How to Build an Ottoman With Storage

A blue wood ottoman with a striped lid.
What You'll Need
6 plywood pieces
4 1x1 pine cleats
4 corner blocks
Wood glue
Wood screws
Foam batting
Upholstery fabric
Spray fabric glue
Staple gun and staples
Long hinge
Toy box lid support
4 furniture feet/casters
Paint/stain (optional)

You could spend a ton of money on a fancy new ottoman with built-in storage, but you could also save a lot by going the DIY route instead. With a few basic tools and some plywood, you can complete this project in just a couple of days—work on this DIY ottoman for one weekend, and it will be part of your home by Monday.

Step 1 - Get the Box

This project begins with an open box. You can repurpose wooden crates to create an urban chic look or begin with any large wooden box with a lid—or two of the same size. If you can't find what you want, you'll have to build your own box. For this, you'll need two equal pieces of 3/4-inch plywood for the long sides of the ottoman, two equal plywood sheets for the sides, or four plywood pieces of an equal size. Cut your own if you have a power saw and a good home workshop, or simply have them cut for you at the lumber or hardware store. You'll also need four 1x1 pine cleats and corner blocks.

Step 2 - Build a Better Box

Whether you're starting with plywood pieces or working on repurposing an old piece, you've got to get your box ready. Sand down the wood and assemble the pieces. Use wood glue and clamps to fit the four side pieces of the box together and then drill holes for screws. Install the pine cleats all around the bottom edge. Use the pine blocks in each corner. Use wood glue and screws to secure all these pieces together.

Step 3 - Give the Box a Base

Once the side walls of the box are assembled, attach the bottom of the box. This will be another plywood sheet cut to size. Use glue and screws to secure it into place through the pine cleats and corner blocks.

Step 4 - Make a Matching Lid

You'll need a lid the same size as the bottom board for the top of the box box. Cut it, sand it, and set it to the side.

Step 5 - Wrap it Up

Glue batting onto the side walls of the box and upholster it. Spray fabric glue works very well to make this task quick. Pull the upholstery tight and secure it to the bottom of the box with a staple gun.

Step 6 - Upholster the Lid

Cover the lid of the box with more batting and upholster it. But this time, make sure the fabric piece is large enough to cover the inside of the lid as well. Staple the fabric around the edges to secure it and cut away any excess.

Step 7 - Bring it Together

A hinge and a toy box lid support are all you need to bring the lid together with the body of your ottoman. Drill the support along the top edge on the backside of the box (where you want the lid to attach), place your hinge, and you're almost done.

Step 8 - Add the Support

Finish the job by attaching four feet to the four bottom corners of your ottoman, or four casters if you want the piece to roll around. Once the supports are in place, you're ready to start enjoying your ottoman.

Step 9 (Optional)

If you don't like the upholstered look, you can always paint or stain your plywood pieces before they're ever assembled.

Instead of searching and searching for the right piece of furniture, create your own DIY ottoman with storage. Cover it with fabric or stain, build it to fit your exact space, and attach wheels or legs. When you DIY, you get exactly what you want. Build your own ottoman, and your home will feel even more customized.