Monday, June 22, 2009

DIY Ottoman (The Footrest, Not the Empire)

Last week I found an old ottoman at the local thrift store for $6.99. The fabric was heinous, but it was a sturdy piece. I even sat my big ole butt down on it in the store and wiggled around to see if it would hold me up. It passed the test, so I gave it a mental high five for its success and tossed it into my cart.

So I took it home and started my first DIY furniture recovery/reupholstering. If you could even call it reupholstering, which I kinda think you can't. You'll see. P.S. Excuse the dark photos. I take all these over by my patio door since it's the best source of natural light that we have in our apartment. However, it's been raining for about 40 days and 40 nights, so our light hasn't been the best.

Anywho. So back to Ottoman Empire Redo. I took the legs off. I'll likely paint them antique white during my next project. (It's easiest for me to do several things at once, since I only have the outdoor patio for a painting studio. That and it was raining. Ahem. Big surprise.) One of them is missing the metal on the bottom. I'm not too concerned.

I unscrewed the metal brackets (??) that hold the legs in place.

It's always nice to have a furry detriment helper. I told you she loves DIY projects!

I removed about 1,000 staples (give or take) from the underside of this beast, as well as a few nails that are old enough to be my grandmother.

When I removed the backing, I realized that someone else had already done a recovery on this thing years ago. I'll forgive them for their fabric choice given that it was probably about 25 years ago. Seriously.

Here it is, stripped of the old fabric and old white quilt that was used as batting.

Yes, that's ANOTHER type of material that you see under there. That's because this is what it looked like underneath:

All right. For real, this thing is OLD. I am NO good with this stuff, but under the leather (faux leather???) it's filled with HAY.

Do I know how to pick 'em or what? Eesh. At this point, it was time to replace the material with some of my own choosing, so I pulled out my handy new hardware that we bought at the store's grand opening on Saturday. That's right. We didn't own a staple gun. I know, I know. We have one now. And some staples that are mondo-insane-humongous, so don't choose this size... I'll buy a few sizes down next time. Oopsie. Lesson learned.

I put the old quilt right back on it. And I don't even care. Free batting. And it didn't smell. That bad. Febreeze, okay? Works wonders. Besides, the whole project will end up being a kitty bed/perch/throne/scratching post in a few days anyway so "eh".

I didn't take a picture of it, because it was flat and beat up, but I used an old (OLD) pillow for extra cushioning. So there's the old leather. And then an old pillow over that, and an old quilt on top of that. I stapled the quilt to the wood to hold it all in place. Then, I added my material and stapled that in place as well.

Fold the material like you're wrapping a christmas present. (If I could wrap all of my presents with a staple gun, I'd be a happy girl.) This looks less like "wrapped present" than "awful mess" but it was going to be hidden under the backing anyway.

Some of my sides turned out nicely. We'll focus on those.

I replaced the old cardboard-y backing, and screwed the metal leg braces back on (easier said than done, I'll add).

Here's the detail of the material, which I chose for kitchen curtains that I'll be sewing together soon. I made sure than I still have enough for a valance. I liked the cream and red flowery toile pattern. It ought to country-up our little apartment. The picture keeps posting vertically even though I have it saved horizontally. Go figure. ^_^

It was getting quite dark, so the final "after" shot is with a flash. Ick. Someday when the sun comes out I'll replace this photo with a nice one.

It still needs a nice trim for the bottom edge, but for now I like it a whole lot better than what it looked like before. It's a lot more comfy, too, although slightly lopsided since our pillow was not in the best of shape.

Hopefully, someday I'll be so awesome at this that I'll look back at this post and laugh my bum off at how terrible it was. But for now, it works for me!

Stay tuned for the final result of our photo wall, which is my next project.

This room needs lots of work, but adding something (anything) to this wall will be a nice start. As you can see I already arranged everything using cut up paper bags from the grocery store and some painter's tape... It's SO CLOSE to being done, I can taste it!


  1. Nice! I have yet to venture into reupholstery. And I think this counts. Because of the hay.

  2. Oh man, you are funny! That post definitely had me really laughing out loud. The picture with your cat helping unscrew is hilarious!!!! I've wanted to try this whole refurbishing/refinishing/reupholstery thing too and have yet to find the piece to try it on. Don't feel bad, I stole a staple gun from my friend who owned three about 4 years ago and have yet to use it since. (Hmm, I wonder where I put that thing?) Love the new fabric:)

    Thanks for your comments on my "Twas the Night Before Christmas" art. Some literary quotes would be awesome!!! I wrote you back on my post, trying to explain how I got the words to come out so well (magic?). Not sure if I made any sense though, so let me know if you have more questions. I just thought of you ever watch Deserving Design on HGTV? Vern did one of the best uses of vinyl wall words I've ever seen. For this couple's library he basically put all the names of thier favorite authors on the wall in vinyl letters. It looked so good. Just an idea.

    And I'm totally glad we found another young New England couple:) That's another thing that had me cracking up about your post, all the rain! Are you freaking kidding me, this weather is terrible?! Oh, and about the Sox...I'm a transplant - I grew up in Pa so I don't loooooooove them like everybody else does around here (I mean, they're ok, I should probably try to get into it more). But the hubby is a die-hard Boston sports fan, doesn't matter who it is, Pats, Celts, Bruins, Sox, he loves them!!

  3. Awesome job ! Been there, with the handful of staples. It's a [insert expletive]. Your kitty is cute. Love the paper bags idea. Brilliant way to decide where the photos go before you commit.

  4. Visiting from Kimba's party (late, I know). I love what you did with that ottoman! Pretty fabric. :) I think it will look great with the legs painted too.
    ~From a fellow English (and Speech & Linguistics) degree ;)


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