Coffee table transformation

An old coffee table turned into a Southwest-inspired ottoman

We recently moved and I have this amazing sunroom that I am trying to Southwestify – yes, that’s a word.  I’ve collected a few pieces, including this amazing gold steer head I picked up at Target for $11! Can you believe that? $11?!?!?

gold steer head in antique frame

I wanted to incorporate a textile, but it is the only room in the house that is carpeted and rug on top of carpet seemed like a little much – even for me.  So, I got this great idea to repurpose an old coffee table into an ottoman.

Before I get into the how, you need the full story behind the coffee table to really appreciate it.  Repurposed furniture is great, but the stories behind these pieces are what makes them really special.

The coffee table saga: 

During my college years, when I was somewhat financially challenged, I furnished my house on hand-me-downs.  I literally had a sofa that my Uncle’s dog had chewed all the stuffing out of at one point.  In front of this sofa, sat my great-grandmother’s coffee table; which had seen better days.

The coffee table was a family joke.  My sister had watched it fall off the truck on the Will Rogers Turnpike. Nobody believed her until the highway patrol stopped to let them know. Needless to say, when a coffee table skids across the highway it gets a little mucked up, but nothing a little paint can’t handle.

To add insult to injury, Javier was still a puppy back then and decided coffee tables with corners were ridiculous and proceeded to chew them all off.  Distressed furniture was in, so I went with it.

I eventually upgraded my furniture, but I just couldn’t bring myself to get rid of the turnpike coffee table, so it went into storage in my sister’s garage for 10 years.

$40 of padded foam, a Mexican blanket, lots of staples and a few hours later, we had a new centerpiece for our sunroom. I’m pretty sure my
great-grandmother would be proud.

Coffee table repurposed into upholstered ottoman - southwest style


  • Coffee table
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Foam – I used the outdoor foam at Joann’s because it was more budget friendly – definitely use a coupon
  • Upholstery fabric or a Mexican blanket

First, we gave the coffee table a good scrubbing since it had been sitting in a garage for 10 years. Then, I took a long look at the chewed up corners and reminisced about Javier’s puppy years.

old coffee table with chewed up corners

Next, we cut the foam. To get just the right size, we laid the table on top of the foam and added a half an inch around the table it would cover the sides.

To add a little Southwest flair, I bought a Mexican blanket from the Casas por Cristo store  – it was only $14!  Score!  Much cheaper than upholstery fabric.

Because of the pattern of the blanket, I wanted to make sure the stripes were lined up right.  We marked the center of my table on both sides and then adjusted the fabric so the stripes were centered on each side of the table.  If you want to make this step a whole lot easier, use a SOLID.  There was no way I would have been happy with an ottoman covered with a solid because that would not be very Southwesty, so I took the extra 15 minutes to get everything lined up.

Layering blanket and foam to reupholster coffee table

Once everything was lined up, we cut the fabric.  You’ll want to cut enough excess so you can fold it over and staple it on the bottom.  But, too much excess can make it hard to work with, so take the time to fold it over and find the sweet spot.  I don’t like to measure, but my sister reminded me that I stink at eyeballing things, so I went around and marked the cut line so everything would be even.  In retrospect, eyeballing the cut line would have most likely resulted in disaster. Good call, sis! (My niece is standing on the table to keep it from shifting during the stapling process.)

stapling the ottoman

Almost finished! We used a staple gun to staple the blanket to the underside of the coffee table. We started by putting a few staples in one of the long sides and then put a few in the other to make sure the fabric didn’t shift.  We saved the corners until last and folded them like you would wrap a gift.  We cut a bit of the bulk of the fabric and foam to get them to lay better.  This may not be necessary if you are using a lighter weight fabric, but the Mexican blanket was very bulky.

Ta-da! She’s all done!

Coffee table repurposed into an upholstered ottoman