Upholstered Storage Ottoman

6 Materials
6 Hours

Wherever I go, my kids follow. Wherever my kids go, junk follows. That junk gets thrown on our dining table and can stack up for days. And since I needed a place near our dining table to stash away said junk, I DIY’ed a cool upholstered storage ottoman to hide the mess! Check out the tutorial so you can build one for yourself!

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Supplies and Cost

Length of time for project: Weekend project

Cost:$50-65 depending on what you already have on hand (I used reclaimed wood)

What you’ll need:

  • 1 x 12″ x 12′ board- ~$10 (you could play with your length just slightly and get all pieces from a 10′ board)
  • 2 x 2 x 12′ board- ~$5
  • 1/2″ plywood for bottom of box and lid (or scrap boards like I did if you’d rather)- ~$15
  • Twin sized foam mattress topper– Walmart
  • Drop cloth fabric and dritz button kit if doing diamond tufts- ~$12 for fabric and $4 for button kit
  • Hinges- I used soft close cabinet hinges x 2…but there may be better options out there $10
What I learned: Hinges are hard and are not my friend. Because of this, my ottoman top is just ever so slightly off center. You might consider trying a piano hinge instead of cabinet hinges.

Step 1: Building the Box

Let’s get started! First thing I did is make the box that will be the body of the storage ottoman. I used used reclaimed wood but you could easily do the same thing with 1 x 12 boards. This wood was cut into two long pieces and two short side pieces to create a rectangle box.

The sides were attached to the long pieces using wood glue and pocket holes. You can play with your dimensions here to match whatever size room you have, but my dimensions are 44″: Length of long boards and 20″: Length of side boards. I then sanded the outside of the box and stained it with Varathane Dark Walnut.

Step 2: Building the base

Once the box was created I made the bottom base and legs using 2 x 2 boards. The legs were cut to a height of 3″. I again cut two long pieces (41″ each) and two short pieces (19.5″ each) to fit between the legs and attached them with wood glue and pocket holes. I also added one middle support. This box will likely be holding a lot and I don’t want the bottom to bow. Once the base was assembled I stained it black.

The base was attached to the bottom of the box using 3 inch wood screws. Because the base is made from 2 x 2″ wood and the box is made from 1 inch wood, there is a bit of a lip created on the inside of the box. This is intentional as you want a place to attach the bottom of your box.

I used some leftover MDF as the bottom of my box but a piece of plywood or scrap wood would also be a good option. The MDF piece was placed inside the box and attached to the bottom base with screws on all sides and also through the middle support.

Step 3: Building/Installing the lid
Now that the box is complete, it is time to start working on the upholstered top. I think a piece of plywood would be perfect for this. It would need to be at least a half inch thick if you want it to support any weight. I, however, did not have any plywood on hand and didn’t want to buy any specifically for this project. So I used 2 scrap 1 inch wood boards that I cut to size. The scrap boards were attached to each other using wood glue and pocket holes. I also added a couple of horizontal braces just to be sure that it stayed strong.

The top was attached to the side of the box with cabinet hinges. That said, hinges and I are not friends. I just can’t seem to figure out how to get them to work just right. I thought I had the calculations right, but once I attached my hinges, the top shifted forward a bit so it’s not exactly centered on top of the box. It’s not super noticeable but stuff like that annoys me. You might want to play with different hinges or try a piano hinge and see if you have better luck.

Step 4: Upholstering the top

Lastly, I upholstered the top of my ottoman. Now you have lots of options here. You can leave it as wood and stain it to match, or do something fun like stenciling the top, or maybe do a simple upholstery with foam and fabric and forget the tufting all together. If you want to do the diamond tufts like I did here, check out my  diamond tufted headboard for more info. Honestly, that’s a tutorial within itself. I used drop cloth fabric here.

One thing I will add here, is that I changed the process a little bit of how I secured the tufts. Rather than drilling holes in the wood and attaching the buttons using an upholstery needle and thread (looks good but very tedious), I tried a hack I had seen where they used a screw and washer to tack down the tufts and then glued on the buttons. I must say, it worked like a charm and was SO much faster than the needle/thread method.

Final Upholstered Storage Ottoman

And here is the upholstered storage ottoman! It adds great style to our sunroom but also has a ton of storage so we can quickly hide our dining room mess when guests are coming by. I love it when messes can be quickly tucked away!

Final product!

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2 of 13 comments
  • Jill Krol
    Jill Krol
    on Jul 17, 2020

    I did this in my last house and it is really useful. You did a beautiful job!

  • Dawn
    on Sep 4, 2020

    Amazing job! I just love it!

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