DIY ottoman from a coffee table

 DIY ottoman

We’re ever so slowly making progress in the living room – yay! Since I’m doing it on a shoe-string budget (as always), each piece is using up my over-flowing fabric stash or burning up brain power trying to figure out a cheaper ways to get what I want in an affordable way.

A major piece of our furniture needs was a bigger ottoman. More specifically, a longer ottoman. We loved the one we had, but with four folks propping up their feet at the end of a long day, it just wasn’t big enough – and I didn’t have $200 to build a custom one. So what did I do? Cheat my way into a $40 version of a DIY ottoman from a coffee table.

coffee table to ottoman

I thought long and hard about building my own base, until I found this coffee table at Goodwill for $10 – which was cheaper than building one, score! I knew it had to be 50 inches long, and this one was 54 – it’s easy to take away length, but not to add, so I threw it in the back of the truck and took her home.


The 70’s toned wood was killing me – so I gussied it up with my favorite spray paint. One can of Krylon Dual did the trick. I LOVE how this stuff works – and also love that I can buy it at Walmart.


If I were smarter, I would have run it though my table saw to shave 2 inches off each end before painting – but sometimes my brain gets ahead of itself, so I had to wait until mine was dry, silly Gina! It’s all good, though, because after covering it, you won’t see a thing!

foam & batting for ottoman

This is my big secret – the foam mattress pad. Typically to buy a huge old chunk of foam from the fabric store, it would have been about $100, plus you still need the batting & spray. I bought all of them at Walmart, too. The mattress pad is only $10 – that’s a big savings! I actually had the spray adhesive on hand, but you only need a little – and the quilt batting was about $12.


I sprayed a layer of adhesive to get the foam to stay down, just like normal.

cheap foam for ottoman

The mattress pad was large enough for 3 layers, so the first one went with the wavy side down. Then I sprayed adhesive and put the second layer wavy side up, sprayed again and put wavy side down, so it was smooth on top. Somehow I didn’t have photos of the other two layers – oops! Just remember that you want the top smooth. I trimmed each layer all the way around to make it all neat.

how to make an ottoman
Then cover the whole thing with 2 or 3 layers of batting. I attached it from the bottom side with an air gun stapler.
DIY ottoman
Although there are a million and one tutorials on how to make an ottoman from a coffee table, each of them that I saw was tufted or not tailored. I wanted it to have piping, so I make a “slip-cover” for the top, but then stapled it on the lip of the table from underneath so it was smooth and even.
I used fabric that had been laying around begging to be used, gotta love that! I’m a little smitten with the sea green & blue stripes… I think Sarah Richardson would approve, don’t you?
Here’s the breakdown:
Coffee Table – $10
Spray Paint – $5
Foam Mattress Pad – $10
Quilt Batting – $12
Fabric – on hand
Spray Adhesive – on hand
Total out of pocket: $37
See ya later for Transformation Thursday!
About Gina Luker

Gina Luker is a writer, photographer and lover of all things quirky. She's usually found with a drill in one hand and a cocktail in the other while blogging along the way. She's addicted to coffee, polka dots, rock stars, Instagram, and everything aqua.


  1. Looks awesome! Reminds me of my coffee table ottoman but I used a crib mattress and mine is not tailored like yours! Looks superb!!

  2. I LOVE it! I have always wanted to do this but I still haven’t found the perfect table to transform!

  3. Great job and at a fraction of the cost. I give you 9 out of 9! 😀

  4. Beautiful! you did such a great job and i love the piping it gives it a really expensive looking finish.

  5. GREAT job. The piping really gives it a polished look. You nailed it, girl! xo Diana

  6. Beautiful job, Gina! I agree with the others, the piping gives it such a tailored look.

  7. Great tip on the mattress padding versus the premade foam! Blessings, Tammy

  8. Adorable and it looks so nice.

  9. Who doesn’t love a frugal project that looks rich? The mattress pad trick is a keeper! Thanks for another great tutorial.

  10. This is great, Gina! I admire your sewing skills–but mostly I admire your gumption! I, too, use foam mattress pads as my upholstery “secret.” I first made upholstered headboards for my guest room back in 2006, and I used an old mattress pad I had stuffed in the attic. It has held up great for six years now! And the ottoman I made for my front porch is padded with an old mattress pad, too–it’s held up through thick and thin, winter and summer, since 2009. I re-covered it because I wanted to change the look of it, but when I removed the fabric, the foam mattress pad underneath is still in perfect shape! Kudos to WalMart for carrying so many useful items for such low prices.

  11. That turned out so stinkin cute, what an adorable piece. Loving the room and how it is shaping up:)

  12. Wow! Very Very Nice. Love it. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Love it! I’ve never seen this idea before, now you have me thinking!

  14. Girl that looks great and I could do it all except make the slip cover top which I want to learn how to do

    you scored for sure with the coffee table

  15. I have been waiting for months to find a twin egg-crate pad on sale to make a headboard (yes, I’m THAT cheap!) And just this past weekend scored not just one, but also a queen sized foam pad as well, at a yard sale for $1 for BOTH. I practically danced back to my car. Now I have no excuse – gotta start working. Ottoman looks awesome!

  16. Looks fantastic. I’m thinking of making a bench for my dining room, love your mattress pad idea.

  17. I just adore your blog!! So inspiring! Makes me want to run to Goodwill, grab some paint, and go to town!

  18. Love this! I also the idea of using a mattress pad! Genius! I just picked up an oval coffee table with fun Queen Ann legs for $10.00 that I plan on turning into an ottoman. I am so glad I found this on Pinterest! I will be watching for foam mattress pads now. Thanks again! Looks wonderful!

Speak Your Mind