ottoman overhaul

Ottoman Overhaul: How to use a rug to update this piece of furniture

Of all the furniture pieces in your home, the ottoman is often the first to go. It gets worn out so quickly, with feet and kids climbing all over it. This easy tutorial will help you update yours using just a rug!

Cynthia Nordgran shares how inexpensive and simple an ottoman overhaul can be.

Find more upholstery ideas on Instagram, @chalkandfable


Easy Ottoman Overhaul

Most of us have furniture pieces in our homes that may have been inherited or that we may want to get rid of. Some of our pieces can be an eye sore. Maybe you have an ottoman that has outdated fabric but has a really good structure. Instead of giving up on your grandma’s old ottoman, I want to show you how to update it and love it just as much as she did.  You can revamp its look with a rug that you can get at your local shopping store such as Target, Home Goods, or Marshalls.


You’ll need gloves, a measuring tape, staple remover, pliers, staples and a staple gun.

If using regular fabric to upholster a simple project, a hand held stapler from a craft store would do. Because we are working with a rug, the fabric is significantly thicker so the stapler I’m using is an air pressure upholstery stapler you can get on Amazon. It does require an air compressor. I assure you that you will find pleasure in power tools when you get familiar with them.  I recommend:

Porter-Cable US58 1/4′- 5/8″ 22-Guage C-Crown Upholstery Stapler

B&C Eagle 71/12  1/2″ length x 3/8″ Crown x 22 Gauge Fine Wire Staples


Start by removing the old fabric off of the ottoman. This may take a little elbow grease. You’ll need gloves to protect your hands, some pliers and a staple remover. Once the fabric is taken off, make sure to remove all staples that are not flat. Check to see if the batting, foam and cushioning are in good condition. If not, you can buy some at your local craft store. If you want a fresh, new look, you can repaint or re-stain the legs on the ottoman. This step would be done now.

The next step is the best part! Measure your ottoman and then go shopping for a cute rug. My ottoman measured at 24″ x 17″ so I bought a rug that was 42″ x 27″. The rug you choose has to be bigger than your ottoman to cover the sides. Mine didn’t cover completely so I added pieces of scrap fabric by stapling it to the wood where I knew the rug would cover. The one thing I advise is to NEVER cut your rug to fit. It will fray and not work. Make sure you bring your rug home and wrap it around your ottoman to see if it fits the way you’d like. Another thing to keep in mind is to look for rugs that are pliable. Stiff, thick rugs will be too challenging to work with.

The last step is to cover your ottoman. Center your rug on the ottoman and start stapling on one side leaving about 3′ open from the end. Now, go directly to the opposite side and do the same thing. After those sides are done, move to the ends and tuck in the corners of the already stapled sides. Staple the remaining sides down. You may have a thick fold on the corners. If you are handy with a needle and thread, you can stitch the corners together. If not, as a last resort, hot glue can work too. As professional upholsterers, we’d never do that, but for a beginner’s project, go for it! I promise no one will know and it will still look professional.

This ottoman overhaul can be done in about 2-3 hours. Guests will come into your home and be in awe of your beautiful ottoman and you can be proud to say that you gave it a makeover yourself.

Just be sure to take BEFORE pictures so that you can show your friends and family just how amazing of a job you did!

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