Mid century ottoman redressing

Let’s get sentimental this morning…Maybe it’s your grandmother’s old worn wingback chair or a set of antique encyclopedias – Whatever the piece or collection, it’s a safe bet that we all have special items that have stood the test of time in our respective families…Heirloom pieces that bring to mind particular memories from our childhoods. Now the piece I’m about to show you probably isn’t quite as special as the image I’ve just painted (I think my mom got it at a thrift store), but that makes it no less valuable in memory.

We’ve had this mid century ottoman for as long as I can remember – As you can see it’s had a pretty hard life. Complete with the tell-tale markings of a toss around project helper with torn leather and paint splatters across the top and legs.

Sure it’s beat up, but as I said this little stool has been in the family for years and I wasn’t about to let it get tossed to the curb. With a recent affinity for all things mid century in the past few years, I finally decided it was high time to breathe new life into this little piece of furniture.

It actually sat for quite a while in my studio, waiting for just the right fabric to recover it with. Finally, after several weeks, I made it to the fabric store. My quest was to find something yellow with a modern vibe, preferably an ikat pattern – The only contenders though were at the back of the shop in the expensive designer section ($20+/yard). As we turned to go empty handed, I almost walked right by our fabric but managed to spot it at the last moment. Vaguely ikat, definitely modern and absolutely the bright, cheery yellow I was hoping for.

Two yards of clearance fabric for $15 – Sold. (I bought way more than I needed because I hope to spread it far – New pillows for the living room, perhaps?)

When I started my recovering project, I ran into a bit of a snag – Without any kind of batting on top of the leather (I wasn’t about to strip it to bare bones for fear of ruining it), you could clearly see the piping along the edge of the ottoman seat.

This is where you need to learn from my crazy ideas…I briefly thought I could wrap the seat in left over “cush” from a mattress topper, but ended up with this disastrous mess:

Don’t judge.

I just have to giggle at the monstrosity I was left with…After getting hugely frustrated and walking away for a few hours, I was able to return with new motivation, ditched the padding and decided to wrap the seat with two layers of thin fabric to diminish the look of that tiny line of piping. In the end you can hardly see it at all, so I’m glad I came to my senses about the extra padding.

Using scraps from an old t-shirt sheet, I covered the seat once (using a staple gun to adhere the fabric), trimmed the edges and then got to work on the top layer with my new yellow ikat fabric.

Oh, and the ottoman is one-legged because, after attempting to remove all of the legs for easier maneuverability during the recover phase, the last one wouldn’t budge thanks to a stripped screw. It didn’t get in the way too much, thankfully.

Once the legs were reattached and the yellow fabric was trimmed, we were ready for the moment of truth – Time to flip it over and judge my work!

No need to worry though, because all was well – The new fabric was straight, free of creases and dressed up the ottoman perfectly. No more stains and rips in sight.

For now, I’ve put our newly refreshed stool in the entry way by the front door. The yellow goes well with our teal and sunny-hued living room, so it only made sense.

While I was taking aerial shots of the stool from the staircase, Ginny the cat got in on the action – Just wait until you see the second photo of her mid-yawn. Monster cat!

::shivers:: I know. She’s terrifying sometimes, right? Just had to share that random moment captured on film. She really is a lovely feline most of the time…

As our new entry way buddy, the ottoman has been the perfect place to set down my purse – I hated letting my Coach bag live on the floor when I got home, so our pretty modern stool is a fabulous new drop spot. I see it being a great place to sit to put on boots before a snowy evening walk too, or for Ginny to sunbathe on.

What special things from your childhood have you been able to breathe new life into or decorate your home with?


20 thoughts on “Mid century ottoman redressing

  1. Ainhoa

    I love the fabric you used to recover it! I’ve been looking at yellow-green accent chairs since we might switch the living room rug for something more neutral, and that type of fabric is just what I was looking for!

    1. Carrie Post author

      Yeah! I mean, you can see the piping a LITTLE bit, but just pull both layers of fabric as tight as possible and you’ll barely detect it. In the end, that line of piping actually gives it more of a crisp edge anyway. Win win! The fabric is probably still at JoAnn’s if you want it – To the right, just as you walk in the door on an end cap =)

  2. Miss. Zoe

    What a great find on that fabric! I’m constantly on the search for quality fabric with the ridiculous price tag but my eye tends to gravitate toward the good stuff! Hah! Great job.

    1. Carrie Post author

      Thank you so much! I actually don’t know…It was like that when John bought the place a couple years ago, but I will do some investigating and see if I can track down the color!

  3. Alyssa

    Very cute! I found you thru YHL and saw you commented about recovering an ottoman…I read any and all things about recovering since I’ve had a chair and ottoman sitting in my basement for months waiting for a facelift! I’m too scared to start on it since I don’t even know where TO start! I was wondering if you considered painting the legs white or something fun pop of color? Teal maybe? What are your feelings on that?

    1. Carrie Post author

      Awesome! Glad you found us!! The ottoman was a snap to recover! You could definitely paint the legs a fun color!! Love that idea! I didn’t paint the legs on mine because I think the yellow fabric is enough pop for this particular piece. But by all means, if you grab a neutral fabric to recover your ottoman, bright legs would be fabulous =)

  4. Dave

    I like all the trinkets and decorations you have all over. It adds great character, but doesn’t it get dusty? The main reason we don’t have that many decorative items in our home is dust… we seem to have lots and lots and lots of dust here..

    1. Carrie Post author

      Adding the character and charm is worth the bi-weekly dusting I do =) But we don’t seem to get THAT much dust. Don’t know why, but I like it!


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