10 Things You Shouldn’t Make with Pallets

It may be a trendy look, but depending on your project, making things out of pallets isn't always the best choice. Since wooden pallets are exposed to outdoor elements including water, insects, bird droppings and can even be home for vermin, you may want to think twice before you use the wood for your next home improvement project. Here's a look at 10 things you shouldn't make with pallets.

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Pallet wood headboard

Bed Frames and Headboards

If you’re looking for things to do with pallets, skip over the headboard idea. Nevertheless, check out these awesome pallet furniture ideas. A pallet wood bed frame or headboard may look like a fun project and a way to save money, but it may be difficult to rest easy when you’re not sure what the wood has been exposed to. Instead, try one of these 14 dreamy DIY headboard ideas.

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Pallet Play House
Karen Coxhead/Shutterstock

Play House

Pallets can come in handy for outdoor projects, such as a shed for storing firewood. However, think twice before you build a play house with pallets. Not only can the wood be rough on little hands, but tests have found some wood pallets may contain E. coli bacteria, according to the National Consumers League.

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Pallet Bedroom Nightstand


Many pallets are treated with tribromophenol, a fungicide to prevent the growth of mold. The chemical may cause concern with those worried about indoor allergens. Instead of using pallet wood to build nightstands and other bedroom furniture, try one of these 12 ingenious things to do with pallets.

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pallet office desk
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Office Desk

If you work from home, there are desk designs you can build yourself that will be more comfortable and sanitary than a pallet desk. We suggest you avoid making a pallet computer desk. Instead, try this  a pipe desk for your home office space.

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Pallet Wood Accent Wall Bed Frame

Accent Walls

Wood accent walls have been very popular for a few years now. Instead of using wooden pallets (you don’t know where they’ve been or what they’ve been exposed to), try a DIY pine accent wall instead. Here are 15 other stunning accent walls you can do yourself.

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pallet wood pallets
witaya ratansirkulchai/Shutterstock

Outdoor Playsets

When considering what to do with pallets, it may be tempting, but avoid using pallet wood to build an outdoor playset for your kids as the wood may not be strong enough to ensure safety. Get inspiration from one of these 12 awesome DIY playsets.

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pallet wood kitchen containers
Mentari Merah Studio/Shutterstock

Kitchen Islands and Cupboards

If you’re looking for things to build with pallets, keep away from the kitchen. Since pallets can be exposed to insects, chemicals and bacteria, keep it out of the kitchen, including using it for kitchen islands and cupboards. If you’re looking to make a kitchen island yourself, try repurposing an old piece of furniture.

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wood kitchen countertop
karanik yimpat/Shutterstock

Dining Tables

Pallets can make for great outdoor furniture projects such as coffee tables for use on the patio, but avoid using the wood for tables you plan to dine from regularly since the wood may harbor mold and bacteria. If you’re looking to build a table quickly, try one of these 10 ideas.

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Pallet Living Room Furniture
Zastolskiy Victor/Shutterstock

Living Room Furniture

Living room furniture can be pricey, but avoid using pallet wood in main living areas since it may contain harsh chemicals. Instead of using pallets for a bookcase, try this built-in bookcase design. If you like the industrial look, you can build a table with a concrete top.

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Pallet Wood Toy Storage

Toy Storage

Since pallet wood and old wooden crates may contain mold, use the wood to build shelves for the garage or outdoor workshop, and not for indoor shelves and cubbies.

In need of a toy storage system? Try this DIY plan.

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham spent years working in newsrooms, for television and newspapers, and has won several awards for her writing. In 2015, she left her full-time job as a newspaper editor to focus on freelance writing and editing. She has been a Family Handyman contributor since 2017.
In 2019, Rachel lived through a major remodeling project on her home, and she uses that experience to inform her Family Handyman content. She's also an avid gardener (both native plants and vegetables), enjoys keeping up with decor trends and spends a lot of time traveling, cooking and hanging out with her family and their giant dog.