You definitely can...I did!
**If you're considering giving this project a try, make sure you read my addendum at the end of the post with some suggestions for avoiding a few headaches I encountered. : )
I know it’s never a good idea to start a post with a disclaimer, so instead of a disclaimer, we’re starting with a…heads-up.
Here it is: this week’s project will be more of a before-and-after-with-some-helpful-pics than a hardcore tutorial. My only excuse for not having a pictorial blow-by-blow for you (boo! hiss!) is that I started this project before I started blogging (the nerve, I know).
So, first, let me show you what used to reside in our living room.
Absolutely nothing wrong with it. In fact, I really liked it. It was cute, worked really well as a bit of extra storage, and I could even use it as a sewing table while I worked on projects with a little Gilmore Girl banter going on in the background. Can I get a GG amen?!
So, why the change?
Well, after six good years…
It was time.
(I think I would almost feel guilty for my inconstancy if not for the fact that she now resides in the living room of my bestie, Mandy…so, see? I found her a good home. End therapy session).
Hubby asked me what I wanted instead, and I hesitated, but not because I didn’t know. I did. I was just a little afraid to tell him.
So, I turned the question around, and, to my great surprise and delight, he started describing his vision of something low and large, without sharp corners…
“Something like THIS?!” I interrupted (I might have squealed).
Ish and Chi’s drool-worthy living room.
He looked at the pic and said, “Well, yeah.”
Of course, I knew that a beauty like that doesn’t come without a price-tag to match, and I don’t do pricey.
But I do do DIY (please don’t analyze that sentence).
So, naturally, I started combing Craigslist for a coffee table.
Why would I do that when I’d just gotten rid of mine?
Patience, grasshopper ..and I will share my secrets.
After only one search for “square wooden coffee table,” I found this:
Really? How did that happen? (Especially when it started out $75, he wanted $50, and I got him down to $40). Not that I’m complaining.
Then I piled some of this on top (Can you see where I’m going with this?)
I wanted to make my ottoman extra-cushy, but foam is expensive, y’all, so let me give you a super-helpful hint: Hobby Lobby pretty much always has a 40% off coupon (you probably already knew that), AND they have 1” foam that comes in 39”X78” lengths for $19.99, so I got two rolls, cut them in half (since my coffee table just happened to be 38”X38”—and 78/2=39, so I had just enough…are you following?), and stacked them for a total of—wait for it—FOUR inches of 39”X39” foam…for only $24.
Do a price comparison on foam anywhere else, and you’ll quickly see this is a fantastic deal!
Here’s the part where the pics get a bit skimpy, but it’s also the boring part, so I’ll just break it down for you:
1) I decided on a twelve-button diamond tufting pattern, and my handy-dandy husband marked it out and drilled the holes for me. Here’s a view from the bottom:
Hubby also shortened the legs for me so I wouldn’t end up with a tufted pub table.
2) I did the foam cutting/stacking bit that I mentioned above
3) I wrapped the whole table-top in 1” quilt batting (that I also got @ Hob Lob with another 40% coupon; Tip # 2: if you’re as obsessed with bargains as I am, have no shame, and are willing to go back to Hobby Lobby 2-3 times in one day—so you don’t run into the same cashier twice…awkward—you CAN use multiple 40% off coupons!!!) and stapled the batting under the coffee table edges.
4) I draped the beautiful and practical (Durapella microfiber) sea-foam green fabric (that I found at Hancocks for 50% off the 50% off price) over the top of the foam.
5) I stained the legs, but they never got as dark as I wanted, so I went back and painted them with a sample of Cordovan Brown that I got from Lowe’s.
6) I then proceeded to cover my upholstery buttons (that I got at Hancocks for 40% off) with a scrap of Goodwill fabric I had that happened to match the rest of the fabric per-fect-ly (after discovering that the fabric that I had bought at Hancocks was too thick/inflexible to work for covering buttons)…
And, no, my fingernails don’t have a fungus. Thanks for asking.
…then threaded them through the pre-drilled holes using a ginormous upholstery needle (jamming a 6” needle through 4” of foam is surprisingly therapeutic!), yanked them down to create deep tufts, and secured the thread to the underside of the coffee table.
**If you want a detailed, pic-by-pic tutorial of how to do diamond tufting, this one is great! I’m not saying that’s exactly what I did, but, umm, pretty close. Sure.
In my journeys through cyberspace, I had seen several examples of DIY tufted ottomans that were basically cubes, and I didn’t want that. One of my favorite parts of the ottoman in Vivian’s living room is the tailored band around the base of the ottoman underneath the tufted top. (If you want to see another good example of a coffee table cum tufted ottoman with slightly less intense tufting, check out The Little Green Notebook’s version here).
7) To simulate that, I cut my fabric into four 6”X40” strips (one for each side of the ottoman, since I didn’t have a long enough strip to wrap all the way around), and stapled them underneath the “poofy” top section, like so:
…then I folded the strips underneath and stapled them to the wood.
…and at the corners.
8) To cover all the visible staples,
Have I mentioned he’s my hero?
and he has the greatest hands! (I’m a hand girl).
9) I turned it over, took pictures of it…
10) …showed it to you! (I was too close to an even 10 steps to quit).
Here she is, my very own tufted ottoman!
Meet Emmeline (a reader suggested her name, and I love it!)
Here’s a shot with the buttons:
Sorry if it gives you vertigo
And one more just to whet your appetite for the entire living room.
I get questions constantly about this rug. If you want to see where I got it as well as what the rest of the living room looks like, you can click here.
So, how much did all of this cost (without factoring in the years off my life)?
::Coffee table:: $40
::Quilt batting:: $8
::Upholstery thread + Needles:: $8
::Nail-head trim:: $12
A similar option from Ballard Designs starts at a cool $400 and is 10 square inches shorter.
Which makes mine a pretty stinkin’ awesome deal.
If I do say so myself.
And I do.
See you tomorrow for Wardrobe Wednesday!
Oh, and if you need a smile, you OWE it to yourself to check out the addendum I made to yesterday’s push-up post (it involves my adorable daughter, Della).
***THINGS I WOULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY:
1) Used “real” upholstery buttons. The ones I got at Hancocks are simply too flimsy for the deep tufting that I want (one has already popped), so I’m eventually going to replace them with true upholstery buttons. You can either salvage these from another piece of furniture or buy them from an upholsterer either in person or online (More expensive? Yes, if you buy new. But worth it in the long run).
2) Hollowed out holes in my foam like Kristi did in the tutorial that I linked to above (seriously, if you haven’t read it, DO it! It will save you a lot of time/annoyance/mess-ups).
3) Used only 2” or 3” of foam. I love how cushy my ottoman is, but I think I could have achieved the same effect with 2” of foam plus an extra layer of batting wrapped around, and the tufting process would have been easier.
I’m sure there are other things I could have changed, but the tufting is really the biggest deal with this particular project, and I think I could have save myself some headaches if I had done what I mentioned above. If you have more questions, be sure to email me or leave them in the comments, and I’ll try to answer them.
I’m so excited about everybody that is giving this a try!
I would LOVE to see pictures of your versions when you finish!
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