Transform an old coffee table into an ottoman

Inspired by some fabric off-cuts that were too lovely to throw away, interior decorator Joanne Roelofsz transformed an old coffee table into a bright and cheerful ottoman

Ottoman DIY


  • An old coffee table
  • 60-grit sandpaper
  • jig saw
  • drill and 5mm drill bit
  • 2 clean paint brushes
  • universal undercoat
  • 15 buttons covered in fabrics of your choice
  • fabric off-cuts, 22cm-thick foam
  • white PVA
  • mattress needle
  • heavy-duty polyester thread or string
  • staple gun and staples
  • binding and glue gun
  • or upholstery studs
  • a hammer.


  1. Sand down the base of the table and the legs with 60-grit sandpaper to remove any old varnish or paint.
  2. Trim the overhang of the table top with a jig saw so that it’s flush with the base of the table.
  3. Using a 5mm drill bit, drill holes into the top of the table where you want to position the buttons. Joanne used three rows of five, starting 15cm from the edge and spacing them 15cm apart.
  4. Apply a coat of universal undercoat to the table base and legs.
  5. Sew together the patches of fabric you have chosen, making sure the size of the total fabric is big enough to cover the foam with an extra 10cm on all sides.
  6. Once the undercoat has dried completely, use a clean paint brush to paint the table base and legs with a colour of your choice. Joanne opted for white.
  7. Position the patchwork fabric over the foam so that each side has an equal hang.
  8. Place the foam on the table.
  9. Thread the mattress needle with the polyester thread or string making sure it’s long enough to be sewn through the foam.
  10. From the underside of the foam, push the needle through and into the loop at the back of the button.
  11. Push it back through the fabric and foam into the hole on the table.
  12. Pull the string tight so that the button pulls into the foam and is as deep as you want it to be from the top.
  13. Use the staple gun to staple the thread or string to the underside of the table.
  14. Tuck the material under the foam and staple the folded edge of the material into the side of the base.
  15. You can cover the stapled seam with fabric piping or braid attached using a glue gun, or cover the seam with upholstery studs knocked in with a hammer.

TIP: If you’re worried about messy mistakes, you can send your ottoman to a professional upholsterer to complete the final step.