Creating Additional Living Space One Pallet at a Time

First, I just want to say sorry for the delay in posting as some major life events have happened in the time between. But now on to the fun stuff…

Most people who know me and my fiancé know we love to DIY wherever possible. And most times it ends up being more cost efficient. For example, we built a bar in our basement a couple years ago out of pallets, repurposed lumber, and a little elbow grease.

When we moved into our two bedroom two bath apartment in August, we saw it as another challenge to let our creativity show in this new space. We had more space to work with, but it meant everything we had no longer fit just right. And then there was balcony potential which leads me to our latest project. An outdoor bench!

After spending enough time on Pinterest for inspiration, it was time to get crafty. When you’re in your 20’s and broke AF, you learn to become resourceful. Of course we considered buying a bench, but they all seemed absurdly overpriced and looked like something we could build.

We called around to a few places to see if we could use their pallets and drove around looking for a decent bench-sized one. (The one we eventually found was four feet by 20 inches.) First step down!

We realized after bringing the pallet home that it was much too short to sit as is. My fiancé found discounted wood for legs at Home Depot and this was a trick we picked up while building our bar. Home Depot has a pile for discounted wood that is less desirable to customers due to imperfections so the wood is marked down by at least 70 percent. And better yet, they’ll cut them for you too!

Once we had the pallet and legs down, we used wood glue to attach them and there was no need for drilling. The legs sat overnight while the glue dried and then we looked for our next piece: a backrest. This was luck of the draw, or should I say dumpster? Our apartment complex has a large recycling area for furniture and this is where we have found our bookshelf and larger (mini) fridge both perfectly intact. What looked like was once part of a table became our backrest. With these materials, we could begin to transform the pallet into a comfortable lounge piece.

After the legs and backrest were added to the pallet, we went to get sand paper and paint. Getting the paint took a while because we debated over the color but also had to remember to make sure whatever color we got could withstand weather. Lowes had a discounted section of indoor/outdoor paint as well, but for a bucket of more paint than we needed, it was still $13. We opted for a sampler of the outdoor paint we liked at Lowes instead. This was just a pint worth of the color and a fraction of the price!

We laid down newspapers on the balcony and sanded down and painted the entire bench. We had just enough paint for a thin second coat and the bench was good to go. The paint had to dry for around 24 hours before we could sit on it. And the last step was of course the comfort factor. We went and looked at what was left from the outdoor sections of Home Depot, Lowes, and Walmart for cushions mostly because we wanted to use the bench right away instead of ordering and waiting for a cushion to come in the mail. I walked by a display full of body pillows in Walmart and saw pillows that matched our color scheme and that surely was luck my friends! They went for $12 each and when we finally made it to the checkout line, the pillows rang up as $4 each instead. Most likely leftovers from summer, but we’ll take it. They’re not special outdoor cushions, but we bring them back inside whenever we’re done sitting outside.

Overall, this ended up being the total cost of supplies for making the bench:

Pallet cost: $0
Legs for bench from Home Depot: $3
Paint for bench from Lowes: $3.48
Back rest: $0
Bench cushions from Walmart: $8
Sand paper from Lowes: $4.50
Paint brush from Lowes: $2
Wood glue from Home Depot: $2

Total cost: $22.98

The bench ended up fitting exactly where we needed it to and added seating for two more people (and dog) to the space! We’ve been using the pallet bench almost every night and couldn’t be happier that our hard work has paid off. Our next project will be adding a corner piece and footrest for additional leg room and seating! Stay tuned.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram @PRDogMom for the latest updates.

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