How to use old pallets as furniture

Recommendations for your home's colour palette is always the talk of the town. Use this colour here, splash a little of that there.

However, not nearly enough love gets given to actual pallets – as in, the small wooden structures that are used to carry heavy shipments. 

When you are renovating a home, or building an entirely new one, often loads of bricks, whiteware or other heavy goods will arrive on a wooden pallet, get dumped on your lawn and then left in your care. Don't just chop them up into firewood, however. 

Here are some DIY ideas for using pallets to decorate your home.

In the living room

Wooden furniture looks spectacular when you're trying to breath a sense of nature into a living room. Though bamboo, mahogany, oak and other popular wood types certainly do look great, you can also deconstruct and rebuild pallets in a much more customisable, down-to-earth way. 

For example, forget buying that new coffee table. Instead, purchase a sheet of glass and some feet. After you sand down any rough edges of a pallet and repaint it in a colour suiting your room's theme, add the glass to its top and feet to the four corners of its base and suddenly you have a fresh, rustic and cost-effective table to place next to your designer couches. 

The forklift gaps in a pallet are also ready-made drawer spaces if you want to add some runners and drawers, giving your coffee table extra storage capacity.

You could stain the construction with Resene Rock Salt to give it a bright, wood stain appeal, fitting with a glowing, neutral room. Or you could go in the opposite direction and paint it with Resene Aubergine, which will make it pop against bright neutrals, or blend with a dark, classy natural look.

In the bedroom

If you need a quick headboard, the wooden slats on a standard-sized pallet are already a good length. You can generally pry them off easily using hand tools, or saw if necessary, and then colour to match your bed frame. 

To create a pallet bookshelf you barely even need to cut anything. By hanging, nailing or otherwise joining more than one pallet to a wall, with the top slats facing the wall so the base is showing, the beams used to support the structure make for a great bookshelf. You could also saw it into segments in order to create standalone shelves instead.

Resene Meranti is a beautiful bookshelf stain, though don't disregard colouring with less neutral paints, depending on the theme. For example, Resene Blossom would suit a young girl's bedroom better than a dark oak. 

In the garden

The natural appeal of pallet furniture isn't just suited to indoors, however. Why not build some new outdoor furniture for an upcoming party or other event? 

Three pallets stacked on top of each other and stained the same colour make for a quick outdoor furniture table, which can be matched with pallets converted into chairs. The slats of one pallet can be used for the backrest, whereas the rest of it, in addition to a second, can be converted into a base, legs and arm rests. You could even join two together to create a sofa chair.

To add some actual nature to your natural look, grasses, vines and flowers can be added to an upright pallet in order to create an almost-trellis style effect, with the plants growing through the gaps between each slat. This can then be located wherever you'd like an extra bit of colour.

Natural-looking wood looks great in a garden, surrounded by a green lawn and plenty of flowers. To that end, consider simply varnishing your outdoor furniture, rather than colouring. Resene Aquaclear is a popular choice, as it does not yellow with age.

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