An ottoman is a versatile piece of furniture that can be used as a footrest, extra seating, or coffee table. It typically has a padded top and may have storage space inside. Ottomans come in various shapes, sizes, and styles, making them a popular choice for any room in the house.

What’s the difference between ottomans, footstools, and poufs?

While ottomans, footstools, and poufs are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between the three. A footstool is typically more petite and utilized mainly for resting your feet, whereas an ottoman is more prominent and can be used for various purposes i.e. as a coffee table.

Conversely, a pouf is a low seat or cushion typically round or cylindrical in shape and generally made of soft materials like fabric, leather, or knitted yarn. It is often used as a footstool, extra seating, or decorative accent in a room. All 3 are versatile pieces of furniture that can add a cozy and comfortable touch to any space.

This post on DIY ottoman tutorials features three easy and affordable ways to create your own ottoman using IKEA products. With time and effort, you can create a custom DIY ottoman that perfectly matches your decor and meets your needs. So why not try your hand at one of these IKEA hacks to add a stylish and functional piece of furniture to your home?

How to make an ottoman, the easy way

Tori of Va Va Room shows us how in her IKEA hack project. It’s a relatively simple project that can be completed over a weekend, even for a beginner DIYer. This is an easy method to get a budget-friendly ottoman that looks good and performs perfectly as extra seating.

You’ll need some essential tools, such as a hammer, a staple gun, and a hot glue gun, as well as some materials, including foam padding, fabric, and wood board. The basic steps involve adding foam padding, upholstering the ottoman with wadding, and making an ottoman cover. This DIY ottoman will need some sewing by hand or machine.

DIY ottoman with IKEA KALLAX cube


  • IKEA KALLAX cube
  • 25 mm pins
  • 3mm hardboard
  • Foam pad
  • Wadding
  • Upholstery fabric

Step 1: Get an IKEA KALLAX cube

Tori started with the KALLAX cube she scored from the As-is corner. If you’re buying new, it will cost $34.99 each.

Step 2: Cover up the side

DIY ottoman steps and process

Her advice is to get a 3mm hardboard to cover up the side of the stool. The preferred size is 0.81mm X 0.41mm x 3mm. Get the store to cut the board into two for you, and you’ll end up with two panels of just the right size to cover up the sides.

Step 3: Secure the board

Tori used a hammer and pins to secure the hardboard to the side of the KALLAX cube. She left one side open for storage, but that did not happen. “But it could if you’re nifty with sewing!” she explains.

Step 4: Add foam padding for the seat

attach foam pad and wadding

The next step is to measure and cut a piece of 1″ foam for the seat top. Use hot glue to stick the foam down to the top of the KALLAX shelving unit.

Step 5: Staple wadding to the cube

After that, she stapled wadding all over the cube, cutting away excess and tucking in the seams before stapling them down.

Step 6: Make the DIY ottoman cover

ottoman template and upholstery

Moving on to the upholstery. Her fabric of choice is a 100% cotton furniture upholstery fabric with subtle stripes.

She used an old sheet to cut out a template of the cube. Then, she laid the template on the fabric and cut it out with a bit of a margin. Drap the fabric over the cube — inside out — and start pinning, pulling the fabric smooth and taut.

Remove from the cube and start sewing. You can sew with a machine or by hand. Pull the ottoman cover over the cube once all the sides are joined and the edges seamed. The cover is removable.

And this is how amazing it looks when done.

diy ottoman with IKEA KALLAX
diy ottoman with IKEA KALLAX

DIY ottoman from a crate and old jeans

DIY denim ottoman ikea hack 2

I made a handy rustic ottoman using an old pair of jeans and an IKEA KNAGGLIG box. Not only does it look fantastic, it is a footstool, extra seat, and handy magazine store all in one. Being on casters, it’s nifty, too; the kids love to whizz around the living room on it. You can personalize your ottoman by stenciling your family name on the side of the crate and using an old pair of your favorite jeans for the upholstered seat.

The choice of material is up to you. We are a denim family, but it could easily be converted into a faux leather ottoman or farmhouse cotton tufted ottoman.

I love the industrial/rustic vibe of this ottoman. I have it in my living room, but it would also be great for a man cave or teen bedroom.

IKEA item used:

DIY denim ottoman ikea hack 3

Make a rustic ottoman

  1. First, build the KNAGGLIG crate according to IKEA instructions and add the RILL casters to the base.
  2. Using a black Sharpie, stencil your name or your favorite quote to the crate if you wish.
  3. Darken and seal the untreated wood with wax.
diy ottoman ikea hack
  1. Make an upholstered lid. Cut plywood to size and stick down a piece of dense foam.
  2. Cut off a leg of your jeans and cut open down the seam. Cover the foam with the jean securing it with a staple gun. Glue the jeans waistband round the edge.
DIY denim ottoman ikea hack 4
  1. Fix two batons of wood to the underside of the lid to prevent it from slipping.

See more of the denim ottoman on my blog, Pillar Box Blue.

~ by Claire Armstrong

Upcycled DIY pallet ottoman from an old mattress

DIY ottoman pouf ikea with Kristine Mandsberg fabric for IKEA

If you have an old foam mattress you no longer need, upcycle it into a delightful DIY ottoman.

I wanted a pouf for my living room but couldn’t afford one. And I had an old IKEA foam mattress sitting behind my couch, taking up space.

I was going to dump it when I thought of using it for this project. It was a win-win. I had my pouf ottoman and “got rid” of the spare mattress in one project. 

IKEA items used: 

  • MALFORS foam mattress
  • Bedsheet
  • Fabric by Kristine Mandsberg
  • IKEA FIXA drill/screwdriver

Other materials and tools: 

  • Pallet wood
  • Scrap wood
  • Jigsaw
  • Pruning saw
  • Hammer
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Marker
  • Nails

DIY Pallet Ottoman tutorial

1. Cut the pallet to size with a jigsaw.

pallet wood

2. Cut scrap wood to size and nail it to the bottom of the pallet, creating a frame to staple the fabric to.

pallet frame
pallet frame

3. Measure the top of the pallet and cut the foam mattress to fit. I used a pruning saw for this as the mattress was very thick. I used a double layer of foam for comfort and sturdiness. 

measuring the foam
double layer of foam

4. Place foam on top of the pallet and position the bedsheet on top so there’s enough fabric to go under the pallet. This will be stapled to the bottom and form an under-layer.

DIY ottoman pouf

Draw a rough outline of foam on the sheet and then flip the whole lot on the floor, mattress on top, pallet on top of the mattress. I had help from my cats for this step!  

DIY ottoman pouf

5. Staple the sheet to one side of the pallet, then pull tight and staple to the opposite side. Do the same for the remaining two sides. Tuck in and trim fabric for the corners (this can be a bit tricky!). 

DIY ottoman pouf

Related: Chic cocktail ottoman

DIY ottoman pouf ikea

6. Flip the ottoman over and make sure the fabric is tight and even. Do the same for the material you will use as the final covering.

Kristine Mandsberg fabric

I used the stunning pink fabric with hands and birds by Kristine Mandsberg, which I got in IKEA several years ago. I had been using it as a backdrop to my bed but changed my decor, and it sat in the cupboard for years before being used for this ottoman.

DIY ottoman pouf ikea
DIY ottoman pouf ikea

7. The final step I have yet to do is to find and attach feet to the ottoman. However, it functions perfectly without them. 

How long and how much did it cost?  

It takes about 8 hours total and costs €5 for the staples! I had everything else at home.

What do you like most about this DIY Ottoman?  

The fabric I used is like a piece of art, and the ottoman is sturdy and comfortable enough to be used as extra seating.

What was the most challenging part about this hack?

Folding the fabric for the corners!

What to pay special attention to?  


DIY ottoman pouf ikea with Kristine Mandsberg fabric for IKEA

I’m delighted with how it turned out. And I’ve received many lovely compliments and a request to make some for others! 

~ by Ruth O’Sullivan 

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