What You Should Know About Reupholstering an Ottoman

An ottoman can be a beautiful and functional addition to any living room or bedroom, but after years of use, it may look worn out and faded. Rather than purchasing a new one, you may consider reupholstering it. Reupholstering an ottoman can be an affordable and rewarding DIY project, but before you start, you need to know what to consider.

Choosing the Right Material When Reupholstering an Ottoman

When it comes to reupholstering an ottoman, the choice of material is critical. Here are just a few main factors to think about when you’re selecting the right fabric for your ottoman.

Construction and Shape of Ottoman

Ottomans come in many different shapes and sizes, and some even have odd embellishments. 

So, the shape and construction of your ottoman will play a huge, important role in selecting the right fabric. If your ottoman has a lot of curves or angles, you should choose a flexible and stretchy fabric to ensure the fabric fits well over its shape and angles while also allowing for seams, cording, tucking, etc.

Fabric Durability

Ottomans receive a lot of wear and tear because of their multifunction as a footstool, seating, and sometimes even storage. Therefore, you should consider a durable fabric that can withstand heavy use. Popular materials like microfiber and leather are known for their durability and are ideal for reupholstering an ottoman.

Stain Resistance

The ability of a fabric to resist stains is crucial in choosing the right fabric for your ottoman. Just think about the traffic it constantly sees between feet, shoes, people sitting on it, hands opening it to access storage, etc. If you have children or pets, do yourself a favor and consider a fabric that’s easy to clean and stain-resistant.

Ease of Cleaning

Cleaning your ottoman regularly is really important if you want to keep it looking good. So, you should choose a fabric that is easy to clean, like leather (faux or real), linen, and microfiber, three of the best indoor fabrics that are easy to clean and maintain.


The colorfastness of fabric is something that often gets ignored by people, but it’s so important in selecting the right material for your ottoman. If your particular ottoman will be exposed to sunlight from big windows, choose a fabric resistant to fading.

Consider Your Personal Tastes and Home Décor When Reupholstering an Ottoman

Lastly, take a moment to think about your personal décor taste and the overall vibe of your home. If you have a fairly rustic vibe, don’t pick a modern pattern or texture. If you have a modern aesthetic, don’t pick heavy textures or busy patterns. Choose a fabric that complements the colors and patterns of your existing décor.

Stuffing, Filling, and Cushion Material

In addition to selecting the right fabric, you should choose the right stuffing, filling, and cushion material for your ottoman. Some of the best stuffing, filling, and cushion materials for ottomans include foam, batting, and down.

  • Foam is ideal for its firmness, durability, and support.
  • Batting is soft and plush, while down provides a luxurious and comfortable feel.

Best Fabrics for Reupholstering an Ottoman

Here are some of the best fabrics we recommend for reupholstering an ottoman, along with their pros and cons.



  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Easy to clean
  • Classic and timeless look


  • Expensive
  • May fade over time
  • Requires regular conditioning



  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Easy to clean
  • Stain-resistant


  • May trap pet hair
  • Not as breathable as natural fabrics
  • May be prone to static electricity



  • Easy to clean
  • Soft and comfortable
  • Breathable


  • Not as durable as synthetic fabrics
  • May wrinkle easily
  • May fade over time



  • Breathable and lightweight
  • Soft and comfortable
  • Easy to clean


  • May wrinkle easily
  • Not as durable as synthetic fabrics
  • May require professional cleaning

Tips for Reupholstering an Ottoman

Here are some basic steps and tips to use when reupholstering your own ottoman after you’ve selected the right material. Just remember this is just for a common ottoman with a simple shape and design, so tweak the steps to suit your particular ottoman style.

  1. Gather materials and tools:
    • Ottoman
    • Upholstery fabric (measure your ottoman to determine the amount needed)
    • Foam or padding (optional)
    • Staple gun
    • Staples
    • Scissors
    • Screwdriver or drill (if needed to remove legs or hardware)
    • Pliers (if needed to remove old staples)
    • Fabric marker or chalk
    • Measuring tape
    • Straight pins
    • Sewing machine (if needed for any seams)
  2. Prepare your ottoman

a. Remove any hardware or legs from the ottoman using a screwdriver or drill. Be careful not to strip screws or damage the structure. Keep all hardware safe, like a bowl or container, so you don’t lose anything.

b. Carefully remove the existing upholstery fabric and try not to damage it because you’ll use it as an easy template for the new fabric. A razor or Exact-o knife is best for clean cuts. Use pliers to remove any staples holding the fabric in place.

  1. Cut the new fabric/create your template

a. Lay the old upholstery fabric stretched flat on the new fabric, aligning the patterns or grain as desired.

b. Use a fabric marker or basic chalk to trace around the old fabric, adding a minimum 1-inch seam allowance. Use a 2-inch seam allowance for the best results.

c. Cut out the new fabric following the lines you’ve drawn.

  1. Add or replace padding (optional)

a. If the foam or padding is old and needs replacing, remove the old padding and measure the ottoman top for the new padding.

b. Cut the foam or padding to the right size and place it on the ottoman top, ensuring it fits properly. It shouldn’t hang over the sides too much, just enough to soften the edges.

c. If you wish, you can use spray adhesive to attach the padding to the ottoman, which helps keep it in place when you’re upholstering.

  1. Attach the new fabric you picked!

a. Position the new fabric over the ottoman, ensuring it’s centered and aligned with any patterns or grain. Take the time to make sure it’s covering well on all sides, and you have room to pull it into place before stapling.

b. Pull the fabric tightly (not too tight that it rips) over the padding and use a staple gun to secure your fabric to the underside of the ottoman. Start at the center of each side and work your way outward.

c. When you reach the corners, fold the fabric neatly and staple it to get a nice finished corner. Trim any excess fabric if necessary.

  1. Finish your ottoman

a. Reattach all hardware or legs to the ottoman using a screwdriver or drill just as you did when you removed it.

b. Inspect your ottoman to ensure the fabric is smooth and the staples are secure. And that’s it! You did it!


What do I need for reupholstering an ottoman?

To reupholster an ottoman, you will need fabric, stuffing materials like foam or batting, a staple gun, scissors, a measuring tape, and a sewing machine (optional).

How much does reupholstering an ottoman cost?

The cost of reupholstering an ottoman varies depending on the size of the ottoman, the type of fabric and stuffing material used, and the cost of labor if you hire a professional. On average, reupholstering an ottoman can cost anywhere from $100 to $500.

What’s the best fabric to reupholster an ottoman?

The best fabric to reupholster an ottoman depends on your preferences and needs. Leather is durable and easy to clean but can be expensive. Microfiber is also durable and easy to clean, but it may trap pet hair. Cotton and linen are soft and breathable but may not be as durable as synthetic fabrics.

Voila! Reupholstering an Ottoman!

Reupholstering an ottoman is an excellent way to pump new life into an old piece of furniture that anyone can DIY. Choosing the right fabric, stuffing, filling, and cushion material can make a big difference in the look, feel, and durability of your ottoman.

By following the tips we outlined in this guide, you can confidently tackle your ottoman reupholstering project and create a beautiful and functional piece for your home. Be sure to check out our other helpful guides on reupholstery, plus our amazing selection of quality fabrics.

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