The lowly footstool has been steadily moving up in the world. Now popularly referred to as an ottoman, this oh-so mobile piece of furniture touts many forms and functions. Treat it as a coffee table, a cocktail table, a side table, a casual dinner-on-the floor table. Glide it over to the fireplace as a cozy seat for two. Use its level surface for playing board games or piecing a puzzle. And by all means, slide it up to the sofa, loveseat, or club chair, to elevate your feet. This fun-to-place furnishing is fun to make too. We've provided a simple version using plywood, foam, and prefabricated wooden feet. We've also included instructions for a slipcover, which makes it easy to keep your ottoman clean and to give it a fresh look.
Buy the plywood and wooden feet at a home-supply store; purchase the foam, muslin, batting, slipcover fabric, and thread at an upholstery fabric store. You'll also need a staple gun, a drill, and maybe a pad and pencil to list all the other ottoman uses you'll dream up while putting it together.
- APPLY walnut stain to prefabricated legs following manufacturer's instructions. Seal with a coat of paste wax or clear varnish. Set aside to dry. On the plywood, mark drill holes for the legs 2 1/2 inches in from each side at the four corners. Drill a clearance hole for the blind mounting nuts (T-nuts). Insert the nuts by tapping in with a hammer. (The prongs hold the nut in place and provide threaded inserts for the leg screw.) Screw legs into the blind mounting nuts.
- CUT batting to 36 x 48 inches, and lay flat on a clean surface. Place foam in middle of batting. Position plywood base with feet upside down on foam. Pull batting to underside of plywood, and staple in place, attaching the middle of each side first then work your way to the corners. Fold corners neatly, and pull batting taut.
- CUT muslin fabric to 36 x 48 inches; press. Lay flat on a clean surface. Position ottoman on muslin, and repeat stapling process above.
- CUT slipcover fabric to 36 x 48 inches, and press. Cut 8 ½-inch squares from all four corners. Turn all edges under ½ inch, and press. Then turn edges under 1 inch, and press for hem. Stitch in place by hand or with a machine. Reinforce corner points with a several hand stitches.
- CUT 8 strips of fabric to 1 ½ x 13 inches for ties. The finished size will be 1/2 x 13 inches. Press one short end under 1/8 inch. Press in half lengthwise (wrong sides together), turning raw edges into the middle. Stitch close to the folded edge. Repeat to complete all 8 strips. Machine or hand stitch each tie to inside of slipcover 2 inches down from corner point. Place slipcover on ottoman, and tie bows at each corner.
- 4 prefabricated wooden bun legs
"Big Look, Simple Steps" is from the October 1999 issue of Southern Living.