How to Slipcover an Ottoman


any ottoman will do

I found the greatest deal on an ottoman at a garage sale a long time ago. It was only one dollar, and I have covered it and re-covered it several times in order to use it in different rooms of my house over the years. I have spent more on the material to cover it than I have on the ottoman itself. But you can easily see why it was so cheap. Yes, the 1970s called and wants its ottoman back! It’s very comfortable, though!


Get some durable fabric

Prior to its future home in our basement family area, this ottoman was covered with brown faux leather in a room containing other brown furniture. This time, however, we are going gray!

I found some upholstery material on the clearance rack of the fabric store for a cheap price. Off we go to slipcovery!


Step One

First, you want to take the fabric and cover the ottoman with the fabric inside out for pinning. (The fabric actually has black geometric shapes, but it is shown with light gray because it’s inside out). Make certain that the fabric is long enough on all four sides to be tucked under and stapled later before you move to step two.


step two

Try to pull the excess fabric to the corners and use pins to mark off where you can stitch so that the fabric can be trimmed. This is a close-up of the pinning process. Be sure that you don’t insert pins into the ottoman itself as the next step is to remove the fabric so that you can sew along the pinned lines and trim off the excess.


step three

Remove the fabric from the ottoman, trying to be careful to keep your pins in place as you lift it. Sew a straight line down the pinned lines of each of your four corners of fabric that you have gathered. You do not need a sewing machine for this. You can simply hand sew the straight lines along your pins.


step four

Cut off the excess material, leaving a decent amount behind in case your pinning job was somehow inaccurate and you need to stitch again later.


step five

Place the sewn cover over the ottoman with the correct side of the fabric facing out now. Check all four corners to see if they line up correctly and are taut enough. Also, are there any wrinkles elsewhere? Now is the time to make adjustments prior to stapling.


step six

Turn over the ottoman so that you can begin the stapling process. A heavy-duty staple gun that can staple into wood is the only one you should use for the job. The staples have really long nail-like ends compared to the staples of a normal desk stapler. Pull the fabric as taut as you can with one hand while you staple it to the wood with the other hand. Trim away any excess material.


step seven

For the corners, wrap them like a present or like you would when putting sheets on your bed, using hospital corners. Tuck one side under and staple the folded-over side.


All done!

Here you have the finished product, looking way better than the 1970s gold one, huh? And if you have any fabric left over, cover a tired pillow (see How to Cover a Pillow) with it!

Good luck!