Inspired by West Elm: Deep Buttoned Ottoman
When I saw a gorgeous ottoman from West Elm, I knew that I had to have one! A great way to DIY is to turn something unused and unloved into an item that you cherish. By using an old bookshelf to make an ottoman, you get a functional piece that can not only store books but also doubles as an additional seat. The curtain rod finial feet are a clever and inexpensive way to add pretty detail to your ottoman.
The bookshelf I used is 26” x 33”, but you will need to adjust the material quantities according to your shelf’s dimensions.
You Will Need:
An old bookshelf (for a sturdy ottoman, it’s best to use a bookshelf made out of solid wood)
5/8 inch thick chipboard, cut to size (this is for the ottoman lid)
3 inch-thick medium density foam, cut to size
1-inch coverable buttons (we used 18)
Wadding to cover the top and sides of the ottoman
Fabric of your choice (we used about 78” linen)
Thin cotton lining (we used 55”)
4x curtain rod finials to use as feet. You can use regular wooden ball finials or go for more decorative chaucer finials.
4x 2”x2” wooden corner blocks to support the feet
Wooden screws, filler, and touch-up paint.
2x 3” brass hinges
You will also need:
Staple gun and staples
Extra long upholstery needle
Electric drill with a variety of wood drill bits
1” hole saw bit
Create a grid and carefully measure it out on both the foam and the chipboard lid. We used a grid of 4 buttons over the length of the lid, and 3 buttons across.
Use 1/8” drill bit to drill holes into the chipboard lid.
Next, use the hole saw bit to drill holes into the foam carefully.
Place the foam onto the chipboard, making sure that the holes line up. Then cover the foam with the wadding and lay over the fabric, taking care that the centre of the fabric is in the centre of the foam.
Now you’re ready to start with the buttons!*
Cover the buttons with your chosen fabric – a button covering tool makes this really easy. The lid of a spray paint canister works perfectly as a template!
*Use pre-made buttons if you want to save time.
Thread 20” of upholstery thread through each button, and then use your extra long needle to thread the button through the fabric, wadding, foam and lid.
Start from the central button and work your way outward, finishing with the buttons on the edges.
Use a screwdriver to get a better grip on the thread at the back, and pull until you are happy with the depth of the button at the front. Then apply staples in a zig-zag way to secure the thread. Repeat until you have secured all the buttons.
First fix the wadding and then proceed to secure the fabric at the back of the lid. Make sure that you tuck the pleats as you go!
Take special with the pleats around the corners to ensure that they are tight and even.
Cover the sides of the base with a layer of wadding and fabric, and use your staple gun to secure it. Be sure to tuck the edges in on the top edge to finish it neatly.
For a professional touch, add a layer of lining to inside of the lid and the bottom as well! See our ottoman’s colorful hidden storage here.
Then secure the lid to the base with the hinges.
To attach the legs, first add the support blocks on the inside of the base. Then drill holes big enough to take the dowel that’s attached to the finial.
Add a drop of wood glue to the hole before you push in the finial. Once it has dried you're all done!
The West Elm ottoman that inspired the project.
Our homemade version!
I must say I prefer our version.
The secret storage is one of my favourite features! Head to the blog to see the inside!
Enjoyed the project?
- An old bookshelf
- 5/8 inch thick chipboard
- 18 1-inch coverable buttons
- Upholstery thread
- 78” Fabric of your choice
- Cotton lining
- 4x curtain rod finials
- 4x 2”x2” wooden corner blocks
- 2x 3” brass hinges
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
Join the conversation
Sandra Petrini on Jul 14, 2020
Amazing job!! I’ve been sewing since I was 7 years old (I’m considered a senior now) . I’ve recovered all kinds of furniture but have not made a piece look as good as your ottoman. Kudos to you!!
Blanche Rutherford on Jul 16, 2020
Beautiful job. I am going to try and make an ottoman using your guidelines. i agree that it would have been nice to see the inside of the ottoman
What was the cost?
The lid/top does open correct? Any way we could see a pic with it open?
If the storage aspect was the favorite part of the ottoman, why is there no picture of the inside? Looks nice though.