Adding Tufted Upholstery to an Old Coffee Table

3 Materials
4 Hours

Adding a tufted top and a new paint job to an old coffee table. I’ve been working on the refresh of my living room for awhile now. It started when I decided I hated my sofa and was ready for a new one! That worked out perfect because I really needed my old sofa to complete my seating area out in my garage. Following my old sofa to the garage was my coffee table and one of my end tables too! That left my living room pretty barren: the perfect time to do a makeover!Several years ago I scored a couch, coffee table and chair set at a garage sale for $50. I painted them out and they sat on my deck for a couple of years but painted wood outside in Minnesota is a losing battle. (I also hate how outdoor cushions are permanently damp and gross.) In other words: I didn’t want them out on my deck anymore because I never used them!

So the chair and sofa followed my living room sofa to the garage to complete my big sitting area out there. And the coffee table that was with them came into my living room from the deck.As you can see three years outside in Minnesota left this coffee table needing work. First thing I needed to do though was take its height down by three inches to accommodate the thick tufted top I planned to add.

Then I scraped what I could of the old paint off of the bottom, hitting it with my sander too to be sure I got it all. Then I reapplied the same color I had painted it before. (Interestingly this coffee table baking outside in the summer sun for two years in a row made the paint that was on it almost like primer.)The paint I used is called Sooty Lashes by Valspar and I totally LOVE it. Its the color I painted out my entire master bedroom suite.

I had a serious conundrum deciding on the fabric. I knew I would be putting my feet on it (that’s just a given) and I also knew that I would have my shoes on from time to time not to mention spilled drinks happen etc… I needed a fabric that would be tough enough to live with yours truly.So, using drop cloth (like I wanted to) felt like it was out of the question so I headed to Amazon and looked at table cloths and shower curtains.I had several issues I was running into with my decision.

I wanted gray but I already have the giant elephant of gray in the room of my sofa. I love the new Moroccan designs that they’re doing such as the one on my sofa pillows and my lamp shade but I couldn’t just keep doing that, matchy matchy is not my thing.I went soft and neutral with my sofa table’s new skirt which is an ivory and off white stripe. On the wall is my Grandmother’s lovely quilt which is also pretty toned down.SO *drum roll* I WENT BOLDI purchased this lovely paisley tablecloth knowing full well that if it was too much I could always use it as an actual tablecloth. But it felt right and I really thought it would look great tufted!

I got to pull out my Grandma’s button stash again which, for some reason, just makes me happy like a little kid. I decided eight tufts would be the ticket so I chose eight of the biggest white buttons.I drilled holes in the top measuring carefully so they were evenly spaced.When my old sleep number bed died years ago there was miles of batting leftover that I stashed because batting and foam is really expensive! (Unfortunately this is winter and I stashed it in a little shed which is literally in the middle of my horse pasture so it would have been easier to get it using snow shoes… but I managed it!)

I used two layers here because I wanted it REALLY cushy with deep tufts. The top layer of batting I cut a large hole out where each tuft would be so my buttons would have something to nestle into.Finally it was time to add the fabric!

Using a long upholstery needle, I threaded the button and then pushed the needle down through the fabric and tufting and into the hole I had drilled. Then I pulled it all tight from underneath the table, sinking the button as deep as I could and then, to secure it, I stapled the thread to the underside of the table.

With all of the tufts done I flipped the table over and got to stretching and stapling the fabric down. The weight of the table really helped me get everything nice and tight! I put my first staples in the center on either side and carefully worked my way out to each corner.

I cut the excess fabric away and secured all of it with LOTS of staples. Flipping the table over I was really happy with how it turned out and it is such a comfy seat too.

If I push the coffee table into the L of the couch it literally creates a bed! All in, I’m quite happy with how it turned out!

NOTE: Yes I’m aware I’m in need of a big new rug for my living room – the one I’m using here is almost tragic. I am still working on it I promise!

Also, YES I have plans for a large tray to keep on the coffee table for setting drinks too.

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Lisa Fauerbach
    on Mar 25, 2020

    Love, love, love!!!💕

  • Apa4384968
    8 days ago

    I'm confused about securing the buttons also. I understand you used thread and staples. Did you sew the buttons onto the fabric then push it down and secure with staples from underneath?

  • Rhonda Marxen
    6 days ago

    Just curious...why didn't you wrap the buttons to match the fabric you used? I think this is a great way to upgrade a coffee table, I just think it would add more to the table and make it look a bit more finished. Great job otherwise!!!

    • GrandmasHouseDIY
      6 days ago

      Thanks Rhonda! I definitely thought about it but just let them be because they remind of my Grandma :)

Join the conversation

4 of 24 comments
  • Beth
    6 days ago

    Great idea! 😊 And it turned out beautifully!

  • Lau30852322
    2 days ago

    GrandmasHousediy, like Cindy says GIRL POWER. YOU'VE GOT IT. For those saying looks like a bench - go to dollar store buy cheap serving tray and put on "bench" =coffee table when needed. I'm an "old" hippie who still loves Paisley and I'm a thin hippie with no meat on my bones so your stuffed coffee table looks pretty comfy to me!! I feel my feet sinking in next to yours while getting my iced tea from the tray. AAAHHHH

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