FREE Ottoman Re-upholstery Before and After

4 Materials
7 Hours

Easy recovering project to update even the ugliest piece of furniture.

This is my "after" photo of my ottoman. It wasn't this pretty to begin with but with a few tools in your garage and a couple yards of fabric, you can transform the ugliest piece of furniture and turn it into a custom beauty on budget.

My friend called me and said she had a free ottoman she needed to get rid of to make room for her new ottoman that was being delivered that afternoon. "Free?! I'll be right over!" I never pass up free items! I had never seen it before and as I loaded into my car I wondered if it was worth fixing...One of the legs fell off, the top had been recovered because the pleather underneath was shredding to pieces, and the frame under the top cushion was broken which made it sag, big time!

First things first...Remove the fabric. I am not a "professional" upholsterer, I'm self taught. I got into reupholstering furniture because we had inherited a 40 year + rocker chair from my husband's grandmother after she passed. It hadn't been recovered since the 80's and was covered in a purplish-maroon tweed fabric that was musty and dusty. Upholsters are hard to find in my area and the two I came across, one was busy and not taking any projects and the other was 9 months out and wanted $900 plus 10 yards of fabric - GASP! I took on the project myself and it turned out beautiful. I gained a love for taking things apart and piecing it back together. Anyway, enough of my side story...lets get back to this FREE ottoman.

All you need, I've found, to reupholster is a flat head screwdriver, needle-nose pliers, safety glasses, and a heavy duty staple gun.

This particular ottoman had drawers so I started to disassemble. Once the drawers were off I was able to flip it on its top (upside down) and unscrew the top off.

Once I got the top off I was able to see that the center support bar was cracked in half, thus making it sag. I added some extra support and put a 1x2 piece of wood I had in the garage down the center.

Next, once its all taken apart, you take your flat head screw driver and start pulling up the staples holding the fabric. The staples tend to snap so that's when you get your needle-nose pliers and just pull them out. You can also use your pliers to get between the staples and just rip up on the fabric.

Here is an example of what I mean using the pliers to pull up between the staples.

I wish I would have gotten more process photos of how to recover it but I was so focused on finishing that I forgot to document! My apologizes!

Once you get all the old fabric off, you simply start piecing it back together. I'm pretty sure I did the top first. Roll out your fabric and start stapling it around and underneath. Fold your corners and staple them down. You will need to cut your fabric to fit small pieces if necessary. All I used to put the fabric on was heavy duty staples, no sewing and no fabric glue. It really is easy. The only thing to remember when recovering something is to work backwards - the first thing you remove off the furniture will be the last thing you replace. Start with the last area you took off and layer from there. For example, if your chair has a skirt, that is the first thing you will remove but the last thing you replace.

Before and after

This project took me 1.5 hour to disassemble it and remove the fabric and staples. Probably another 6 hours to fix the support, wrap foam on the top, and recover with fabric. I used about 3 yards of fabric and go it on clearance at Joann's. The whole project cost me about $20. If you have an old ottoman that could use a makeover, give it a try! You are capable of more than you think. A couple yards of fabric is a whole lot cheaper than a brand new ottoman and you can customize it with fabric to fit your existing furniture and style. Let me know if you give it a try. Good luck!

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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Sandy Grant
    on Sep 8, 2019

    I want to know what your friend said when she saw it. Was she sorry she got rid of it? Absolutely beautiful!

    • Rose Broadway
      on Sep 23, 2019

      You were the winner and she was the loser, but that was so nice that she gave it to you!!

  • Deb
    on Sep 9, 2020

    You did a beautiful job! Are the drawers still functional?

Join the conversation

2 of 74 comments
  • Tutens
    on Sep 9, 2020

    Looks great. I love the way it turned out.

  • Shirley Barnett
    on Sep 9, 2020

    Very beautiful job. I have done a few simple upholstery jobs in my time but nothing like this and I know it is a lot of work. It does look great with your two chairs and the fabric is a perfect fit.

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