Furnishing a home with wood furniture isn’t cheap. A simple wooden coffee table or bookcase can run a couple of hundred dollars. Yet, with a little creativity, some tools, and the right materials, wood furniture can be crafted to fit one’s needs. Simple, DIY furniture projects are in abundance online. But where does one begin? How about right up the street or around the corner? Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about materials that can be found in the alley ways behind most grocery stores….pallets.

Let’s begin with the materials: There’s a plethora of wooden pallets in any local neighborhood. Cheap and easily accessible, pallet projects are also gaining popularity online, as seen on Pinterest. Heck, pallet furniture is becoming so trendy that companies are popping up that design pallet furniture exclusively. But if you’d like to make your own, there’s plenty of inspiration to be found.

Some background on pallets: There are a couple of different versions of wooden pallets; the kind with a few wide wooden boards and the ones with many narrow boards. Depending on your project, you can probably find exactly what you need at a grocery store.

*Safety First: Some wooden pallets have been treated with methyl bormide, a chemical that is suppose to keep the bugs out. However, according to this TreeHugger article, checking the IPPC logo for MB (methyl bormide), or selecting Canadian made pallets that are heat treated is a safer option.

Next, find some inspiration on Pinterest or 101 Pallets. Pinterest has lots of furniture ideas, like coffee tables, bed frames, and seating, as well as many outdoor projects. From wall shelves to vertical planters, smaller projects might be a great entry-way into larger, furniture projects. As seen in the sample below, you also don’t have to stick to the rustic look of most pallets – sand, paint, and varnish to make it exactly what you crave.

Finished Pallet Coffee Table from Design Finch
Finished Pallet Coffee Table from Design Finch

Finally, if you’re not sure about making DIY furniture, try turning a pallet into a piece of art. Paint a slogan, make a statement, use it as a conversational piece – turn a shipping pallet into something other than tomorrow’s trash.

Pallet Art
Pallet Art

Have you experimented with DIY furniture or pallets?

17 Comments

  1. I really like this idea. In very frugal moments, I have looked up some information on making my own furniture and generally don’t make it any further than the list of tools needed. Pretty sure I could swing making these. Good info and something I never really thought about doing.

    • @Greg – We’ve looked up a few ideas, but haven’t really started any yet. That may be changing, though. πŸ˜‰

  2. Pallets aren’t very appealing to me. It’s ok for artwork, but I wouldn’t want a pallet coffee table. I’ll have to see one in real life.

    • @Midlife Finance – I never really thought of them either until Mr. LH started researching ideas for coffee tables. However, yesterday we swung by an alley that had nice looking pallets and passed (we really don’t have the space to store them until we’re ready to do something with them!) If we do create a coffee table, I’ll post it to pinterest!

  3. I have seen the palletes as tables and furniture and it is a neat idea. But it depends on the style you want to use in your house. You do not want to mix styles together without thinking otherwise your house will look like a thrifty store rather than your house.

    • @Martin – You definitely have a point. I like the Bohemian look, but it’s really hard to achieve without looking like a thrift store, for sure.

  4. I can’t speak to anyplace else, but in South Florida, pallet recycling is a big business. So much so, in fact, there are people who roll around in their trucks snatching (stealing) them from loading docks all the time. The stories even made it to the evening news on several occasions. Combine that with the increasing popularity, and it may not remain such a cheap option for long.

    • @Eric – Very interesting! I’ve seen lots of pick up trucks hauling away stacks of pallets, but never really wondered what they were using them for. Perhaps pallet furniture will become expensive! πŸ˜‰

    • @Crystal – I’m pretty sure if we made one of these we’d add a glass top. I’m also a klutz and would totally spill a drink!

  5. I have some pallets in the wardrobe, they were there before we moved in to this rented apartment. The wall decoration is a neat idea!

    I am not a plumber so, making furniture is out of question πŸ™‚

    • @SB – Using pallets in a closet would also be a great idea, it’s help organize those items that you can never find a place for.

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