DIY: Custom Storage Ottomans

Sometimes it just kills me that I can't find decor that fits my current room style that fits my budget - all of them range from the expensive to the nearly ridiculous price range. Most of the time, these pieces can be DIY-ed but admit it, sometimes we don't have the time or skill to make such things. Me, I'm just lazy (plus my fiance forbids me to use the table saw for fear I might cut my hand off). Anyway, I was looking around for decorative ottomans that would store some of my junk while still being stylish. Most pieces that I saw where in the $100+ price range. So I decided to DIY some using foldable ottomans I asked from my dad (since he was gonna throw it out anyway - can you believe that?!). This tutorial will show you how to transform an existing foldable storage ottoman into something more fancy-looking and high end. Read on for the full how-to. 


 Let's start with the top cover. See that there? That's how it looks like at first.

Start by prying off the black part - in most cases, it's attached by a nail gun, so expect quite a few nails. Once detached, you may want to hammer down and flatten the nails or just pry them out altogether. 

Cover with your fabric of choice, stapling it down. I just eyeballed the size, actually. Staple and fold the corners tight. See that hole in the middle? That's where you'll poke your needle to attach your fabric-covered button.

Optional step: Make some fabric-covered buttons and attach them with a large needle (for a tufted look). Make sure to attach it securely, pulling tightly on the thread (without breaking it of course) each time. 

After upholstering it, attach the black part again using a nail gun - or drill it down and attach it with a screw (like what I did here, because I was lazy. Haha! But after thinking for a while, I deduced this to be the better option so switching out the fabric will be easier than having to pry the whole thing off again, right?)

Now on to the part which requires more work - first, try and pry the fabric lining off your ottoman. Don't take the whole thing off, you just want to expose the staples from the original ottoman covering. Just pull a bit and it will come off like in the photo above.  

Next, measure how much fabric you're going to use (ottoman width + depth + about 2-3 inches excess) x (ottoman height + 4 inches excess). Hem the bottom part of the fabric (in this photo, the bottom part is the white strip).  

Wrap it around the ottoman (hemmed edge parallel to the bottom part of the ottoman) and pin. Remove it from the ottoman, adjusting the pins and then checking the snugness by putting it on again on the ottoman. Fold the ottoman before inserting your fabric sleeve - it will make your life easier. :D 

You may want to adjust the pins bit by bit until you get the desired snugness - this took me a couple of tries. As you can see in this photo, the hem perfectly matches the bottom line of the ottoman and the sleeve is pinned tightly. Take the fabric sleeve off the ottoman and sew the pinned side together - you may want to draw a line guide before doing so to ensure straightness.

Check to see if it fits, if it is then you're in luck! Haha. If not, just go over it again taking it in a little bit each time. As always, it's best to fit it on the ottoman each time. 

Cut off the excess fabric, and iron the seam like pictured above.

Now let's attach the top part - fold the fabric once like so.

Then fold it again, folding it inside the ottoman (much like wrapping a gift or folding a hem - haha, what can I compare it to?). Staple it down. I recommend you doing this one side at a time, pulling the fabric tight (but ensuring the hem still lines up with the bottom part of the ottoman) and stapling every few inches. 

After all that, it would look like this. The last step actually is to just take your glue gun and glue the lining down to cover the staples you've made. 

Now you are done! This project didn't take me long to do - about 3 hours for two ottomans, and that's with a ton of breaks. Glam it up more with a tassel as pictured above or something dangling. I used my favorite necklace (pictured below) - gives me easy access and storage to my favorite necklace while glamorizing the ottoman. 

What home DIY have you done in the past few weeks? Talk to me in the comments box below and I hope you have a swell month ahead of you. :) 
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  1. This really looks like something you could buy at a furniture store!

    1. Glad it looks that way. I was beginning to doubt myself. Haha! Thanks Lucy! :)

  2. This is so clever! I love the fabric you chose!
    Selene @ Restoration Beauty

  3. omg! fantastic idea! I love it!

  4. What!! Holy cow - I agree with Lucy. This looks like something you could buy at a store. They look amazing!

    1. Again, I'm glad my attempt at making it look that way was successful. Thanks Rachel! :)

  5. I love that blue fabric! Where did you find it?

    1. Actually, I found it at a discount fabric store for about $1.50/yard. :)

  6. Patti's ParaphernaliaJune 1, 2013 at 12:35 AM

    The ottomans are gorgeous! I love the the necklace that you put on the ottoman and was wondering if you made it. If you did, do you have a DIY for it???

    I just found your blog and I'm pinning a lot of your creations! Thank you for sharing your creativity with us!

    1. Patti's ParaphernaliaJune 1, 2013 at 12:38 AM

      LOL...where &#39 is, there is supposed to be an didn't preview like that! Have a great day!!!

    2. Unfortunately I don't have a DIY for that necklace cause I bought it a few years back. I figure it's easy to do though and might make a tutorial for it eventually. :) Thanks for pinning Patti! I appreciate it. :3

  7. When I saw the screws I thought cool I can change fabric. Great Idea


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