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How to Transform an IKEA Table into a DIY Upholstered Ottoman

Join me as I take you through the step-by-step process of how I turned a simple IKEA table into a luxurious upholstered ottoman that’s now the centerpiece of my living room.

Tools & Supplies

Step 1: Prepare the Base

The first step in this transformation was to remove the table legs. I also sanded down the legs because I initially planned to stain the base. However, I changed my mind after considering the fabric’s color scheme. So sanding wasn’t necessary in my case, but it’s still an option to consider if you prefer a stained versus painted base.

Step 2: Determine Ottoman Height and Cut Legs

Deciding on the ottoman’s height was crucial for accurate measurements. I wanted my ottoman to be a total of 22 inches tall. Taking into account the tabletop, foam, and batting I cut my legs at 18 inches. It’s important to remember to cut the bottom of the legs and ensure the holes for the leg fasteners remain intact.

Cutting table legs with miter saw
Cut table legs

Step 3: Prepare the Table Top

I used spray adhesive to attach the foam to the top of the table. Since I couldn’t find foam wide enough to cover the entire top, I had to cut a foam pad into three pieces to ensure full coverage.

Tip: If you’re on a budget, consider purchasing foam from camping supply stores as an affordable alternative to pricier fabric store options.

Adding Foam Padding to Table Top
Foam padding on table top

Step 4: Adding Batting

To achieve a rounded and inviting appearance, I added two layers of batting over the foam. Adding batting not only conceals any unevenness in the foam but also enhances the ottoman’s overall comfort and aesthetic.

Adding batting to table top

Step 5: Upholster with Fabric

Ensuring the fabric was evenly spread across the ottoman’s top, I flipped the tabletop over and used a staple gun to staple the fabric and batting to the lip on the bottom of the tabletop.

It’s best to start stapling from the middle of one side and then staple the middle of the opposite side. Save the corners for last. Also, it is important to ensure the fabric is taut, but not overly tight to avoid distorting the ottoman’s shape.

Fabric on an upholstered otoman

Step 6: Tackle the Corners

Creating neat corners is an art in upholstery. I carefully tucked the fabric to form a crease that aligned with the edge of the tabletop. Then I stapled the fabric to the tabletop. Extra staples were added, and excess fabric was trimmed to make room for the table legs to be reinstalled.

stapling the bottom of upholstered ottoman
stapling the bottom of upholstered ottoman

Step 7: Conceal Staples with Trim

To give the ottoman a polished look, I added a piece of painted trim to cover the staples along each side. Using a nail gun, I securely attached the trim to the lip of the ottoman. This step not only hid the staples but also added a touch of elegance to the final piece.

The Final Results

And here are the BEFORE and AFTER pictures of my IKEA table hack. What do you think? I’m in love with the results.

woman and old ikea table
Gray plaid upholstered ottoman


What is the best fabric for an upholstered ottoman?

When it comes to choosing the perfect fabric for upholstering your ottoman, the world of possibilities is as vast as your imagination! Friendly advice? Opt for a fabric that’s not only pleasing to the eye but also durable enough to withstand everyday life’s little adventures.

First up, durability is your wingman. Look for fabrics with a high rub count (that’s the fancy term for how well a fabric stands up to friction). If pets or kids are part of your life, lean towards fabrics with tight weaves or blends, as they tend to be more resilient against enthusiastic paws or sticky fingers. A

Another consideration for durability is your color choice. Of course, we all know darker colors hide more spills and stains. However, it’s also important to think about the existing color palette and overall vibe in the room – do you want your ottoman to blend harmoniously or pop as a focal point?

So, my DIY-loving friend, as you embark on the adventure of choosing the best fabric for your upholstered ottoman, remember to keep durability and design in mind. Happy fabric hunting!

Gray plaid upholstered ottoman

What type of foam padding is best for an upholstered ottoman?

When it comes to upholstery, choosing the right foam padding can make a significant difference in both comfort and longevity. High-density foam stands out as one of the best options for upholstery projects, thanks to its remarkable sturdiness and ability to retain its shape over time. This type of foam is renowned for its exceptional durability, making it an ideal choice for furniture that experiences frequent use, such as sofas, chairs, and OTTOMANS. Its resilience ensures that the furniture maintains its original form and doesn’t sag or lose its supportive qualities even after prolonged periods of time.

Among the various places for purchasing high-density foam, the most budget-friendly options are usually camping supplies stores. They commonly stock foam pads designed for camping mattresses, which require the same qualities of durability and shape retention that are sought after in upholstery. So don’t forget to check out this option when you’re looking for foam for your upholstered ottoman project.

Gray plaid upholstered ottoman

How to use an ottoman as a coffee table?

Ready to take your ottoman to a new level of versatility? Let’s talk about turning that comfy piece into a friendly and functional coffee table that’s not just for cups but for conversations and coziness too!

First things first, embrace the power of trays. Placing a stylish tray on your ottoman instantly transforms it into a coffee table with a practical twist. The tray not only adds stability to your setup but also offers a designated spot for your coffee mugs, books, or even a mini succulent garden. Plus, it’s a fabulous way to experiment with decor – arranging candles, small vases, or quirky figurines on the tray brings a touch of your personality to the center of your living space.

Now, let’s get cozy. Since an ottoman is naturally inviting, embrace the casual vibe by adding soft textiles. Placing a throw blanket over the ottoman coffee table not only adds a layer of texture but also serves as an invitation to snuggle up with your favorite book or a warm cup of cocoa. Scatter a few cushions around for that extra plush factor, making it a place where friends and family can gather for heart-to-heart chats or even a board game night.

Upholstered Ottoman Gray plaid

And now you are ready to transform an old IKEA table into your own custom DIY upholstered ottoman.


Make It Easy – is the perfect DIY guide for busy women like you. All the projects can be done with minimal supplies in less than an hour.

Beginners DIY Tool Guide – will teach you about the tools you’ll need to get started on your DIY journey.

Paint Your Space Guide – if you’re overwhelmed by all the paint choices at the home improvement stores? Then this guide is for you.

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