How to make pallet garden furniture on a budget – a step-by-step guide

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  • Pallet garden furniture is a brilliant addition to any patio, garden, or balcony. It’s great if you want to add a touch of industrial style to your outdoor space while providing comfy seating for soaking up the sun.

    Not only is it a fabulous budget garden idea, but it also allows you to create something totally unique out of reclaimed materials. If you’re worried about where everyone’s going to sit when inviting friends over for a barbecue, we’ve got you covered with this easy DIY project that should take just a couple of hours.

    How to make pallet garden furniture on a budget

    ‘Pallets are often made with pine or oak. These types of wood absorb paint well and are easy to work with when it comes to jobs like drilling, gluing, and sawing,’ says Jimmy Englezos at Ronseal.

    With our step-by-step below, you’ll be making your pallet ideas a reality in no time. Ready to show off your own two-seater DIY pallet bench? Here’s how to take three unassuming pallets and transform them into a party-perfect snuggling bench straight out of Love Island.

    Image credit: Chris Everard

    You will need:

    • Wooden pallets
    • Garden furniture chalk paint
    • Small roller and tray
    • Paintbrush
    • Scatter cushions
    • Electric drill with screws

    1. Pick your pallets


    Image credit: Homebase

    Pallets can often be sourced for free – it’s worth asking at supermarkets, construction sites, and hardware shops. Alternatively, you can pick them up cheaply from online selling sites. For this DIY outdoor furniture idea, you want three pallets that are in good condition – avoid any that have cracks, splintering, and rot.

    2. Get prepped

    ‘Some initial prep is needed to use pallets for garden furniture,’ says construction expert Thomas Goodman from MyJobQuote. ‘Check for any hazardous nails sticking out and if the wood is rough, it’ll need sanding to remove sharp edges and prevent splinters.’

    3. Start painting


    Image credit: Homebase

    Stir the paint thoroughly and then apply using a mini roller for an even finish. You’ll need a couple of coats, leaving the paint to dry for one hour before flipping the pallet over and painting the underside. You might need to use a brush for the harder-to-reach areas.

    Buy now: Rust-Oleum Chalky Furniture Paint Powder Blue (750ml), £15, Homebase

    It’s worth thinking about the weather conditions when painting, says Matthew Brown from Sadolin & Sandtex. Painting when it’s below 5 degrees causes paint to lose its gloss sheen. ‘In early Spring, the mornings can be damp and the evenings can still see dramatic temperature drops, increasing humidity levels which at best, will slow down drying times but at worst and can allow moisture to get trapped in the film coating.

    ‘In summer, direct sunshine can create very hot conditions, particularly on dark colours or surfaces,’ adds Matthew. ‘So if possible, avoid decorating in direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day if you are able to decorate in better shadier conditions later on.’

    4. Secure the base


    Image credit: Homebase

    Create the base of your bench by stacking one or more pallets to the right height. When you’re happy, secure them with screws using your best drill.

    5. Form the back


    Image credit: Homebase

    Add another pallet propped in a vertical position to create the back of your chair. Again, secure it in place with a drill and screws.

    6. Dress your pallet bench for comfort

    pallet garden furniture bench

    Image credit: Homebase

    Homebase and many other retailers sell special pallet furniture cushions that fit perfectly on top of the pallets. Add colour with more scatter cushions and pot plants. If one bench isn’t enough, you could think about placing two side by side to accommodate more people. Bring on the sunshine!

    You could even go one better and make a corner sofa… Collect a cluster of pallets to build this outdoor take on a corner sofa, carefully deconstructing them and nailing them to a bespoke wooden framework.


    Image credit: Joanna Henderson

    This classy look will take your timber garden furniture to the next level. Fashion a matching coffee table using the same method. Finish the look in style with sumptuous cushions to ensure this on-trend seating area is as comfy as it is stylish.

    How many pallets does it take to build a couch?

    You will need just three pallets in order to create a unique piece of outdoor furniture that will seat two people, and six pallets for a four-seater sofa.

    How do you attach pallets together?

    ‘The easiest way to join pallets together is with galvanized metal joining plates and screws,’ says Thomas Goodman. ‘Screw into the chunkier wood in the middle section, rather than the slats for a solid fixing.’

    wooden pallet outdoor sofa

    Image credit: Future PLC/Jonathan Jones

    What kind of paint do you use on wood pallets?

    Thomas Goodman says that although most wood is heat-treated, it won’t stand up to the weather long-term. So, give it a few coats of outdoor paint.

    Frenchic and Rust-Oleum are popular options, and you can also get exterior paint from brands such as Lick and Farrow & Ball. If you want to keep the natural wood look, use an outdoor varnish.

    Is pallet wood good for furniture?

    Pallet wood is good for furniture provided it’s not treated with chemicals. Many DIY retailers now sell pre-treated, kiln-dried and FSC accredited pallets – so you know it’s safe to use.

    Of course, you can upcycle wooden pallets sourced for free, just be sure to treat the wood to ensure the wood is suitable for outdoor furniture use. For more free garden ideas to improve your outdoor space, take a look at our guide.

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