When I first completed reupholstering the chairs in our living room My husband sat in them and deemed them comfortable, but felt like they needed something to put your feet up on. I immediately began scouring UsedRegina and Kijiji for coffee tables to create a tufted ottoman like this project. However, months went by and nothing fit all three criteria: correct size, reasonable price, AND good-looking. *sigh*
But one day I came across this storage ottoman on UsedRegina. And it was only $20! Why? Because it was U-G-L-Y. Their two-year-old had apparently destroyed the thing. And it was covered in a cheapy microsuede fabric that did not hold up (covered in tears and stains). But the rest of it was in decent shape. I decided I would reupholster it.
I decided, though, that to recover it I would need to take it apart a bit - and since it’s basically a box, I could handle that.
I removed the lid - more on that in a moment - and took the bottom off of the box.
I upholstered the bottom, wrapping the fabric around it and securing it with a few staples. I didn’t go crazy with staples, because there would be more later when I put the ottoman back together.
(That black piece on top in the picture is the meshy fabric that covered the bottom before. I kept it and used it to cover the bottom when I was all done.)
For the sides I measured each panel and cut fabric (with a bit of a seam allowance) for each side. I sewed the fabric panels together on each corner and fitted it over the box and foam snugly.
Then, when it came to the top, I ended up doing a bit more work. Though in good shape, the top only had webbing in a frame to hold the seat up. This created a slight, but uncomfortable sag if you sat on top of the ottoman. (And I knew ours would be sat on. And climbed on.) Also, I really wanted a tufted top, and securing the buttons into webbing just wasn’t going to cut it. So, with some help from my dad, we added a board into the seat. He cut the board to size at the hardware store.
Then we used small strips of wood to screw into the sides of the top to keep the board in.
The small wood strips created a ledge, keeping the board in place in the lid.
Once it was all in place I measured and drew out the spots where I would want buttons on the top and drilled holes in the board for them. (I made the holes too small the first time, so I ended up making them bigger later. You need a decent sized hole otherwise it’s hard to thread the upholstery needle back through when attaching the buttons.)
I use these little button kits from the fabric store. They’re cheap and easy to use. My fabric was a bit thick for the size of buttons I used, however, so I ended up securing a few with some hot glue.
For tufting, lay out your fabric over the area you’ll be working on (and you may need to pin it in place), but don’t staple it to your piece yet. Wait until after your buttons are all secured so that you can get a nice deep tuft.
I start from the centre and work my way out. On the back of the board the strings are knotted, then pulled to the side, and stapled a billion times. Or you can thread the strings through a button and knot them (then staple them a million times, if you like). I forgot to take a picture of this for the ottoman, but you can see it here on the back of my headboard. (Sorry for the terrible picture, there isn’t a whole lotta’ light behind my bed. But you should get the idea.)
After all of the buttons were in, I stapled the fabric to the bottom of the lid. For the corners I pleated them and pulled tightly - kind of like what you’d see on the arms of a William Birch sofa.
After this, I reattached the bottom to the box using an air compressor and long staples.
When doing this I attached the bottom’s fabric, the box sides’ fabric, and the bottom covering fabric as well. I then reattached the lid with the hinges (I screwed them in by hand into the existing holes. I didn’t use an electric drill because I didn’t want to snag and pull the fabric.)
There are still a couple of things I still want to do to this thing - I want to find some hydraulic hinges for the sides so that the lid lowers slowly (or even locks open, if needed), and I have plans to add a kick pleat skirt (You can see the fabric panels pinned in place in the picture below… whaddya’ think?)
But even without the skirt it’s a HUGE transformation - it looks higher end, and it’s far more durable. (Only trouble is that the tufts are great Cheerio collectors…) Now, when you sit in the chairs, it’s lovely to put your feet up!