Ottoman Makeover!


One of the most difficult aspects of my living room right now is the significant lack of seating and storage.  When my future in-laws first gave me this old ottoman, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. They told me they were going to throw it away, that, “it has good structure but is so old and worn it probably isn’t worth saving… So you can do what you want with it, and if it doesn’t work out, you can throw it away.”

‘Challenge accepted,” I thought.

I left it sitting in my workshop for weeks. I didn’t know where to begin!  I’ve never reupholstered anything before; Certainly not with a wicker base. Luckily, I had ordered too much fabric for some curtains that I made for the guest room, and had just enough to redo the ottoman.  The only issue came with the colour scheme.  I am trying to have earthy tones in the living room, as oppose to the brown tones that I selected for the guest room… Ohh how I love it when a conundrum turns into the best solution possible.

I made my curtains out of this Clarke and Clarke Miriam Linen fabric in Charcoal. The earthy browns worked perfectly with Ancient Artefact from Dulux for the guest room to give it a travel and exotic inspired feel. However, paired with a sage green paint and natural rope trim, the linen fabric almost has a designer burlap feel (if such thing exists) that is soft and luxurious.

The first thing I did was to remove the existing trim. IMG_2183


Next I pulled out all unneeded rusty nails, and hammered the ones that were supporting the wicker into the structure.  Then I simply pulled off the old fabric.


After that I took it outside and gave it a good wash with soap and the power function on my hose, spraying it inside and out until the water ran clean of soap and dirk. I propped it up on some chairs and left it to dry in the sun.


Once dry, I used Surface Primer White.  I first tried to paint a primer on the wicker but it became obvious quickly that it would take ages to fully cover and would end up sealing over the wicker, ultimately looking blotchy. This spray primer worked like a dream.


After letting the primer dry, I used an exterior-durable sage coloured spray paint by Colour that I picked up from B&Q. It took near two cans to coat the whole thing inside and out with two coats, but I am really happy with the finish.

After the second coat dried, I began my reupholstering. I bought some thin mattress topper (I’m pretty sure that is what it was labeled as) from my local fabric shop, and cut it to be the approximate size of the old wool wadding by simply laying the wool wadding on top of the new topping and cutting it out with sharp scissors. I decided to leave the old wool wadding as the bottom layer for extra padding.

thumb_IMG_2193_1024Once they were in place, I placed the fabric piece on top, tucked the fabric roughly underneath the wadding and pulled the fabric tight before stapling it with a Stanley Heavy Duty Staple Gun, using all-purpose staples, to the holes that were left from the rusty nails previously removed from the old fabric. I continued this all the way around, continuing to tuck in the edges as I went so the fabric had a nice clean edge, until it was fully secure.


Now, something I would have done differently was to either choose to trim off the edging of the wadding on both sides, or not to do it at all.  I think I became little rushed at the end of the project.  If you look closely, you can see a little asymmetry on the edges of the upholstery… That is because I trimmed one side of the wadding, making a rounded edge, and not the other! I’m not sure why I didn’t do both sides! For whatever reason I thought it wasn’t needed, but for future projects I will work harder to keep everything symmetrical! Ahh well, we live and we learn.


To finish off the project, I took some natural rope that I got from B&Q and hot glued it on the edges as trim. It was as simple as that. Asymmetry on the top aside, I absolutely love this project.  It has an earthy but upper scale vide, adds extra seating (is surprising comfortable!!) and well needed storage to the living room, and gives me a whole range of earthy tones to accent around the rest of the room 🙂



What do you think of the project? Do you have a daunting ottoman project that you are waiting for inspiration to complete? Once you finished it, or if you would like some advice on how to tackle it, post it on instagram with the hashtag #thecreativecosmopolitan. I would love to see it!


About Mara

Hi there! I'm an American gal who fell in love with an English fella. I am in love with home style, seasonal decor and some serious DIYs! Follow my home journey through building furniture, creating a homey space from scratch and collecting inspiration from my travels!

1 comment on “Ottoman Makeover!

  1. I think you did a great job. I don’t think it needs to be centered anymore than it already is. The diversity of pattern gives it interest. Job well done!

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