Inspired by West Elm: Deep Buttoned Ottoman

10 Materials
1 Day

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.icon

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)

Upholstery thread

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

Step 1:

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.

Step 2:

Use 1/8” drill bit to drill holes into the chipboard lid.

Step 3:

Next, use the hole saw bit to drill holes into the foam carefully.

Step 4:

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.

Step 5:

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.

Step 6:

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.  

Step 7:

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.

Step 8:

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.

Step 9:

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.

Step 10:

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 versionicon .

The secret storage is one of my favourite features! Head to the blog to see the inside!icon

Suggested materials:
  • An old bookshelf
  • 5/8 inch thick chipboard
  • 18 1-inch coverable buttons
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  • Blanche Rutherford 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

  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Jun 16, 2023

    Just AWESOME! Who knew? What a stunning makeover. You're very creative. Thanks for posting.