Creative decor is often less about how much you spend and more about the quality of your ideas. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication after all. Wooden pallets—yes, the ones used for building materials, hauling groceries, and transporting bulk good—can be recycled, restored and repurposed for your home. From garden plants to bedroom furniture, these surprisingly versatile pieces of lumber can bring a unique and tasteful design to the interior and the exterior of your house.
Desks and Tables
We’ll start with perhaps the easiest thing to do with the pallets—stack them on the floor and you’ve got a table. Bolt the pallets together for something sturdy. If you want a more visually appealing table surface, consider covering the pallets with plywood board. Add wheels to the table bottom to prevent the rough pallet surface from scratching and scarring your floor.
Couch and Bed
It’s probably not too hard to visualize a stack of pallets as a table. However, it is a bit more difficult to see how pallets can form a functional couch or a bed. Worry not; you will need a mattress and cushions. It’s fairly simple: all you need is to push the pallets together to form a frame. Paint or stain the frame for added panache. For the bed, nail some pallets to the wall to form a fitting headboard.
You can create impressive spaces from pallets. This will take significantly more time and effort than the beds and the tables but can be well worth it. Ever thought of having a pallet floor? The installation will perhaps not be much different from a conventional wood floor. You’ll have to spend on sanding and staining but this would be cancelled out by the low cost of obtaining the pallets. Use the pallet wood to panel walls as a rustic substitute for wallpaper. If you want to temporarily partition a room into distinct living or working spaces, nail upright pallets together to form a room divider. You can customize the divider with designs or colors.
If you think about it, pallets are actually shelves that need just a little structural creative reorganization. Cut the pallet to the desired shelf height and use some of the resulting scrap wood as the base and the backing for your customized shelf. Set books, tax paperwork, old music records or plants on the shelf and your work is done.
Now that we have a pretty good idea how pallets can be used indoors, it’s time to take the adventure outdoors. Consider beautifying your backyard with a pallet fence. The simplest approach would be stick to the height of the pallets by bolting them together, digging a trench and filling it with concrete to support the new fence.
You can deploy pallets to your garden without the need to rip them apart. Position the pallet as a vertically aligned stand-up planter. You can staple fabric on the back, bottom and sides of the planter before planting your herbs and flowers. This should suffice if you have a small garden. For larger backyards, you can create raised beds. This is achieved by cutting the top side of the pallets that you’ll then use to form the sides of the garden.
Unless you are fortunate to work in a career where you can get pallets at nearly zero cost, pallet collection isn’t always easy. You could start by asking the manager of a local grocery, big box or hardware store if they have any to spare.
If the pallets are meant for inside use, exercise caution when buying them. Used pallets have after all been exposed to bacteria, rodents, insects and the weather. Once you identify the ones that are in an acceptable state, wash them. Sand and smooth the pallets to get rid of potentially injurious rough edges, splinters and protruding nails.
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