Creative Design Solutions for Repurposing Wooden Pallets

In most cases, wooden pallets are tossed out without a second thought. Thankfully, the rise of environmental thought has led many people to realise pallets are versatile pieces you can utilise for numerous DIY furniture projects. If you’ve got enough skill with carpentry tools and you want to contribute to the sustainability practice, check out these innovative ways of repurposing wooden pallets.

Acquiring the material

The bulk of wooden pallet stock can be found lingering behind supermarkets, near factories and storage facilities that used them as shipping crates. Before harvesting these pieces, don’t forget to inspect their condition. For example, if they were previously stored on standard industrial racks, there are high chances they’re solid and ready for use. Also, make sure to check the stamp on it that indicates chemical and other treatments.9394987003_7070103c41_z

Shelving ideas

Wooden pallets are made with the storage function in mind, so it’s no wonder many people decide to exploit it as shelving solution. Depending on their finish and wood quality, you can transform wooden pallets into either modern or rustic storage pieces for your living room or kitchen.

Firstly, select a design that fits into your interior. Proceed by disassembling the pallets and customising the planks according to your design requirements. Don’t forget to create a smooth finish on the side where your possessions will be stored. Make use of the power drill, jigsaw and orbital sander to accomplish the project tasks.

At last, some of the cool shelving elements you can create include handy kitchen shelves, TV units, wine-tasting open cabinets and bookshelves.pallets 2

Indoor furniture

If you were looking for ideas on how to employ wooden pallets for creation of indoor furniture pieces, we have some great suggestions for you. For starters, you can construct a simple coffee table. Tweak the measurements to your needs and attach wheels on it so you can move it around at will. Pair it with a padded pallet sofa and instill a relaxed and outdoorsy atmosphere into your living space.

Moving on the bedroom area. You may think that wooden pallets don’t fit into this room, but our ideas may change your mind. Make a vintage headboard out of individual planks or build a toddler’s or master bed platform out of entire pallet for your summer houses or winter cottages.

Deck structures

With the arrival of pleasant weather, decks become a popular gathering places. If you’re planning to build one of these, wooden pallets are a handy and cost-effective material solution. Considering the scope of the project, you should perform careful calculations to figure out the necessary amount of pallets. Also, decks should be constructed with safety measures in mind, so pick the firm wooden pallets that were well-kept on quality pallet racks and thoroughly preserved.

Even out the ground beneath them with scrap bricks or rocks and connect the pallets by using drywall screws. The space between them can be filled with any type of scrap wood.

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Modular outdoor furniture elements

Wooden pallets are veritable XL-size legos of the furniture-making world. You can put together a wide array of outdoor-proof pieces out of it in a jiffy, from lounge chairs, dining tables to foldable picnic setups. Modular seating elements can be particularly useful for parties when number of guests is not entirely determined. Keep the pieces in your garage or garden shed and bring it out when necessary.

Miscellaneous ideas

Here are some of the uncommon design solutions on how to remodel wooden pallets:

  • Garden related: planters of all kind, potting workstation and space-saving vertical planting setups
  • Colourful coats racks for extra storage
  • Rustic wall panels
  • Parquet-like wooden flooring
  • Artistic wall-bound Christmas tree you can easily paint over

Despite its original function, pallets can find their way into our homes as creative and practical pieces of furniture. We hope our suggestions have provided inspiration for your own repurposing project.

Lofty ambitions: Tips for converting your attic

loft1If you no longer want to use your shabby attic as a storeroom for clutter and family hand-me-downs, you can remodel it into a charming liveable area to accommodate your growing family – or a snug spot to meet your increasing Me time needs. The attic transformation project may require a little time and some extra investments, but the effort and the funds will definitely go to a good purpose: from scrap to serviceable and stylish, your loft may soon become your favourite reading spot, playroom or home office. Here are some tips on how to convert your attic without going overboard with funding, stress or manual labour involved.

Know thy limitations: Check safety regulations beforehand

Do not whip out power tools just yet! Before you go in wielding sledgehammers and electric drills, check the national and local building codes and safety regulations to establish whether your home has the necessary potential for extensive remodelling endeavours. Normally, an average attic should size 7×7 feet (HxW), covering at least 70 square feet and it will need to have well-supported flooring to withstand extra weight. Nevertheless, there may be certain country-specific norms with regard to plumbing, ventilation and lighting which you will need to take into consideration before you proceed with loft flipping. If you are uncertain about legally prescribed requirements, contact a professional engineer and have them examine your attic just to stay on the safe side.

Let the sunshine in: How to go around attic lighting

 

loft2Depending on the loft size, you may need to add extra lightning if you are to use the area as a functional part of your home. Homeowners whose houses have slanted roofs can consider installing larger windows, while a skylight or simple recessed LED light fixtures may do the trick for flat-roofed homes. To minimize the effects of intense sunlight and high summer heats, deck your attic windows with shades, curtains or blackout blinds.

Breezy, beautiful and balmy: Vital ventilation and insulation

 

loft3On hot days, attics often feel like a stuffy oven turned up to the max, which is why installing adequate ventilation is essential if you want the loft room to be a liveable area. Large windows will keep the room aired, and you can use fans to create additional airflow. As temperatures drop in winter months, your loft will turn into an icy castle in the sky if you do not weather-proof it beforehand. That is why you may want to consider using spray foam, mineral wool rolls, rigid insulation boards, wooden panels or room-in-roof insulation. (In some parts of the world, you can apply for local or government free insulation programs and get a chance to winterize your attic room without the need for extensive upgrade investments).

From floor upwards: Soundproofing the room abovehead

Since the floor of the new room will be getting more foot traffic than usual, soundproofing the attic is another aspect you will have to look into unless you want to turn in every night to the patter of footsteps abovehead. Use hardwood flooring and cover the floors with thick, full carpets or rugs to minimize noise levels. If you want to stay on the utmost side of safe, you can also install a layer of insulation across the floor: this will both keep the room warm and minimize the sound effects of your kids’ playtime upstairs.

Are you ready to convert your attic into a romantic nook, study room or nursery? Follow these simple tips, measure the attic room twice before you buy furnishings you intend to use there, and your revamped attic will quickly become practical, comfy and charming all around!

Painting Used Furniture

If you think of painted furniture as a scraped-up old chair you pick up at the flea market to put in the laundry room, think again. Painting used furniture has many benefits. It is great if you want to update your home on a budget, while keeping it stylish and is the most eco-friendly way to do so. It also allows you to get creative and add your own personality to your home. Consider it a work of art. Did you ever think of painted furniture as art? You don’t need to be especially artistically gifted to successfully create a conversation starter as well as a true work of art.

Before you get started, take a mental survey of what it is that you want.

What piece of furniture do I want? Where is it going and what will it be used for?

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Once you know what piece it is your painting, start thinking about the style of the piece.

What look are you going for?  If you don’t have an idea of the look you’re trying to achieve, then look on the internet for inspiration. Pinterest.com is an awesome site for ideas of all kind and will show you different styles of old furniture and what they look like painted.

Now that you have an idea of the style of the piece you are looking for, you can begin your furniture hunt.

painted furniture 2

Start your search on Craigslist. Many people do not see the need for their grandmother’s 1940’s highboy dresser and are selling it for next to nothing. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Flea markets are also a good source but the prices can run a bit high.  Here at Furniture Works, we have a large selection of affordable used wood pieces, such as dressers, nightstands, and hutches. All of which can be repainted to look like a one of a kind designer piece.

The next step is choosing the colors and the design.

painted furniture 3

Choose a base color; buy some acrylic paint in a can and a good brush. Get a set of small bottles of acrylic paint in several colors at a crafts store and an inexpensive set of little brushes. Paint your furniture item. Acrylic dries quickly, so you’re ready to move on in half an hour.

Use any colors you fancy. Bright, primary colors are favorites with kids. For your teen daughter, various pastel shades may be just the ticket. If you’ve chosen a dark green as your base color, a burnt orange can provide a nice contrast.

When you’re doing this type of painted furniture project, you can ad lib, painting an appealing shape wherever it pleases you. Maybe you’ll then outline that shape in a contrasting color. Painted furniture can be a kind of pop-art creation. Perhaps you want to paint a vine that drapes gracefully across the chair seat or runs across the table like a runner. How about stripes on the rungs of the chair? Anything goes. A geometric pattern can look very attractive, a la Mondrian.  If you are not so good with painting freehand, then create or download an attractive stencil. You can also find painted rollers with patterns on them at hardware stores.

painted furniture 4

There are some other tricks of the painted furniture trade you’ll want to explore while creating your work of art. Acrylic paints can be diluted with water and layered over another color, a bit like batik. A swath of light blue crossing over a purple area creates a new shade and added dimension. There are clear acrylic gels which you can use to dilute the color while retaining the same body of the full strength paint.  You can also create a cottage chic look by sanding the corners and edges lightly after the paint has dried. Experiment and have fun.

When you’ve completed this first project, consider the possibilities.  Remember that practice makes perfect so plan ahead and practice your designs and experiment with colors on a piece of paper beforehand. This will ensure that you are satisfied with the piece and will encourage you to keep going. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t look like the pictures. Your piece is unique and it is a one of a kind created by you!

A painted furniture project is one you can put away and pick right back up when it’s convenient to your schedule. I can almost guarantee you’ll be eager to come back and work some more, because it’s a therapeutic and satisfying activity. Be forewarned that painted furniture projects can be addicting, just for the pleasure of creating a little work of art.

Simple Refinishing Tips for Old and Outdated Furniture

Refinishing furniture is easier than it was ten or twenty years ago. Did you know you can recolor leather, vinyl and fabric quite easily? There are special products on the market now that let you paint fabric couches, spray on leather color and even waterproof it for patio use. I will introduce you to some of these technique and special tools and you can see if they would work for some of the old pieces lying around your house. 
 

Projectors

 These are outdated in today’s computerized age, but they’re still used by painters for doing measurements of complex geometric patterns.  Projecting a floral pattern onto a dresser can allow you to paint within the lines and create a beautiful custom piece. The image will wrap around curves and nooks and crannys, taking away the guesswork on painting the pattern. Continue reading

Introduction to Interior Design

Even though we all may not own berets or ascots, we are, of necessity, artists.  What we choose to put in our homes communicates to others (and ourselves) something about ourselves.  This column is an exploration of the principles underlying interior decorating and why we apply them.

I’m deliberately avoiding the more practical aspects (“blue is a calming color, green is neutral color”) to serve as a gateway to future, more useful, articles.  To paraphrase, the journey of a thousand words begins with a single phrase. Since these are really mostly opinions, if you want to play along, get out a highlighting pen and see how many unsupported opinions, useless drivel and bald-faced lies you can find.

Everybody who has a home has stuff in it.  Except for the most impoverished, we all make some choices about what to put there.  Of course, I had a time when most of these things were found by someone’s dumpster (boards & bricks to hold the books, a sofa with the stuffing coming out and a coffee table from an old cable spool) but now my home is filled with the stuff that I (or more properly, my wife) has decided are comfortable and useful.

We put stuff in our homes because we need to.  We want comfortable things to sit on and places we can store our clothes and other stuff.  But we make choices among the different things we furnish our houses with based not just on our needs for physical comfort but on the need for psychological comfort.  We all have some items that we’ve kept because we’ve imbued them with a sentimental attachment (I have my grandmother’s kerosene lamp, for instance) but when we buy items we’re looking to communicate to ourselves and to our guests something about ourselves.  In the same way that we choose our clothes, based both on how we feel when we wear them and how others react to them (most times one influences the other), so we choose items based on our sense of an idealized self.

As an example, my mother-in-law collects and furnishes her house with Victorian antiques.  Having those things around her makes her happy.  But her own childhood was as a really, really poor Midwesterner.  She didn’t grow up with Victorian things (in fact most of them were made before she was born) but I think they provide her with a sense of what she wishes her childhood had been like.

So interior decorating (and that’s what furnishing your home is), is necessary and approachable art.  It is a form of (sometimes unspoken) communication with yourself and with others about what we are.  Sometimes these choices are obvious.  Clean, utilitarian lines say “I’m an austere and sensible person”.  Fluffy pillows and the country look says “we’re relaxed here and we like things to feel homey like a grandmother’s house”. In the words of Epictetus, “Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly.”

So why, you’re probably asking, am I belaboring the obvious?  Because what’s important when you buy furniture isn’t that everything match, it isn’t that it follow a particular movement (“Sorry, we only decorate with Federalist pieces here.”), it’s all about how it makes you feel.  And the more you know about how you want to feel, the easier it is to find the things that make you happy.  And that’s what it’s all about, making you happy with the things you own.  Happy shopping!