What to do with those pallets? The quintessential DIY dilemma. When I recently salvaged a couple of half-pallets, I knew I needed to think fast because we don’t have a lot of storage! As it often happens, the inspiration for DIY projects comes from our daily life pain points: we have a vintage Mid-Century glass and brass coffee table that seems too precious to put anything on top – especially feet! It’s beautiful but, in the end, not very functional. It didn’t take long to realize the newly adopted pallets were the perfect base for a DIY Ottoman Coffee Table.
Half pallets are sturdy yet light and, at 24 by 31″ (60 x 80cm), a really comfortable size for a large coffee table that won’t take up the entire living room. I was surprised at how quickly this project went. It was done in less than an hour, despite stopping to take pictures and videos!
I’m very glad to share this budget-friendly project because I see plenty of kilim ottomans with prices in the thousands while this DIY project will run under $50. Hopefully, this idea will help furnish and decorate a living room you feel comfortable in while saving money! Scroll down to learn how to make this easy DIY Ottoman Coffee Table, it’s a fun and rewarding project – plus you can literally put your feet up when you’re done 😉
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For this DIY Ottoman Coffee Table, you’ll need…
- Salvaged half pallet + Scrap wood
- Upholstery foam pad (at least 2″ / 5cm thick, like this one)
- Batting or upcycled duvet
- Thick fabric
- Staple gun
- Furniture legs
- Optional: glue
Step 1: Prepare the pallet
To start off, get some scrap wood and create a frame for the bottom of your pallet. Pallets tend to have boards nailed only on 2 sides and in the middle – although if you salvaged it, it might not be as fresh as you wish. Mine was missing a side board but still had one in the middle. I removed the middle board and nailed it in the missing board’s place, on the side. Then, I added two pieces of scrap wood on the other 2 sides to create a frame.
Creating a frame will allow you to tack the batting and fabric all around the ottoman. You could salvage boards from another pallet (that’s what I did!), or just use scrap wood cut to size.
Step 2: Glue the foam
Next, cut the upholstery foam to fit the pallet. If the foam pad is not large enough, just cut pieces and assemble them to cover the top of the pallet.
Apply some glue to the pallet and press in your pieces of foam. This will hold the pieces in place so you can manipulate the pallet before tacking the batting around.
Let the glue dry for a few minutes before you move the pallet.
Step 3: Staple the batting
Once the glue has dried, move the pallet to the side and lay your sheet of batting on the floor. Remove any crinkles by smoothing and pulling on the batting until it lays completely flat. Now, turn the pallet over and place it on top of the batting, foam pad facing down.
With your staple gun, tack one side of the batting to the wood frame. Move to the other side and pull on the batting to make it taut before stapling it to the frame.
Work your way around the sides, tacking the batting then pulling and tacking the opposite side.
Next, move on to the corners. Grab the corner of the batting and pull it tight over the corner of the wood frame. Staple it in place.
Fold each side over, pulling as tight as the batting will allow. Then, staple the sides to the wood.
Finally, cut the excess batting close to the wood frame with a pair of strong fabric scissors.
Step 4: Upholster the DIY ottoman
Grab your pallet and move it aside for a minute. Lay your upholstery fabric on the floor, making sure it’s flat and wrinkle-free. Bring your pallet back and place it on top of the fabric.
Take opposite sides of the fabric and bring them over the pallet to make sure you have enough length of fabric on each side to tack it to the wood. If one side seems too short, adjust the placement of the pallet on the fabric.
Starting in the middle, pull the fabric over the wooden frame and staple it in place. Next, move on to the opposite side and pull the fabric taut over the frame before tacking it to the wood. Like, you did for the batting, move around the pallet by tacking opposite sides. This is the key to upholstering the DIY ottoman coffee table evenly.
Once you’ve stapled the fabric around the sides, bring your pallet in an upright position to work on the corners. The technique is different than the one you used to cover the corner with the batting sheet. To upholster the corners with fabric, start pulling the fabric to one side and create a fold along the ridge of the corner, like in the pictures above. Pull this fold tight and staple the fabric under the pallet to secure it in place.
When you’re done with all four corners, cut the fabric short around the inner wood frame.
Step 5: Attach the ottoman legs
Finally, with the ottoman flat on the floor, take the furniture leg hardware and place it on top of each corner. I place mine about 3/4″ (2cm) away from the edge.
If you inspect your pallet, you’ll see that each corner is supported by a wooden block. When you decide where to place your furniture leg hardware, just make sure that each screw will go into the wooden block, not the side boards. This will ensure the legs are properly attached and the DIY ottoman is sturdy.
That’s all! Turn your DIY Ottoman Coffee Table over and put up your feet 😉. We’re so happy with our new coffee table. It feels much more functional than the previous one which is now serving as an end table.
While this ottoman has a boho vibe because I picked a Persian rug pattern for the upholstery fabric, the project is very adaptable. Choosing different legs and fabric will make this DIY look anything from modern to rustic farmhouse!