Shortly after we moved into our home in 2006, I bought four small cube ottomans from Target to use in our family room. They were a faux black leather, not the best quality but something to tide us over until we could get something nicer. They looked similar to this:


After a couple of years, the faux leather wore out and they looked like this:


We replaced them with a larger higher quality ottoman, but I decided to repurpose two of the old ottomans and use them in my home office next to my desk. I gave them a quick makeover by reupholstering them in a taupe suede fabric.


Now they are looking kind of tattered again and I’m tired of the color, so it’s time to give them yet another makeover. Perfect timing since I’m in the middle of giving the whole room a new look!

My two matching ottomans have been sitting in the middle of my office in front of the desk, and that’s where I’ll keep them, but they needed some fresh new fabric.

When choosing fabric for a reupholstering project it’s important to address color, material and pattern.

For color, I wanted a print that was a pale aqua and white so it would bring some color to the middle of the room, but I didn’t want anything so bold that it would detract from the other visual elements that will be in the room.

For material, I wasn’t too picky because I know that these will only get minimal use so any decent quality home decor fabric would work.

For pattern, I felt a medium scale geometric pattern would work best. The size of the pattern was a big issue as a lot of fabric I found had a pattern that was too small of a scale to give the look I wanted.

After considering many different fabrics, I finally decided the best option was actually a curtain panel from Bed Bath & Beyond that had a pale aqua and white key pattern.


One 108” curtain panel was big enough for both of my ottomans.

I cut off the grommets along the top of the curtain and then cut the panel in half so I had two large rectangles of fabric, one for each ottoman.

I started by removing the old suede fabric from the ottomans so all I had was the foam.


I noticed each ottoman was about 17 inches square, but that the exact width varied a little from the top to the bottom of the ottoman. I knew I wanted the fabric to fit tightly so I came up with a way to create a cover that perfectly fit the ottoman.

I laid the rectangle of fabric centered on the ottoman with the backside facing up. Then I used pins and packing tape to temporarily attach the bottom of the fabric to the bottom of the ottoman with a nice tight fit. I then pulled each side taut and pinned it together to mark the edges.


Once I had all four sides pinned, I removed the tape and pins from the bottom of the fabric, and pulled the fabric off the ottoman.

I trimmed the extra fabric off each corner.


Then I ran the fabric through the sewing machine, sewing along the lines I had marked with the pins. At this point, I had a lot of wrinkles in the fabric so I ironed it.

I now had a nicely pressed fabric cover that I slipped over the top of the ottoman. It fit like a glove!


Then I stapled the bottom of the fabric to the underside of the ottoman with a heavy duty stapler (see ‘my tips for reupholstering furniture’ at the end of this post for more details on that process), and my ottoman was finished!


I repeated the same steps to reupholster the other ottoman, and now I have two new ottomans that will look great in my new office!


my tips for reupholstering furniture:

  • If the foam or padding on the piece of furniture is looking bad, then take the time to replace it. Deteriorating foam and padding can keep your piece of furniture from really looking and feeling new.
  • When choosing a fabric, consider the material it is made of. You don’t necessarily have to choose an upholstery fabric, but you do want to use a thick durable fabric that will be able to withstand the wear and tear the piece of furniture will get.
  • Don’t forget about the scale of the fabric pattern because it can have a big impact on how the final piece looks. You want to find a fabric with the right scale for the piece of furniture you’re reupholstering. If you’re reupholstering a small area, like a small seat cushion for instance, then a fabric with a large scale print will not really be able to be noticed in the limited area you have to work with. If you’re reupholstering a large piece of furniture and use a very small scaled pattern it might end up looking too busy. Take the time to match the pattern scale with your furniture scale.
  • If your fabric is thin or if the piece of furniture is going to get a lot of use, then line the foam padding with a piece of thin cotton fabric like muslin before applying your upholstery fabric.
  • I tend to make my stitches shorter when sewing fabric for a reupholstery project because the fabric may get pulled and stretched more than fabric would for other applications, like draperies for example. I like using small stitches to help withstand the strain on the fabric.
  • When stapling the fabric to the bottom of the piece of furniture, pull the fabric as tight as you can with your left hand while stapling with your right hand (do the opposite if you’re left handed).
  • Start stapling in the middle of each side and work your way outward… OTT-stapside
  • If you have feet that are in the way try to remove them first so the fabric fits under them. If you can’t easily remove them (like I couldn’t) then cut a notch around them and fold the fabric… OTT-stapfeet
  • Corners can be tricky. For this project, I chose to staple one side down really tight and then trim any extra fabric off the other side before folding it down into a nice neat corner on top like this…OTT-cornerfirst  OTT-cornerboth
  • If you make a mistake while stapling it’s easily fixed! Just use a flathead screwdriver and pliers to remove the staples and start over again.


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