Fix It

DIY Upholstered Ottoman for $12

Reupholstering an ottoman, even one that opens for storage, it’s incredibly simple. All you need is some material and a staple gun. I found this ottoman sitting out on the curb. It was leather and probably originally very expensive, but someone’s cat had gotten to it and it was scratched all over the place. I got it home, Lysol’ed it like crazy, and painted the inside so we’d have a nice clean place to hold blankets. Then I went out and used a coupon at a fabric store and ended up spending only $12!


The most important step is centering your pattern on the top of the ottoman. Once you’ve got it in the right place, just start folding the fabric under at the edges and staple it down. I was very lazy with this, since this is the part of the ottoman no one would ever see.

Ottoman Lid

Stapling the front and sides of the ottoman was easy. When I got to the back where the hinges are, it got a little harder. (And again we see more evidence of my project-related laziness. You can actually take your time and make it look nice).

Ottoman Hinges

At this point, I cut a slit in the material on each side of the hinge and shoved the material through the little opening so I could fold and staple there. Cutting the two slits leaves you with a flap of material on the outside when you do the top (then again when you’re doing the bottom), which I folded and tucked as low as I could get it and stapled some more.


Keep on going with the folding and stapling. The perimeter of the bottom was so long that I had to use 3 different pieces of material to get around the whole thing. When I got to the end of a piece of material, I just folded the edge and stapled it to the ottoman. For the next piece of material, make sure to match up the pattern, fold it under, then glue it down on top of the part you just stapled (so no staples show). Or, you could do it the right way and sew the pieces together. I glued.


You’re done! For around $12 you can completely change an old ottoman.

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  1. I don’t know what part of the country you live in but here in Oregon I have never seen anyone leave anything on the curb. I love your project and would give my eye teeth to find something like this for FREE! I guess I will have to check out garage sales this spring and summer.

    1. I found it when I lived in Gilbert, Arizona. One day a month we had “bulk trash day” and people would put toys, dressers, chairs, sports equipment, and all kinds of furniture out on the curb. A lot of it wasn’t in too bad of shape either. Even though it was supposed to be picked up by the trash collector, everyone knew that people would drive around and pick up the “good” stuff so it became an easy way to donate your things. I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else. We’re in Alaska now and finding anything for free is a lot more rare here. I usually check the free section on Craigslist quite a few times a week and find things once in awhile. Most the time I find my projects at garage sales and at thrift stores (Salvation Army has 50% off days, so I wait for those). Good luck with your search and thanks for stopping by:)

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