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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

Bed Frames and Headboards

If you’re looking for things to do with pallets, skip over the headboard idea. 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


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 deskGines Romero/Shutterstock

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 simple modern computer desk or a pipe desk for your home office space.

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pallet wood palletswitaya 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 containersMentari 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 countertopkaranik 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 FurnitureZastolskiy 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

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
Writer and editor with a background in news writing, editorial and column writing and content marketing.