Up, Up, and Upholster!

If you think your ottoman is approaching the point of no return, wait! Just because there’s a stain or a rip on your chair doesn’t mean its days are done. If you’ve thought of spending an exuberant amount of cash on reupholstering, think again, because doing it yourself isn’t as intimidating as it looks! And, it’s quite cost efficient!

This very idea had been brewing in the back of my mind after finding the almost perfect ottoman for my apartment at low price of $15. The shape, the size, the fringe, the wheels were all there and perfect. The reason it was $15? The fabric looked like it had survived a tornado!  Determined to make my dream ottoman come to fruition, I made both the purchase, and the commitment to keep costs low by figuring out how to reupholster!

To see the simple steps I to to turn this ottoman from dilapidated to diamonds (literally!), keep reading!

What you’ll need…

  • Fabric you can’t live without
  • Staple gun
  • Screwdriver to dislodge existing staples in your piece of furniture (I found this works better than a staple lifter).
  • Iron for steaming
  • Scissors
  • Hammer, Nails, Trim. These are optional, but are like icing on the cake!

1. Let ‘er rip! Untack the existing staples with your screwdriver, or staple lifter, and remove the fabric. Try not to rip the fabric apart in the process, and try to keep its original shape in tact.

2. Using the iron and an ironing board (or safe flat surface), steam out any creases and kinks of the fabric you just removed, so you can use it as a makeshift pattern for cutting your new, beauteous fabric!

3. Roll your new fabric out  flat, and place your pattern piece on top. Cut out the new shape, and discard your old fabric. With this blank canvas, the rest of the process is a walk in the park! Centering your ottoman (or other piece of  furniture) on the new cut of fabric, lift a corner over the base, and pull taut. Staple multiple times to fasten in place. Repeat this for the rest of the four corners. Finally, pull the midsections snug, staple them into place, and voilà! You’ve got a brand new piece of furniture.

4 (optional).
It was at this point in the process that I could have stopped. The easy option would be to leave it fringe-less, but you could still see the wheels on bottom. So, using my hammer and slightly-longer-than-tack-sized nails, I nailed the trim to the base. (Previously, it had been glued onto the ottoman.)

There are many more complicated upholstering projects out there, but as a first timer, I wanted to start small! What do you think of the end result? Are you inspired to change the seat covers of your dining room chairs to a sizzlin’ print of seashells, perhaps? Let us know!

About Julianne

Julie is a modern day Renaissance woman and die-hard bloody mary enthusiast. When she’s not sprinkling magic fairy dust onto ModCloth’s social media channels, you can find her eclectic point of view on food, fashion, music, and DIY documented here!

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  1. Kate (ModCloth) 03/17/2010 at 3:31 pm #

    i love this project and that fabric!!!!

  2. Annie (ModCloth) 03/17/2010 at 3:33 pm #

    Awesome, Julie! Are those diamonds? That fabric rules!

  3. Lauren 03/17/2010 at 4:10 pm #

    This made me feel almosstt lucky to own a ripped ottoman. Hah.

  4. Maya 03/17/2010 at 5:41 pm #

    reapholstering anything is the best fun. I did the chairs for my paren’ts old dining table and it was the best hundred dollars I’ve ever spent.

    Plus staple guns are fun 😀

  5. Katie 03/17/2010 at 6:36 pm #

    This makes reupholstering sound so easy! Maybe I’ll have to reupholster my dining room chairs…

  6. Krystle 03/18/2010 at 1:09 pm #

    I, indeed, have been inspired 🙂

  7. Corinna 03/18/2010 at 1:11 pm #

    I am so impressed and inspired! well done!

  8. Naomi 03/19/2010 at 6:29 pm #

    very inspiring! I’m looking forward to redecorating my room shabby chic, and that has inspired me!

  9. Khris 03/23/2010 at 12:25 pm #

    This project is boss.
    I never would have the guts to try something like this, and now I kind of want to take a trip to the nearest thrift store and start searching for something to mod. <3

  10. rosie 06/03/2010 at 1:57 am #

    This is awesome, good work, your very original. I bet ur house looks so cool with all these things you make!

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