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rug, ottoman, HGTV Design StarContestant Casey Noble sizes up her flat-weave rug. Photo:

Recently on HGTV's Design Star, contestants (brilliantly) crafted an ottoman using a flat-weave rug. Want to recreate this now-famous furniture project right at home? Now you can.

Have you been following this season's Design Star on HGTV? I'm totally addicted.

One of the highlights this season has been contestant Casey Noble's idea to transform a rug into an ottoman in the episode featuring the Dining Room Challenge. I loved how this piece turned out; a perfect example of clever repurposing of existing household items. I've even seen a couple furniture companies selling ottomans upholstered with vintage rugs.

Inspired by Casey's rug-turned-ottoman, I looked into how to DIY it.

A flat-weave floor covering, like the one Casey used, is the best option for a DIY rug ottoman because it behaves like thick upholstery fabric. (A fluffier rug would be difficult to wrap around the ottoman without bunching.) A round ottoman/stool like the one Casey made over is considered a boudoir stool. The seat is low and not heavily padded, making it an utterly doable DIY project -- no excuses!

Design Star, rug,

1. Strip the piece down to the frame. When you're reupholstering a piece of furniture, this is always the first step. Remove all the tacks, nails, and staples, keeping the fabric and foam in place.

2. If the foam needs replacing, create a pattern for it.
Drape a piece of craft paper over the frame and outline around the edge of the frame. Bring your template in to a local foam center to get a custom piece of foam for your ottoman. (In New York, I go to Economy Foam and Futon.)

3. Spray the top and sides of the foam with a spray adhesive. I recommend using 3M Foam Fast Adhesive. Wait five minutes for the glue to become tacky and then attach to the wood frame.

4. Make a rolled edge with the rug. In his Book of Upholstery, Matthew Haly explains how a rolled, or rounded, edge is typically found on upholstered stools. Spray the side of the foam with 3M Foam Fast Adhesive, being careful to spray only the top half of the side. Tuck the bottom edge of the foam using an upholstery regulator -- a handheld tool resembling a giant needle, which is designed to make adjustments to furniture stuffing. With your other hand, pull the top edge of the foam over the bottom edge and press firmly into the frame. Continue this all the way around the ottoman.

Design Star, ottoman,

4. Use a layer of Dacron over the foam. Experienced upholsterers use this trick to help prevent the foam from degrading. To attach the piece of Dacron, spray the foam all over with a fast tack upholstery spray adhesive. Wait two minutes until the adhesive is tacky, then drape your Dacron over the foam. Staple it to the ottoman using a staple gun, as seen above by Design Star contestant Courtland Bascon. It's best to position the first staple in the center front of the form, then center back, followed by the center points of the two sides.

5. Measure and cut your rug. Use a cloth tape measure to measure the diameter of the padded ottoman top. Add four inches to the diameter (so you have extra to wrap the rug under the ottoman) and cut a square with sides that are that length.

6. Drape your rug over the ottoman, and pin the edges of the foam in a few spots. Smooth your hand over the rug to make sure the tension is consistent; that's the key to getting a smooth, polished look. Use upholstery tacks to pin the rug around the circumference of the ottoman frame. Carefully smooth down the rug as you work.

7. Stretch the rug around the form, and staple the rug to the underside of the form. Shoot the staples on an angle and keep them about 1/2" apart. Remove the upholstery tacks as you staple around the ottoman. Trim any excess fabric once you're done.

This is the finished ottoman (far right), as seen in the dining room in the Dining Room Challenge episode of Design Star. Pretty cool, huh?

This Sunday is the season finale of
Design Star. I'll be watching the final challenge for sure. Who do you want to win - Emily or Michael?

Forget Design Star: Meet the Real Nina Ferrerr (ShelterPop)
Multitasking Furniture: Beautiful, Affordable Pieces That Save Space (Networx)

  • Beachbum

    I have to say that I was shocked when the judges called out this "piece of work" as something impressive. I think it is hideous. Simply because something is repurposed does not make it brilliant or a good idea in the first place. Finding a glass top coffee table and using this textile beneath the glass would be a far more attractive final product and a better way of showcasing the textile design itself. As for this project, pure rubbish.

  • pat

    Beachbum - Is "repurposed" a word? I am serious. I have never heard it before.

  • spross

    I thought this was pretty ugly. Tabletop converted to ottoman--wouldn't it be too high to rest your feet? (see the picture above and compare the height with the nearby wing chair) Workmanship also was hard could it be to cut to shape and staple.

  • Beverly

    Looks like it was sloppy work and doesn't belong in that kind of room. Maybe take the material and make pillow coverings with it in a room with an indian motiff would be better.

  • Betty Bullins

    I worked in furniture factory for twenty five years ,saw many changes come and go.That rug covered ottoman is a beautiful peice of furniture.Be proud of it.

  • NYArtist

    OOOGLY! Very ooogly table.

  • MJ

    Why would any one want to use a dirty rug. Besides it looks really mugly mand does not belong in that room


    Everyone read my mind!!! I was hoping I would not be the only one who thought it was UGLY!! Leave it to HGTV to come up with something of that caliber.. and think it is wonderful just because they thought of it. (More likely created by someone during a week of copious self-indulgence ~~)

  • Carla

    I thought all three rooms were awful. It is my opinion that none of them has the talent of past contestants/winners!

  • ruthless

    At least there is still enough carpet left over to wrap up the dead body of the designer, drag him down the stairs, and deposit him in a much nicer dwelling....the dumpster.

  • J.C.Penney


  • J.C. Penney

    As I posted earlier WHY?? A really bad idea don't you think?. But if you don't try you will never know. could have been a good idea if thought thru a little more. Like cutting the legs, use a different material, used in another area, never mind bad design bad idea.

  • Dana Zhang

    By the agency of your blog, please allow me introduce our own, we are oriental rug manufacturer and won't harm your business. I'm Danna Zhang from Bosi Carpet, we mainly design and manufacture hand-knotted oriental rugs and carpets, aubusson, needlepoint and handmade tapestry. If you are interested, please visit, thanks very much.

  • Hellen

    Hello, I'm Miss Hellen, thanks for your blog, I found 2 manufacturer & who produce beauful handmade oriental rugs and french aubusson, maybe it is useful for you. It would be grateful if it can pass!

  • 14 Comments / 1 Pages

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