Affordable DIY Ottomans

If you've been following me for any length of time, you will know that I love to do things on the CHEAP!  Now, some people don't like that word cheap... so let's use 'affordable'. πŸ˜‰

Building DIY Ottomans
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Disclaimer:  This is a long post, but so worth it if you are wanting to build a

Super Affordable DIY  Ottoman.  

If you are interested, and don't have the time now, Pin it to Pinterest.  Of course, it will always be here on the blog and you can type 'Ottoman' in the search bar and look it up anytime!

Hubby and I have way too much wood in our garage.  We are trying to use it up!  This project was perfect for that 'problem'.

We used some old plywood for the base and top.  Here's hubby cutting the sides of the ottoman.

Cutting sides for the ottomans

We built 2 identical ottomans. The measurements for them are specific to our needs.  Hubby and I are on the taller side and we wanted them to hit at a certain height when we were sitting at the couch.  We didn't want them too tall, otherwise our knees would feel "hyperextended", but not too low.

Here are our base measurements:

Ottoman measurements

For the height measurement, we guesstimated what the width of the foam would be for the top of the ottoman (4")  then added what the feet would approximately be (3½"), giving us a total height of around 17½".

Old 4x4's were cut for the feet, and scrap 2x4s for the corner supports and center supports.  Basically, these ottoman's cost nothing to build.  The money was spent on fabric, cording, and the leather handles.

I didn't even have to buy the foam padding, because my SIL was throwing away some couch cushions that worked perfect for the ottoman top!πŸ™Œ

We cut 4- 2x4s to 8" placing them in each corner of the ottoman base.  Then screwed the sides into the 2x4s securing the ottoman base together. The 2" gap is for the feet.

building ottoman base

Hubby made the feet out of scrap 4x4s and tapered the ends on the table saw, by rotating the blade to a 45° angle and cutting each side.  They aren't perfect, but they work great.  Then we attached the feet to a 2x4 cut to 19 ⅜" long to fit inside the base on top of the 2x4 corner supports.  We didn't actually install these now, because 1. they aren't stained and 2. the fabric for the base needs to fit inside each corner.

Prefitting feet into the ottoman base

I got ahead of myself and almost forgot to install the center supports for the ottoman top.  That needs to happen before you add the batting and fabric to the sides of the ottoman base.  We cut 2 more 2x4s at 19 ⅜" and centered them at the top lip to support the ottoman top.  I attached them using 2" screws from the outside into the 2x4s.

adding ottoman top supports

Next, wrap the base with batting.  I attached it with my new handy dandy Stanley electric staple gun! Seriously, this little guy saves your hands!!

adding batting to sides of ottoman

Once the batting is attached, you can cut your fabric.  The ottoman panels are 10" tall, so I need to allow fabric to come up and over the top and bottom to staple it on.  I cut 2 panels at 12 ½" each. The bolt of fabric was 52" wide, which was plenty wide enough to wrap half way around the base.

cutting fabric for ottoman

I love this fabric!  I purchased it at JoAnn's.  It's outdoor material and feels really durable!

First, I sewed the 2 panels together.  Now, the fabric is long enough to wrap around the entire base.

fitting fabric to ottoman base

Then I pinned together where the other seam would be.

Pinning seam to fit

I slid the fabric off, sewed it together and cut off the excess.  With the with the right side out, I slid it back on and started stapling it to the ottoman base.

stapling fabric to ottoman base

After one side is done, then flip it over and staple the other side.  Be sure to pull the fabric taut, making it look smooth.

stapling fabric to ottoman base

Now that the base is complete, it's time to start working on the top.  First, cut your foam to fit the top board.

As you can see here, I traced the wood ottoman top with a marker onto the foam. I actually traced it slightly larger and I'll explain why in a minute.  Foam can be difficult to cut,  I don't have an electric knife, which I heard works like butter!  But I have a serrated knife and that worked great!

It's important to "see-saw" cut, going back and forth, through the foam.

cutting foam for ottoman top

The reason I suggest cutting the foam slightly larger, is that I didn't want to feel the hard edge of the wood top.  I sliced the foam about a ½" down and pulled it up to cover the side of the wood top.

cutting foam to cover wood edge

I used my glue gun, to attach it.  That worked perfect!πŸ‘

gluing foam to cover wood edge

gluied foam to cover wood edge

Okay! We're getting there..... Now it's time to cover the top in batting, just to smooth everything out.

batting on ottoman top

Next, fabric... I laid out my fabric and pulled it up on each side to determine how much I needed to be cut.  After cutting it out,  I stapled the center of each side first, then worked my way around, making sure to pull the fabric snug.  Leave the corners for last.

Stapling fabric to ottoman top

The corners were a learning curve....  I tried one way and didn't like it, so I took it all out and tried another.  Sooooo much better!!!  You can see on the left, they just didn't look great.  On the right, all smoothed out! ❤️

stapling corners of ottoman top

Here's how I did the corners. First, make sure you have enough space to smooth everything out, I had to remove some of the side staples.  Then fold over the center of the corner and staple. Next, fold over one side and staple.  Lastly, fold over the other side and staple.

Stapling corners properly

This was so much easier and each corner comes out the same.  Nice, right?!

Hang in there, we are getting close to being done!  Next up, piping.  I am not going to reinvent the wheel here, Addicted2Decorating, has a fantastic tutorial on how to make piping.  I had never sewed it before, but it was incredibly easy.  Here's the link to her tutorial, How To Make Continuous Bias Piping.

Making piping

Piping gives it that 'extra' touch making it look more professional.  I simply stapled it to the ottoman top as shown below.

Adding piping to the ottoman top

I wanted to add a straps to my ottomans.  They are going to be stored under a coffee table and pulling them out with a handle will make it so much easier.

I tried making a fabric one, but it just looked 'blah'. (This photo was before I fixed the corners and added the piping.)  See what I mean.... eh...

fabric strap for ottoman

Then I thought of adding a leather strap!  Yes!!!  So much better!  I purchased a long length of it on Amazon, Leather Strap 7/8" x 84".  I cut 4 straps at 17" long.  They were super easy to attach using small screws on the inside of the ottoman base.

adding leather straps for ottoman

Now we're ready to put it all together!  I stained the feet with Minwax Provincial, which gave them a rich brown color to match the leather and match the DIY Distressed Mantel we built.

Staining ottoman feet

Like I said in the beginning, we attached the feet to a 2x4.  This made it easier to attach them to the ottoman base. Which we did by Kreg-Jigging the corner supports and screwing into each 2x4 foot base.

Attaching feet to ottoman base

Then one last thing!  Attaching the ottoman top to the base!  So simple!

Lay the ottoman top with the wood side up, place the ottoman base on top with feet up.  Line up all the corners and sides, then screw down using long 2½" screws through the center supports into the ottoman top. DONE!!!

Attaching ottoman top to ottoman base

It seems like it took longer to show you how to make them, than they actually took!

Affordable DIY Ottomans

We LOVE them!  We've been using them for a couple of months now and they are fantastic!  You can even use them as extra seating if needed!

Affordable DIY Ottomans

Don't you love that leather strap?!

Affordable DIY Ottomans

They turned out WAY better than I expected!  Everyone that has seen them, can't believe I made them! 😍

Affordable DIY Ottomans

Thanks for sticking with me til the end!!


How To Build Affordable DIY Ottomans


  1. I am ready to start making these, because they are so awesome, but am having difficulty finding the exact fabric. Would you, by any chance, know the name of it?

    1. Hi Ash! Awesome!! Hmmm. I know I purchased it at JoAnn's and it was in their outdoor fabric. Sorry, I don't know the exact name....

  2. Those ottomans are beautiful. I can't decide if I want to build the square ones or the storage one. I like them both.

    1. Thanks so much! I guess it depends if you need the storage. We really didn't and since they were stored under our coffee table, access to them would be more of a bother. Good luck!

  3. I decided I like the square ottomans the best. I am going to make a pair of them and modify them to also be used for storage. This should be a fun project and a nice addition to my living room.

    1. That sounds great! I'd love to see your creations! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Amazing, they look expensive.

    1. Thank you so much! It's been two years and they still look fantastic, no wear at all!


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