Saturday, July 26, 2014

Painted & Tufted Ottoman from an old Ikea coffee table

Today I'm posting about a project that has been in my mind (and in various stages) for oh, say, 9 months. It's finally done though! I'm showing you how I turned an old Ikea coffee table into a painted and tufted ottoman.
My husband and I got this Leksvik coffee table from Ikea around the time we got engaged and got our first apartment, so we're talking 2004. This was before Ikea was in Cincinnati, so we got it on a trip to Pittsburgh to see my husband's parents. It was under $100 and offered a ton of storage, perfect for us in tiny apartment we were renting at the time.

As one of the first pieces of furniture we got together, I felt sentimental about it. However, I grew less and less fond of its appearance over the last 10 years. I forgot to take a true "before" picture, but this is what it looked like.
I decided to try to transform this coffee table into something that would fit in better with our lives and our home now. I love the amount of storage this piece offers and didn't want to give that up!

I started off by chalk-painting the bottom of the piece in this French linen color, and sealed it with clear wax. It was my first experience with chalk paint, by the way, and it was pretty easy to use. It also dried really quickly!
Next it was time to do the upholstery. I measured out a diamond pattern using 10 points on the top of my coffee table. My husband pre-drilled small holes in the wood to make it easier to screw in the tufts (more on that later).
Next I added a layer of thick foam and some batting. I had the table upside down so I could staple the batting in place.
I stapled the batting all around the edges of the coffee table (which was starting to transform to more of an ottoman in my mind) and trimmed off the excess.
I then laid the fabric on top of the ottoman and measured the same diamond pattern.
I marked a spot for the tuft and attempted to drill a hole through to meet the ones pre-drilled earlier in the wood.
It was here that we had the only major snag of this project (literally). Our drill left a huge black mark and snagged the fabric, effectively ruining it for this piece! I had no idea the surface of the drill had some kind of black gunk on it, but I was unable to wash it out of the fabric, so I went back to the fabric store and got some new fabric.

I decided to go with a slightly different fabric so that maybe I can reuse the other fabric in another project. It was really only a tiny part of the original fabric that's ruined, so I still have a solid yard of fabric (trying to look at the bright side of having to buy more fabric).

So I repeated the process of laying the fabric on top of the upholstered ottoman, and again measured the diamond pattern. This time instead of using the drill, my husband offered to screw the tiny screws into the wood by hand, so that's what we did. I used a pin to prick a tiny hole for the screw to prevent the fabric from snagging, then held the fabric in place while my husband slowly screwed the screw through the fabric, the batting/foam, and into the wood. There was a small washer underneath the screw.
Phew! This time it worked like a charm, giving me a perfect tuft.
Now that we had a process that worked, we just kept going across the top of the ottoman.
Make sure to carefully measure and take into account that as you go, the tufts will change how the fabric measures (because of the curve of the tuft). It took about a half hour to complete the 10 tufts.
The next step was to flip the ottoman over and staple the fabric edges to the underside.
Be sure to start in the middle of each side and work your way to the corners. Also be careful to pull the fabric tight. You don't want any wrinkles of fabric on the top of the ottoman!
I hot glued some ribbon on top to give it a more finished appearance and to prevent the edges of the fabric from fraying over time.
Looks pretty good, right? Remember though that my tufts were made of washers and screws, so not too pretty. I made fabric-covered buttons to go over the screws.
This was the first time I have made my own fabric-covered buttons, and I found it a bit tricky until I got the hang of it. I used a kit, which helped. I cut out circles of leftover fabric from the ottoman using the clear guide.
The circle of fabric sits on top of the silicone mold with the patterned side down. The top part of the button is on top, also with the top facing down.
To make the button, you push the button top into the mold, which pushes the fabric down tightly around the top of the button.
Then you tuck the fabric edges in toward the center and place the button bottom on top. Balance the blue tool on top and use it to push the button back firmly into the silicone mold.
I found it difficult to get it all centered 100% perfect, but my buttons still came out fine. You pop them out by pushing on the bottom of the silicone mold.
This is what each button looks like when it's finished. If you wanted to be extra fancy, you could attempt to line up your fabric when making the buttons so that the finished button will line up perfectly with the upholstery around the tufts, but that's not something I tried to do.
I used hot glue to secure the buttons over top the screws. Now they look like professional tufts! This is what the finished painted and tufted ottoman looks like!
I got busy right away taking advantage of all the storage on this piece.
I added a little tray on top to hold our remotes, some books, and a small candle.
I added a ton of our games on the shelves. I forgot how much this coffee table could hold!
I was actually able to free up an entire shelf from the nearby bookcases. Yay!
I love this ottoman! It went from an old, tired, and seriously scuffed up coffee table to a piece that fits in with our decor and lifestyle. 
It's so comfortable to put your feet up on the top while watching TV.
I also think the yellow ties in really well with the yellow Malma mirrors over the fireplace as well as the pops of yellow I am trying to integrate throughout the house (you can see just a peek of yellow in the patterned pillow behind the ottoman).
It was a ton of work, but so worth it to transform this piece of furniture that holds so much sentimental value to me. I hated to think about getting rid of this coffee table just to buy something else when I could make it meet our needs with just a few hours of work.

Have you ever turned an outdated piece of furniture into something fresh and new?

Email Me Follow Me On Bloglovin Follow Me On Pinterest Follow Me On Twitter Follow Me On Instagram Follow Me On Google+
Pin It


  1. Love the colors! Looks like the same technique I've used for a while

    1. It is really similar to your technique, for sure! I saw it posted on a few blogs and decided to give it a go! After the initial screw-up with our drill, it worked great. Definitely a do-able technique!! I love the look of tufts, don't you?

  2. Holy cow! Great job! It looks so incredibly professional!

    1. Thanks!! It wasn't too hard once I got the hang of it, and I'm definitely happy with the finished product.

  3. This turned out great! I love the tufted look and doing it with screws and washers was genius!

    1. Hi Kat, I had seen the idea about using screws and washers on a couple of blogs (see Elisha's comment above), so that really inspired me to try it myself. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. It looks great! What a great way to keep a piece you were sentimental about!!

    1. Thanks, Selene! It's just a cheap old coffee table from Ikea, but it's close to my heart so I'm glad to have it around. Funny how we get sentimental about certain things, isn't it?

  5. Very cute...I love the cheerful fabric. I just redid a coffee table with a cork top...kind of a nightmare but it works now :)

    1. Thanks, Deonna! It's a nice feeling to be able to work with what you have. Interesting idea to use a cork top- I'll have to check it out.

  6. Sweet! it looks great and I am loving the fabric you picked too.

    1. Thanks, I thought it was a nice bright color without being too garish, and the geometric look adds interest. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. I am so envious of people who are truly talented with crafting and DIY. You make this look easy! Thanks so much for sharing with the Merry Monday Linky Party!

    1. Hi Nicole, what a sweet thing to say! This project took me about 9 months, mostly because I had to get up the courage (and obsessively research) to do each step of the process. It's scary to try new things, but so rewarding when it actually turns out okay. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Whoa, girl! What an awesome transformation! The fabric is my favorite but you can't beat all that storage.

    Pinning! Thanks so much for sharing on Show-Licious!
    ~ Ashley

    1. Hey Ashley, Thanks so much! It was definitely time to update that piece, and I couldn't be happier with having all that storage back. Take care :)

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful project on The Inspiration Board at homework. I loved your project and featured you today!
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    carolyn ~ homework

    1. Hi Carolyn, that's exciting- thanks for the feature! I'm headed over now to check out all your features. Have a great weekend!


I would love to hear your comments. Let me know what you think!