How to Re-Cover an Upholstered Ottoman

Learn how to reupholster an ottoman and turn a thrift-store footstool into a gorgeous (and functional) piece of home decor — all with just a few yards of fabric and a staple gun.

September 07, 2021
reupholstered ottoman

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Update an old ottoman — also sometimes called a hassock — by wrapping it in new fabric. Re-covering an ottoman is easy. We'll show you how.

Update an old ottoman — also sometimes called a hassock — by wrapping it in new fabric. Re-covering an ottoman is easy. We'll show you how.

By: Kara Hill

Do you have an ottoman — also sometimes called a hassock — that’s looking beat up or just doesn’t go with anything you’ve got? Bring it back to life by wrapping it in new fabric. The fabric was dated on this secondhand treasure, but the structure was in good shape. When thrifting, look for pieces that have good bones; the fabric and paint color can always be changed.

outdated ottoman

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THE BEFORE: This secondhand treasure is about to get a new life.

THE BEFORE: This secondhand treasure is about to get a new life.

Pro Tip: Before beginning the project, remove any hardware or notions from the ottoman. Ours had a cord, tassel and hinges. We also removed the small wooden legs to make the job easier.

Tools + Materials

  • staple gun
  • scissors
  • iron
  • ottoman
  • fabric (the amount depends on the size of your ottoman)

Step 1: Start on Top

The top of the ottoman is the easiest part. Our ottoman has a lift-off top. If yours has a hinged top, you will need to remove the hinge. Then, lay out the fabric (right-side down) and place the top of the ottoman (top down) on the fabric. Decide how much fabric is needed to cover the top. (No need to measure, just fold it up to determine what you’ll need.) Allow a couple inches of excess fabric so you can fold it over before stapling it down.

old ottoman cover

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When reupholstering an ottoman, it's best to start with the top.

When reupholstering an ottoman, it's best to start with the top.

Step 2: Fold and Press

Cut the fabric to size and make a 1-inch fold around all four sides. Iron the edges to make a clean seam. Place the ottoman top on the fabric and staple all around by stapling opposing sides while pulling the fabric tight as you go.

cover of ottoman

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Iron the fold on the cover for a clean look.

Iron the fold on the cover for a clean look.

Step 3: Wrap It Like a Gift

The corners may be a bit tricky. Fold them in a way that is similar to wrapping a present.

wrapped ottoman cover

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Use your gift-wrapping skills on the corners of the ottoman cover.

Use your gift-wrapping skills on the corners of the ottoman cover.

Step 4: Lay Out the Fabric for the Bottom Piece

For the base of the ottoman, determine how much fabric you need. Lay the fabric right-side down on your work surface. Place the ottoman on its side on top of the fabric. Make sure there is enough fabric to cover it. You can wrap it around the whole ottoman to make sure it fits, or measure one side and multiply by 4. Again, add an extra inch or so all the way around so you have plenty of fabric to fold over the top and bottom. Fold and iron a seam on all sides.

ottoman base cover

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Lay out the fabric and then wrap it around the ottoman to make sure you have enough fabric to cover the entire base.

Lay out the fabric and then wrap it around the ottoman to make sure you have enough fabric to cover the entire base.

Step 5: Fasten the Sides

Lay out the fabric and place the ottoman on its side. Begin stapling the top and bottom of one side. Now you have a secure side to pull the fabric nice and tight around the rest of the ottoman. Continue stapling around the sides and on the bottom. When you get to the end, fold the end to create a clean seam, and then staple the fabric from the inside or add a dab of fabric glue to hold the seam closed.

sides of ottoman

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Use a staple gun to attach the fabric to the base.

Use a staple gun to attach the fabric to the base.

Step 6: Put the Feet Back on, Then Put Your Feet Up

Re-attach the feet, flip it over and enjoy.

reupholstered ottoman

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The re-covered ottoman is ready.

The re-covered ottoman is ready.

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