DIY Upholstered Storage Ottoman

How to Build an Upholstered Storage Ottoman

How to build an upholstered storage ottoman

I have wanted an upholstered storage ottoman for a very long time. I was wondering if I could make a DIY upholstered storage ottoman. Several months [update: now years] ago, I was flipping through an issue of Fresh Home Magazine [very sad update: this magazine is no longer being published] and saw the plans for this ottoman.

Upholstered Storage Ottoman The plans seemed pretty simple so I tore out the article and filed it away in my “Book of Ideas/ Dreams” to be completed some other time. Recently, my husband has started to develop some woodworking skills and we’ve acquired a few basic tools, so I thought, “Hey, we can do this!”

We started by taking measurements that would work well with our existing sofa. It has a chaise on one end of it, and I like to refer to it as our “Chofa”. I needed something just the right height for feet with room to walk around and get in and out of the Chofa. After my husband had worked up some plans (good thing he’s good with math and a pencil – not me!), I was on the hunt for the perfect fabric. I knew I wanted something super durable and kid friendly, so I settled on checking out outdoor fabrics. After many trips to Joann Fabrics and some other local fabric stores, I found myself on They have a TON of stuff on there, and it easily gets overwhelming. I found this Richloom Jubilee Outdoor fabric for only $9 a yard!! [Update: this fabric is no longer available but they still have lots of great floral outdoor fabric options]

Richloom Jubilee outdoor fabric

I was super nervous to order fabric online, but I went for it! In a couple days, it had arrived.

Meanwhile, my husband was hard at work building the box.

Build a Storage Ottoman
He decided to work with Oak (a very hardwood) plywood because we knew we needed something that could withstand kids jumping all over it and slamming the top down repeatedly. Pretty soon, he had it fully assembled with these really cool barrel hinges that are completely hidden! (You can find them on Amazon Universal BH104 Soss Invisible Barrel Hinge)

Storage Ottoman Hinges

Then he attached the chain so the top doesn’t fall backwards every time you open it.

Storage Ottoman Build
Then it was my turn! I managed to attach a layer of batting (available at any fabric store) with my puny staple gun, but then called in the Big Guns (my Mom) to help with the fabric. I wasn’t quite sure how to join the fabric on one of the sides. I knew there would have to be a seam, but wasn’t sure if I had to use the sewing machine, or if there was a secret way. Turns out, there’s a secret way! Fold the fabric edge over a very thin piece of cardboard (we used a shoebox), wrap it with tacks on the inside, poking out, and hammer it to the ottoman! See?

How to Upholster a Storage Ottoman



All that’s left is to finish up stapling the fabric along the inside and underneath.


I bought some furniture legs at Home Depot, painted them the same color as our walls, using leftover paint…

Feet for the Ottoman

My husband screwed them in… and Voila! Simplest project ever! Here’s our cat checking it out [sad update: Mac is no longer with us] –

DIY Storage Ottoman

Here’s the finished product in its home –

DIY Storage Ottoman

We love it! The fabric is awesome, I have a TON left over, and it really adds fun color to our room. For the next one, we’ve learned that you should route the edge of the top with a roundover bit so you don’t get such a harsh lip. It’s a little hard on the calves when you put your feet up for awhile. I’ll be posting the update to this ottoman soon.

Have you done any projects life this? Any tips you picked up while you were working? Any fun blooper stories or accidents with the staple gun??

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