Easy Bench/Ottoman

Happy Tuesday!! Today I wanted to share with everyone how to make the easiest bench/ottoman ever! For months I have been searching for an ottoman that fit both my room but more importantly my college student budget! After never finding anything that worked for my room and price range, I finally decided to create my own. I am so in love with my bench, (and Camilla is loving her new bed :)) that I wanted to share it with the world so you could make the same look for your own place! Please note, I was soo excited about this project, I forgot to take pictures during most of the steps so please let me know if you have any questions!

Cost:  $40

Materials:

  • Fabric of choice (to cover the sitting area of the bench)
  • Wood of choice (cut to dimensions of desired bench measurements)
  • Furniture legs x 4
  • Leg connectors x 4
  • Wood screws (get as many as you will need for your leg connectors)
  • 3″ Foam inserts (cut to cover the dimensions of desired bench measurements)
  • Stain/paint for furniture legs (optional)
  • Buttons (as many as you plan on putting on your bench) (optional)
  • Washers (you will need the same amount of washers as you need buttons) (optional)

**I choose a piece of pre-cut pine wood at my local home improvement store that measured 3/4″ x 16″ x 34″ for my bench. I also bought 1 yard of fabric to cover the top and allow enough fabric for error if needed.

Tools:

  • Pencil
  • Measuring Tape
  • Staple gun
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Long sewing needle (optional)

First measure the height and length you want your bench/ottoman to be. For me, I wanted it to rest at the foot of my bed so I wanted it to reach 23″ max height x 16″ in length. I deducted 3″ for the foam inserts (which will serve as cushions for the bench) to reach the height of 20.” Since my local Home Depot had pre cut furniture legs that were 21″ tall, I decided to go with them and allow the extra height. The wonderful thing about purchasing legs that are just a little too tall (as opposed to too short) is that the legs would be fairly easy for me to cut down and shorten in the future if I so chose to do so.
As you may have noticed this was my original design, as in my ideal measurements. Since I bought a piece of pre-cut wood, I modified the measurements slightly to fit my actual bench size.

Next, if your wood for the bench is not cut to the proper dimensions, cut away! After your bench is the perfect size it is time to mark for placement of buttons/air holes. Even if you are not adding buttons to your bench/ottoman, you still need to make sure you drill holes in the wood to allow air to escape from the foam cushions. Otherwise, if your guests use the bench there will be no room for the air to escape inside the cushions and eventually will cause pressure which could result in…well…bad news. Once you have used your  measuring tape to determine where you want to place your buttons (make sure your buttons will be as evenly placed as possible), mark with your pencil, and drill each hole all the way through the wood being sure to not to let it splinter or split.

Due to the length of my bench I decided drilling ten holes would look the best.

After drilling your button/air holes, it is time to pre-drill your leg connectors. Place your leg connectors, on your now drilled piece of wood, where you want your legs to attach. Pre-drilling where your legs are going will help decrease the risk of splitting the wood. Once you have pre-drilled your leg connectors, remove them so that you are left with just the drilled piece of wood. If you do not remove the leg connectors now, you will have a more difficult time stapling your fabric on to your bench later.
*This picture was taken after I finished stapling the fabric to my wood bench. Here I am adding the connectors back where I originally pre-drilled them in the previous step.

Once you have removed your leg connectors, flip your wood bench over so that the side that does NOT have the pre-drilled leg connector holes is facing up towards you. If your foam inserts are too big for your piece of wood make sure you cut them down to the appropriate size. You want the cushions to cover the entirety of the piece of wood, without hanging over the edges. For the next step you have a couple options…Option A, spray glue adhesive on the top of the wood and place the cushions directly on top of the wood, or option B, go for it and just place the cushions directly on top. I chose option B for convenience reasons, but if it is easier for you to apply using spray adhesive then go for it!

The next step is, in my opinion, the trickiest part! Center your fabric upside down so that the pattern side is facing the ground and the “ugly” side is facing you. Place your bench with cushion side down, centered over the fabric. If you did not spray adhere your cushions, center the cushions on the ugly side of the fabric first, then place your  piece of wood directly on top of the cushions so that the whole bench part of the ottoman is centered directly on the fabric. Make sure that the side of the wood facing up towards you is the side that has the pre-drilled holes for your leg connectors. After centering the cushions and the wood bench, take your fabric and pull around bench and cushions tightly, like you are wrapping a present. Using your staple gun staple the fabric tightly to the wood bench (see tips below).

After the fabric is stapled all the way around, flip it over and check out your beautiful cushion for your new bench/ottoman. The awesome thing about this is if you later decide you do not like your fabric, you can always buy new fabric and easily recover it 🙂

Once you are satisfied with your fabric covering, it is time to install your legs! If you are like me, you will want to either stain or paint your legs to match your room. I bought onyx stain and applied it to my unfinished pine furniture legs. While waiting for the stain to dry go ahead and add your buttons! I found it easier to go through the top of the fabric, down through the 3″ of foam, and through one of the drilled air holes from earlier. After securely threading your button, use the needle and push down through the top of the bench until the needle comes out of one of the air holes on the other side.

After pulling the needle all the way through the underside (the button should now be on top of your bench/ottoman), tie a washer tightly to the thread on the underside of your bench to help pull the button in tighter. This created the tight ruching effect I was hoping to achieve.

Finally, after doing the same for all your buttons it is time to add the legs! Now that you are completely done stapling your fabric, it is safe to reapply the leg connectors. After attaching your leg connectors securely, twist in your furniture legs, turn your ottoman/bench right side up, and enjoy!

NOTE:  In these pictures you may have noticed there are six not four leg connectors on my bench. When I was first designing my bench I could not decide if I wanted mine to have six legs or four so I went ahead and installed six leg connectors. I decided I liked four best, but kept the additional two screwed in just in case I changed my mind later ;-).

NOTE:  Adding buttons is completely optional. In fact, I left my bench/ottoman without buttons for a week before deciding to add them. It will still look fabulous!

TIPS:
*I found stapling the corners last, helped make the corners look cleaner.
*Make sure you pull your fabric as tight as you can when stapling to keep it looking clean and professional. You don’t want any loose looking fabric.
*If you are choosing a lighter fabric, adding either a layer of batting under the fabric (and attaching the same way you would the fabric) or adding another layer of white fabric under your patterned fabric, will help keep it clean looking.

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2 responses to “Easy Bench/Ottoman

  1. Hi! I am getting ready to make my very own ottoman, much like this one to set at the foot of my bed. After tons of websites I found your blog. I have a very good idea of what to do, just was unclear about the order to do it in. This, along with other ideas I have found off the wonderful world of the Internet is just what I needed. Thank you!

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