How to Reupholster a Storage Ottoman

F.R.R. Mallory

Most storage ottomans are cube or chest shaped with a lifting or hinged top. This type of ottoman is designed to be a footrest, seat and storage unit. Usually, if the fabric becomes soiled or torn, it is necessary to upholster both the hinged top and the sides so everything matches.

Ottoman cubes are often hidden storage chests.

Often the design of modern ottomans is simple, which makes covering the items fast and inexpensive.

  1. Remove the fabric from the ottoman. Typically, the top and bottom are attached separately. You may need a staple puller, clay hammer, pliers, flat screwdriver or similar removal tools. Open any seams using a seam ripper.

  2. Iron the cover pieces. If necessary, label each piece. Place the pieces over the new ottoman fabric. Pin the old cover to the new fabric. Be sure to match the pattern if the new fabric has a design. Cut out the new covers.

  3. Place the top cover over the ottoman lid. Attach the cover in a way that is similar to how the original cover was attached. Often, the edge of the fabric is turned under 1/4 to 1/2 inch and stitched. Glue is applied along the edge of the ottoman lid where the fabric will be stapled. Pull the folded edge taut, and staple the center of the folded and sewn edge to the underside of the lid. Staple the top, bottom, left and right sides, starting in the center and working toward the corners. The staples should press the fabric into the glue. Double fold your corners and staple to finish.

  4. Sew the side seams of the new cover. Sew a double stitch to make the seams stronger. Draw a level line 1-inch from the top edge of the bottom ottoman box on the inside of the box. Insert the cover inside out into the ottoman box so that the top edge of the fabric is upright.

  5. Position the fabric cover 1/2 inch from the top edge of the box. Place an upholstery tack strip flat along the 1-inch line, and tack the strip into place with a hammer. Bend the tack strip to follow the inside shape of the box. Line up the adjacent fabric, place the tack strip over the fabric and hammer. Continue around the remaining two sides of the box. Cut the tack strip with tin snips or heavy scissors.

  6. Reach into the center bottom of the ottoman box, and pull up the fabric. Bend the fabric over each side, and pull the fabric down the outside face of the box. The fabric will be right side out. Pull the fabric taut, and align the corners. Turn the box upside down.

  7. Pull the top center fabric to the back underside, and staple the fabric. Pull the bottom, then the left and then the right. Staple from the center to the corners. Fold the corners neatly, and then staple them. Trim off the excess fabric.


Trims, welting and other decorations can be added during the sewing process or with hot glue.

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