Introduction

How to Build an Upholstered Storage Ottoman
Photo: Laura Moss
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The ottoman has had a long history of multifunctionality. It served as extra seating in early American households that had tight quarters and tighter budgets. Today, versions with under-lid storage, like the handsome example at right, push the utility ever further. It's the perfect place to stash blankets or store books, and the geometric design of the upholstery makes a bold statement.

If you're thinking of buying one, look for lids that either lift off or have safety hinges. If you'd rather have the satisfaction and creative control of building your own piece, your primary materials will be birch plywood, 2-inch-thick high-density foam, and—the most variable expense—a fabric of your liking. Customize the upholstery to fit your household decor or needs: stain resistant for pets and children, or suede for a lusher feel. And vary the height and style of the off-the-rack legs to complement existing furniture. Whether you build or buy, kick up your feet and enjoy your new focal point.
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    Tools List

    • circular saw
      Circular saw
    • drill
      Drill/driver
    • bar clamps
      Bar clamps: two at 36 inches and two at 50 inches
    • wooden yardstick
      Yardstick
    • scissors
      Scissors
    • staple gun
      Staple gun

    Shopping List

    ¾-inch birch plywood

    1x1 pine

    Batting

    Upholstery

    Wood glue

    1¼-inch drywall screws to assemble the base and attach the cleatsSpray adhesive

    9/16-inch staples to fasten the fabric

    Continuous hinge, 1½x36¾ inches

    Toy-box lid support to prevent lid from slamming shut

    5-inch coronet bun feet Get four, with mounting hardware.