How to upholster an ottoman with storage

Updated February 21, 2017

You can upholster a storage ottoman with the same techniques you would use to upholster a headboard or any flat piece of furniture. The only difference is that you will need to cover your staples on the base and hide the unfinished centre on the top. Transform your plain wooden storage ottoman into an upholstered piece of furniture.

Remove the top from the base of the ottoman. If the top is attached with hinges, remove the screws and hinges on both the base and the lid. Remove the feet, casters and any other hardware.

Measure the top and the base of your ottoman. Cut a sheet of fabric and batting to cover the outside of the base, including the bottom. Plan to bring your fabric and batting 2 to 3 inches inside the top rim of the base. Cut a sheet of fabric and batting to fit over the top of your ottoman, including 3 inches on the underside of the top. If you plan to include a padded seat for your storage ottoman, cut a section of foam to fit the top. Remember to account for the thickness of the foam when you measure and cut your fabric and batting for the top.

Upholster the base of your ottoman by laying your fabric face down on a flat surface, spraying adhesive on the back and placing the batting that’s cut to the same size on top of the adhesive. Spray adhesive on the top of the batting that’s facing up and centre the base of your ottoman on top. Pull the fabric up over the sides of the ottoman, one at a time, and secure the ends of the fabric and batting to the inside of the ottoman with a staple gun. As you round the corners of your ottoman, fold and tuck the fabric and batting as if you were wrapping a gift. If the corners are too thick for your liking, cut away the batting in this section and just fold the fabric. Cut off any excess fabric beyond the staples.

Upholster the top of your ottoman the same way as you did the base, but lay the foam in the centre of the batting before you place the top over the foam. Spray adhesive will help keep the materials attached together. Staple the fabric onto the underside of the top. Cut off any excess fabric.

Cut a piece of cardboard to fit the underside of the ottoman’s top. Cut a section of fabric to cover the face cardboard and 2 inches of the back. Apply spray adhesive to the cardboard and centre it over the fabric. Wrap the fabric around to the back side and secure it with duct tape. Attach the covered cardboard to the underside of your ottoman top with the covered side facing out. Attach the cardboard with spray adhesive or staples. This gives the ottoman a neat upholstered appearance when you open it for storage.

Glue a section of ribbon along the staple line on the inside of the base of the ottoman. You could also cover the inside with a section fabric. Spray adhesive works well for both of these options.

Reattach the hinges and the hardware. If you have trouble inserting the screws through the fabric and the batting, cut slits with a craft knife to make it easier.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Fabric
  • Batting
  • Foam
  • Spray adhesive
  • Staple gun
  • Cardboard
  • Craft knife
  • Duct tape
  • Ribbon
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About the Author

Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.