No Man’s Land Episode 7: Reupholstering With Design Sponge

Carolyn’s Team Pick:

Furniture! Sometimes it gets really old and gross and covered in coffee stains and your cat (maybe several cats, maybe not even yours) started using it as a litter-box-slash-scratching-post the week you got her a new food bowl and then you moved and accidentally dropped it down the stairs. I’m just saying: sometimes you end up with furniture that has seen better days. It turns out, it’s not that hard to fix it.

In the latest episode of No Man’s Land, Shelly and Anna learn how to reupholster a gross old ottoman with Grace Bonney, the founder of Design Sponge, an excellent blog dedicated to home design. The episode takes place in the Design Sponge headquarters, which is fantastic if you are overly nosy and have been curious about what the office looks like ever since the site moved in late last year. I suggest jumping to 2:04, where you can see Grace rip up staple-gunned-down edges with her bare hands.

Have you ever upholstered anything? I really want to try it with this chair I have. Who has a staple gun?

Carolyn Yates was formerly the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for Her writing has appeared in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, Xtra!, Jezebel, and elsewhere. She lives in Los Angeles by way of Montreal and Toronto. Find her on twitter or instagram.

Carolyn has written 1012 articles for us.


  1. Once, I helped a coworker clean out his storage unit. As payment, he bought us lunch, but also let me take home this rolling OCTAGONAL OTTOMAN that hid a record player inside. My roommates and I reupholstered the top, rewired the bottom so I had a small stereo hooked up to my practice amp. When we had jam sessions, I would just grab my bass and scoot across the floor instead of dragging amp and guitar across the house. Much fun.

  2. When I move into my new apartment at the end of this month, I’m going to be broke, so my new plan is to buy one piece of the cheapest furniture I can find and re-upholster it all. I wonder if chairs/sofas are harder to do.

    Also the height difference between Grace and Shelley is kinda hilarious.

  3. ‘As a man let me say that this was the best reupholstering demo i have ever seen and blows mans ones right outta the water. Great job very inspired :D’

    dear man, it ‘blows mans ones right outta the water’? oh silly, stop it. that can’t be true, can it. how generous of you to say that.

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