before and after

before & after: pallet bench and serving tray

by Kate Pruitt

I suspect we’ll have to do a roundup of great pallet before & afters soon because they are constantly coming in. These two projects by Marianna and her boyfriend were made from the same old wood pallets, and both exemplify the beautiful character that pallet wood can add to your home-decor projects, large and small. The tray is such a simple little piece that I’m sure will get a ton of use, and I love how the bench transforms that corner into a lovely little rest stop. Great work, Marianna! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

See more of Marianna’s bench and tray project after the jump!

Time: 1 hour per tray, 1.5 days for the bench

Cost: $5 per bench, $0 for trays

Basic Steps: We used black gate hinges that we found at Home Depot. We sanded them down to give them a more rustic look. We used two per bench. Finding the right palette was key; taking it all apart and sanding it down was essential. Double check your measurements; especially, pay close attention to warped wood, as this may change measurements. Make sure you sand down the pieces very well. This was particularly important for the bench, since we use this for seating. We suggest adding padded felt to the bottom, so your beautiful hardwood floors don’t get scratched! This also comes in handy when you want to rearrange; you can just slide the benches around. — Marianna

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  • That is AWESOME. NC doesn’t allow pallets in landfills (hooray!) and I always brainstorm all the amazing things that can be made with them if I had the skillz!

  • Pallets, close to my heart, i made a garden bench with armrest that has lasted nearly a decade! Could we have a little move info on the actual construcion of these! e.g photos of the underside…?

  • Where did you get the fantastic silver industrial looking pendant light from?

  • Is the palette just used for the tray or did you use them on the beches too? Where would I find palettes? This is such a great idea!

  • I have been thinking about making a very low toddler table with these as there are so many everywhere BUT they are quite rough. Any tips on how to make them smooth and splinter free? Great inspiration anyway as usual.

  • The pallets go especially well with the already-present textured wood on the ceiling (LOVE exposed beams) and mirror frame. I wish I had the space to do these type of projects :(

  • did you find the pallets hard to work with? when we’ve tried in the past we had such a hard time prying the darn things apart. for some reason, they seem like they were built to last!

  • One of my favorite posts!! Marianna, I agree with above comment, can you show us the inside of the benches so we can see the construction?

  • I seriously wish this was a tutorial (the bench). I don’t understand, Marianna; if you sanded the heck out of it, did stain (but not seal) it afterwards? Otherwise, you probably sanded all the lovely aging/patina off!

  • These are really beautiful. A word of caution for pallet crafts: it is important to be sure that the wood in the pallets you use has not been treated with wood preservatives, fungicides, or pesticides. The dust can be especially toxic. U-line sells new, untreated wood pallets that are safer but lack the patina of the old ones. Still, likely a much safer choice.

  • @Jenny – you’re so right about the chemicals in certain pallets; however, buying new ones would defeat the purpose of using reclaimed wood, in the name of sustainability, as is often the goal in projects like this. I believe you can find non-treated pallets if you avoid getting them from grocery stores.

  • I love to see you recycling pallets so creatively. This gives me an idea for a wine bottle rack. As an artist I am constantly seeking new ways to use old things.

  • Wow! I adore that little tray. Your home looks so beautiful and I love those little Finnish detailes.

  • I am wondering are the pallets safe to use? I’m not making a dispariging(sp.) comment. I don’t want to use anything in my house that might contribute to ill health. Also, where can I buy pallets?

  • Can i get invited so l can see your beautiful world?
    So clever, so you two, so PERFECTION!

  • As a new interior design practitioner I have been searching and collecting an images and idea like this about home and interior design for my school research project. The information and images presented here is really wonderful! I have
    Bookmarked this webpage and will be included to my report.

  • In 1968 when I was a junior in High School, I (financed by me) finally got my first horse. The barn (stall, hay room, tack room 12′ x 36′) was built mostly from discarded pallets & 2×4’s, doors & windows. It is still on my parents property, and is a nifty yard & garden shed. Last summer my father & I finally sided it with prepainted (by us) cedar shakes.

  • Do you have any other advice/directions/pictures on how exactly to make these? Thanks!

  • Love that look of the pallets—thinking of doing something like that for seating in a dining part of our tiny house, only with some kind of slick surface to sit on

  • I love the leafy outline painting on the wall! Does anyone know where to find it?

  • Love, love, love this idea! The weathered textures are amazing! I’m posting a link to it from my blog also! Thanks for sharing such a terrific idea!

  • How can I find out exactly how to make the bench? I want to do it asap! Please email.

  • My husband and I would also like to know how to make the bench and tray as well. So if you could also email me also, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much for sharing such a great idea with this blog!!!
    Have a blessed day!

  • I love the bench, exquisite! A short “how to” walk through on construction would be sooo appreciated. A little challenged in trying to figure out the details of this project. Really looks amazing and would like to build one too.

  • This is exactly what I have been looking for. They are fab! Where can I find instructions for making the bench please? My son (14) and I would love to try to make them.

  • I am decorating my apartment in an eclectic rustic fashion. The bench is beautiful! I am not the first to ask for instructions to make it. Do you email them? I would love to add something like this to my collection!

  • Love the bench and tray out of pallets. Do you have directions on how to make them?

  • Hi there ,

    Same as above, I have an abundance of pallets, and would love a tutorial on this.
    I see people have been requesting this for a couple of years which makes me wonder is the information available at all.

    Love your site, please let us all know what the story is with the build.


  • Thank you, Grace for posting this and putting up with everything everyone says! Could I potentially get a tutorial of how to do this, if possible? Thank you!

  • love it! are u sending directions/tutorial for the bench? i need one :)