Upcycling Pallets: Plans for Projects Around the Home

Reading Time: 4 minutes
pallet furniture coffee table

(image:Duncan Blair)

Cargo ships keep our whole world running, and the wonder of freight is dependent on shipping pallets. Wooden pallets are something forever turning up on Craigslist and discarded randomly throughout your area, so it’s a great budget-friendly way to get creative.

If you’re a DIYer always looking for innovative ideas and have a passion for the rustic feel of wood, you might be surprised by the variety of things you can make just by repurposing these found wooden pallets for your home projects.

Here are the favorite ones our hounds found when unleashed on Google.

Hanging out

This hanging bed (with complete plans here) made from two pallets is a relaxation project perfect indoors and out. Look for untreated wood and consider whitewashing or painting it for some added punch. Perfect for reading or a relaxing retreat, hanging beds are a relaxation project that will pay off for a long time to come.


There are so many different ways to repurpose your pallets to make headboards. From rustic to industrial, you’re certainly not limited. Consider these four styles from one DIY pallet-fanatic’s site. But these are just the beginning. If you keep an open mind, you’ll be surprised at all you’ll find.

Wall paneling

There’s no more rustic treatment for a wall than decking it out in reclaimed wood for paneling, but reclaimed wood can be costly and hard to find. Pallets, however, are the opposite — often free, easily found (if you’re resourceful), and very simply to work with thanks to its uniform sizes. With some nice dark stain or whitewashing, it’s a statement wall you’ll be hard-pressed to beat, like this stunner. And check out how amazing this little feature wall behind a toilet looks after it’s gotten the pallet treatment! Wow, Mandy Jean nailed this one! (Pun intended.)

A funky plate rack

Whether you choose to store plates in here or something else decorative, like black and white photos, candles, and other things, this is an easy and effective design element to help bring some rugged style to your space.

Space-Saving Planter for Small Balconies

Necessity is the mother of invention, and when you’re living with urban-sized balconies, smart design and space-saving is everything. Unfortunately, designers know this too, and often smart designs for those small balconies can cost some pretty big bucks.

Not so with this brilliant (free!) plan that’ll have you turning a probably-free pallet into a cheap solution that’ll hold as many herbs and plants as you might find in 4 rail-planters.

Wine Racks

Here, DIY Pete teaches you to make a simple wine rack that holds 6 bottles, 6 glasses, and the all-important corkscrew. Google “pallet wine rack” and you’ll see infinite variations on this design — higher backs, squared-in sides, and more. Had I more wall space, I’d happily put one of these in my living room or kitchen, let me tell you. If you prefer to learn through videos, here’s a video for essentially the same design.


All kinds of plans exist for deconstructing and reconfiguring pallets to become desks, and they range from “ugly functional” to complex plans. This, however, is one of the only designs that really makes the pallet’s original design a marriage of form and function. A space-saving wall-desk that folds down and offers a little compact storage 24/7, this is ideal for nooks, small rooms, and even hallways, given that it’s under 6” deep when folded up. Plus, it’s the easiest one to build! But if space isn’t a problem and your life is your work, you might love this 12-foot-long “farmtable” style pallet desk. I know I do.

Flexible Seating

I enjoyed reading the comments on this hanging chair, since a soldier in the Army said he loved the project and made a couple for relaxing in the field. And why not? If a soldier can’t get his hands on parachute cord, no one can. Simply deconstructing a pallet, drilling a bunch of holes, and stringing it with cord results in this really groovy chair found on DIY. Again, consider staining, painting, or whitewashing the pallet before stringing it together to take this from “found it in an alley and did stuff to it” up to “I’d buy this in a store.”

Then again, Funky Junk’s Donna sure didn’t paint her pallet sofa, but I’d sure want to buy it in a store. Look at this amazing reveal. (Check the other two pages for the project’s free plans!)

From Utilitarian Beginnings to… More Utility

Whether you decide to use this project to make your crafting room more funky, help organize tools in your shed, or make it into an adorable little garden center just like this DIYer did over at Our Little Acre, this is an easy project that simply needs some hooks, bolts, and other hardware, and then you’re done. Creative ideas, indeed! I’ve even seen this style used for making a shoes-and-coats stand by entryways.

Simple Steps for Simple Walkways

At Funky Junk again, Donna made this really… well, funky little walkway for her garden, and all it involved was taking apart pallets and laying them out. What’s really great is that the posting’s from 2011 and she’s updated to say that 3 years later it’s still in great shape! That’s pallet wood for ya.

Hang a Little Light

This pallet Mason jar candle-hanging rack is full of summertime magic for your deck. For sale at this Etsy shop, most DIYers could figure this out in five minutes and an afternoon of drilling. That doesn’t mean I love it any less. Magical, I tell you.


We’ll tell you more pallet projects down the road, because the internet’s brilliant bloggers and DIY crowd are constantly coming up with so many inventive ways to use pallets, from day beds to pot racks and fences and more.

Hopefully we’ve inspired you to go sourcing some free pallets for projects you might have ahead of you this year.

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Steffani Cameron

Steffani Cameron is a Victoria BC-based writer on a variety of topics. Here on the BuildDirect blog, she specializes in writing about smaller, urban spaces. How do you make the most of your smaller space? How do you decorate it to suit you? And how do you wage the war against clutter and win? This is Steff’s specialty.