How to Reupholster a Round Footstool

A round footstool is a piece of furniture on which people can rest their feet while they are sitting. Some variations of this piece of furniture are called ottomans. Usually the ottoman has fabric from the top of the seat to the floor, while a footstool has exposed legs. When you upholster a footstool, you make the decision whether to extend the fabric to the floor or shorten the fabric along the legs, as the piece can be upholstered either way.

Place fabric face down on the work table. Position the footstool upside down on the fabric. Cut around the top of the footstool, using the top edge as a guide, and add a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

Measure around the perimeter of the round footstool and add 1/2 inch for seam allowances. Start at the vertical fabric seam and end at your starting point.

Measure the height of your footstool from the top edge to the bottom edge of the side and add 3 inches. Some footstools have fabric halfway down the side; others have fabric to the floor. Start at the guidepoint you used to cut the round top fabric if the top of your footstool has a rounded top edge. For ottoman-style footstools, the top and sides are often separated by a 90-degree corner; if you have this type, start your measurement at the corner. Cut out the side fabric.

Sew the side fabric face sides together along the seam to create a circular shape. Pin the top of the fabric to the seat fabric top with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Sew along the pinned line.

Turn your fabric right side out and fit it over the footstool. Center your seam to the back. Cut the fabric from the bottom raw edge to 1/4 inch from the top of the footstool leg. The cut should centre on the leg. Repeat for each leg.

Turn the footstool upside down. Stretch the front fabric over the side and across the bottom, and staple near the centre. Stretch the back fabric over the same way, and staple near the centre. Repeat with each side. Fit the fabric evenly around each leg. Pull and staple the front, back, side and side with staples every inch or so. Smooth the fabric as you work. Add extra staples around each leg. Trim off any excess fabric.

Measure fabric for a skirt from the bottom edge of the fabric to the length you want. Add 2 inches for seams and hems. Measure the distance around the footstool plus 1 inch for seams, and add any extra if you wish to include pleats or gathers. Sew the ends together to form a circle shape. Sew your hem.

Match your seams at the back of the footstool. Fold the top edge of the skirt fabric under 1 inch, and tack the skirt fabric using nail-headed tacks and a hammer. Drive the tack into the side edge of the wood that supports the bottom of the footstool (under the fabric). Fit your fabric at your corners (if you are making pleats or gathers). Nail your nail heads all the way around the footstool.


You can add piping to the footstool when you sew your sides to your top. This can add a bit of drama to the top of the footstool.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Staple gun
  • Nail-headed tacks
  • Hammer
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.