DIY wood pallet coffee table

joey and i joined forces to turn this wood pallet we found by a dumpster in an alley into a rustic, chic coffee table! it's a pretty simple project and fun to do on a weekend day. you can pick any paint color and/or style of leg to fit in with your particular decor and of course there are tons of options for stain color or paint for the pallet top! i chose an aged oak stain to contrast with the glossy turquoise, sculpted legs for a bohemian, reclaimed look.

coffee tables are an easy way to update the look of your living room. they are small-scale but because of the placement, in the middle of the room (conversation area), coffee tables are a great way to establish style, tone and color. check out some other DIY coffee tables and design tips here!

watch the video above for the visual steps and design...

Prep It:
  • wood pallet (check dumpsters, alley ways, side of the road, craigslist, etc.)
  • saw
  • hammer
  • wood nails
  • sand paper - some rougher grit and some lighter grit to smooth
  • table legs (pre-made from the hardware store)
  • hanger bolt (like these) - 1 for each leg
  • 4 table leg straight top plates (like these)
  • spray paint primer
  • spray paint in the color of your choice
  • gel stain - in color of your choice, we used Minwax Gel Stain an "aged oak" color
  • rag to apply stain
Do IT!: safety tip: since pallets run the gamut of wood treatments and prior uses you never really know what chemicals, hidden nails, etc.. are on/in it so obviously be very careful and DIY at your own risk. typically your pallet will have specific markings on it that you can look up online to see how the wood was treated, etc...
  1. using a hacksaw, saw the pallet into the pieces that you wish to use for the coffee table. be very careful as there are all kinds of hidden nails and hidden pieces of metal in the wood so it might be smarter to use a handsaw. we used the two pieces that were on the end of the pallet because those boards were next to each other with less space between.
  2. connect the cut up pieces of the pallet with one of the scrap pieces by nailing the scrap piece to the bottom of the two halves and hammering with wood nails. the scrap piece acts as the seam on the underside to keep the two sides together.
  3. using a high grit sand paper to sand down all of the surfaces that will be visible. here's an article on sand paper and which grits to use.
  4. now that you have the wood sanded, wipe down the dust with a rag and evenly apply a light stain of your choice using a scrap piece of cloth or another rag. you might want to do two coats of stain, depending on how dark you want the finish. we used Minwax Gel Stain in 'Aged Oak'.
  5. for the legs you could either make your own or buy 4 pre-made pine table legs from the hardware store (like these).
  6. for a nice pop of color spray paint the legs a funky color! but prime them first with spray paint primer so you don't have to do too many coats of your color.
  7. flip over the pallet and attach 4 table leg straight top plates (like these) to the bottom of the pallet where you will attach the 4 legs.
  8. drill a hole in each table leg and insert the screw side of the hanger bolt (like these), which is basically a screw on one side and a bolt on the other side.
  9. now all you have to do is screw the table legs into the top plates that are mounted to the pallet and you are done!
  10. the great thing about using the top plates and the hanger bolt is you can easier take the legs off by unscrewing them whenever you need to move the table somewhere.

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