5 Ways to Upcycle Shipping Pallets into DIY Furniture

Reader Contribution by Susan Melgren and Web Editor
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Shipping pallets are a dime a dozen around the country. Commonly found behind stores (near delivery doors) and occasionally on the side of the road, these versatile and ubiquitous castoffs are a DIYer’s dream material. With a little creativity shipping pallets can be turned into a variety of useful pieces for the home, from coffee tables to headboards to always-needed storage. Who knew a cheap wooden pallet could be so valuable?

Daybeds and Sofas

Turning shipping pallets into comfortable seating is one of the easiest ways to upcycle pallets. Just sand the pallets down until smooth then top with a comfortable array of cushions, pillows and blankets. To create the longer daybed or sofa look, attach two or more shipping pallets together. For more detailed instructions, check out Ashley Ann Photography’s instructions for DIY Pallet Reading Bed.

A salvaged door turned headboard completes the look of this nursery room daybed (left), while oversized pillows provide a cushioned back to this living room sofa (right). DIY sofas and daybeds fashioned from old shipping pallets have the added benefit of built-in storage for magazines, blankets and other odds and ends. Images (left to right): Photo By Ashely Ann Photography; Photo By Sveinung Brathen/Courtesy BoligPluss 

Coffee Table

Recycled shipping pallets also make great coffee tables. Depending on what kind of look you want, the effort you put in can be minimal. For a patio or outdoor room, sand the shipping pallets down, attach a couple of castors for mobility’s sake, and you’re done! For pieces inside the home, you might want to put a little more care into your work. If the look of weathered wood doesn’t fit your interior décor, slap a coat of low-VOC paint on the pallets. Customize the height of your table by stacking and attaching several pallets together. If you’re feeling a bit fancy, cover the top of the pallets with a slab of recycled glass.

Stack two shipping pallets atop each other to create a coffee table of custom height. Castors give this outdoor coffee table added mobility. Photo Courtesy Joy Ever After 


Want a rustic-looking wooden headboard? Attach two shipping pallets together side-by-side for a unique headboard at virtually no cost!

Photo By Nina/Courtesy Stylizimo 

For the more ambitious DIYer, dismantled shipping pallets make the perfect building materials for a child’s bed. Attach three pallets side-by-side, then dismantle additional pallets to create the railings and headboard.

Photo Courtesy Inhabitots 

Don’t limit your pallet creativity to just yourself! With a little dismantling, you can create a cozy bed for your dog or cat.


Shelves are probably the most versatile use of old shipping pallets. Depending on the configuration, shipping pallets can make pretty display racks for storing dishes and cute books, or they can form more practical shelving.

Turn shipping pallets into a display rack for dishes or a hanging shelf. Images (left to right): Photo Courtesy Readymade; Photo Courtesy Practical Enrichment. 

Creativity—and your handiness with a hammer and nails—are your only constraints when it comes to turning old shipping pallets into fun furniture and shelving for your home!