A child-friendly living room with tufted ottoman table

When a new baby arrives, a glass and steel coffee table is not exactly a child-friendly option. Here's how to make a tufted ottoman table to fill the space.


Making your own tufted ottoman table only takes an hour or two and you can upholster in your choice of fabric. You can also make it any size to fill up the space. Not only will a tufted ottoman look stunning in place of a coffee table, it's also practical if you have young ones, and also provides extra seating if necessary.

Later on you could look at adding a glass top if you wanted to use the ottoman as a coffee table. Have tempered safety glass cut to fit and have them bevel and sand the edges of the glass. 


2 of 150 x 900mm* - 20mm pine

2 of 150 x 860mm* - 20mm pine

1 of 900 x 900mm* - 16mm chipboard or MDF

Upholstery fabric, 1500 x 1500mm

Batting to wrap over the top and sides

Medium-density foam, 900 x 900mm and 5cm thick, or cut to the size of your ottoman

Sprayable adhesive

Nylon line or heavy-duty thread, or even thin nylon twine

Long upholstery needle

9 upholstery buttons - cover these in your fabric

4 feet and screws


Drill / Driver plus assorted bits

Bosch Tacker or heavy-duty staple gun

Craft knife, thin blade 

*You can reduce or increase the lengths for a smaller / larger ottoman

Your local Builders stocks all the materials you need for this project, and also have a variety of legs and feet. Alternatively, try cabinetfittings.co.za or your local fabric store.


1. Build the frame for the ottoman by attaching the sides together as shown below.

2. Add supports to the frame. This will ensure that the ottoman can support weight. You can simply screw these in place or use a Kreg pockethole jig (as shown below). These supports not only allow for you to add feet and attach the top, but provide strength to the framework.

3. Mount the top onto the frame. For this project a couple of offcuts were used but the cutting list above includes measurements for a single top.

It is better to add the feet to the ottoman before upholstering the piece.  

4. Measure and mark the positioning for your tufting on the foam and on the top of the base. A good layout for this size of ottoman is 9 holes placed 230mm apart.  

5. Use a craft knife to make 'X' cuts where the holes will be and drill 3mm holes in the top.

6. To prevent the foam from moving around, use sprayable adhesive on the back of the foam and base top.

7. Now you are ready to drape the frame with batting and then fabric over the top. Don't attach the fabric just yet.

8. To start tufting begin at the centre - push the needle through the base, foam and fabric, and through the back of the upholstered button. Now push back through these layers, pull the thread very tight and secure the thread to the base with a line of zig-zag staples before trimming. Continue this process from the centre out towards the sides to make a 'X' shape and do the corner areas last.

9. With all the tufting done you can secure the fabric to the underside of the frame. You need to pull the fabric pretty tight to avoid loose fabric between the tufts. It's also better to start at the centre of one side and move to the opposite side and repeat this for the remaining sides. Tuck and fold the corners neatly. If you wish, you can sew these closed with a needle and matching thread.

You will also find additional tips here for tufting projects, and an easy way to make a tufting template for larger projects.