DIY Home Decor: Graffiti Sofa

Fab find from a high-end showroom? Nope, it’s our latest DIY!

sofa 222 DIY Home Decor: Graffiti Sofa

Problem: Your worn-out sofa matches your walls, carpet and coffee table. You are renting and on a budget…what’s a gal to do?

Solution: Think outside the box. With this DIY Home Decor project and a can of spray-paint, you can take a room from blah to “ta-da!” in minutes.

The Shay family acquired a well-loved, cream pleather, hand-me down couch, from a relative. We had just moved Stateside after a five-year stint in Europe. It took three months for our belongings to cross the Atlantic Ocean. While we were thankful to have a place to sit, it was, by no means, our dream couch.

sofa 005 DIY Home Decor: Graffiti Sofa

The seat of the sofa had the appearance of being dirty, when in reality, some of the color of the vinyl had worn away. Around the time our 4-year-old proudly directed my attention to his drawing of SpongeBob Square pants (in blue ink) on the seat, I knew it was time to take action.

sofa 033 DIY Home Decor: Graffiti Sofa

Initially, I looked for slip covers with no luck. Next, I entertained the thought of sewing my own slip-covers. Six months later, I realized, THAT was never going to happen. We thought of spray-painting the entire sofa with paint specifically designed for vinyl. The selection of colors presented to us was pitiful. Not to mention, we would go through a ton of paint, which wasn’t a cost-effective option.

One day, while looking at that little drawing of SpongeBob, all I could think about was covering the sofa in graffiti. It took a fair amount of time to decide what type of “couch-graffiti” we wanted. Love seemed to be the perfect theme. Love-letters written by famous poets, authors, artists, dictators and kings were a fleeting thought.

Then it hit me. The sexiest French love song of all time, Je T’aime,…Moi Non Plus was the answer. France holds quite a special place in our hearts. While abroad we were able to steal away to Paris for a long, sexy weekend, sans children. So reminders of Paris pepper our home.

Whilst researching the lyrics, I learned about it’s provocative history. The song was recorded as a duet between Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot (whom it was penned for.) Bardot’s husband was less than thrilled with the breathy song (and their affair) so it wasn’t released. The second version of the song was recorded two years later, with his girlfriend, Jane Birkin, an English film actress. It was rumored that both versions of the song were recorded in the heat of the moment between lovers. Monsieur Gainsbourg denies both of these claims.

The lyrics are not obscene, however, it was banned in several countries. France identified it as a work of Art…but forbade it be played until after 11 pm. The Pope denounced it in a public statement. Oh, the scandal of it all!

Enough with the history lesson, let’s get started on our latest DIY home decor project!

sofa 010 DIY Home Decor: Graffiti Sofa

Vinyl (or spray paintable) sofa
Spray paint
Spray paint can plastic trigger attachment
Words to song/poem/letter of choice
Paper towels

Tip: The weather has to be just right for successful spray painting. At least 70 degrees with no humidity or wind.


1. Bring sofa outside to work. Our sectional breaks apart into two separate pieces for moving. Once it was outside, I reconnected the sofa. A large, well-ventilated room could work as well.

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2. With lyrics/words in hand, and a can of Rustoleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover 2x (which also works on plastic) it’s time to start spray-painting.

3. Start on a section of the couch that is not visible (such as a section that faces or touches a wall.) Use a handy-dandy plastic spray grip attachment for spray paint cans; it helps avoid paint fall-off and allows you to hand write more easily.

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4. Shake the can every few minutes. Wipe away any paint sticking to the can’s nozzle with a paper towel, since it has a tendency to block quickly when handwriting.

5. Do not attempt to move the sofa until paint is dry. It was sunny and 80 degrees when I painted our couch. It was dry within minutes.

sofa 111 DIY Home Decor: Graffiti Sofa

We brought the sofa inside, and instantly our space was transformed. Previously, this room had been continually neglected. Now, with the help of a few new throw pillows, our sofa is quite the showpiece. A thrifted wooden tray with candle-filled mason jars helps to tie all the colors together. The family room is my new favorite place to relax!

Readers – what song or poem would YOU spray paint onto your couch?

All photos: Rachel for we heart this

Rachel is a stay-at-home Mom that never seems to be home. She’s a military wife, mother to The Danger Boys and a self-proclaimed craftaholic that enjoys photography, knitting, baking and all things handmade.

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Written by rachelshay


  1. ReaderRita

    Awesome! I love this idea! My hubby and I were just debating the graffiti topic, and whether or not we felt “tagging” is art. It all boiled down to how good or creative the tagger is. If it’s just a scrawled name: not so much. But if it’s an “interestingly” scrawled name, then hella! But we both overwhelmingly like graffiti murals and vignettes better than just tags. Like all art, it’s subjective.
    This is fab. Is it sticky at all in the hot weather?

    1. Profile photo of rachelshay

      @ReaderRita, it isn’t sticky at all. My kid’s reactions were funny, the first time they saw it spray-painted. They all wiped their hands on it, as if paint would come off on their hands. It bonded perfectly with the vinyl.

    2. Profile photo of Stef Andrews
      Stef Andrews

      I have this eternal about graffiti debate a lot! I hate to see taggers mark something that shouldn’t be marked; a sacred building or someone else’s mural. But who could argue that a Bankys on the blank side of Jamba Juice isn’t art?! I used to love to see all the “Obey” Andre the Giant images all over LA too. It’s a fine line, I guess.

    3. ReaderRita

      @rachelshay- thanks for the info! I want you to know that I have been stalking my house hunting for something to do this to. (And @steph- I totally agree with you about sacred buildings, architecture, and the rest! There should be “aesthetic respect”!) (but since all art is subjective, yada, yada, yada…)
      I DO worry about amity’s “drunken monkey” aspect of things, as a typo would be really, really obvious. Perhaps I should learn an obscure or almost extinct language to write in- then very few people would know if I goofed…

  2. Profile photo of amity

    YOU FREEHANDED THIS? I am beyond amazed. I love this look, but if I did it without a stencil, it would look like a pack of drunken monkeys got into some paint.

    Such a great idea. Not the drunk monkeys, but your lovely couch.

    1. Profile photo of hao9703

      At my house there would be too many debates 1) Size of handwriting, 2) Is the handwriting legible 3) Color and overall scale of the room. You pulled this off. Frankly, I think drunk monkeys would do better than I.

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