Cool & Creative Upcycled Ottomans

Reading Time: 4 minutes

This ottoman has always been an ottoman. But many others out there haven’t been!

Ottomans have become big business these days. They’re great multifunctional pieces that can serve as occasional tables, a place to rest your feet, or even as spare seating during parties.

Because there are no rules with ottomans, they’ve become a really popular DIY item, and nowadays people are getting really inspired and doing some pretty funky stuff.

I scoured the interwebs to share with you some neat upcycled ottomans, in case you’d like to have a unique but useful ottoman in your living space. Here are some of the nicest finds:

Ottomans of every shape and size

Over at Beyond The Picket Fence, Becky made a hinged lid for an old waterbed drawer, upholstered it, stuck some legs on it, and came out with this truly wonderful ottoman that has storage, pizzazz, and a whole lot of personality.

For a truly budget project that has a lot of cool, the folks blogging at Parentables decided to take one of those super-rugged plastic milk crates, spraypaint and upholster it, and got themselves a cheap, cool, and tough footstool and occasional spare seat. It’d be quite easy to make several of these, and they could stack in storage nicely, for when you’re having parties and need an extra 4-5 seats for friends.

Ottomans as art

Martha Stewart’s got nothing on the NewlywedMcGees, who decided to take a beat-up coffee table, kit it out for upholstery, then padded it with foam, and turned it into a work of art. This is definitely a good afternoon or even a whole day’s project, but they’ve very kindly shown you every step of the way. Once you’ve got the basics down with it, this is a project you can change up every couple years. It’s a real statement piece. If you covered it with some nice marine vinyl, you’d have a great piece for a deck or patio.

I would upholster this one differently, but I’d say this is one of my fave utilitarian ottomans I’ve seen in a while, and was actually the inspiration for this posting. Mon Makes Things explains in super-duper detail exactly how to put your own four-crate ottoman together. You’ll need to make sure it’s strong wood and sturdy wheels if you want one or two people sitting on it, but this is a thing of rustic beauty.

From junk to ottoman

This Brazilian site has a pictorial if you don’t read Portuguese, and thank goodness, because I also really, really love this project. This sisal-rope-glued-to-an-old-tire ottoman is staggering when you consider the sum of its parts with the end result. It’s a modern beauty that reuses a hard-to-recycle tire. It’s tough, will last a long time, is cheap to make, and looks stunning and natural when it’s done. Definitely a brilliant DIY craft.

And if you’ve got a sisal-tire ottoman, maybe you need this companion piece, in which a rusty-cool old tire rim is converted into a funky ottoman by the folks over at Upcycle Infatuation.

New function for old

Down in New Zealand, one designer has made quite the name for herself, thanks to dedicating her creativity to ReCreate Interior Design, where she repurposes for the greater good. I particularly love her reuse of this old tub via turning it into a wonderful ottoman. Have a look through her site for everything from old traveling trunks converted to benches, milk pails turned to stools, and so much more. Holy inspiration, Batman.

Another design that endlessly inspires me is this look for this old-suitcase-cum-ottoman, but I’d rethink the height of it if it were in my space. Still, the mixing of ultramodern metal legs with a ‘50s suitcase and a country-modern floral fabric is a really neat marriage of styles and eras that works just because everything has the same kind of tonal value with blues/blacks/greys. It still feels and looks warm, and she can still use the suitcase for storage.

It’s not even necessary to upholster the luggage, though. Just throwing some legs on a good-lookin’ old-school suitcase can make for a really great simple piece, too, as this Etsy seller demonstrates.

Mid-century modern meets 21st century upcycling

But this guy, this is the coolest reuse of an old index card cupboard from a mid-century office I’ve ever seen. Crafter Dewey13 added casters and then upholstered the top, and next thing you know, it’s a simply stunning piece of furniture that’s probably gonna last another century. What a fantastic creation by just another crafty enthusiast, proving that if we can think it up, we’ve done half the hard work.

I never get tired of people’s creative reuse of things that would otherwise be deemed obsolete and cast off to the landfill. Case in point, check out this neat recreation of an old washing machine drum. The blogger behind Esprit Cabane gives you some tips how to try refurbing your broken washer and creating a cool ottomon. It’s so great when people like this take the time to share with us how to get creative.

Upcycling is a positive trend

These are just a few ideas for reinventing things in a way that adds value and purpose to your space. Upcycling is such a positive trend. It can save us money, it saves the planet, it gives us pieces with great personality, and it teaches others that it’s easy to find new life for old things, if only we’re creative and crafty about it.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Steffani Cameron

Steffani Cameron is a Victoria BC-based writer on a variety of topics. Here on the BuildDirect blog, she specializes in writing about smaller, urban spaces. How do you make the most of your smaller space? How do you decorate it to suit you? And how do you wage the war against clutter and win? This is Steff’s specialty.