How To Make a Bench Ottoman

Bench ottomans are great tools for resting tired and weary feet.  An ottoman, more popularly known as a footstool, is a piece of furniture with a padded bench just like a stool.  Aside from its function as a footrest to augment comfort while sitting on a chair or a couch, it is known to provide a certain aesthetic enhancement to a home.  If accordingly designed and upholstered, it can add to the total theme of a home.

Bench ottomans can be easily built assuming that you have a basic background of woodworking.  It is highly recommended that you take some basic woodworking and furniture assembly courses before making your own version of this type of furniture. 

The top

  1. The first step in making a bench ottoman is to start with the top frame.  The top frame is the structure where the cushion and upholstery will be fastened.
  2. You will need 4 pieces of wood.  The length and width of the wood will depend on the specifications of your plan.  The most common is a rectangular shaped ottoman.  In this case, you will need 2 pieces of wood with the same length and width and another 2 pieces shorter than the other 2 pieces.
  3. Once you have the wood, you must sand the pieces of wood using coarse, medium, fine, and extra fine sand paper.  Do this until they are completely smooth.
  4. As soon as you finish, you will need to apply several coats of acrylic wood treatments to provide protection to the wood.  Make sure you allow proper drying of the treatment per coating.
  5. Upon drying the final treatment of coating, you will need to saw off the ends of each piece of wood into a 45 degree angle. 
  6. Make sure the measurements are the same for all the pieces.  You will then need to assemble all the pieces together at the end to form a rectangle.  Apply wood or carpenter’s glue on each end and allow them to dry until it becomes tacky.
  7. Assemble the rectangle by connecting each corner firmly.  Allow the glue to dry and you will have your bench ottoman top.

Assembling the legs

  1. You will need 4 pieces of wood with the same length and width. 
  2. Sand all of them and apply the treatments as you did with the top. 
  3. Apply the wood glue to one end of each wood and firmly connect to the corners of the top you have ready. 
  4. To reinforce this, you will need to install screws from your top going down to each leg.  You can use a power tool for this.
  5. Now you need to strengthen the legs.  You will need another 4 pieces of wood that fit the measurements of the distance of each leg. 
  6. Again, do the same process of sanding and treatments, applying the wood glue on each end, and firmly connecting it.  Use a power tool to install screws from each leg to the horizontal reinforcements.

Attaching the cushion 

  1. Your cushion should be based on the size of your top.  Place the cushion on the stool top and fasten it with screws on each corner.  It would be wise to apply some adhesive on the stool top as well.
  2. As soon as the cushion is firmly in place, you can now cover it with the fabric of your choice.  Thoroughly test the strength bit using it.

A bench ottoman is easy to assemble as long as you have a basic understanding of woodworking and the use of power tools.  Visit some furniture stores and look at their bench ottoman designs.  Base your plans on these samples.


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