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30 Eco-Friendly Ways to Upcycle Wooden Pallets

30 Eco-Friendly Ways to Upcycle Wooden Pallets

It’s amazing how reclaimed wood can be so versatile and so visually appealing! It seems that, no matter what you need for your home or garden, it can be fashioned from a wooden pallet or two.

From home bars and beds to wine racks and potting tables, here are 30 creative and inspiring ways to turn discarded pallets into beautiful and functional furniture.

1. Towel Rack

Pallet Towel Rack

This rack is a fabulous way to make a feature of your towels, while still being incredibly useful. Store rolled up towels in the holder, and hang hand towels on the hooks. You can also display your favorite homemade beauty treatments on the built-in shelf.

2. DIY Patio Bar

Who doesn’t want an outdoor bar for under $20?! Made with just wooden pallets, screws, wooden boards and paint, you can construct this in an afternoon – and then enjoy summer drinks on the patio to reward your hard work.

3. Christmas Tree

This eco-friendly Christmas tree is sure to be a hit with all the family. It puts an end to the ‘real or fake’ tree debate, and looks far more interesting. Best of all – there’s no cutting or gluing required. Simply add nails to your pallet, apply a little optional paint and it’s ready to decorate! Here are some more eco-friendly Christmas decoration ideas.

4. Wall Mounted Wine Rack

Pallet Wine Rack

Looking for somewhere to store your homemade country wines? Look no further. This wall mounted rack can hold at least eight bottles and even has space to hang several wine glasses underneath. It would look great over your DIY Patio Bar!

5. Outdoor Hanging Bed

Enjoy lazy summer afternoons and evenings relaxing on this hanging pallet bed. It’s the perfect place to take in the colors and scents of the garden, read a book, have a picnic practice meditation, or just take a nap!

6. Bookshelves

Wall mounted shelving for books helps to free up space and keep clutter to a minimum. These rustic pallet shelves would also work as a magazine rack or as a cookbook holder in the kitchen. With step-by-step instructions, photos and installation details, this may be the perfect first project for pallet newbies.

7. Stadium Style Home Theatre Seating

You don’t need to spend lots to have a home theatre – a few reclaimed pallets will do! With 12 pallets, you will definitely need some space to work with, but aside from that it’s a relatively simple endeavor. Cushions and throws make it a whole lot more cozy than a traditional night at the movies!

8. Coffee Cup Holder

Pallet Coffee Cup Holder

Adding hooks and shelving is a great way to utilize space in a small kitchen. If you’re stuck for somewhere to store all your cups and mugs, this project is for you. It’s just a matter of cutting the pallet down to size, screwing in some hooks and adding some decorative stenciling.

9. Contemporary Coffee Table

Finding a coffee table can be a difficult task, so why not make your own? With wheels, shelving, a glass top and a bright color, this modern table would work well in any home.

10. Glowing Pallet Bed

Pallet beds don’t just work outdoors, they are becoming increasingly popular indoors too – and not just in college bedrooms! After all, they’re eco-friendly, inexpensive and easy to construct. They also lend a rustic and raw feel to the room. This tutorial takes things a step further as it includes LED string lights underneath for a soft and warming glow.

11. Hardwood Flooring

If you want to take your love of pallet crafting to the next level, start collecting! To craft a floor out of pallets you are going to need a lot of wood and even more time. This tutorial details how one family took 18 months to redo their floors using just pallet wood!

12. DIY Dartboard Cabinet

Use spare pallets to build a cabinet for your dartboard, complete with scoreboards and spaces for darts. Step-by-step instructions and images make this an easy-to-follow and enjoyable project for any darting enthusiast.

13. Pallet & Pipe Pet Bed

Pallet Dog Bed

Who knew pallets, pipes and a little paint could make such a cute raised pet bed? Add in cushions or sew your own soft bedding to make the perfect nap station for your four legged friend.

14. Baby Gate

Stop your little explorers going where they shouldn’t with a custom-made baby gate. This DIY version is far cheaper yet more chic than anything you could buy and you can even paint and decorate it to fit in with your interior.

15. Pallet Headboard

If you have a rustic themed bedroom, consider installing this pallet headboard. It requires a little time and patience, but the results are worth it. For those who enjoy low lighting, try running white LED lights behind the headboard to achieve a back-lit look.

16. Room Divider

The perfect way to maximize small space, this pallet room divider gives added privacy, and provides an interesting focal point. Use it to create different living areas in a small space, section off a large room, or simply as a way to hide clutter.

17. Wooden Clock

Turn old pallet wood (or any wood) into this impressive rustic clock. You just need wood, glue, plywood, nails and old clock hands.

18. Compost Bin

Pallet compost bin

If you’re a fan of making your own compost, why not go one step further and craft your own bin for your ‘garden gold’? Pallet bins are a great option for creating a highly effective composting system, especially when you have a lot of organic matter to process. Best of all, you just need four pallets and some wire!

19. Corner Sofa

It seems it’s possible to turn pallets into almost anything, and a comfortable sofa is no exception. This corner sofa works well in a gaming room, apartment, or loft – anywhere where space is lacking, as you can simply cut the ‘sofa’ down to size. Top the pallets with cushions and throws, and store games, books, and magazines inside the ready-made shelves!

20. Candle Sconces

If you regularly fashion items from pallets, you’ll most likely have lots of random sized planks left lying around. Don’t get rid of these – they make for ideal candle-holding wall sconces. Add a little ledge to each strip of wood, paint and sit a candle atop for a pretty and free wall feature.

21. Indoor Living Wall

Not all nature lovers have the luxury of a garden. And many apartment owners lack the space to house all the plants they would like. For these people, this living wall is a great solution – just hang a plastic-backed pallet up and fill it with a variety of plants and fresh herbs.

22. Hanging Pot Rack

Another space saver, this hanging pot rack is a genius idea for cooking enthusiasts who are cursed with a small kitchen. Pots hang from s-hooks which are supported by wire from hangers attached to the top surface of the pallet. The top of the rack can be used to store things that are too large to hang.

23. Flowerpot Holder

pallet flower pot holder

Add color and whimsy to your garden with this easily assembled flowerpot holder. It requires no cutting or hanging making it an easy project for those who aren’t so handy around the house!

24. Foot Stool With Storage

This upholstered pallet ottoman with padded cushion can be used as a foot stool, seating stool or simply as a clever place to hide bits and bobs. It would look great next to a pallet coffee table, or in a playroom.

25. Raised Garden Beds

If these 15 benefits of container gardening haven’t convinced you to give it a try, perhaps this stylish raised container bed will! Made from pallets and placed on wheels, it offers advantages throughout the growing season as you can roll it around to various positions depending on how much light or shade the plants need.

26. Potting Table

Every avid gardener needs a potting station for storing their garden stuff and potting their plants. Thanks to these DIY pallet table instructions, you won`t need to spend a fortune buying one. Painted a pretty green and with plenty of storage and hanging space, it makes for a stunning yet functional piece of garden furniture.

27. Outdoor Succulent Table

Take outdoor dining to a new level with this succulent table. The top is made from reclaimed pallets, and the legs are a junkyard find – hunt around to see what you can lay your hands on. In the centre, plant a row of hardy and low-maintenance succulents for year round greenery while you eat.

28. Wooden Garden Walkway

Pallet wooden walkway

Yet another incredibly simple pallet project, this walkway is a charming garden feature. Just cut pallet boards down to size and line them up to form a walkway. To make weeding easier, leave them loosely secured by soil.

29. Simple Garden Tool Holder

A jam-packed garden shed is not only annoying, but a little bit of a hazard when you consider the dangers of falling tools! Turn a couple of old pallets into a secure holder for all manner of brushes, rakes, shovels and spades and enjoy a more Zen-like gardening experience.

30. Stenciled Wall Art

Finding the right wall art for your home can be a challenging task. When nothing feels right, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. Stenciling on reclaimed wood is fun, therapeutic, aesthetically pleasing and practically free. Give it a go!

Working with Pallets

When selecting a pallet, it’s important to check if the wood is safe to work with. Some are treated with harsh chemicals that you certainly do not want in your home. Some tips for working with pallets include:

  • Look for those that are pressure- and heat-treated (marked with ‘HT’) as opposed to those treated with the neurotoxin and carcinogen methyl bromide – marked with ‘MB’.
  • Don’t use stained pallets, or those that have had something spilled on them as it may be chemical based.
  • Be careful using pallets from grocery stores – as they can sometimes harbor food borne pathogens like E. coli and salmonella.
  • To reduce the risk of bacteria, scrub the wood down with an antibacterial (like tea tree oil or vinegar) and soapy water. Rinse well, and allow to completely dry before working on.
  • Because of the rough nature of the wood, pallets splinter easily – something which is of particular concern if you are building your bed or baby gate from a pallet! Always sand the wood thoroughly and carefully before using.