DIY Coffee Table Recover


Slowly I am checking off those three main projects that I wanted to accomplish in January. Two down, one to go.

Over the weekend Timothy and I sat down and recovered our coffee table. This project has been on my to do list since the beginning of September when I gave our living room a makeover. I spent hours dreaming up how our living room would be, and after my hours of work, this little illustration is what I showed Timothy.

living room finalHe was underwhelmed, but it was his grand idea to cover the coffee table in cowhide. So he gets all the brilliant credit for that one. And he also gets most of the credit for recovering it too. I mostly sat there and took pictures and occasionally got to use the giant stapler.

After months of anticipation for our living room to be completely done, it finally came. Now if only I could convince Darius that my pillows are not the enemy…

Anyway, here is the tutorial in case you too have a fabric topped coffee table that you want to recover in faux cowhide.




– a coffee table (or bench)
– a yard of fabric (I bought Udder Madness, I love a good cow pun)
– screwdriver (to remove base)
– 1/2″ staples
– heavy duty stapler
– scissors


Step 1: measure and cut. To get started with this project we flipped our coffee table upside down, removed the base, and measured 6″ out from all sides on our fabric. Timothy is precise and helped me make sure to cut in a straight line.  Over all, this left us with a piece of fabric that measured 32″ x 45″.


Step 2: stretch and staple. If you have ever stretched a canvas, it is like that process. If you have not (like most DIYers) I’ll do my best to explain. Start on the long edge of your piece of furniture. Staple a few times in the middle on one side (**If the staples don’t go in all the way because you’re a weanie like me, use a hammer to pound them in the rest of the way). Then go directly across from where you stapled, pull the fabric tight, and staple a few more times. Then go back to the first side you were on, go to 1/4 of the length, pull tight and staple a few times. Then go directly across from the spot, pull tight and staple. Get my drift? Alternate where you staple and gradually pull the fabric tight. If you don’t do that, you will probably end up with floppy fabric on top. Not cool.

Then repeat this process with the short ends. Don’t go all the way to the corners. I’m getting there.

Repeat this process, alternating sides, until all sides have so many staples that there is not more than an inch gap between staples. Go staple happy.




Step 3: fold and staple the corners. This step is the trickiest part. Start by stapling in a diagonal from the corner. You will have two rows of staples. Pull one side tight and staple it down. Then pull on the other side and staple it down. This leaves you with a big chunk of bulky fabric. Trim really close to the staples to eliminate excess fabric. When you get to the corner, go up and make this little triangle/parallelogram shape.


Step 4: staple corner flap.  Fold the parallelogram flap down and staple it in place. This process should create a nice simple fold on the corners when its finished and flipped over. Check to make sure it looks good before you staple it down. Who knew it would be so hard to take out 1/2″ staples.

If all that was still too confusing, I worked from Little Green Notebook’s tutorial.


Step 5: reattach the base. Once you finish stapling your corners down, reattach the base and you’re done!




Ta-da! Just pretend my couch is filled with lovely, fluffy pillows too.


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