leather paint can be challenging once it has dried and cured.

If you're unhappy with the results, you may need to use a leather deglazer to strip the paint and start over.

However, be cautious when using deglazers, as they can sometimes cause damage to the leather.

Q. Can I paint leather furniture with a spray paint specifically designed for leather?

  A: Yes, you can use spray paint designed for leather surfaces.

Ensure that you follow the manufacturer's instructions and apply thin, even coats to achieve a professional finish.

Remember to work in a well-ventilated area and protect surrounding surfaces from overspray.

Q. How can I fix small imperfections or scratches in the leather before painting?

  A: To fix small imperfections or scratches, you can use a leather filler or repair kit.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions, and make sure the filler is fully dry before proceeding with the painting process.

Q. Can I paint over leather that has been previously dyed?

  A: Yes, you can paint over previously dyed leather.

However, you must clean and deglaze the surface thoroughly before painting to ensure proper paint adhesion.

If the dye is very dark, you may need to apply multiple coats of paint to achieve your desired color.

Q. How can I create special effects or patterns on my painted leather furniture?

  A: You can use stencils, masking tape, or freehand techniques to create unique patterns and designs on your leather furniture.

Be sure to apply the paint carefully and allow each color or layer to dry before adding more to avoid smudging or blending the colors unintentionally.


Painting leather furniture can be a rewarding DIY project, giving your old and tired pieces a fresh, new look.

By following these detailed steps and using my personal experiences as a guide, you can successfully transform your leather furniture with confidence.

Don't forget to take your time, be patient, and enjoy the process – the results will be well worth the effort!

Suggested Products:

Angelus Leather Paint: Angelus Leather Paint is widely recognized for its high-quality and durability, making it an excellent choice for painting leather items. It adheres well to the leather surface and provides a flexible, long-lasting finish, ensuring your painted leather project looks professional and remains vibrant for a long time.

Angelus Leather Preparer and Deglazer: Before painting your leather, it's essential to prepare the surface with a deglazer. Angelus Leather Preparer and Deglazer removes any dirt, wax, or oil that could interfere with the paint's adhesion, ensuring a smooth and even application of the leather paint.

Angelus Acrylic Finisher: To protect your painted leather project and give it a professional finish, you'll need a high-quality sealer. Angelus Acrylic Finisher is designed specifically for use on painted leather, providing a durable, protective layer that helps prevent scuffs, scratches, and fading.

These product suggestions are ideal for helping you achieve the best results when painting leather. However, remember to research and choose the products that best suit your needs, as well as read reviews to ensure they are suitable for your specific application.

About the author 

Bob Thomas

A fully certified interior decorator and house painter , Bob Thomas brings immense expertise and knowledge amassed from many years of hands-on experience with residential, commercial and specialty painting and decorating projects of all sizes and scopes.

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