before and after

before & after: ashley’s pallet daybed

by Grace Bonney

today’s final before & after belongs to photographer ashley campbell of ashley ann photography. ashley turned this basic wood pallet into a dreamy, colorful daybed for her soon-to-arrive daughter’s nursery. talk about turning raw materials into something beautiful- and i love that sideways door as a headboard. great work ashley!

*ps: tomorrow is a holiday for many of you, but we’ll be posting on d*s as always. we’re going to post an abbreviated schedule, but stick around for a new weeder’s digest column, a new recipe, a new guest blog post from alissa and ryan and a week’s wrap up.

[have a before & after you’d like to share on d*s? just shoot me an email right here with your images]


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  • what a great idea..! and i love all that color against the white – the pillows and the paper pompoms and lanterns! beautiful!


  • It’s lovely, but I can’t help but think about when the little girl is mobile… the rough edges and wheels? Danger Will Robinson!

  • The paper lantern idea is so smart! I think these come from the Martha Stewart line at Michael’s. I’ve always admired them at the store but thought they’d only be good for party.

  • LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! Rustic & refined and just downright delicious! Nicely done! (And, Sheila… right there with ya’ on the paper lanterns too!)

  • WOW. LOVE the door…I’d use that as a headboard for my own bed. Amazing idea! And of course everything else is just fabulous…the colors, patterns, ceiling fixture, artwork. Swoon!

  • I fell in love with a pallet bed Sandbox Studio photographed a while back and this confirms my suspicions: I need to make one! So functionally beautiful, yet so inexpensive. Come to think of it, I love everything about this whole room!

  • this is lovely!

    (quick note though – if trying to replicate this, make sure you use untreated wood pallets. pallets used for international and some domestic commercial shipping are often foll of preservatives/pesticides/stuff that’s good for shipping but probably not good for humans to spend a significant time sleeping on)

  • seeing more and more pallet furniture around… and I love it! what a great way to get great style for little money. I also love the combination of textiles on this bed…

  • what about when you are “messing around” on it and the bed starts rolling around a lot? Did you use locking roller wheels? What is the weight capacity? Has it been tested for top speed? What incline? Oh, yeah, swoon.!

  • Thanks for the great comments. Just wanted to note that the wood was untreated and we sanded it super smooth. there are no rough edges or parts that splinter…it did take a lot of sanding to get it smooth enough for a child’s room, but was worth it.

  • Could you tell us a little about the fabric used for all the pillows? I think I recognize one as Amy Butler, but which pattern? Thanks!

  • I love the paper lantern arrangement! Are these DIY or did you purchase them? I would love to do something similar in my home.

  • All the lanterns are from the Martha Stewart collection at Walmart. Some are intended for weddings, some are for parties. The circle garland is from the same collection.

    The pillow fabric is Amy Butler, one is “grey floating buds” from the Midwest Modern 2 collection, the other is “apricot wall flower” from the lotus collection. The dot fabric is also Amy Butler “tangerine full moon”

  • I really LOVE this blog, but I just noticed something that makes me really sad and means I’ll probably will stop reading it loyally like I used to, and like I used to enjoy so much…

    Now just a tiny bit of the posts is showing up on the RSS feed.

    I don’t know if this was done on purpose or was some kind of accident, but I BEG YOU to restore the full posts on the RSS feed.

    That will make me and I’m sure many other readers very very happy.

    And please keep the amazing job you’re doing with this blog, it’s certainly an inspiration for me and for many friends I have introduced it to.


    • lenara

      i mentioned this a moment ago on another post, but we’re testing something out on the rss feed right now.

      the cost of running all of the images to 31,000 RSS subscribers plus 40,000+ readers on the main blog is no longer sustainable. if readers aren’t reading the actual blog, ads won’t do well and we won’t have the money to support the site.

      i’m trying to see if we can run smaller versions of images, but ultimately the goal is to bring people to d*s the site, so i’m afraid we won’t be able to run full-sized images in the RSS feed for the time being, it’s literally eating us of house and home. add that to the sites that leech our content on a daily basis without permission and our image server is literally being maxed out on a daily basis.

      i’m trying to see if we can find a sponsor to cover our image hosting fees, but it’s a tough economy and i don’t want to have to shove any more ads and sponsor banners in your face than is absolutely necessary to stay afloat.

      i didn’t want to complain about any of this on here, but a number of you have emailed and i wanted to be honest about the situation i’m dealing with right now. the rss feed is really draining our resources so we’re in the process of trying to figure out how to manage the feed and the main site. i’m going to do the best i can to maintain the feed with as many images as possible, but i simply can’t afford to keep the site running at all if the rss feed drains on our expenses so heavily. sorry guys- i’m doing the best i can to get this solved promptly. i appreciate your patience and loyal readership- i hope to find a solution that makes sure you have something to read in the rss feed that won’t sink the whole site ;)


  • That is such a great idea. What a lovely room!! Can you tell us where the white bed spread is from?

  • Great look! I am considering doing something similar for a bed in my 5 year old son’s room.
    I’m hoping that the door behind the bed was either tested for lead paint or has a clear acrylic coat over it. While I love reusing old doors and furniture, now that I have a child I’m thinking more about the potential lead hazards.

  • Love this combo! The raw feel of the door headboard and crate base, the lovely bed fabric, the personal collage of photos, and the gorgeous colors of the refined pompom/lantern grouping–this is delightful!

  • I’m perfectly happy to be forced to visit the site! It’s literally 5 seconds out of my time, and the site design is so pretty, so it’s worth it just to get a break from staring at the boring reader design!

  • I love d*s and although I prefer to see everything in my RSS feed, I understand the problem. Thanks for being honest with your readers. Is there some way we can help? I didn’t see a lot of ads on the site, which is nice but I’d be happy to make a donation or purchase something from a link here if that will get you a kickback. Let us know!

    • veronica

      thanks so much for your support and understanding.

      our ads are doing ok (they’re sold on a CPM basis now, meaning not every reader sees them when they load) but they’re just not enough to support image hosting fees of over $900 a month (eek) combined with our regular web hosting and paying a small staff.

      that said, we’re looking at different feed options that allow for thumbnails so you can get a quick visual idea of the post. i talked to a number of popular designer bloggers today and they’re all migrating to the same thing- using fewer images in posts.

      the bottom line is, we support the site with advertising, and if readers don’t visit the actual site, advertisers aren’t getting the ad impressions they want. so we really need to find a way to meet in the middle. we’re working like crazy on it so i hope to have a solution soon :)

      ps: thank you for the kind offer about donations- sadly the only “donation” we really need is for readers to actually visit the home page. that’s the only way our advertisers get the impressions they need, and in turn, pay us and allow us to keep the site running. (we’re looking at inserting ads in the rss feed, but i hate making people look at ads everywhere they go)


  • If only such creativity was contagious! I’ve seen quite a few DIY projects with pallets lately. I need to get one…

  • This is a lovely photo, the idea is great and how everything has been put together very nice. By the way I visit the site every day I didn’t even know what RSS feed was I am sure a lot of people do the same so keep up the good work.

    • margarita

      it’s an interesting development, rss feeds. we now have almost the same amount of readers reading via rss and via the main website. i’m working hard to try to find a way to keep both audiences happy ;)


  • This room is simply adorable! I’ve been trying to figure out what the ruffle fitted sheet is…anybody know? It adds a super-cute girly touch :)

    By the way…after reading the comments, I just shouted out to my husband “what the heck is an RSS feed???” After a 20 minute explanation, I think I’m starting to understand! Good luck with all the logistics…I LOVE your site!

  • I love every single thing in the after shot – the pallets on wheels, the gorgeous fabrics, all of the interesting items and frames on the wall, and those pompoms and lanterns! I want this room!

  • Great idea to use old pallet, but what really drags my attention is installation on the ceiling. It looks amazing and is easy enough to make, I guess.

    BTW it would be great to use modular origami for this kind of ‘lamp’.

    Thank you for sharing!

  • I LOVE this idea! You could even slide wire trays or baskets in the openings in the front.

  • Hello, I signed up to the RSS feed a while ago but much prefer reading via the actual site (so pretty), would it help if i unsubscribed? I tend to go straight to the website during my lunch break at work! Didn’t realise it cost so much.
    p.s love the lanterns.

    • emma

      thank you for your kind comment. there’s no need to unsubscribe- we’re currently trying out new options that will allow smaller images to run in the rss feed (that won’t cost us an arm and a leg). at some point we’ll have to introduce ads into the rss feed but i’m trying to avoid that as long as possible. in the meantime, thank you for reading and your patience while we try to figure out the best solution for readers coming from both sources :)


  • grace

    just wanted to share that i never view your site in an rss feed. it’d be a shame to miss out on what a lovely site you’ve created!

    sorry to hear of the crazy expenses that have arisen due to image hosting. you’re so resourceful, i don’t doubt you’ll find a solution soon!!

    also wanted to let you know how much i appreciate your efforts not to bombard readers with ads – which i’m sure can be quite a challenge. you manage to maintain the ad space necessary to the site’s survival without the garish display so prominent on some other design blogs. sadly i’ve stopped reading some of them because of this.

    your dedication to providing thoughtful, original content is so appreciated – ashley’s daybed included! what a great before and after!


  • this is so cool! I’ve been wanting to do a pallet coffee table for a while now. This may have just given me the push I need to finally get started on it!

  • Ashley I LOVE this pallet bed and I want to try it out in my guest room, but I cant tell in the pictures if/how you connected the two pallets together. I want to try and join four pallets for my spare queen mattress…any details on the actual how-to?

  • Apartment Therapy puts ads in their RSS feeds and I don’t mind one bit. They have an ENORMOUS RSS readership and image-heavy posts, so their hosting costs must be big. I like how they do house tours and round ups with one big picture to lure you in and then clickable thumbnails that take you to the site.

  • WOWSER!!! This bed is great on so many levels. I love the fact that is so good looking and demonstrates how easy it is to recycle something that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
    Many Thanks.

  • does it fit a standard twin mattress? or do you have to get one custom made? i LOVE the idea…want to do it…but i’m not sure how cost-effective it would be if you had to have a custom mattress…

  • This is gorgeous. So inspirational to see something so useful and attractive made from such humble materials.

    I too don’t bother with RSS feeds.

    I only see 2 ads on the home page right now. One is for a graphic/web designer (which I’ve clicked on, btw) and the other is some kind of weird ugly thing that has a layout that bleeds out some of the font beyond the border of the ad. (This looks the same whether I view on Firefox or Safari.) It’s hard to tell if the ad is editorial or not. It has D*S in the box. (Copy says “Design Sponge Take a Seat”)

    I’m one of the few people who would like to see MORE ads on D*S. As long as they’re ads for cool stuff/services that are hand chosen by you Grace, why would any of us mind?

    I’m also surprised that there are no ads whenever I click deep into D*S. I keep expecting that there will be ads that relate to the content I’m looking at. But there aren’t.

    Advertising is only intrusive when it’s for stuff I’m not interested in. (Like the stupid teeth whitening ads that seem to follow me everywhere on political sites.)

    There are certainly ways to do ads without interrupting the look of the editorial content.

    I’m baffled as to why I don’t encounter more ads on D*S.

    • CLF

      we recently launched a new ad program that will kick in on monday, so ads will definitely start appearing again. we’re excited to be working with etsy on a big campaign for july.

      that said, i’m unwilling to post the sort of ads that aren’t related to d*s in any way- but those are the types of advertisers who have money, and who haven’t been effected as strongly by the recession. so it’s a tough position to be in. do i agree to post insurance company ads and make $$ or decide to keep them off the site and lose a bit of income? for right now, i’m sticking to my guns and companies that have at least something to do with the topics we talk about here.

      that said, i think you’re probably the only reader i know who isn’t happy about viewing fewer ads. i used to constantly get complaints about how many ads we run, so it’s been nice to have a break from the “stop running so many ads on your site!” emails ;)


  • Sorry to hear about the difficulties you’re having pulling in the money you need. I love the site and am grateful that you’re so considerate towards your readers.

    I just wanted to share this link to a system for navigating the web that doesn’t use RSS feeds:

    I browse similarly, using new windows instead of tabs and using Expose on my Mac to toggle between them, and I love it. Seeing how sites–especially sites focused on design!–lay out their content is an integral part of the web-surfing experience for me. Here’s hoping this method may work for some current RSS readers.

    Happy 4th, all!

  • I too would like to know about the ruffly bed cover (if that’s what it is), and any tips on joining pallets. :)

  • I agree, you should have more ads in the site, that will not stop me to comeback everyday!! specially if they are related to the content and I am sure they will be displayed tastefully. I hope u find a way to keep the whole thing running, i know how difficult it is, here in London things are not easy either.

  • Grace — If there is any entity whose ads I would consider important and valuable enough to click & explore, it would be any posted on Designsponge. Really. You have access & knowledge of cool sources that many of us would not.

  • wow, this is really creative, and i love the idea of the casters + the little cubbies are perfect.

  • I posted more info and instructions on the bed on my blog. The pallets I found are smaller, untreated, oak and really hardy. My bed is basically two smaller sized pallets, heavily sanded then attached using hinges on the top and bottom. Rolling casters are on all 4 corners and the center. I wanted a small bed, so I custom made the ‘mattress’ using foam and padding (mine is not intended for an adult to sleep on every night, but is plenty comfortable for a small adult to take naps on). You can use larger pallets for a twin size bed…you might even have to cut the pallets down some for a twin bed.

    The ruffly cover on the bed is a blanket from IKEA. The quilt was made by my aunt.

    The lanterns are connected to a dowel rod frame I made, then attached using two eye hooks to the ceiling. I used fishing line and twine to attach the lanterns to the dowel frame.

    Thanks for all the great comments!

  • What a great idea-we were looking for some inexpensive ideas for our guestroom and I have just found it

  • I am surely not trying to be a downer to this before and after, but the first thought that comes to mind is formaldehyde. Also, I’ve read that palletes can harbor bacteria like salmonella and e coli. I would take care when choosing a pallete.

  • Ashely,

    Does this fit a standard twin size mattress? I’ve been looking at expensive daybed from west elm but now that I’ve seen this, I am going to make it asap!

  • hey grace! i’m all for ads in the RSS feeds if it means full posts are displayed! i love visiting the site, but i like to see all the images without clicking through each jump, so i tend to do a lot of my visiting through the RSS. i can’t believe how expensive that is for you, though, and hope you can figure something out asap to avoid those crazy costs. happy 4th!

  • I love the idea, but I wonder why she didnt add wood to bottom open slots, so then you could use the area between the bed as storage..

  • Have you taken a look at http://www.problogger.net? Darren Rowse is one of the top experts in solving problems like yours (he has a book too). You might want to send him an email and get his advice.

    I love your site, btw!

  • I’m not sure if someone has already mentioned it, but have you thought about doing small giveaways on your site? Several other blogs that I frequent do that, and there’s always 10x more hits on contest days. It might bring more people to your actual site (which I love, btw. I’ve gotten so many ideas – that park bench made of reclaimed chairs is still stuck in my head.)

    • katie

      i’m not actually a fan of giveaways- they feel a little like traffic-ploys to me so i try to avoid them unless they’re for a good cause, or a gift that is so important it just can’t be skipped ;)


  • I’m glad to hear you’ve got some new approaches lined up starting tomorrow. I’d hate to have to get all Suze Orman on you. ;) Best of luck, and please don’t think twice about doing what you have to do to stay afloat. I just found this site – I’d hate to see it go so quickly!

  • i’m loving this before & after! i think i’m gonna do a little research and see if it would be possible to follow the same formula for a full/queen size bed . . . hmmm. great work here; very inspiring!

  • I am probably one of the few that like the ads you choose. They are actually why I started following your blog and I will admit I was a little disappointed when I noticed you substantially reduced the number of ads you host. I assumed it was because of all the flash they required. Half the reason I subscribe to certain magazines is for the beautiful or witty ads. As long as they are relevant, I am not offended.
    Bring ’em on back!

  • I personally like giveaways, but of stuff you couldnt get anywhere else…what you do is get an advertiser to give you a couple stuff for free, then while your holding the couple day giveaway, people will be interested in not only what is being given away but also where you got it, so they will want to go and buy stuff from the site that gave it you. I always go to the website of the advertisers who supply the item being given away, and even if I dont win, I will buy the item anyway.

    You can always have a classy giveaway…do it the way Notcot does it, just ask people to leave a comment about something that relates to the item being give away, and why they would love/need the item. either best comment wins, or pick a winner by closing your eyes and pulling the page up and down really fast then stop on the one your finger touches first lol. just make it fun, and not serious, we dont expect you to give away college scholarships and be forced to choose between the hundreds of comments of destitute students.

    • hrhkat

      i agree that giveaways can be nice- but like you mentioned, when advertisers give away goods on a site, they are paying only for the cost of the goods, not the ad space. that’s the catch with giveaways- they end up securing a prime editorial position for a week or so in exchange for a free chair, t-shirt, print, etc. great for readers and the advertisers, but tougher on the blog hosting it.


  • I love the bird print with the letter b. I feel like I’ve seen it someplace on etsy before, but I have literally hundreds of shops favorited. Does anyone know where I can find it?

    Absolutely lovely room, by the way!

  • OMG! This is amazing! This has given me a great idea my headboard. How did you hold the 2 wooden pallets together in the middle. I am new to this and would love to know how you contructed this. Absolutely amazing!

  • im new to the site and absolutely love it. just moved into a new 2 BR apartment that is nearly empty at the moment and need these design tips (especially the money-saving ones!) desperately.

    i want to recreate this look in my second bedroom, but i am having trouble finding wood pallets. anyone have any ideas? im in san francisco, in case anyone knows of anywhere specifically in the bay area where i can find them.

    thanks again and keep up the excellent work grace. ever since i found the site, im here every day for your updates…

  • Just found your site (where have I been?) and will be a loyal reader from now on!

    I love this daybed, but want to remind folks that if they’re using older painted pieces (like the door) in homes with children to have them tested for lead paint. It is very dangerous and can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, especially in children.

  • Grace — Late to the conversation, but please do what you have to do to keep the site profitable. And keep it “image heavy”–that’s why we love d*s. Thank you for not trading advertorial space for promo giveaway items (tho I do like to win stuff). Your ethics are refreshing. As a former dotcom manager, I know the challenges in generating online revenue. Number one: you deserve to be paid tremendously for this blog. I am sad to hear that you are barely meeting your hosting fees. d*s is fantastic, and you deserve so much more. Damn the RSS’ers; give us ads. Sell audience.

  • This is beyond Cool !
    LOVE this idea – & the total room looks amazing

    The only thing I would do differenly would be to Paint & decorate the the Pallets – I’m just not feeling the natural look of the Pallets

  • Can you tell me how you connected the pallets, basically how it was constructed? What size mattress did you use for 2 pallets? That is AMAZING!! I love it! Thanks so much!

  • anyone know where to find pallets like these? i have had my husband on the prowl but he says he has never found pallets like that, only those big, wide, flat pallets made from very thin, cheap wood… were the pallets made for this project handmade perhaps?

  • this is possibly my favorite before and after. and the use of recycled, non-precious materials makes it pretty much perfect. brava!

  • This room has become the inspiration for my little girls’ rooms. I actually already had the tissue balls…but am wondering where you found the paper lanterns??? I don’t see them at Wal Mart. Did you get those there too? Thank you! This room is AMAZING!

  • I built my bed on Saturday! I love it! It was surprisingly really easy and affordable!

  • Very late in the conversation (about 6 month lol) but please do whatever is necessary to keep d*s going. Love this website, and I have no idea what RSS feed is (are?).

    Love the bed! I’m in University and it’s certainly not fun in these tough times. I’m going to try to maybe make one for a double bed (sick and tired of the residence single beds) ….that is if I can find pallets that are’nt pressure treated.

  • my friend is really into the diy projects and made the ceiling fixture on her light. so cool.

  • guys-

    we’ve established that pallet wood is often dirty and coated with chemicals. any further comments seeking to attack the creator’s parenting skills or cause a panic among the readers by suggesting everyone near this is someone going to die won’t be put through. so if your comment isn’t appearing please take a deep breath and consider the tone and language you’re using. many of you have passed concern and gone straight to hysteria.

    the creator of this piece is aware of the issues people have mentioned above (and the issues people bring up every time in every pallet-related project) and she has already safeguarded the piece.


  • I would love to know where to find the paper fan looking lanterns? please do tell! this is absolutely awesome!