Make an Ottoman From a Coffee Table

I love the look of using an ottoman as a coffee table. But large upholstered ottomans can be so (!) expensive.
I think I shared this story before, but a few years ago we lived in Washington D.C., where there is a Restoration Hardware outlet. One magical/terrible day I walked into the store and there, right in front of me, was the most gorgeous and glorious upholstered ottoman (normally $1200). Price tag? $150. No joke. With the understanding that the salesperson knew I wanted to buy the ottoman, I stepped out of the store (no reception inside) to call my husband about the purchase (our rule is no purchases over $100 without a team discussion). I skipped back inside the store after getting the go-ahead from Michael, only to find the ottoman no where in sight. Someone else had bought it in those few short minutes and I felt like such a fool. Saddest. day. ever.

Fast forward two years and I'm still thinking about the gorgeous velvet ottoman. Since I don't have $1200 to spend on the same RH ottoman, I decided to try and make a similar ottoman out of a coffee table.

I decided that I needed a smaller size ottoman for our living room. I thought 35-40" would be the right size. And it couldn't be more than 16" tall. And I wanted a square table, not a rectangle. And I wanted sort of chunky, turned legs. I know, picky, right?

But Craig's List came through for me again. $25 for this heavy, solid wood piece.


Perfect dimensions (36x36x16). Just needed some paint on the legs for that dark-stained look I wanted. I used Ralph Lauren's "Galvenized" in eggshell for two coats and sealed it after that.


I marked out where I wanted my 16 tufting buttons to lay and drilled holes in the table top.


Then I used a little spray adhesive to hold my 2" foam (from JoAnns) in place.


I also cut up some of the left over foam and adhered foam strips to the apron of the table to fill in the empty space under the lip.


Then I wrapped the apron in batting and then the whole table was covered in a sheet of quilt batting (no photo of that step, sorry).


Using the 16 drilled holes as my guide, I adhered the tufting buttons (which I made with a button kit from JoAnns) with upholstery thread and a long needle.


I used regular plastic buttons to anchor the tufts on the underside of the table.


Once all the tufts were in place, I stapled the fabric edges to the underside, being sure to pull the fabric really tight. Then I tackled the corners, which was the trickiest part.


I decided to use upholstery nails on just the leg area where I did sort of hospital bed corners with the fabric. I might end up redoing this part, but I think it's fine for now.


Here's the finished product. What do you think? Does my $60 project compare with the $1200 Restoration Hardware ottoman? Maybe not, but it will do for now!



114 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is such a great project!

sammyw said...

i have been on the hunt for a ottoman like this - thank you for the inspiration :)

nikinikinine said...

this is an awesome project. And if you were thinking about fixing the fabric around the legs, I'd just remove the legs and tack the fabric to the wood underneath (eve with a staple gun) and then reattach the legs this way they have the tucked and finish look of your inspiration photo without much extra work.

Sara said...

This could not have come at a better time! I myself have been scouring craigslist for a coffee table to do this exact project. Thank you for the boost in confidence that I CAN do this! It looks great btw. :-)

brynalexandra said...

You never cease to amaze me - seriously, you blog is my favorite out there*! I've already saved a number of your DIY projects (hello roman shades!) but this one takes the cake. I was planning on buying a large tufted leather ottoman from Overstock, but now I'm thinking of scoring something at Salvation Army and trying your amazing DIY action!

Thanks for the amazing blog!!

*One day I literally started from your first post and read your entire blog to your most current post. It was SUCH a great read!

Ti said...

you rock so hard!

Paddywack Designs said...

I love it. I also did a similar project, but without tufting... I really like that effect, but wasn't sure how to do it... now thanks to your post I do. Maybe next time.

Renee said...

This looks so good. And the bragging rights? Worth more than $11,940, for sure.

What kind of fabric did you use?

I have an idea to do this on a smaller scale with a small bench we found at a garage sale. I just hope it's not TOO easy, or I might end up upholstering all the hard furniture in my house. Padded room?? Yes please.

Heather said...

Good for you!

Abby said...

This is amazing! I live in DC. I'm going to have to hunt down this RH outlet.

the Smart Bohemian said...

This is lovely. And you make it look so easy! It is hard to not let this project jump the queue over all my others...

Jenny said...

Nikinikinine -
Unfortunately the legs don't come off the coffee table, that's why I had to come up with the nailhead trim solution. It's not perfect, but it does the trick.

Abby -
The RH outlet is in Leesburg, VA. There is also a Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel (I think) outlets in the same mall. Not to mention Banana Republic and J.Crew. Also an Off Saks 5th?? Yeah, it's good.

Everyone else - thanks so much for all the sweet comments. I love and appreciate each one!

Jane said...

It's official: you are the MacGyver of interior design!

liler said...

this is wonderful! You have such great D.I.Y. ideas! Thanks for sharing :-)

Petertammenson said...

Good heavens I am completely and utterly floored! Way to go Jennica! And yes, I think your project was incredible!

My Notting Hill said...

Looks terrific! Also loved seeing more of your living room and the blue walls. My husband & I lived in Cambridge '86 - 90 at 18 Forest Street off of Mass Ave. Loved it! We took our kids back to see our old haunts in Dec. - was a fun trip down memory lane.

KatyO! said...

girl, you are FANTASTIC!!! I have been looking for this exact thing!! I couldn't believe how expensive they were though. You are gonna save me $$$$ - thank you!!!

Cat said...

Gorgeous! I'd trim the legs down 2-3" and then it would be perfect for MY living room.

Cote de Texas said...

omg - this is amazing!!! it looks fabulous!!!!!!!! I wish I could do stuff like this - I'm so bad with my hands. WOW, I am SO impressed!

thanks for your sweet comment today too!!

Jennifer said...

where does it end with you?! seriously. first the roman shades from mini blinds and now this! it looks AWESOME! really.

Anonymous said...

You did such a great job!!! The only think I might think to do is cut off the legs, staple the fabric underneath and then screw on more delicate legs.

Kate said...

Your ottoman is incredible!! I really love it. I never would have thought a project like this would be as do-able! You did such a great job.

Keri said...

That is such a great idea!

Iliana said...

Holy crap did M know he was marrying such a goldmine? That is pretty. I'm doing it tomorrow!

smitten design said...

i wouldn't be able to forget a restoration hardware snatch like that either, but your project looks fantastic. i'm impressed!

makemineeclectic said...

Lovely job!!

Tanya and Colin said...

I love it! I have been wanting to make an ottoman for months. Your project has inspired me and given me some ideas. Thanks for sharing!

remodel_addict said...

Pure genius!

LindsB said...

How did I never notice your blog before?!?! And another Boston blogger, I'm so excited right now! I've started reading though and I LOVE everything, love your blog! I'm going to spend the rest of the night reading, I'm very excited.

Abbey Goes Design Scouting said...

this is insanely awesome! I'm loving your blog!

Sougato said...

Incredible. Looks awesome!

jabee said...

Excellent!

Tania. said...

Such a great idea, thank you for sharing.

Emma said...

that's it, your blog is officially "must try DIY"

Lnw80050 said...

This is amazing! I have followed your handiness but this brings it to a whole new level!

Kim said...

That is AMAZING. What a great job.

Alissa said...

most amazing thing i've seen ALL week!

Tricia - Avolli said...

Very impressive!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic look and a great DIY project...there's going to be a run on country coffee tables on Craigs list now!

I was hoping the RH outlet was near Boston when I read that comment (and that I had just missed it). Love the RH but just can not afford it. Sigh...

Great job, congrats!

Andrea

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

Oh my - I so need to do this! It looks fantastic!

Sarah said...

you are incredible. I LOVE It. wish you were here to help me with this empty bore of a house ;)

denise plant said...

I would never know that was a wood coffee table first! Such a great idea! You amaze me!

bestyjeczka said...

This is amazing, thanx for inspiration!

mer said...

brilliant!

Courtney said...

Get out! I LOVE this!! We have an old coffee table that I was just going to get rid of when we moved, but I am totally doing this!

Thanks for this great post!

Vanilla Lavender said...

Great project!! Love it!

Blissful Babe said...

That's freaking fabulous!

Found you over at the Nesting Place!!

Rachael Black said...

Wonderful project. Thanks for the great idea and the 'how to' tips.

Jenny@ L.O.T.s of Love said...

I have that coffee table! Have had it for 13 years and have been looking to change it! Thanks! You did a great job and awesome tutorial!

Junk Mammas said...

What a great idea- we love this project. Found your blog on the Nesters. Great blog!

AnNicole @ OurSuburbanCottage said...

Hi! I'm coming over from Nesting Place and I'm SOOOO glad I did. You did an incredible job. I love your creativity and ingenuity. And truly, I think this compares with the RH version. I also love the color of the fabric you used.

Thanks for showing us how you did this!

Jenelle said...

That is AWESOME. Great job thinking through the whole process and coming up with an amazing end product! And thanks for posting all the pictures along the way!

Katy said...

FABULOUS! What an awesome idea and thank you for sharing this.

Wanna see my redo? Come visit!!

Brian & Veronica said...

that's amazing. i love it. how you do all this with your girls, I'll never know. i can barely clean, let alone do my own projects. . . it seems impossible!

Joy of Frugal Living said...

I think that came out really great. I can imagine doing the same thing with plywood and stock legs from the home improvement store. I will keep it in mind for the future!

Jennifer

Kelli said...

WOW! When can you come over? Turned out beautifully!!

meg said...

That looks fantastic!! My sister is in the process of using Galvanized on her kitchen cabs. It's such a great color!

meg said...

That looks fantastic!! My sister is in the process of using Galvanized on her kitchen cabs. It's such a great color!

Karol said...

I am SO doing this. Awesome job!

Karol :0)

Kara said...

No way! That is the coolest trick ever. It looks totally fabulous!

Jen Kershner said...

Oh, it's just awesome! I've been thinking about slipcovering my coffee table but you've given me something else to think about!

Amber said...

I found you through the Nester. You did a wonderful job with the tufts! They look great!

Sarah @ Thrifty Decor Chick said...

Fabulous!! I have thought of doing something similar...now I may just try it. I'm so impressed!!

jen said...

Thank you for posting this. Nester sent me over. i have had the fabric draped over my coffee table for a month now & just been too chicken to do it my self. Off to Jo~anns to get the foam. Thanks

jAne said...

A few years ago I did this project using our breakfast table rather than a coffee table. Got the idea from Trading Spaces. My husband cut the legs and added casters for easy rolling. I did the foam thing as well as batting, muslin then made 2 slipcovers - one for fall/winter and one for spring summer so I can change out the look and wash at will. The ottoman is large, comfy for extra seating if needed and a creative approach to using what you have to fill a need. :o)

jAne
http://tickleberryfarm.blogspot.com

darcie said...

THIS IS GREAT!!! Thanks for the step by step how-to. it's beautiful, you did a great job with that!

Krissy said...

This is brilliant! Your ottoman turned out great and it looks very professional, too; I'm quite impressed.

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

I saw this on Apartment Therapy and WOW-I love it! What a great use of a coffee table. In fact I have the exact same one in my garage! I got it at a yard sale a few years ago and used it for board games. I would love to link to this if you don't mind, it's such a great project, one that is totally going on my to-do list!

Anonymous said...

I have a table just like this that I HATE and now I know exactly what to do with it! HOORAY! Great idea!

Miss Mouthy said...

Wow! That is fantastic. I love this idea. Your instructions are so helpful, too. Plus, I just saw a similar sized coffee table for sale!

Sandra @ Pepperberry and Co. said...

Oh. My. Gosh. This is the most ridiculously beautiful thing I've seen in such a long time! I want one. Now! :-) I would never have thought it was possible for a "normal person"- ie. not an upholsterer- to do this, but you've given me the confidence and tips to think I can! Just sensational. Well done.

Darlene said...

Absolutely awesome!!! Thanks so much for sharing.

Catherine Hansen Peart said...

I have wanted to do this for a long time. Yours looks fantastic!!

Mom with a Scattered Mind said...

OMG thank you for this idea, I have been wanting a coffee table and this has given me inspiration for a really nice one now.

Caroline said...

Great transformation!!

snap + tumble said...

that totally ROCKS.

Sarah said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I've been wanting to make one. Do you mind if I ask what the name of the paint color is in your room? I've had such a hard time finding one that shade that works.

Jimena Diaz said...

Wow!!
muchas gracias esta buenisimo!!!

Charmaine said...

Gorgeous!! Great job!

mainely stitching said...

Utterly brilliant. I'm sitting here looking at our ugly pine coffee table and thinking "Viola!"

ds in east Texas said...

I need an ottoman and this is the inspiration I need for a diy project. I am scanning Craigslist as we "speak".

Pockafwye said...

Beautiful work. And an inspired project. Thanks for the tutorial!


(spotted featured on CRAFT Magazine's blog)

Jenny said...

Thanks for the nice comments, everyone! After living with and using the ottoman for several weeks now, I'm still really happy with the project. I'd love to see pictures, if any of you make your own!

Sarah - my living room color is Martha Stewart's Moonbeam (from Lowe's). It is the greatest shade of pale blue-gray. I think it is subtle and fresh. Love it!

Cali Girl said...

amazing. you really know your stuff! love your cozy home!

houseenvy said...

Hi Jenny, just wanted to thank you for this post, which inspired me to have a go myself -- much easier when you know someone else has already tried (and succeeded!!). I took a broken coffee table and used the legs as the starting point for a bed-end bench. If anyone's interested, you can see pics on the Living Etc forum:
http://www.livingetc.com/forums/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/70511/page/0/fpart/1/vc/1

Arly said...

That's a wonderful idea :) Thanks so much for posting this.

Spotted Dog said...

gorgeous job! now i'm gonna scour cl until i find a cheap coffee table to experiment on. your tufting procedure is so much easier than what i would have thought of.

on another note, i absolutely love galvanized by ralph lauren. just enough black, just enough brown.

RC&KD said...

I love your ottoman! I made one using your how to. Pics and stuff here if you want to see

http://rcandkd.blogspot.com/2009/08/house-fun.html

Thanks for the great idea!

Vanessa said...

Love your style! I found your blog through the Nester's. You have given me great inspiration! Love the ottoman- old and new!

Marilyn Elizabeth said...

Thank you for the post! My boyfriend actually found it and we got the motivation to create one of our own!

Photos are in the post below!

http://marilyn-elizabeth.blogspot.com/2009/09/finally-finished-product.html

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kd said...

This is awesome. I am so going to do this in June (when my Mom comes up to help). Thank you so much. I found your blog through a friends blog and LOVE it. Very creative and inspiring!

rebecca said...

Absolutely amazing!! Cant wait to get started on my own DIY Ottomon. Thank you for sharing this real easy DIY - Simply love it!!! WOW

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Amanda @ Bits and Pieces said...

I'm curious how you do the button tufting. Does the button kit from Joann's come with more instructions? I'm having trouble envisioning how the needle/thread/button is set-up and which direction you go through... and how it becomes secure. I'd love to do this on a DIY headboard that I have plans to make. If you could e-mail bits.and.pieces@hotmail.com to let me know, that would be great! I would so appreciate it.

Thanks,
Amanda

YummyJack said...

I've been so inspired by this post for about 2 months now..my difficult part is finding the right table..ugh, some people in this area really think $50 is a reasonable price for a janky ol' table..but, anyway, I wanted to tell you how insanely great I think this project turned out..and how sorry I am that you didn't end up getting your 'Restoration Hardware' version..I'm sad also because the store here had their final warehouse sale @ some point last year..and I missed it :(

Gayle said...

Thanks for the inspiration!! I found an almost identical table for $12 at The Salvation Army...I couldn't believe it!! I dropped about $70 on supplies and fabric....(it would have been a lot more but JoAnn Fabrics has some sweet coupons!!). I'm at the batting stage and fingers crossed I'm doing this right! I wanted to take the legs off too but no such luck. Either way, it's fun and I can always start over. Thank you!!

Melanie said...

I am SO glad you posted this! I have my OWN coffee table that I have decided to make into an ottoman table. The top is a little messed up - but otherwise a great table. This shows me HOW to do it and I'll be doing just that in the next couple of months!

I took on tiling my kitchen table 6 months ago and love it. I am always looking for ways to make my house more attractive on a tight budget! Thanks for sharing.

Rose :: FineCraftGuild.com said...

wow. that's all I can say.

our readers would love to be able to find THIS tutorial!!

do get yourself a link back to this article. this is where:
http://www.finecraftguild.com/diy-tutorial-linky-party-4/

rose

p.s. i know, i know, it is FABO already. However.... consider lowering the feet of your ottoman a little bit. this would make it look more like the Restauration Hardware version. What do you think?

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Elizabeth Humber said...

Hello, Love the ottoman. Question: what is the name of the paint color in that room, if you don't mind sharing? Thanks!

Heather said...

Wow!! So impressed! I have been looking for the perfect coffee table/ottoman for my living room and cannot find one for the right price!! I am definitely going to try this. Thanks for the step-by-step!!

Karina said...

I am about to start this project tomorrow. Sadly couldn't find any RL paints around my area but found a good Valspar color Fired Earth! So excited! Thanks for this awesome idea.

The Hershberger's said...

I'm also curious how you do the button tufting thing. Do you need a really long sewing needle? I just bought my coffee table and I am gathering all my goods! If you have any tips for the tufting (and the upholstery nails) I would really appreciate it! Your blog is incredible, you have inspired me for months!
Natalie
nkh124@yahoo.com

Kattymac said...

Great Project. I am thinking of doing a similar thing to make a padded bench for near the front door. When you applied the two pieces of foam side by side with spray adhesive, do you find that they stay in place? Or do they shift around? I am concerned that if we sit on our bench many times, the crease between the foam pieces will spread. Any tips? Thanks.

Brandi said...

amazing! I love it. This looks so good.

OC Garden Jen said...

Here's a post to my version. I didn't do the upholstery buttons, although I did make them and drill the holes, because my needles weren't long enough, but I used gimp to make a pattern and then threw the buttons on with hot glue/not quite the same effect, but I can always go back and add them when I get a long enough needle and some patience.

http://ocgardenjen.blogspot.com/2011/09/trash-to-treasure-my-new-family-size.html

Blooming Mommy said...

I LOVE THIS!!! thanks for sharing! I have a table just like this that Im going to do! YAY! Thanks for the tutorial! :)

Joy Williams said...

I have that exact same coffee table and have been wondering what in the world to do with it! Thanks for the idea!

Robbie said...

Thanks for the great idea. My wife and I had been shopping around for a large ottoman for awhile now and just didn't want to pay the prices we were seeing. We found an old coffee table for ~$30 and followed your steps to create an ottoman that we now love. I think we spent ~$150 for everything, so we saved at least a few hundre dollars. Should we split the savings with you? Ha ha... Thanks.

Lynn said...

Thanks so much...I made one like the west elm essex but used your tutorial for help. Trying to figure out how to send you a pic but just wanted to say thanks!

Lynn said...

http://pinterest.com/pin/19421842112790214/
here is a link to the one I made, thanks for the help

Ally said...

I Love it!! OK, but I must ask, have you buttons stayed put? The reason I ask is because my mom, grandma and I made something similar to your beautiful ottoman except my dad just build a square box out of plywood for the base. My mom and grandma have tried various types of quilters thread/wire (you name it, they have probably tried it) to keep those pesky buttons on! Could you recommend something to keep them in place? Thanks!!!!

Shavonda said...

It's been 3 years and this project is still grabbing attention! I know it sure got mine. I'm going start stalking craigslist right now for the perfect ottoman. Thank you for the inspiration!

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