How to Build a Storage Ottoman
Use plywood, foam, and fabric to create a handsome custom piece
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.