DIY // How to Upholster a Coffee Table



When I first saw this coffee table, I thought it had a perfect size and shape, plus the project was affordable enough to re-finish.

The hardest part about this DIY, was to stay out my comfort zone, which is neutral colors. I wanted to make something bright and colorful. So, I spent almost 2 hours on a Saturday afternoon at Joann’s picking some fabric for this project, what a headache! But, I am glad to have found some outdoor fabric at the end, that was bold and durable, and also over 50% on sale (score…)

Long story short, the entire piece came together; just as, I pictured it, and is now on sale in my etsy shop.

Photo Jun 30, 12 17 52 PM

The table I started with!


Step 1 -

  • Stripping old paint off an old furniture piece is crucial, and should be complete to achieve a long-lasting new finish.
  • Cleaning the entire piece with wood stripper, will bring out the beautiful natural wood beneath.
  • Sanding and dusting off needs to be complete before any paint goes on.
Step 2 -
Painted and attached some details
  • Paint at least 2-3 coats of interior paint, and wait 8-24h before applying a clear finish.
  • Clean up details (like the brass details on the coffee table) or attach some extra details.

Tools needed to make a cushion:


Upholstered Coffee Table stey by step2

  • Mark the board for the tufted top
  • Drill the marks


  • Cut out holes where the buttons will sink into.

Cut out holes for your buttons

  • Add the foam and batting to the wood board and staple everything in place.
  • The foam should overlap the wood board, this way it will have a smooth edge.

Upholstered Coffee Table stey by step3

Upholstered Coffee Table stey by step4

  •  After the batting stapled into place, continue applying the tufted top (see step-by-step animation below)


Photo Jul 12, 9 25 35 PM
To secure the cushions to the table I used a L-shaped hinge.

Photo Jun 30, 12 22 38 PM



  • Reply Paulina Dragoeva July 13, 2014 at 7:52 am

    It looks so beautiful! Great job! 🙂

  • Reply Kathy July 14, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Wow, what a stunning transformation!! Great job. 🙂

  • Reply TH July 16, 2014 at 8:34 am

    What a lovely and inventive project! But please, please fix all the misspelled words. They really bring down the quality of the post and the website (as a reader, I’m much less likely to come back to a website that has no editorial standards for fear that those standards translate to the projects as well).

    • Reply Bettina Johnson July 16, 2014 at 9:06 am

      Hi TH,

      I appriciate your input, I went ahead and checked my post again for you. With english being my second language, I am more likely to make mistakes or even overlook some of them.
      I like to believe that you will understand.

  • Reply DawnV July 17, 2014 at 9:36 am

    What a great project! I have two small questions. What thickness of foam did you decide on? Where to you find it? I am also curious how you got the cushions to stay on the table. Do they just fit into the grooves where the glass used to be?

    • Reply Bettina Johnson July 17, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Hi DawnV,

      The thickness of the foam was 2″ inches (it was the thickest foam I could find at Joann’s). And yes, the cushion fit right into the grooves where the glass used to be. I also made sure to staple further out, so the staples won’t sit in that groove.

      Hope this helps, I also updated the post with another image that shows how I attached the cushions to the table.
      Happy crafting!

  • Reply Jo July 27, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Great job & instructions I have a coffee table I would like to upholster! Thank you!

  • Reply Chelsea July 30, 2014 at 8:43 am

    What a great transformation! I love the tufted cushions!

    • Reply Bettina Johnson July 30, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      Thanks Chelsea, it was my first time upholstering with the tufted style and I love it. Can’t wait to transform something else with a tufted look.

  • Reply mary@athomeonthebay July 30, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Wow, great transformation, Bettina! Pinning…

  • Reply Marilee Zafra January 28, 2015 at 9:24 am

    LOOKS AMAZING! I always see old tables like that around. I’m so excited to make one myself. Is it sturdy enough for someone to sit on as well?

    • Reply Bettina Johnson January 28, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      Glad you like the coffee table! Yes, I made it sturdy enough to sit on it. I used 3/4inch plywood, it was holding me up pretty good.

      • Reply Marilee January 29, 2015 at 9:20 am

        Thank you, I’m been wanting to do a project like this but didn’t know how sturdy they were to sit on. I’m excited. Thanks again

  • Reply Lucina July 27, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    I love the table and tutorial. What is the paper strip used after the fabric called? Is not in the picture of supplies needed.

  • Reply thebestchairsglider January 22, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Really great tutorial just wanted to let everyone know there is one mistake in the dimensions of the aprons. The tutorial calls for 3″ overhang on all sides but tells you the short side of the apron should measure 28″. This would give you a 4″ lip on the long side of the table. Which is fine just thought it should be corrected. Other than that my table turned out great. Thanks

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