How to make your own pallet bed | The trendy bed frame that you can DIY

How to make your own pallet bed | The trendy bed frame that you can DIY

Buying a new bed frame can cost hundreds of dollars, even if you choose a cheaper material. As long as you can find wood pallets and have some free time, you can use the right tools to build a new frame out of that recycled wood.

What is a pallet bed?

Whether you want to do your part and help the environment through recycling or save some money, consider making a bed from old pallets. This type of bed uses the pallets to create both the base and headboard. While basic designs are suitable for most DIY enthusiasts, you’ll find some complex and intricate designs that you can try too.

Sourcing out a pallet

1. Where can you find pallets?

Home improvement stores now sell pallets that you can take apart and put back together again. However, finding free pallets can help you save money on your project. The best place to find free pallets is through small business parks in your area. Distribution companies often give away pallets too. Don’t forget to use the internet to find companies giving away pallets.

2. How many pallets do you need?

The number of pallets that you need to make a wood pallet bed depends on the size that you need. For a queen size pallet bed, you need at least four. Complex and intricate designs, as well as those with a headboard, will need more pallets. You only need two wood pallets to make a twin bed.

A bedroom with a desk and a pallet bed
You need multiple pallets to create a double bed / Source: Shutterstock

3. How to choose safe pallets

Companies often use pallets treated with chemical solvents that protect the wood from water damage. To choose safe pallets, look for any letters stamped on the surface. The initials MB stand for methyl bromide and indicate that the pallets aren’t safe for home use. You can also buy pallets from home improvement stores that are brand new.

Turning a pallet into a bed frame

Learning how to make a pallet bed is easy when you know what steps to follow. Check out the steps below and make sure you understand what to do before you start

1. Sand and wipe down

To make a DIY pallet bed, you need to sand the pallets first. Even if you choose new pallets, sanding the wood is important because it gives the wood a smooth surface and reduces your risk of getting splinters. An electric sander is the best tool for the job because it fits in one hand and works quickly. Make sure that you wear protective gear when sanding, including a mask and goggles. After you finish sanding, wipe off the pallets to remove any excess wood dust.

2. Paint

You do not need to paint a pallet bed base, especially if you have longer blankets or plan to use a bed skirt. Painting lets you add a personal touch though and make the bed yours. If you decide to paint, choose between spray paint or a brush application. Brushes allow you to add just enough colour that you can still see the natural wood grain through the topcoat. Using spray paint ensures that you get the even coverage that you want and will completely hide the wood grain.

3. Secure the pallets together

For a basic DIY wood base, you only need four pallets. Place the pallets on the ground in a two by two layout. Though you do not need to secure the pallets for this type of bed, you may want to use screws to keep the pallets from shifting as you get in and out of bed. If you use wood screws, make sure that the screws are long enough to go through the wood in two pallets.

Securing the pallets is necessary if you want a bed with some height. As pallets are relatively short, you can stack two or more and get as high off the ground as you wish. Use a power tool to sink the screws through the top of one pallet into the pallet below. 

When you get to the top level, put down some material that keeps your mattress from snagging on the wood. A thick piece of cardboard or some felt will work. Those who like sleeping on a firmer mattress can use a piece of plywood cut to the same size as the bed.

Create a pallet headboard

Though you don’t need a headboard for your bed, making one to go along with your wood pallet bed frame is as simple as securing a pallet to the wall. You’ll want to sand and paint the pallet to make it match the bed. Have someone hold the pallet flush against the wall as you sink wood screws through the surface and into the wall, which keeps the pallet bed headboard from falling. You can easily use the slats in the headboard as extra storage for everything from books and lights to clothing and decorations.

If you want to create a different look, try adding some fabric. Simply wrapping the wood in fabric before you hang it creates a fun and functional headboard. You can also secure slats of wood from a second pallet to the front of the headboard to create extra shelves. With another pallet, you can even make a matching footboard to go with your pallet bed base.

Optional decorations

Once you have a pallet bed frame, consider adding some optional decorations to make the bed look different from those that others created. You can go with something basic such as lights. Fairy lights add a nice touch of atmosphere and are small enough that you can weave them through the slats in the bed. If you don’t have a nearby outlet and don’t want to use an extension cord, look for fairy lights that run on a battery. Larger lights create a fantastic look too when suspended on the wall and above the bed. Twinkle lights placed inside the pallet below your bed adds a small amount of light also.

A bed with a pallet bedhead and lights
Lights can add a personal touch to the bedhead / Source: Shutterstock

Decorations can include extra wood that you source from other pallets. Consider cutting down some of the slats and turning them into tiny bedside tables that attach to the side of the headboard. You’ll have more than enough space for a glass of water and your cell phone. Some create beds that include a built-in section on the base for storing their shoes or slippers. You may add cutouts to the wood that lets you run cables through the bed too. Those cutouts are perfect for charging your phone or powering a laptop.

How to make a pallet bed with storage

Making a pallet bed with storage gives you more room for your belongings. It’s easy to make a bed that fits in a small room and has more storage space.

Leave extra room

Leaving extra room around the edges of the bed is the best way to make a frame with storage. Those spaces give you room for a potted plant or a few books. You also have enough space for a light and anything else you would display on a bedside table.

There are endless ideas for projects that you can do with a few wood pallets. Once you find pallets, you can make a DIY bed base and dozens of other items for your home.