Footstool Upholstery ~ It really is that easy

One of the questions I often get asked is, “Is upholstery really that hard?” Truth is that no, it isn’t when you have the right tools, lots of practice, and plenty of patience. It’s the kinda thing you can figure out the basic jist of it by diving in. To give you a glimpse of how easy it really can be, I’m taking a pair of thrifted footstools and showing you how to dive into footstool upholstery.

Thrifted Footstools Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces |

Do you see why they need a little…ahem…help? The footstool on the right is a handmade cover that isn’t bad, but just needed some oomph. The footstool on the left was kinda dingy and also could use a lift. That one on the left is the one that will be my subject for today.

Top of Thrifted Footstools |

With a little DIY know-how, they will look like this…

Vintage Footstool Upholstery with DIY tutorial by Prodigal Pieces |

*post sponsored by HomeRight and includes affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too! (see full disclosure)

So much better, right? You know you can do this. {{chariots of fire music begins}} Ready to get started?

Here’s what you’ll need:

To get started, begin by removing the legs from the footstool with a drill or screwdriver. I always use a container to hold my hardware the minute I remove it because it saves my sanity. (ask me how I know)

Removing Footstool Legs for Upholstery |

Next, remove any backing that is there and discard. Sometimes you will find several layers and that makes it fun to see how a piece a been changed over the years. Remove all the staples, any padding and upholstery. Set aside the batting and upholstery we will use it later.

Remove Footstool Backing |

Clean the legs using a damp cloth, make any repair, and let dry.

Cleaning Footstool Legs for Painting |

When dry, It’s time topaint your legs. This is where one of my favorite painting tools comes into play, the small HomeRight spray shelter. I can’t tell you enough how much I love this thing. I have used it in all these posts and it has saved me so many overspray explanations (ahem) and frustrations. You can’t beat how easy it is to set up and the fact that it is so compact. Sure beats a cardboard box and sheets, eh?

HomeRight Spray Shelter Collapsed |

TIP: I found using a thrifted lazy susan covered in newspaper makes the job easier and faster because you can spin the item to be painted to get all sides coated.

RustOleum Heirloom White Spray Paint for Footstool by Prodigal Pieces |

Using your choice of paint, (I used RustOleum Heirloom White) give the legs a first coat of paint being sure to stay about 12 inches away to avoid drips and runs.

Spraying Footstool Legs for Makeover using HomeRight spray shelter by Prodigal Pieces |

Let the first coat cure for about 20-30 min. and then coat again. Repeat as many times as needed to achieve the look you are after. Let cure for 2-3 hours.

Vintage Footstool Painted in HomeRight Spray Shelter by Prodigal Pieces |

While the paint is curing, it’s time to get your footstool upholstery game on. First, decide if you need to replace any of the batting or foam. Most of the time you can save the old layers and simply add a couple new layers of batting to refresh it. Here is what your upholstery layering will look like.

Layers for Upholstering a Footstool by Prodigal Pieces |

Grab that old fabric we removed and saved and use it as a stencil to cut a new piece of fabric for your footstool upholstery. Be sure to pay attention to pattern layout and design for optimal placement.

I have found the best place to do my footstool upholstery is on the floor, particularly when I am working alone. Why? I use my body weight to hold things in place and makes the job faster. This is me with my knees on the board to compress the foam and make the job of stretching and keeping the fabric taught easier.

Kneeling on Upholstery |

Step 1

Beginning on one side of the board, tug the fabric up and over keeping it snug, but not too tight. Staple a few across to get started.

Step 1 of Upholstering Footstool |

Step 2

Turn the board and repeat the process on the opposite side.

Step 2 of Upholstering Footstool |

Step 3

Repeat the same steps on  the opposite ends until it looks like this below.

Step 3 of Upholstering Footstool | prodigalpieces.comStep 4

Pull back the excess corner of the upholstery and trim the batting as shown.

Step 4 of Upholstering Footstool - Cutting Batting |

Step 5

Tuck in sides and pull over the footstool board as shown and staple 3-4 times to secure.

Step 5 of Upholstering Footstool - Stapling Corner |

Step 6

Trim excess batting and fabric if needed. Your footstool should like like this at this point.

Step 6 of Upholstering Footstool - Trimming |

Step 7

Last, using either a scrap of your upholstery or upholstery underlining, fold over edges and staple to make a clean finish of the bottom of your footstool. Then, using the awl, carefully poke through the underlining/upholstery to mark where your screw holes are. This will help prevent the screw from grabbing and twisting the fabric when adding the legs back on.

Step 7 of Upholstering Footstool - Adding Bottom |

Now you’re ready to add the legs back on and you’re done!

Shabby Chic Footstool Makeover by Prodigal Pieces with DIY steps at

Now this little cutie patootie looks refreshed and ready to go, and so isthe companion footstool. Which one is your favorite? For this second one I used the same fabric I fell in love with for my curbside find settee. See it HERE.

Vintage Ottoman and Chair refreshed with upholstery and paint. DIY at

Both stools are available in my shop for purchase. I already have several, so how many does a girl need? Truly tempting! (SOLD)

Shop Prodigal Pieces |


Pair of Vintage Footstools Refreshed with new upholstery and paint by Prodigal Pieces |

My hope is to have inspired you to give DIY, including footstool upholstery, a try. It really can be that easy! Do pin and share to encourage others to make their house their home too.

How to Upholster a Footstool the EASY way with step-by-step tutorial by Prodigal Pieces |

Up next, I’ll have more crafty goodness for you, so be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Until next time!

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More projects like this footstool upholstery makeover:

How to Freshen Up Your Outdoor Decor with Repurposed Planters and Succulents by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.comA Cedar Chest Found in the Trash Becomes Industrial Style Decor in this Farmhouse Bedroom by Prodigal Pieces |

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  • gwen

    love the fabric choices!
    and yes, we also have peonies – they are our favorite too! however, sadly, the newer plants don’t have the scent of our older ones that were on our property when we moved here.

    June 1, 2017 at 8:29 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks! So happy to hear it, Gwen. I knew I wasn’t alone. 😀

      June 1, 2017 at 9:00 am Reply
  • Mary

    Great tutorial Larissa! With simple tutorials like this anyone can makeover a footstool and make it look fabulous like yours. Pretty, pretty fabrics!

    June 2, 2017 at 2:38 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks so much, Mary.

      June 3, 2017 at 5:52 am Reply
  • Arrow Fastener

    Thanks for linking to our T50 staples! They are quite handy for upholstery projects! #MadeWithArrow

    June 6, 2017 at 2:37 pm Reply
  • Nancy

    Those are just lovely!

    June 19, 2017 at 9:36 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Nancy. 😀

      June 19, 2017 at 4:51 pm Reply

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