How to Upholster a Coffee Table into a Footstool

Updated May 22, 2018

When it comes to the perfect accessory for a comfy chair or sofa, few furniture pieces beat an oversized footstool. Multifunctional, such a piece can be used to hold traditional coffee table items like magazines as well as serve as a comfy place to set your feet. While furniture stores sell these footstools for hundreds of dollars, you can convert an unwanted coffee table into one of your own for a fraction of that price. Use an old table from your basement or attic, or find a sample with solid legs at a thrift store or yard sale.

Measure the length and width of the coffee table top.

Cut squares or rectangles of quilt batting to the exact same size as the table top. High-loft batting is usually about 1 inch thick; cut enough layers of batting to form a pile 4 inches high.

Squirt craft glue all over the table's surface. Don't worry about creating a neat pattern. Just draw scribble lines of glue all over the top, leaving about a 2-inch border between the outer glue lines and the edge of the table.

Center one layer of quilt batting on top of the coffee table. Press it down gently so that the glue seeps into the batting.

Add glue to the top of the quilt batting in the same manner that you used to put it on the table top. Add another layer of quilt batting on top of the first.

Squirt more glue onto the batting and add another layer of batting on top of that. Continue adding layers of batting until you have a stack glued onto the table top that is about 4 inches thick. Allow all of the glue to dry thoroughly, or at least overnight.

Add 6 inches each to the length and width of the table top. Cut a piece of upholstery fabric to these new dimensions.

Lay the fabric print- or coloured-side-down on the floor or on another large, flat surface.

Turn the coffee table upside down and set it on the piece of fabric. Make sure that the table is centred exactly in the middle of the fabric piece.

Hold the centre of the table down with your left hand and pull the right edge of the fabric up and over to the underside of the table. Let go of the table. Hold the fabric edge in place and use the staple gun to staple the centre of the fabric's edge to the underside of the table.

Pull the left edge of the fabric toward the underside of the table, pulling the fabric taut to remove any loose fabric or wrinkles on top. Staple the centre of this edge to the underside of the table. Do the same thing with the top and bottom edges of the fabric, as well.

Pull the right edge of the fabric taut and add a line of staples across the right side of the underside of the table. Place each staple 1/2 inch from its neighbour, creating a continuous line. Stop stapling when you are 1 inch from each corner.

Staple down the left side of the fabric onto the left side of the table underside. Do the same with the top and bottom edges, as well. Stop stapling when you reach 1 inch from every corner on each side.

Neatly fold the corners down by smoothing one edge in one direction, then folding the flap it creates down toward the centre of the table's underside. Staple this flap down, pulling it toward the centre of the table.


Experiment with fabrics like twill and denim to give your ottoman a casual look. If your table has legs that sit directly under the corners, make a diagonal slit in the fabric from the corner just to the point where it touches the leg. Wrap both halves of this slit around the leg underneath the table and tack them down with staples onto the table's underside.

Things You'll Need

  • Coffee table
  • Measuring tape
  • High-loft quilt batting
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
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About the Author

Working in sunny Florida, Anne Baley has been writing professionally since 2009. Her home and lifestyle articles have been seen on Coldwell Banker and Gardening Know How. Baley has published a series of books teaching how to live a frugal life with style and panache.