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This DIY storage ottoman is the perfect place to hide remotes (where they won’t get lost) and other living room clutter. Find out how easy it is to build your own.


Are you looking for a chic way to sneak storage into your living room? I had been looking for an ottoman for a while, struggling to find something cute yet functional, so I finally decided to build my own. I chose to upgrade to a DIY storage ottoman so that it could be a storage solution, too!

This rustic farmhouse storage ottoman has two hinges that support the weight of the pillow and can open up to store remotes, blankets, magazines and even pillows! So not only is it comfortable as a footrest but this storage ottoman is a great way to hide those items that would normally cause extra clutter around the living room.

Want to see how I did it? Grab a cup of coffee and read on.

What you will need to build this DIY storage ottoman:

  • Two 1×4 boards (8-foot length)
  • One 2×2 board (26 inches length)
  • Plywood ⅝” thick (18” x 18”)
  • Plywood ¼” thick (18” x 18”)
  • Four legs of choice (mine are 6” and screw on)
  • 1 ¼” nails
  • Nail gun
  • Two hinges
  • Four threaded nut inserts (if using a screw on leg)
  • Miter saw or hand saw
  • Orbital Sander or sanding block
  • Sandpaper (I used 120 grit)
  • Drill
  • Wood stain (I used Minwax Special Walnut)
  • Spray paint/paint of color choice (I used Valspar Satin White)
  • Pillow foam cut to 18” x 18”
  • Fabric batting
  • Fabric of choice (I bought one yard)
  • Tape measure, scissors, hammer
  • Optional: craft paint for distressing

*Remember to use caution, eye protection and extreme care when using power tools. I also use a respirator mask and gloves when spray painting.

Step 1: Cut your wood pieces.

cuts for diy storage ottomanplywood and legs

Cut the wood as follows to make an 18” x 18” ottoman base:

Two 1×4 boards (8-foot length)

Four pieces – 18” each

Four pieces – 16-⅝” each

One 2×2 board (26” length)

Four pieces – 6.5” each

Plywood ¼” thick (18” x 18”)

Note: After the base of the ottoman has been assembled (Step Two below) you will be able to cut this piece of wood. Place assembled base of the ottoman square on top of plywood once completed. You will then trace the inside edge. This template will be used to cut out the squares later on. Your cuts will be approximately 1-¼” squares in each corner.

Plywood ⅝” thick (18” x 18”)

The other piece of plywood (⅝” thick) should be cut into a piece 18” x 18”. This will be used for the top of the ottoman.

Sand all of the edges.

Step 2: Assemble the base of the ottoman.

blue power drill over plywood

Lay out the wood pieces on a flat surface and assemble the base.

Using a nail gun, attach the side boards together.  Place a 2×2 inside each corner. These will be used to attach the legs.

Repeat this step until you have two layers of sideboard around the base.

It should look something like this when you are finished with step two.

Sideboards nailed onto storage ottoman base

Step 3: Attach feet to the base of the ottoman and paint.

Drill a hole into each of the 2x2s. Then you will place the nut inserts into the 2x2s as shown below.  Next, you can screw on your four legs.

Once you have attached your legs make sure your base is not wobbly or needs any minor tweaking. If all is well, take off the legs and paint as desired. I chose to spray paint mine white then added a bit of brown craft paint to give it a distressed look. As for the base wood, I bought some pre-stained and textured wood for this project but you could certainly buy plain boards if you chose to paint a solid color instead of staining. Because I cut the wood, there were corners that needed staining, so I brushed on a wood stain to the entire base (minus the legs) to even it out.

DIY storage ottoman without lid or base

Step 4: Insert bottom plywood to the base.

DIY storage ottoman without lid

Place assembled base on the ¼” thick plywood. You will then trace the inside corners around the edges with a pencil to get an accurate cut.

Step 5: Prep the top base of the ottoman.

It is very important that the top piece of plywood fits, so double check before moving on to the next step.  Some additional cutting/sanding may be required.

Step 6: Cover your pillow with fabric.

Craftsman staple gun on top of plywood and pillow for DIY storage ottoman

Place the pillow foam onto the plywood. Then wrap the fabric batting around the pillow/plywood. Staple the batting to the plywood base.

You will then repeat this step with the fabric. Attach the fabric to the cushion using a staple gun. Begin by stapling fabric to the frame at the center point of each side, and then at each corner, pulling fabric tautly as you go.

After the sides and corners are stapled in place, continue securing the fabric until you have completed the full pillow. Pull fabric tightly around the curved corners to eliminate tucks on top side of cushion.

Tip: If using a patterned fabric, be sure to position the design on the seat cushion appropriately.

For further instructions on reupholstering a cushion, check out my tutorial on how to reupholster dining room chairs.

It should look like this when you are finished.

DIY storage ottoman cushion flipped over

Step 7: Attach the hinges for the storage compartment.

Black hinges on farmhouse DIY storage ottoman

In order to use this ottoman for storage, it needs to be able to open and close with ease. Adding two hinges was an easy solution.
Mount the hinges using a drill.  I centered the edge of each hinge about 3 inches from the sides.

Drill the hinge to the base and the plywood part of the pillow.  It should be secure when finished.

Here is the completed project! I couldn’t be any happier with how this storage ottoman came out! I love how it looks and I’ve been impressed with the functionality, too! I can store remotes, pillows, blankets, magazines, books and more.

Have questions for Laura on how to build your own DIY storage ottoman? Message her in the comments below!

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About the Author

Laura Destro

Laura Destro is a lifestyle photographer who loves to make DIY decor and holiday crafts. She is also known for her DIY Outdoor Sink, Holiday Mantels and seasonal craft ideas she shares on both her blog and Instagram @destrophoto.

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