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DIY Tutorials

How to Build Pallet Seating With Hidden Storage

DIY Pallet Bench with Storage

Way back when I started planning the conservatory I decided we needed another pallet seating area in our life. Yep, you may remember the one I built in the garden way back in 2015 (jeez has it really been that long?!) well this time I'm building something a bit different, but at the same time, very similar (makes sense right?!) and this time, it's going in the conservatory. 

Having learnt from my experience the first time around, I knew exactly what I wanted to do different and how I could improve on my initial design. This time around I wanted to make use of the space underneath the seating - that is to say, I wanted to include some storage space. And I also decided I wanted to tone down the full rustic look too. Instead of just using pallet wood and nothing else - this time, I wanted to use some panelling as well. This way it would be less rustic and a bit more refined and bespoke looking.

So if you're interested in making your own then stick with me, because I'm going to do a full tutorial to show you just how easy this is going to be.

Things You Will Need:
  • Pallets of the same size
  • Thin Strip Wood
  • Skirting
  • Panelling
  • Corner/Angle beading
  • Paint
  • Screws
  • Nails
  • Caulk
  • Adhesive
  • Flush Hinges
  • Fabric

Tools Required:
  • Crowbar (or lifting bar)
  • Hammer
  • Nail Punch
  • Regular Saw (Or Jigsaw)
  • Mitre Saw (Or Mitre Box)
  • Pencil
  • Tape Measure

Step 1 - Remove Slats from Pallets
In order to make the wood you have go further, you'll want to remove almost all the top slats of the pallet. Depending on how your pallet is built, you will probably find the two end ones (and maybe the middle one) are integral to the structure of the pallet and these can't easily be removed. The others however will pop right off. You can do this with a crowbar but if you're struggling I highly recommend getting yourself a lifting bar. It's basically a giant crowbar but it enables you to have a much greater leverage and it pops the slats right off without any of the hassle. Removing all these slats is also vital if you want your bench to include some storage space as well. We removed all the slats, apart from the two end ones.

how to dismantle pallets
pallets sofa with storage


Step 2 - Position Pallets And Screw Together
Now we're getting to the fun bit! So you want to position your pallets as you intend the seating to be. Once this is all built it's going to be pretty heavy, so it's easiest to build it in position rather than trying to move it at a later date. The idea is that it's going to appear as a "built-in" piece of furniture anyway - so you really do need to think about its positioning before you begin because it may not even fit elsewhere later on. The layout I'm going for is an L-shape, however, you can of course just have it as a single straight length of pallets instead, if you want. If you're going for built-in storage too, you need to leave a small gap between the back of the pallets and the wall. This is so that the lid won't hit the wall and prevent it from being fully opened. My gap is around 2cm. You may also find some pallets are a little lower in height than others - you can use a plastic or wooden wedge to prop up any pallets if needs-be.

how to build pallet seating the easy way
plastic wedges to raise height of furniture

You may also want to chop some pallets in half to get the exact size you want. We actually have a vent between that needs to be kept clear (for the log burner) so I've cut a pallet in half to ensure it's not blocking it.

pallet DIYs

Once the pallets are all in position, you then want to take the time to ensure they're all flush with one another at the front and the side. Pallets are never perfectly matching to one another in how they're built, but generally speaking they're usually close enough. A giant spirit level or straight piece of wood helps well in achieving this. It's a little fiddly, but a super important step because this will affect how you attach the panelling later.

How to build a pallet bench

You may find that not all the wood matches up against one another perfectly and as I said, this is perfectly normal when it comes to pallets - they're not made exact. You can see below in this image the top slats on the pallet all lineup and match well, but the bottom slats don't. That's totally OK. As long as none are sticking further out and at least half are flush and in line then you're winning.

building pallet seating

After everything has been perfectly positioned, you can then screw the pallets together. To do this, you want to screw through the bottom slat of one pallet, into the top slat of the pallet into beneath it. You'll need to make sure you use screws that are long enough to go through the top wood and into the second, and you want to do this across every slat possible. In my case, that's 3 slats on each pallet. This is going to pinch the pallets together, essentially so they're all connected and become one giant stack of pallets.

how to attach pallets together
screwing pallets together
mini pallets attached together

Hopefully you're still with me and I'm still making sense. The next step is then to connect each stack of pallets to one another, side by side. In order to do this, you'll need some very large screws to go between the larger chocks of wood from one pallet to another. These bits.

how to affix pallets together

I've had to go through the sides of these at an angle because my screws weren't quite long enough (major rookie error and I couldn't get out to buy more!) but ideally, you'd just want to go in straight from the side. If you do have to go in at an angle, you can drill out a bit of a hole to get the screw in deeper, as I've done here.

diy pallet bench

Now you can see there's a gap between these chocks of wood (which yes, isn't ideal!) but even with the gap, it's most definitely enough to hold the pallets firmly together. If you can though, I would cut some pieces of wood to size to fit into the gap. This will just ensure the screws are pulling the blocks together nice and tight, which obviously isn't happening with a gap. I however didn't have enough wood for that and decided that since there was virtually no movement anyway, to just roll with it. You can also add some cable ties around these if you want to ensure it's even more extra secure, which I also did instead.

using cable ties to secure pallets together


Step 3 - Attach Top Trim
Now that the bench is all built and connected together, you can begin to make it look pretty. So as I said before, I'm using panelling to make it look a little more refined and it's also really cheap too. But to make it look even more professional, I'm also adding both a top and bottom trim to just "finish it off" so to speak. As a quick guide, this is basically the look I'm going for...

how to build a bespoke built-in bench from pallets

The top trim is just using a very thin piece of timber, which is around the same thickness as the panelling (mine is slightly thicker - but that's OK). I've used a mitre saw to cut it to size, making sure to give the corners a 45degree angle for a more professional finish.

girls using mitre saw

I've then used some loosehead nails to nail it into place, lining it up to match in height to the top of the slats (the seating bit).

building a bespoke pallet bench
using panelling with pallets


Step 4 - Attach Panelling
The next job is to attach the panelling. The one I'm using is this one from B&Q which is just £3.15 a pack (seriously, bargain!!) and they're tongue and groove made, so each one slots into the next one which makes it so easy to fit. I've cut the panelling to size using a mitre saw (always!) and since the panelling I've bought is 89cm in length, I've managed to get two bits from each plank. I absolutely love this stuff and we've also used it in our bathroom too. So cheap, so good!

how to cut panelling

It's important that the first bit of panelling you affix is spirit level straight (both horizontally and vertically), otherwise you'll end up going off at an angle and have a huge gap between it and the top trim. Once the first piece is perfect though, you can't really go wrong with the rest as long as you make sure the panelling is properly pushed together each time. I've used panel pins to affix the panelling and these are just nailed into the wood on the side of the pallets, which you'll remember we aligned to be flush at the beginning.

DIY pallet seating - full tutorial

Starting to see how it'll look? My top tip for using super small panel pins is to hold them between your fingers like the photo beneath, rather than pinching them. It helps massively when nailing them into position! I've used four pins per each slat of panelling, which seemed to be enough.

how to hold tiny nails

When it comes to the corner bits, I personally leave these till last. You can measure up the cut you need and I've used a jigsaw to cut these to size. It doesn't matter if the cut isn't perfect because we're going to use some corner beading over it anyway. This is the last step, but you'll see what I mean in a bit!

fitting panelling on a bench
using a jigsaw to cut panelling


Step 5 - Add Skirting and Corner Beads
Once the panelling is nailed into position you can then add some skirting. I've gone for a very basic 'D-finish' skirting (because from the side it looks like a 'D'), which is quite short in height, so it doesn't swamp the panelling. Again I've used a mitre saw to cut to size and affixed with yet more nails into the larger chocks of wood on the bottom pallet. Can you see how easy this DIY is?!

skirting around panelling
skirting at the bottom of bespoke bench

After the skirting is done, you can then add the corner beads, which will butt up onto the top of the skirting and beneath the top trip. These will hide any imperfect corner cuts and they'll just make the inner and outer corners look a bit more 'finished' and sleek. Since these are quite thin, I didn't want to chance nails splitting the wood, so I've simply glued them into place instead.

fitting corner beads to hide imperfect cut
corner angle bead


Step 6 - Recess all Nails
If you haven't already, you'll want to go back over each nail and recess them into the wood. This will enable the nails to be hidden so that you can fill over it before painting and they'll become completely invisible. To do this, you'll need a nail punch set. Simply line it up over the nail and hammer into it, until the nail is completely sunken into the wood. It's kinda therapeutic, I think!

how to use a nail punch


Step 7 - Caulk & Fill
So you might find you have some little gaps here and there - which is no problem at all. Since we're painting this (or at least, I am!) you can just caulk any gaps up, because once it's painted you'll literally never know.

caulking around pallet bench

You'll also want to put some filler over all the nails (yep, there's going to be a lot of them!) and once it's dry, sand it back.

filling small nail holes
diy pallet bench with panelling


Step 8 - Paint!
Onto the good stuff - painting! I know some people hate painting, but personally, it's my favourite bit. I'm using Valspar's wood paint in an eggshell finish, colour-matched to 'Downpipe'. I haven't bothered priming and I'm not even sure you even need to with this paint. I have however given it a quick sand between coats and with this Valspar paint, I only needed two coats to get a full coverage finish. I think the dark grey it looks awesome against the pink wall (also Valspar, read about that here) and it's made the seating look all the more quality-finished and expensive looking.

valspar paint colour matched to downpipe
valspar wood and metal paint review
panting with valspar


Step 9 - Make Hinged Lids
You might have noticed we haven't got any actual seats yet - well this is the very last major bit of DIY and we're almost done, I promise! If you removed all those slats at the beginning, now is when they'll be put back to use. If you're not having storage, you can simply put the slats into position and nail them on the top. But, if you're going for storage like us, then instead of nailing them on, we'll be attaching them together so that they're all connected together to open as one.

To do this, you'll want to cut a piece of timber to the size that will cover all the required slats and then screw it into the slats. Kinda hard to explain, but like so...

UK DIY blog
how to make a hinged seat
pallet bench with storage lid

I then used a combination of a belt sander and a hand sander (actually a multi-tool with sanding attachment!) to sand back all the slats so they looked a little less rustic. I do quite like a little bit of a rough rustic look though, so I haven't over-sanded mine.

using a belt sander to sand pallet wood
multi-tool sanding attachment

I then used flush hinges to attach the lid to the seat. This was pretty difficult to do alone, considering you need about four hands to hold the lid into place whilst screwing the hinge into position so you might want to find someone to help! You want to make sure you're using flush hinges if you don't want to have to chisel out any wood.

flush hinges on seating lid

I then lined the inside storage area with some fabric, just to give it a bit more of a finished look. I have to admit, I'm not the best when it comes to fabric related DIYs (oh so fiddly!) so mine is a little rough and ready. But hopefully you get the idea and you can potentially improve on it, if you can. I've just used stapled to hold the fabric into place.

DIY bench with hidden storage

As for the handles, I've just used a little bit of a ribbon-type material folded in half and stapled to the end of the slats, to use as a kind of tab.

Ribbon tabs as handles
DIY tabs on seating


Step 10 - Sit back and Admire
Aaaaand you're done. Throw in some pillows, cushions and maybe a blanket for good measure. AND CHILL.

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DIY pallet seating with hidden storage

It took me a few days to build, although obviously being a blogger and taking photographs, I could only work during daylight hours and taking photos took up a huge part of my time. Yes, all these photos have been taken via tripod and timer which is quite a large faff to deal with on top of the DIY.

This room is most definitely still a *working progress* and you'll know all about my plans if you follow me over on Instagram. But it's definitely now a useable space, rather than just four walls and my vision for the room is coming together more and more every week.

So I would love to know what you think, and I hope this inspires you guys to build something similar! And if you do, please do tag me in your pics - I would love to see!

Costs:

Pallets £9
Panelling £15
Strip Wood £3
Skirting £9
Corner Bead £8
Hinges £3
Fabric £12
All Nails, Screws etc were free from previous DIYs.
Paint kindly provided by Valspar

Total: £59


Watch the Video...



*Paint was kindly provided by Valspar for this project. As always, all words, thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who support this blog!

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4 comments

  1. What a fantastic build! And I love that it's achievable on a good budget without requiring fancy tools (I'm guessing you could hand saw everything if you don't have a mitre saw?). Can I ask how decent you found the Valspar colour match? Seems to be one of those topics that has people firmly in either camp but without a clear winner either way.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love your blog 😊😊😊
    Greetings from Belgium

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good job.looks stunning and on a good budget

    ReplyDelete
  4. Fantastic article, really enjoyed reading through this :)

    You've done an incredible job!!

    ReplyDelete

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