Looking for pallet furniture ideas? Here are 10 projects to get you started

Get creative and upcycle your unwanted pallets into something practical

Whether you’re an experienced upcycler or simply fancy trying out a new craft, repurposing pallets can be a great starting point if you’re looking for a creative and easy DIY project.

Pallets can provide you with a valuable supply of timber that can either be taken apart and used to create something new or reworked in such a way to take advantage of their original design features. Used pallets also have another big benefit – they can often be sourced for free.

herb garden made from strips of palletCredit: Shutterstock/OksAks

So, what are you waiting for? Dive into our list of pallet furniture ideas, ranging from beginner to expert level, and find something to whet your creative appetite.

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1. Make a coat rack

Stylishly simple and easily customisable

coat rack made from sections of painted pallet with black hooksCredit: Shutterstock/Lucia Pinto
A coat rack makes an easy first pallet project

If your style is more contemporary, cut the strips to the same length, paint with one of the best chalk paints and add chrome hooks.

Although the design may be simple, the creative possibilities are endless. Just be sure to sand the rough edges of the pallet wood until they are smooth before assembling them. You don’t want to be snagging your favourite coats and scarves on splinters.

2. Build an insect home

Create a wall-mounted pallet box where bees and bugs can live

wooden boxes attached to fence filled with plant husks, strawCredit: Cuprinol
Create your own air bee’n’bee

If you’re keen to bring more biodiversity to your garden, take apart your pallet and re-build sections into small open-fronted boxes.

Mount them securely to a garden fence or wall and then cram them full of dried flower heads, seeds, shells and straw. Face with a wide-holed mesh – chicken wire is ideal – and they’ll soon be home to a variety of insects and mini beasts.

Where to source pallets

If you’re keen to grab a freebie, check out local trading sites such as Gumtree or Preloved for offers of free pallets for collection. There’s even a Facebook group dedicated to finding them for free near you. Ebay will also have listings in your area.

Or simply enter the search term ‘where to buy used pallets for DIY UK’ into Google and you’ll be presented with a list of options.

You may find you can also pick up pallets at local supermarkets or industrial and construction sites, as staff may be happy to hand them over once they’ve finished with them. It’s always worth asking – they can only say no.

3. Design a dog bed

Pamper your pooch with a dog pallet bed

wooden dog bed on wheels with tartan cushion insideCredit: Project Trodrigo/Etsy
We’d quite like an adult sized doggy day bed

If your current dog bed is looking a little weary, gather your creative DIY skills and fashion a smart new one from an old pallet. Once you’ve cut your section to size, paint or stain it in your preferred colour.

Take your design one step further by hand painting your dog’s name on the front and add motifs such as paw prints. Once you’ve filled it with large comfy cushions, you may find yourself wondering if you can make a day bed big enough for yourself.

As well as helping to reduce waste, repurposing pallets could also boost your mental well-being.

The BBC Arts Great British Creativity Test in 2019 saw almost 50,000 participants take part in a variety of creative activities.

Results revealed that taking part in even one creative session had benefits, with creative activity: “helping us to avoid stress, free up mind space and improve self-development, which helps build self-esteem.”

4. Hang a herb garden

Wall mount your herbs for easy ingredient access

herb garden made from strips of palletCredit: Shutterstock/OksAks
Make a DIY hanging herb garden to take up less space

If you don’t own a garden or have run out of space to grow herbs, portion up a large section of your pallet (or maybe even use the whole thing) and create horizontal planting boxes, making sure to drill holes in the bottom of the planter sections for water drainage.

Paint the front of the planting sections with blackboard paint so  you can easily label your herbs, attach to a wall or fence, fill with soil and finally add your favourite herbs. They’ll taste even more delicious in the knowledge of the hard work you’ve put in to creating somewhere for them to grow.

If you’re worried about the wood rotting, you could line the pallet planters with a membrane before you add the soil.

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Beware of sourcing or buying pallets that appear to have been stained. Although it might save you the job of adding colour yourself, you won’t know if the stain contains harmful chemicals. Therefore, it’s best to avoid pre-stained pallets.

According to ManoMano, it’s also important to avoid any pallet with the symbol MB.

“If a pallet contains the mention MB, it has been fumigated with methyl bromide. This very toxic component, used in the past in the processing of fruits, vegetables and packaging, has been banned from use since March 18, 2010.”

Although the company advises it is rare to find them now, pallets may also bear the EUR EPAL label, but this is not a sufficient guarantee of quality. It’s always best to make sure that the pallet is not labelled MB.

5. Add privacy with a pallet screen

Paint with bright colours for a cheerful garden divider

colourful garden divider made from strips of painted woodCredit: Homebase
Create a colourful garden screen

If you need to add a little privacy to your garden or simply want a cost-effective way to divide the space, build a pallet screen.

Safely strip the pallet apart and build a frame to the size of screen you need. Cut your pallet strips to the required lengths, prepare and paint them and then attach them to your frame with a drill and screws.

Securing your screen to the floor will depend on where it is located. If you’re placing it into grass, dig holes to secure fence posts in concrete as you would with any other fence and attach your pallet screen to the posts.

On a harder surface such as decking or patio, attach it to fence posts mounted to the floor using the appropriate base plates.

6. Make a tool station

Tidy your DIY kit with a bespoke shelving unit

wall mounted tool storage shelving made from palletsCredit: Funky Junk Interiors
House your tool kit on a bespoke shelving unit

The boxed sections of pallets are ideal for creating bespoke shelving units to house your DIY kit.

Decide what you want to store within them, measure the items so you know what size your shelves and boxes need to be and then set to separating your pallet into the right-sized sections.

Add hooks and nails to front-facing sections so that smaller items such as scissors and rulers are in sight and easy to find. Continue the upcycling theme by sorting nails and screws into jam jars that can sit on the pallet shelves.

For an easy-to-follow guide on how to make this unit, read the Funky Junk blog.

7. Craft a coffee table

Add wheels and glass for a functional and stylish solution

white pallet coffee table with wheels and glass topCredit: Shutterstock/Igi Jakubiec
Pallets are also great for indoor furniture

Although pallets are often used to create outdoor garden furniture, it’s also easy to bring them indoors with the right treatment.

For a light and airy loft apartment feel, paint your pallet in a soft shade of white and add industrial-style wheels that can be locked for safety.

To make the table fit for purpose, add a flat glass top to provide an even surface. Contact your local glazing firm with your dimensions and ask for a piece of toughened safety glass with bevelled edges.

If glass isn’t your preferred finish, you could create a beautiful, tiled tabletop instead. To achieve this, attach a piece of plywood to the top then look at this year’s tiling trends to choose some tiles.

8. Build a wheelie bin store

Banish bins in an eco-friendly way

triple wheelie bin store with living grass roofCredit: Bluum
Keep your wheelie bins hidden away with a store made from pallets

Although they’re a necessity, it’s fair to say that wheelie bins are a cumbersome eyesore that aren’t generally easy to hide away.

Instead of ignoring them, take the opposite approach and put your new-found love of pallets to good use by creating a bespoke wheelie bin store.

Add a planted roof section for double eco-credentials and you’ve got a simple but stylish solution for hiding the less than fantastic plastic from sight.

9. Fashion a desk storage display

Inspired by the tool shelf unit? You can also adapt it for use indoors

wooden pallet made into tall desk storage stand with shelvingCredit: Shutterstock/Gironin Studio
Embrace a back to basics storage theme for your home office

We love this simple desk display and think it would fit perfectly in an office conservatory, where it would provide a lovely link to the natural outdoors with its back-to-basics wooden style.

Keep the finish natural and add some green houseplants or cacti and a favourite photo memory to create an easy piece of pallet furniture in no time.

You could also make an extra handy noticeboard by adding a layer of magnetic paint to one of the strips of wood or sticking on cut-to-size cork tiles and some drawings pins.

10. Pallet sofa design

It may require a few more DIY skills but the results are worth it

sofa made from lightwood with grey cushionsCredit: Shutterstock/Ground Picture
Polish your DIY skills to make a stylish pallet sofa

If you’re struggling to find small furniture for your conservatory, harness all your DIY skills to design and build a bespoke pallet sofa.

Although this design  looks incredibly stylish, it’s essentially a bench with splayed legs and angled arm rests. The addition of a simple slatted back finishes the look. Dress with natural colour cushions for a Scandi design feel and keep the rest of your colour palette similar with white wood, wicker and a simple pop of yellow.

If you’d prefer to avoid any kind of flatpack, you could also use any offcuts to create a matching side table. Or, wheel over your pallet coffee table and you’ve truly gained an eco-warrior badge to wear with pride.

How to prepare pallets for DIY use

Arm yourself with the right kit for the best results

Designed for transporting products, the finish on most pallets can be a bit rough and ready.

Although some companies will provide them pre-sanded and in more useable condition, it’s important to make it safe for use – especially if humans or animals will be in contact with them.

Arming yourself with the right DIY tools is key to your progress. ManoMano recommends the following:

  • crowbar
  • claw hammer
  • sledgehammer
  • blade saw or jigsaw
  • sander or multi sander
  • metal saw (optional)
  • manual plane or electric plane (optional)

Although it may seem like a long list for just preparing your pallet, there’s good reason for each of the tools.

pile of tools such as hammer, pliersCredit: Shutterstock/Kamira
Having the right tools will make the job easier

Crowbars and hammers are needed for dismantling sections of your pallet. You’ll also need to remove any nails; they’ll either need hammering through or prising out with a claw hammer, and stubborn ones that refuse to budge will need cutting down with a hacksaw.

It’s important to cut away any damaged sections of pallet to ensure your new furniture isn’t weakened. Some designs may require planning to reduce the thickness of the planks, so it’s best to have either a manual or electric plane to hand.

man sanding piece of woodCredit: Shutterstock/Koto Images
Sanding is essential to avoid splinters

And, finally, every part of your pallet will need to be sanded to make it smooth enough to touch – no one likes splinters! A medium 80 grade paper should be tough enough to handle most uneven sections.

Alternatively, if you find you enjoy making DIY pallet furniture more than you thought, you could buy this purpose-built tool designed by expert upcycler, Charis Williams.

Featured product

Pallet Puller, Salvage Sisters

RRP: From £59

metal tool used to pull pallets apartCredit: Salvage Sister
This cleverly designed tool makes light work of pallet deconstruction

A fully-fledged member of the House of Upcyling – the professional body for upcycling experts, Charis has created a tool that removes the need for crowbars, hammers and saws.

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Sarah Harley

Written by Sarah Harley she/her

Updated:

Since first picking up a paintbrush and experiencing the joy of re-decorating her bedroom in a questionable red, white and grey scheme as a young teenager, Sarah Harley was hooked on the world of interior design. This obsession even led to a real life ‘Grand Designs’ project in 2005 when she donned a pink hard hat and appeared on TV screens, project managing the renovation and extension of a Grade II listed 17th century Folly in South Wales.

Throughout her career, Sarah has gained an array of experience in several different roles, ranging from copywriting, PR, events management and photography to interior design and home staging. With her two passions being the written word and the joys of a beautifully designed home, Sarah’s mission is to open the door on the world of interiors, inviting readers in to help them work their way through the vast choice of products, ideas and trends so that their own homes can reach their full potential.

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