How to Turn a Coffee Table Into an Ottoman

You most likely know by now that I am a trash picker. OK not a trash picker per say where I climb into dumpsters or anything but I will pull the car over if I see something outstanding on the side of the road.  Or at least something that looks like it has potential.  This was the perfect piece to demonstrate how to turn a coffee table into an ottoman.

Turn a Coffee Table into an Ottoman

I was on the way to work one morning and took a different route than normal ~ see what happens when you take the road less traveled?  And I spotted her on the sidewalk. So I got out in my suit and heels and put her in the trunk. I mean look at these legs! Straight out of the Pottery Barn catalog no? This table had me at the legs. There have been lots of coffee table turn ottoman projects around.

How to Turn a Coffee Table into an Ottoman

Tulip and Turnip originally gave me the idea to foam the sides of the table as well as the top. Genius, and it works.  Haley at Welcome to the Mouse House made an ottoman from the exact same coffee table. These are links to their original projects even though I have pinned them too.Since we spend a lot of time in our living room and our glass topped coffee table was less than comfy on the feet while watching a movie, the idea of a DIY ottoman was made. Here is how I turned the beat up discarded table above into this for my Winter Pinterest Challenge project.

This is a relatively easy do it yourself project. You’ll need a few things to re-purpose a coffee table into an ottoman, here’s the list and how to.

  • Coffee table in a size and shape of your liking
  • Foam, both 3-4 inch and 1 1/2 inch
  • Glue
  • Batting
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Fabric, piping if desired

First, wipe down and fix any damaged parts of the table. One of the legs was a little weak so we secured it with screws right in the top since it wasn’t going to be seen.

Coffee Table

Then glue on your top piece of foam. I used 4 inch thick foam cut to the exact measurements of my table and used plain old Elmer’s.

Coffee Table

After that, secure 1 1/2 inch foam to the sides. My table had a little bit of an overlap so the 1 1/2 inch foam fit nicely on to the sides. I glued that on and let it dry overnight weighted by my large assortment of paints and stains. This table also had part of the side missing where a drawer was so we just covered it with a leftover piece of hardboard. Again, it won’t be seen so it doesn’t matter how you cover any parts.

Coffee Table

Once the top and sides were foamed, I wrapped the whole thing in two layers of batting. I just stapled it on with my electric staple gun and wrapped it underneath.

Coffee Table

Coffee Table Into Ottoman

Try to make it as flat as possible, you don’t want any bumps in your upholstery. Here is a view from underneath, not pretty but it doesn’t have to be. Staple away!

Coffee Table into Ottoman

Now on to the upholstery part. I envy the people who put on their fabric right over the batting, that is a tough job to get it all lined up and flat and tight. Pfew! It’s exhausting just thinking about the muscle that goes into it.

I did mine a little different. I used a piece of less expensive fabric to cover the batting and made a slipcover with the “good” fabric. Since I knew I wanted to change out the fabric on the ottoman for the seasons or in case it got dirty, this was the best option for me. Otherwise you can staple your fabric right to the frame over the batting. Here is the less expensive fabric. You could also use a flat bed sheet or something similar if you are going to make a slipcover.

Coffee Table into Ottoman

And underneath. I always try to double fold the end of the fabric for more sticking power. Who knows when it could rip? I wanted that thing to stay on, hence the staples.

Turn a coffee table into an ottoman

And now the good stuff! You can tell by my inspiration photos that I was in a blue mood for this project. I was lucky enough to find this blue velvet at a fabric department closing sale for, wait for it, $8 a yard! I mean that is unheard of and this is thick, heavy, canvas-backed velvet upholstery fabric. It is good stuff. I wish I had bought more 🙁 Two yards was what I estimated for this project and for a 4 x 2 foot table, I was right on.

Ohh, ahh, blue velvet. I feel like Elvis. Oh wait, that was suede!

Blue Velvet

This is not a how to by any means, but I sewed a cover and put on white piping along the bottom to give it a fresh modern edge. And to contrast with both the dark wood legs and blue fabric. I didn’t cut this and sew it together, I put the fabric on the table upside down, pinned the corners closed, sewed them down on the machine and then just hemmed the bottoms to the right length to cover up the under fabric. I hope that makes sense.

Here is one of the corners. If you put a piece of fabric over something upside down, you can fold and pin it where you need a seam. Then sew on that line, it will be square once you turn it right side out.


And the piping went along the bottom. Again I did it inside out so I could see better.

Sewing Cording

Let’s not wait any longer and get to the good stuff, the after!

Ottoman Made from Coffee Table

I absolutely love it and my husband told me today it’s a favorite project of his.  I’ll stop chatting so you can enjoy the pics.

 Coffee Table Turned Ottoman

Coffee Table Turned Ottoman

Coffee Table Ottoman

This is a welcomed addition to the living room and the color was definitely needed. This was taken before we moved the bar up here.

Coffee Table Turned Ottoman

I plan to make some different slipcovers for the seasons and will have some fun shopping for fabric. What do you think? A Pinteresting makeover?

Oh and find all my other fun pins right here. And see the rest of my furniture projects here.

How to make an ottoman

Sharing with Winter Pinterest Challenge at Young House Love; Bower Power; Hi Sugarplum; The Great Indoors; Restored it Wednesday at Restore Interiors; I’m Crafty No. 49 at So You Think You’re Crafty.


  1. Love it! You are so right – those legs totally got me 🙂 Much safer coffee table choice when there are kids around too. Great before/after!

  2. Looks great! I love the blue.

  3. I love this!!! What a great idea!

  4. Nice job, and awesomely crisp corners! I really like how relaxed the ottoman looks – it’s not fussy!

  5. Great job – love the white piping as well. JEEZ I need to learn how to sew!

  6. VERY Pinterest worthy =) What a great idea, and I like the color you chose. A very nice pop of color in the room!

  7. What a great project! My husband and I were talking the other day about converting our coffee table. I’m really glad I came across your post 🙂

  8. Awesome job! I love the color of fabric you chose.

  9. That looks great! I want to do something like that to my coffee table too now.

    ~em at small girl, big world

  10. Looks great! I am trying to get my husband on board to do this to our coffee table. He was with me and on board when I bought the fabric and he got me the wood to replace the glass top on our table but now he is worried it will not function for holding drinks. Maybe your idea of a removable slip cover will convince him that it is washable if he spills a drink.

  11. This turned out SO great! I just love the fabric you chose!!

    xo Catharine @ Your Modern Couple

  12. Such a great tutorial. I love the fact that you can easily change out the slipcovers.

  13. Hey there! This is my very first comment, but we did the same thing a few years back. We found a nice long, about 18 inches wide coffee table at an estate sale.I wanted it to make a long seating area for my Basset Hounds. We put foam on the top and covered it with a leather look vinyl, stapling it on underneath. it makes a great seat, even ottoman, but its sole purpose is for the long Basset Hound who is comfortable. Faye

  14. O, and thanks so much for the additional instructions. I will try this with my square wood coffee table…Awesome ideas… Faye

  15. Thanks Jessica!

  16. You make this sound way too easy– I feel like I’d definitely screw this up somewhere along the way. It looks awesome! Thanks for linking up with the Winter Pinterest Challenge!

    Erin @ The Great Indoors

  17. Love the idea of a slipcover!


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