DIY Pallet Coffee Table

April 8, 2013


Lets get something straight before I begin this post: I would never describe myself as a crafty/DIY-type person. Michaels and Hobby Lobby stress me out and I let my mom make 90% of the decorating decisions in our home. And I’m totally okay with that. The closest I get to being crafty is making unique and delicious recipes. And I know how to crochet, so there’s that. But for the most part, my crafting skills are limited. However, now that we own a home I have started to read a few more home design blogs and have become obsessed with Houzz. Anyone else?

Two weekends ago, my mom came to visit for Easter weekend. Joe and I had been looking for a coffee table for our basement living room since we moved in, but hadn’t been able to find anything that was durable and didn’t cost a fortune. Since our downstairs living room is also going to be a bit of a guy’s hangout area, I wasn’t keen on spending a bunch of money on a nice coffee table only to have something spilled on it down the road. My mom, who is equally obsessed with Houzz and other design sites found a post that suggested a beautiful coffee table could be made fairly inexpensively by using pallets.

A quick Google search will render dozens of ways you can make a pallet coffee table. Turns out, unbeknownst to me, that they are pretty popular. And after making our own pallet coffee table, I can totally understand why! In one weekend and for about $75 we made our own pallet coffee table that not only looks great but is extremely durable and guy-proof! I didn’t do a great job of taking step-by-step photos of how we made our table, but I do have a few shots to show you that should give you an idea of how easy it is. And if you have any doubts, just remember: If Madison can do it, so can I!

Here’s how it went down:


1. We started by sanding down two pallets that my mom got from her company’s distribution center with a hand sander loaned to us by my brother-in-law, Jake. These were really nice looking pallets as far as pallets go. Some are much more weathered and worn. They would work, too, but we were going for a bit more of a polished look for downstairs.


2. More sanding! This was my first time using a hand sander and it totally made the whole process go a lot faster than doing it by hand with pieces of sand paper.


3. After sanding the pallets we stained both of them with Minwax stain in Red Oak color that we purchased at Home Depot. We went through two small cans for both pallets together. I would recommend just buying a large can to save yourself the trouble. After leaving the stain on for about 5 minutes, my mom followed me and wiped off the excess stain. Then, we allowed the stain to try on the pallets for 8 hours in the sun.


4. After the stain had dried completely, we finished things up with three coats of polyurethane. We used Minwax Semi-Gloss Fast Drying Polyurethane and waited four to five hours between coats. After we put on the final coat, we let it dry longer to make sure it was really set up well.

5. Finally, we used large screws and a hand drill to fasten one pallet on top of the second pallet. After the pallets were secured into a single coffee table, we put 4-inch casters (rolling wheels) on the bottom of the coffee table. We purchased four casters from Home Depot, two of which have locking wheels in case we want to keep the coffee table in one spot. The wheels are a great addition. Although they cost about $12 each, they really are worth it! We love being able to roll our coffee table around and move it closer to the couch as needed.

And that’s it! It seems super simple and that’s because it is. Although I’m not a pro yet, I think I’ve caught the bug. It was incredibly gratifying to make a coffee table that looked like something I would have paid good money for at the store. I’m not a huge fan of small crafts that I will eventually just toss in the trash, but making furniture? Now that’s something I can get behind!


Okay, now it’s your time to confess: Are you the crafty type? Have you made something like furniture or a home decor item that I should know about? I would love to know!


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  • Reply DessertForTwo April 8, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    I love love love this! We are going to start finishing our basement this summer, and I will definitely keep this in mind. And thanks for introducing me to Houzz!

  • Reply stephanie wise April 8, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    I am SO not a crafty person but this looks easy enough for me to at least make the attempt šŸ™‚ Yours turned out absolutely gorgeous!

    Also, Houzz = LOVE.

    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough

  • Reply Kayleigh April 8, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Looks great! My brother made one of these – they’re so easy!

  • Reply justinelorelle April 8, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    It turned out so great! I’m in the market for a trunk-style coffee table, and it will probably much cheaper if I buy something I end up staining myself. This is very inspiring šŸ™‚

  • Reply Urban Wife April 8, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    I love the way it turned out! Easy DIY’s like this are a good place for me to attempt being crafty.

  • Reply Lauren at Keep It Sweet April 8, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    I am SO impressed! I can’d to any DIY and am sure that I’d mess that table up but yours looks beautiful!

  • Reply Laura Britton April 9, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Love it!! You did such a great job with your first DIY project!! I have painted furniture but never stained it. You have inspired me to try!

  • Reply greensnchocolate April 9, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    LOVE this idea!! You’re inspiring me to want to do something crafty šŸ™‚

  • Reply natalie@thesweetslife April 9, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    this looks fab!! my sister made a similar one and i am SO jealous every time i go to her house! šŸ™‚

  • Reply Jamie April 10, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Sweet, I’ve never seen these. We could use one in the Man Cave for sure. I refinished a cabinet into a changing table last year, and that was fun, but I didn’t build the thing. = )

  • Reply Michael Walters April 22, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Madison, I recycle old pallets all the time watch for the curly maple and other hardwoods for your next project Some even will have Mahogany depending on the country of origin.

  • Reply Stanley Pearse April 23, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Really enjoyed the article and when I showed my wife the picture of your finished pallet coffee table she expressed how much she liked it. Since your article was shared by Minwax I did not know anything about you and was a bit confused yesterday of who you were living with – until this morning when I got around to reading “About Me.” Please remember to write for clarity.

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