Should it Stay or Should it Go? Ottoman Makeover

That seems to be a common question I’m asking as we continue on our 2012 mission to organize and streamline this year.

When we were preparing for Lily’s party, I knew one of the areas we needed to organize was our entry way. We have a small space behind the front door that acts as a dumping ground for diaper bags, purses, briefcases, backpacks, shopping bags, coats, strollers, outdoor gear and mail. It’s a small space so it gets pretty cluttered and times I find it overwhelming. The before pictures were part of the photos my husband deleted (yes, accidentally but still!) from my our camera so I’ll do my best to describe it. In the space, we had a faux leather ottoman, hanging storage hooks and a hall table. All the pieces were dark wood which made the space feel dark and dreary and they were always covered with clutter- always!!

While I would love to have built in cabinets and create an inspiring mudroom, we aren’t sure of our long term renovation plans so I knew I needed to keep the changes minimal and cost low. I started with the ottomon that I bought a couple of years ago from Target (on sale).

via Target
I contemplated selling the ottoman but to buy a lighter fabric ottoman would cost more so I decided to try reupholstering it.

Below is my attempt to explain the process without the tutorial pictures.

You need

  • fabric of your choice (3 yards of fabric – the project requires approximately 98 inches to wrap the entire bottom)
  • scissors
  • staple gun
  • Screwdriver

Instructions to Reupholster a Storage Ottoman:

1. I started by removing the hardware and the feet. You will most likely need a screwdriver for this step. You will end up with two separate pieces, a top and a bottom.

2. Then I pulled off the felt-like fabric that lined the interior. I removed this carefully so that I could reuse it.

3. Many instructions will tell you to remove the existing fabric, however, I was a little nervous about how it would turn out so I left the faux leather just in case I messed up. This would give me something to return to.

4. I measured the length and width of the top piece accounting for the depth of the cushion and then adding a couple of inches to the length and width. For the bottom piece, I wrapped the perimeter of the ottoman until the two ends met and added an inch and a half and I measured the height (top to bottom) adding 2 inches. I used those measurements for the new fabric and cut it accordingly.

5. I placed the fabric for the top of the ottoman right side down (so the back side of the fabric was facing me) and placed the top piece of the ottoman upside down on top of it. Pulling tightly, I stapled the a piece of the fabric at the center of each side of the rectangle.

6. Then I started stapling the fabric to the ottoman from the center out. Again pulling tightly along the way.

7. When I got to the corners, I folder the corners as if I was gift wrapping.

8. Once I finished the top piece, I laid the original felt like material on top and restapled that back to the ottoman.

9. For the bottom piece. I wrapped one single piece around the ottoman and tried to align the pattern where the two sides met in the back.

10. I folded the overlapping side in so you couldn’t see the frayed edge and then began stapling the top and bottom at the center of each side of the ottoman. I used fabric glue (optional) for added security where the pieces overlapped in the back.

ottoman back
11. For the corners, I simply overlapped them and stapled them down.


12. Working from the center out, I pulled tightly and stapled along the way. In the corners, i just folded one side over the other (you can’t really see it in the picture below).

13. Then I stapled the bottom liner back into place.

14. Last step was to screw the two pieces back together.

I’m pretty pleased with the outcome! It definitely brightens up the space!

What do you think? Was it a good move to keep it? Do you have a piece you are considering getting rid of?  Just maybe there is a way to salvage the item?

The fabric is Waverly Ellise Turquoise from

To see the entryway finished, click here.

Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment and let me know you were here!

Linking to: Savvy Southern Style, Shabby Creek Cottage, The Frugal Girls, Tatertots and JelloTipJunkie, The CSI Project

Thrifty Decor Chick Before and After Party,

The Shabby Nest

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    • guyerfamily says:

      Yes Patsy! I’d say the nesting has set in!! I couldn’t sleep from 3-5 this morning so I started scrubbing Lily’s high chair and I did some laundry. I wish I could have just chilled and read a book instead or better yet, maybe have slept!!

  1. Heather says:

    OMG!!  I LOVE IT!!!  I would have never thought to do that!!  Do you ever sleep??  Poor Walt and the pics:(  Be sweet to him!!!   Miss you honey!!  Heather

    • guyerfamily says:

      Crystal, Thank you! I always feel the same way about your fabric choices!! Maybe we should do a fabric swap :)

      By the way, I swear I saw the fabric you used on your pillows and entry bench at Pier 1 but way more $$. Congrats again on your BHG feature!! You better believe I’ll be saying I knew her when….

  2. Meg says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! We just had the idea that maybe we could re-upholster our black leather ottoman from Target (the same one you had! :) and I was googling around and found you had done it – I'm so excited to try it!  And, I'm thrilled that there is no sewing, since that is definitely not a skill I possess.  Looking forward to looking through the rest of your blog. Thanks again!

    • guyerfamily says:

      Meg, I’m so glad you found the blog and thought the post was useful!! That just makes my day!! Good luck with your project! By the way, one thing I left out is that I used a touch of fabric glue on the bottom piece where I folded the fabric on itself (which is kind of the “seam”) to make sure it stayed down. You could use spray adhesive, heat bond, a glue gun or maybe even regular old glue. Let me know if you have any questions!

  3. Some Random Guy says:

    Ottoman should stay.  But you should probably let your husband help with streamlining and organizing the house.  He was smart  enough to marry you.  I bet he has some great ideas of what should go.

  4. Rachel says:

    I love how this turned out! Very fresh and pretty, and I adore your fabric choice. I have a storage ottoman covered in rattan that is fraying badly and am seriously thinking of at least redoing the top. Thanks for the inspiration! Rachel

  5. Erin @ Out on a Limb says:

    I'm dropping by from The Shabby Nest's link party and I can safely say, I'll be following along for sure. Your ottoman is fabulous and your directions, so well-written.  I have been looking for an inexpensive ottoman to customize for my living room.  You've made the process seem very doable.  I might just tackle this!  Love the fabric you chose. What a huge difference from the dark leather.
    Looking forward to sifting through your blog.
    Have a nice weekend!

  6. Jeannie says:

    I'm so glad I found this linked up.  I'm getting ready to do the same thing and it's great getting to compare my thoughts with someone else!  

  7. Sue Deege says:

    Wow…what a great job!   I love the color and pattern.  You would never know it was the same piece of furniture…what a difference!!   You had more hits on your blog for this post than any other I have seen since joining in your Family Journey….of course, I will always be there to read and respond….Sue

  8. Andrea says:

    Looks awesome. I like fabric you chose. I have the same ottoman and having been thinking about re-covering it.

  9. Sarah says:

    I have this very same sad looking ottoman AND a cute white, yellow, and gray tablecloth leftover from my brothers rehersal dinner. This project would be PERFECT for me!!! I can't wait to try it! Pinning for my future project…thanks for the great idea! Sarah @

  10. Melissa says:

    Beautiful! I actually just pinned that fabric to make some floor poufs for my living room– I LOVE that fabric!  I love that this was no sew! Hope you're having a wonderful 4th!

  11. Shannah @ Just Us Four says:

    This is a fantastic project! I love the updated look thanks to a great fabric choice.
    Would you consider linking this up at my <a href=>Pinworthy Projects Party</a>? I hope to see you there!

  12. Blythe says:

    The ottoman turned out great!! I have always been too intimidated to re-upholster anything, but you make it look pretty easy – might just have to give it a go!  Stopping by from Tip Junkie.

  13. Diana says:

    Beautiful job on the ottoman.  I {also} have the same one and can't wait to give this a try!!  PS  I am a new follower (found you thru the TipJunkie link-up party).

  14. Rachel says:

    Love the fabric! I just ordered some from and am currently reupholstering cushions for a glider for our baby girl's nursery!

  15. Faith says:

    Omigosh! Beautiful work! I have this exact ottoman, and followed this link via Pinterest. I had considered painting the faux leather because I wasn't sure about recovering it. You've inspired me. Thank you! 

  16. Kristen says:

    Genius idea!  Have been wanting to try this and stumbled across your blog, which is fantastic! Love all the tips and ideas…very creative! Keep it up so I can come back for more inspiration!

  17. stella says:

    I am interested in doing this to our fauz leather storage cube which the cat has clawed. What type of staple gun do you need?  I'm hesitant to buy pneumatic stapler. I wonder if it's do-able with just a heavy-duty stapler?

  18. Meghan says:

    I just googled to try to find a solution for my storage ottoman from Target that I purchased on Black Friday.  My husband and I went to my in-laws for 3 days and I came back to see that our younger cat had used it as a scatching post.  I almost died inside, and still am.  But I will be making a trip to JoAnn's for neutral fabric for it.

    • guyerfamily says:

      Carrie, I used one piece of fabric to wrap around the whole bottom portion of the ottoman so the only seam is in the back. I’ll see if I can add a picture of the back. That meant I only needed to worry about the excess fabric that overhung the top and bottom. I simply overlapped it, tucked it in and stapled it to the inside of the ottoman. I did the same thing on the bottom (stapling it to the underneath). Does that make sense?

  19. sue schlosser says:

    I did the top part of the ottoman easily, but can’t figure out the bottom…i got 2 yards of fabric, but its not enough to go around the whole thing.

    • guyerfamily says:

      Sorry for the delayed response, I had to come home and measure it first. When I reupholstered my ottoman, I didn’t measure I just wrapped the fabric around the bottom and marked where the fabric met and then cut 2 inches longer.I estimated the amount of fabric used based on the fabric remaining (I’d purchased 3 yards). What I just realized is that they were not square yards, my fabric was 54 inches wide. My sincerest apologies!!! Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention! I’m updating the tutorial to reflect the change. The ottoman bottom measures about 96 inches around the perimeter so you would need at least 98 inches but I’d suggest 100 inches to be safe. I’ve uploaded a picture on the blog of the bottom so you can see what it looked like. While your fabric is not long enough if it is wide enough, would you be able to do something similar in two spots? Maybe on the shorter sides? Again, I’m sorry about that!!

      • sue schlosser says:

        I am winging it, I will have an extra fold over, but think i can get it to work with the material I purchased. not perfect, but much improved! thanks for the quick response.

  20. Adriene says:

    The dining room is a special place in your house where friends and family gather on occasions.

    I recommend starting high and then working low.

    Trim off excess fabrics.

  21. draperies says:

    Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely feel this website needs much more attention.
    I’ll probably be back again to read through more, thanks for the information!

  22. Iran says:

    Hi! Thank you for posting this. I’ve been wanting to do something with our torn ottoman. I have one exactly like yours, do you think I can manage with a fabric that’s 86″l x 68″w?
    Thank you in advance!


  23. Ali says:

    Love your website and all the tips. I have a handwoven seagrass coffee table from potter barn that I bought only a few years ago. Due to lots of nieces and nephews and animals it has become very discolored and fraying all around. Do you have any suggestions how to save it and make it look nice again? I really like the table and would like to use it in my guest house instead of buy a new one. heres the link to the table:;

    any suggestions you might have will be greatly appreciated, as I am stumped on what to do!!! Thanks-Ali

    • guyerfamily says:

      Hi Ali, Thanks so much for stopping by and for you posting your question. If the fraying is not bad, you can trim it back and tuck it in. If the damage is much worse there are wicker basket kits you can purchase to try to repair the damage. As far as the discoloration, would you consider painting it? Maybe a light white? or ombre of your favorite accent color or stripes? Here are a couple examples of painted baskets to give you an idea.

      It may be worth a try before you throw it away. If you decide to do something with it, I’d love to see the before and after!!

  24. Natasha says:

    Looks great! I was just wondering if the fabric slides/moves around being on top of the faux leather? I want to do this to my faux leather ottoman as well but was worried it wouldn’t work out and also don’t want to remove the faux leather just in case!

    • guyerfamily says:

      Natasha, Thank you for your question. I have not had a problem with it sliding or moving around on top of the leather. It is pulled tight and stapled at the top and bottom so it’ fits pretty snugly against the piece of furniture. Please let me know if you have any other questions.


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