The mattress makeover // DIY chaise lounge

When trying to pull this space together, my biggest obstacle and first priority was getting some good seating. I really sort of obsessed about the problem, actually–for weeks I searched on ksl and even bought a chair that I had to turn around and sell. In the past we’ve just had chairs–an arm chair, a computer chair, and sewing chair. But since we we’re ALL always in here, there was never enough seating, and only one coveted spot that was really comfy. There was always a battle about who got the arm chair (ALWAYS ME.)

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But it’s not a big space, I would say just a very average bedroom size, and although I really did try to fit a couch or even a chair-and-a-half in there, there just wasn’t space–especially because we’d have to shove it in the corner, making it look really imbalanced. I went through a LOT of ideas, but when I saw these floor cushions at UO, I finally was like YESssss.. followed immediately with NOOOooooo, cause I knew we couldn’t spring $600+ for the set up. It took me about a hot little minute to decide I could make it myself, and even improve on the design. So after some homework I changed the design a bit–and it ended up being a sort of hybrid between the UO floor cushions and the anthropologie daybed mattresses.

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When I told my sister and couple friends about the plan, I think the general response was, girl you cray-cray. I felt pretty nuts too, but like a day later I found a very clean king-sized 12″ memory foam mattress for sale on KSL for a $100 bucks, and I just sort went forward without overthinking it. Most of you will probably shutter when I say I bought a second hand mattress, and I get it. It’s risky business. But I wasn’t afraid to walk away, and when I saw how clean and near-new it was, I felt fine about it. Don’t judge, folks. I followed my heart. There’s a whole hilarious story about how I stuffed that bad boy in the back of my van (it involved three adults jumping to throw our whole body weight on one side while the guy who sold it to me (a cop in full uniform), used a brilliant jerry-rigged pulley system to fold it in half).

Anyway, I’m about to give you the sorriest excuse for a DIY tutorial there ever was with the crappiest photos, but it’ll be enough for those of you crazies out there who look at this and say, I wanna do that.

After bringing home your newly acquired used mattress, you let it sit in your living room for about a week so your kids and all their friends can go nuts bouncing off the ceiling day in and day out. Do this only as long as it stays novel and cool, because geez, you don’t want to become THAT person with a mattress in your living room, you’re better than that.


When you’ve psyched yourself out enough to cut into this beast, bust out your bread knife and reciprocating saw, (or electric bread knife) and dig in. I first cut the mattress in half essentially, and then cut down the end so the main bed dimensions ended up 37″X 6′. Before cutting I used a sharpie and a yard stick to mark my cutting lines on both sides of the mattress, which made it easier to cut. I found it easiest to slice through the top with reciprocating saw, flip, slice through the bottom, and then cut through the remaining middle strip with a bread knife cause you can stick your hand in deeper than the saw.


The back cushions measure approximately 9″X36″ on top, and 11″X36″ on bottom. The back side against the wall goes straight down, and the side against your back slopes outward from top to bottom. If you’re sitting on the chaise length-wise with your legs stretched out, the cushion on your side undercuts on the end that meets the back cushion so that it slopes INward from top to bottom so it fits perfectly into the back cushion. That probably sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo, but read it a couple of times and then email me with questions if you’re still scratching your head. I actually used scissors to help smooth out some rough cutting on the back cushions, but it doesn’t have to be perfect, your upholstery will smooth out a lot. Cutting the whole thing took about 2 hours.


To upholster this bad boy, I chose some pretty canvas fabric (premier prints in plantation blue from, but when it arrive I realized it had too much white in it and I ended up dying it green and then more green and then yellow. I like the color a lot now, but don’t do that to yourself. If I were to do this again I don’t think I’d choose canvas, it’s just not up to the beating of family life. Polyester really can’t be beat as far as that goes, it’s just really hard to find prints like this, so…you know. There’s a pay off.


To upholster it, I cut out pieces that were exactly the same dimensions of the mattress and cushions, knowing that when I sewed it together it would fit snugly because of what the seam allowances detract. Here’s how I did the back cushions, I essentially draped them. Once I sewed them all up leaving one edge open I pulled them on and hand stitched them shut like I was making a big pillow.


Here you can see what everything looked like once I sewed the covers on.


The piping detail was done by pinching the edges (getting at least about 3/4″ of foam as well), and sewing through the edge (again, about 3/4″ in) with a running stitch on EVERY edge of the mattress and cushion. I used very sturdy nylon string, which is important cause you have to pull very tight to create the piped look. So it’s not truly piping at all, rather like faux piping. Definitely the most time consuming part, but not bad–I did it in an evening I believe.


I have no photos of me adding the tufting detail to the backs of the cushions, but I used a 12″ upholstery needle, and it was a huge pain. Worth it, I think, but kinda tricky, I really needed a longer needle. I didn’t use buttons or anything, just about centimeter long stitches on either side pulled tight.

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I added a bolster pillow later with a bit of leftover fabric, and it’s a nice touch that adds a lot of comfort.

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We love this thing so much! It’s just…well it’s just the best. The memory foam is actually super comfy, and we’ve all taken a happy nap on this sucker. If we’re watching a movie on the computer we can fit 3 or 4, and we usually take that side cushion off and put it against my work table to create a comfy seat for someone on the floor. It’s so functional for the space, it’s comfortable, and it’s pretty. And IT WASN’T THAT HARD, seriously. Took me about 3 or 4 days, and I enjoyed every part of the process, which is saying something. When it was over, I honest-to-goodness was like I wanna make another one (and I probably will).  One of my favorite DIY’s I’ve ever done, hands down. So there you go! If you’re feeling brave or desperate or just a little fearless, you should try it!


Tami Diaz

Mim, you’re killing me with this one! Is there anything you can’t do? You are one impressive lady, my dear – in every way. I miss you!

Stephanie Sorensen

I know you posted this weeks ago, but I’m just now seeing this! You have boldly gone where no woman has gone before. Rockin.


OMGOSH, I am so excited! I have been building my boys a “sectional” twin size, because their full size bunks are way too big for their tiny room in our new house. I’ve had this fantasy of cutting the mattresses we already own rather than buying new, but thought I was out of my mind to even think about trying… Thanks for posting, because I’m going to do it now! …and I may try using the table saw to cut the width, just so it zips along a bit more quickly than the electric knife.


I think a table saw is a really great idea, I’d love to hear how it worked! I would LOVE to see how a ‘twin sectional’ worked, that’s genius!


I have just stumbled across your ingeniously clever DIY blog. So very glad I have. This is late but, I have to say; You are my new hero! That mattress was a beast and I applaud you for taking that on. I think it’s fantastic that it was 2nd hand. If more people understood it is so much better environmentally and so much more going 2nd hand. Like you said, if it looked like monsters could climb out, you walk away. Lol. I, also, use essential oils and sage to do a whole cleanse thing when I bring stuff like that in my home. I actually have a very small room, as well, that I’m trying to come up with ideas and, wow, this would be perfect. I don’t know that I can pull it off with the same grace but, I’ll try. BTW, my name is MAD. I tell everyone I’m MAD because my hubby made me that way.


I love it! I always took ‘Mad’ to be such a good thing;) So glad that you like the chaise lounge, if you try it, I’d love to see! Best of luck with it, it’s still one of my very favorite projects I’ve ever done!


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