A Dairing Life

Hack the Lack! How to Turn a Cheap Coffee Table in to a Custom Upholstered Ottoman

October 8, 2016 0 Comments

Anyone who has ever thought about upholstering anything knows how the supplies can add up. Plus, the task seems a little daunting, right? After I show you this simple tutorial, you may change your mind!

We had wanted an upholstered ottoman for our living room for quite some time. But, we wanted it to be quite sizable, and to have some type of storage feature – whether it was a shelf underneath, or one of those that has a hidden compartment under the cushion, plus a cute pattern is always a plus. However, that combination of features is difficult to find, and if you do find one, chances are it breaks the bank! This girl has champagne taste, on a beer budget.augusta-geometric-standard-bench-2

And this one doesn’t even have storage! I had all but given up, until one afternoon when we were walking through the IKEA showroom and I saw the solution to my problems

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IKEA Lack Coffee Table

I know, I know. It doesn’t look like much. But when you don’t have a huge budget, you have to look at items with a bit more imagination. This piece is a diamond in the rough. And if you’re like me, and don’t have $600+ to spend on a fairly large, (cute pattern) upholstered ottoman (with storage), then keep reading because I got your back boo.

We set out to upholster this baby and make it in the custom piece we refused to settle for. To make your own ottoman you’ll need:

  • Lack coffee table (or other table you want upholstered. Note -it’s easier if the top of the table is removable)
  • Upholstery fabric. We used a tribal print Iman upholstery fabric we found online, but I didn’t have any luck finding it available now as we did this project over a year ago. Here are some similar patterns here and here
  • Upholstery foam in thickness you desire. This cost can also add up quickly, so do your research. In our area, the craft store was the most expensive place we could find thicker sheets of foam. Your best bet is more than likely a hardware store, or Amazon. Here is foam comparable to what we used. A good tip – you don’t have to find foam in the exact dimension of your table, as long as there is enough to cut and piece together. No one will ever know it’s not one solid piece once the ottoman is complete
  • Foam batting to give a little extra cushion and hold things together
  • Staple gun – This is the one we use for our home projects
  • Spray adhesive. I like this one by 3M because it’s heavy duty enough, but still affordable
  • Patience – while this is a fairly straightforward project, make sure to take your time. Measure, cut and staple with calmness and precision and this will be a smooth experience!

Once you have all of your materials, it’s time to get your hands dirty!

  1. Line up the foam with your table top. Use a serrated knife to cut the foam to the correct width. You may need to piece the foam together, but it won’t have any effect on the finished piece.
  2. Spray the adhesive on the table. PLEASE make sure you do this outside, and lay the table top on a drop cloth. This stuff is sticky – don’t use it inside. Once the spray adhesive is ready, line up your foam and place it on your table top, pressing it down. Make sure you follow the directions on your adhesive for setting time.
  3. Optional – I wanted the sides of the table to have a little extra padding, but I didn’t want to use foam as thick as what we used for the table top. I had an old egg carton mattress pad that I cut to the lengths of the sides of the table, and used the spray adhesive to attach. We also stapled it into the sides of the table since it’s thin enough to do so.
  4. Place your batting down on the floor, and lay the table top in the center of the batting (foam side down). If your batting is way too large, you can cut it before you start the next step, but we didn’t need to do this. Pull the batting TIGHT, folding it at the corners and stapling along the edges as you go. After you do this step, you can cut any excess batting, leaving about 1″ of batting around the staples (you can see how ours looked in the next picture).
  5. Now comes the most time consuming part. Prep your fabric – measure twice (or 10x), cut once! Make sure you measure the area of your table top and the height of the sides of it (table sides+the height of the foam you added). Make sure to add that amount to the area of the table top (on each side!), plus a few extra inches for folding/stapling.
  6. Once your fabric is ready, lay it face down on your work surface. Next, lay the table top foam side down in the center of the fabric. Carefully fold the edges up, making sure to keep the fabric centered (our fabric has a liner pattern so we used that as a visual guide). We chose to then, ever so slightlyfold the edges under, and staple down. Make sure that you keep the fabric in line, and keep it pulled tight. When you get to the edges, fold the fabric the way you desire and staple. The Lack coffee table has a hole in each corner. If you are using the Lack, make sure to leave the holes exposed. We stapled ours, and then cut away any fabric that was blocking the hole.
  7. Once all the fabric is attached, the hard part is done. Finish assembling the Lack (or the table you chose). Since we added so much height with the foam, the table was too tall. We measured how much shorter it needed to be, and then took the legs to Lowes and had them cut them down to the height we needed. Depending on the height of your table, you will probably need to do the same.

That’s it! Now prop your feet up with an ice cold drink, you deserve it!

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