5 Things I Learned From An Ottoman

You might say that our DIY ottoman was a learning process. Other people might call it names that involve swear words. Either way, here are 5 things I learned from building our ottoman.

  1. Read the instructions. Then re-read them again. Choosing to ignore the well-placed instructions on the back of my first can of stain (well, stain + poly to be precise) literally cost me $60, because I ended up having to start over. Yup, we built this ottoman TWICE. Lesson learned.
  2. DIY doesn’t always mean cheap. Of course, #1 factored in to this, but even without my little screw up, the total tally for this project would have been $200. Still cheaper than my OKL inspiration piece, but about the same price as the Target version.
  3.  Measure twice. Cut once. Particularly when it comes to cutting foam. We cut our foam slightly bigger than necessary. No problem in the wood-working world, but apparently a big issue for foam because it just crumples on itself when you try to shave off ¼ inch.
  4. Don’t sweat the small stuff. A slightly imperfect finish or a little slack in your fabric does not a crisis make. Furniture you buy from a store has imperfections, too – it’s just easier to overlook minor problems when you aren’t scrutinizing your own handiwork.
  5. Kicking it with an upholstered ottoman rocks. No elaboration necessary, but this picture will do.

Once we had our ottoman frame built for the second time (get the ottoman tutorial here), I gave it a quick coat of Minwax wood conditioner to prevent blotchiness. Then I applied two coats of Minwax’s Dark Walnut, which is the perfect, chocolate-y shade. I finished the frame off with a coat of Minwax’s Polycrylic water-based clear coat, just for a little extra protection.

Then it was time to upholster our PureBond plywood tabletop. We cut our foam to size, or as close as we could muster, and then added a layer of batting. Trimming excess fabric from the corners was the most important part, so the table top would sit flush on the legs. With the batting in place, I ironed my fabric, and laid it face-down on the ground. We centered the tabletop on the fabric, and then put a single staple in the middle of each side after pulling the fabric taut. Then we stood the tabletop upright to do a little tweaking as we added several staples along each side. I folded the corners around to give me a straight seam, which is always the trickiest part. Here’s the back view.

The last step was setting the tabletop on the ottoman frame and screwing through the slats into the tabletop to keep it secure. We just used two, and it’s rock solid.

Next up: figuring out what the heck to accessorize this massive surface with, other than a pair of feet.

In spite of all the mis-steps along the way, I’m totally elated by the result. The fabric rocks my world, and the deep, dark color of the walnut finish is exactly what I envisioned. And yes, there are definitely some imperfections – but I’m still super proud of our handiwork.

If you’re planning to DIY your own ottoman, here are a few tips you could use to keep the cost down:

  1. Find a second-hand coffee table at a thrift store and upholster the top – just make sure the top of the table is removable before you attempt this!
  2. Use white pine if you plan to paint the wood. We used select pine for a few extra bucks per board since we were going to stain it.
  3. Swap 3-inch foam for 2-inch foam – at Jo Ann’s, it was $10 cheaper per yard for the thinner foam.
  4. Try a super cute fabric from Premier Prints to upholster the top. Most of their prints are less than $15 a yard!

Happy DIYing!

P.S. Bonus points if you noticed that we are currently rocking bi-color curtains, neither of which is the pair of panels I recently snagged from Ikea, which are in desperate need of some alterations… hoping to knock those out this weekend!

Linking to Remodelaholic!

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4 Comments

Filed under DIY Tips, Projects, The Lottery House

4 responses to “5 Things I Learned From An Ottoman

  1. TuUyen

    Dre, your ottoman is gorgeous! To buy something like that at retail would’ve definitely cost more than $200. Love the fabric!! And I’m glad the stain worked this time.

  2. Glad you like it, little friend! Come over and put your feet up sometime. 🙂

  3. Mel

    That is fab. I adore the fabric you used.

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