How to Reupholster an Ottoman

Blue upholstered tufted ottoman

Nkrivko / Getty Images

Project Overview
  • Total Time: 1 hr
  • Yield: 1 ottoman
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $50+

If you own an ottoman that could use a little bit of TLC or you found a cool-looking one on Facebook Marketplace that you want to transform—follow this step-by-step tutorial and learn how to reupholster an ottoman to give it new life. Ottomans come in various shapes, sizes and styles, from oversized tufted ones with button details that function as an elegant coffee table, to smaller cube-shaped storage ones you can put your feet on and store clutter in at the same time. Reupholstering a piece of furniture may sound like a daunting task reserved for professionals, but it's much easier than it looks when it comes to a smaller item such as an ottoman. Not to mention, this DIY route will save you lots of money. Now, let's get started!

What Is an Ottoman?

An ottoman is an armless, upholstered piece of furniture that sits low to the ground and serves multiple purposes. The versatile piece can be used as a footrest, a stool, a bench, or a coffee table depending on its size, shape, and material that it's made from. Some ottomans have a removable or hinged lid and storage space inside, adding to their function and practicality.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Fabric scissors
  • Fabric chalk
  • Measuring tape
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Staple puller
  • Hand-held vacuum cleaner


  • Ottoman
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Padding
  • Fabric glue (spray)


A cubed ottoman with a removable lid is one of the simplest pieces of furniture to reupholster—it's an excellent first reupholstery project to tackle. Follow the steps below to give your own ottoman a complete makeover.

  1. Choose Your Fabric

    The biggest decision you need to make when it comes to reupholstering your ottoman is what fabric you will use. This depends on a couple of factors—aesthetics, practicality, and durability.

    If the ottoman is used purely for decoration and sits in a corner most days, a lighter, thinner material is perfectly fine. However, if you use the ottoman on a daily basis and it'll have to withstand some wear and tear— go for a darker or patterned fabric that's stronger and resistant to pilling and fading. Think about the other colors in the room, whether you want the ottoman to blend in with the rest of the furniture or if it provides an opportunity for a fun splash of color. Before purchasing the fabric, make sure you measure the surface area you need to cover and buy extra fabric just in case.

  2. Disassemble the Ottoman

    Now that you have picked out the fabric, it's time to work on the ottoman. Remove the lid, then flip it upside down, and unscrew its legs if it has any. If the current fabric on the ottoman is attached using staples, use a staple puller or another flat-headed tool to remove them, and use scissors as needed to remove the fabric. Once the fabric has been removed, gently clean the exterior and interior of both the ottoman frame and lid using a vacuum to remove any dust and dirt that may have built up.

  3. Measure and Cut

    Starting with the ottoman lid, measure the surface area that you need to cover, then mark that on the fabric using fabric chalk, and make the cut with fabric scissors. Add enough of an overhang to fold inside. If it looks like the top could use a little more padding to make it extra plush and comfortable, measure the size of the square and cut a piece of padding to that size.

  4. Reupholster the Ottoman Lid

    Place the ottoman lid on a clean, flat surface, then position the padding on top of it and lastly the piece of fabric, face-side up. Carefully grab all the components together and flip them so that the fabric is now on the bottom, face-side down. Starting with the top part, pull the fabric towards the center of the lid tightly, securing it with multiple staples. Next, repeat the same steps with the opposite side of the fabric. Then, do the same with each side, tucking in the corners neatly and pulling the fabric tightly for a plush, cushioned look. Cut off any excess fabric.

  5. Reupholster the Base

    To reupholster the base of the ottoman, measure the surface area that needs to be covered and add an overhang on both sides as well as an additional two inches to the length of the fabric—then make your cuts. Starting with one edge of the base, line up the fabric and staple it directly onto the ottoman. Wrap the rest of the ottoman in the fabric, and when you come to that same edge, fold over the end of the fabric (this is why you added the extra two inches to it) and secure it using fabric glue. Then, begin tightly folding the fabric inside the ottoman and securing it using staples. Once you have gone all the way around on both the top and the bottom, place the lid on top and your reupholstered ottoman is finished, and ready to add style and comfort to your home!