Well, my pallet sofa summer project is finally finished! I think it's even better than I imagined it would be. When I first set eyes on these pallets, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them but it's not always easy trying to recreate an image that's in your head is it?
We have a long balcony which runs down the west side of our house. At one end, the balcony space is wider and cuts into our carport roof in a kind of a square shape. I've been looking for affordable seating ideas for this space for ages and when I saw all the beautiful pallet sofa designs on Pinterest, I decided to have a go at making one myself. I didn't follow any plans (there was really no need, it's so simple) but I did do a bit of prep so if you'd like to copy this Boho style pallet sofa look, here's how I did it.
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How To Create A Beautiful Boho-Chic Pallet Sofa
TIP: Lots of companies will give you these disposable wooden pallets for free. If you want to use the sturdier Euro pallets you will probably have to pay for them. When choosing pallets, make sure that they have not been used to store chemicals as these may have seeped through into the pallet wood.
Pallet Sofa - Preparing the Pallets
Only one of my pallets is used for this outdoor pallet couch is a Euro Pallet (and I only got that one because it was broken). The rest of them are just disposable pallets which were being thrown away.
For my small balcony pallet couch, I used seven pallets in all. First, look at the pallets and decide which ones you will use for the seats, which ones will be on top (makes a difference for sanding) and which ones to use for the backrests.
I used four pallets for the seats, stacking one on top of another. Then I used three pallets for the backrests.
Wash & Dry
The first step in this pallet couch project was to wash the pallets down with the hose. Some of the pallets were really dirty but cleaned up easily enough.
If you're going to be putting cushions on your pallet sofa, the last thing you want is for the rough wood of the pallets to snag your fabric. So the next step, once the pallets are dry, will be to give them the once over with a sander.
Before you start, check the pallets over to see if they have any staples left in them. If they do, you can easily lift and remove them with a hammer and chisel.
I used my little mouse sander to make quick work of sanding the pallets. You can also just use sandpaper but of course that will take a little bit more elbow grease 😉
Why I said to sort your pallets out first, was because you don't have to sand the pallets which are going to be on the bottom. For these ones, I saved some time and energy by just sanding the edges where someone's legs might rub against the pallet.
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After sanding the pallets, I gave them all a brush down with a wire brush to get rid of the dust. Luckily there wasn't much because my mouse sander sucks up the dust into a little container as it sands.
The next step for me in this outdoor pallet couch project was painting the pallets. You don't really have to do this because pallet wood is not really very good quality and will need to be replaced often anyway.
I just wanted my pallet sofa to have a bit of a whitewashed look so I painted on a couple of coats of white wood stain.
I've seen some pallet sofas which have been completely painted in a solid colour. I think, if you wanted to do this, you would have to use a primer on the pallets first because otherwise, the paint will just absorb right into the wood.
Leave the pallets to dry for the recommended time stated on the tin of whichever product you've used.
Because the pallet sofa is set up against the walls of the garage and carport, I didn't need to add any kind of support. I stacked two pallets together for the seats setting them at cross angles. Then I pulled them forward from the wall a little and added three pallets behind for the backrests. I slanted the backrests slightly so they would be more comfortable to lean against.
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Beer Crate Side Table
My husband was about to throw this little wooden crate away and I literally save it at the eleventh hour.
I was thinking about making a small side table for the pallet sofa and this beer crate was the ideal size. Also, this outdoor pallet couch will mostly be used by our older boys and their friends so a beer crate side table was rather fitting I thought. I explained how I made this last week in the privacy screen post so just click the link below to read that.
Pallet Sofa – Sun/Privacy Screen
This balcony receives the sun from around 1 pm in the afternoon until sunset. I knew I would have to make some kind of screen against the sun for this pallet couch.
I came up with this idea of recycling some wooden slats which were just gathering dust in our basement. I wrote a post showing how I did that which you can read here:
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Pallet Sofa - Styling
Now comes the best bit of all, well for me anyway – styling this pallet couch. Getting together all the bits and pieces to pull my look together is my favourite part.
Pallet Sofa – Mood Board Magic
My first stop as always was to create a mood board. I do this in two ways. First, I created a new Pinterest board for my outdoor pallet couch and put together items which had the look I wanted to create.
I also pinned to that board all the items I found on my visits to various online shops.
Then, I created a visual mood board which included cuttings from magazines or pieces of fabric which I already had at home. In this case, though, I also created a visual 'mood corner' where I gathered all the items which I already owned (and which weren't currently being used elsewhere) and put them all together to see what would work with my pallet couch and what wouldn't.
The trouble with me is, I like so many styles and I used to be a very impulsive buyer. I find making a mood board really helps me focus on the look I'm after and it means I'm less likely to make impulsive buys which I later regret.
Using a mood board also means, I know exactly what I'm looking for and I can grab any bargains I see when I'm out shopping which fit the bill, because I know they're going to look right. You can read more about my mood board process in the post A mood board saves you time and money | How to make one.
First, I wanted to get a small indoor/outdoor rug for in front of the pallet sofa. Have you actually taken a look at indoor/outdoor rugs lately? There are some really gorgeous options available these days. Lots of them are made from recycled materials like plastic bottles.
These new outdoor rugs are waterproof, mould resistant, washable and hard wearing. I was so impressed by what I found, I wrote a whole post about it. Just click this link 'Beautiful outdoor rugs – get this year's 'it' accessory', if you want to read that post.
Pallet Sofa – Seat Cushions
Next on my list was foam to make the cushions for my pallet sofa. I visited a local manufacturer to see if I could get some foam cut to size. What a shock I had when I heard how much it was going to cost!
The foam would need to be quite dense otherwise you would be able to feel the pallet slats underneath and just one seat cushion would have cost me more than I wanted to spend on the whole lot of cushions and that would have been without any covers. Back to the drawing board then 🙁
There were various colours of pallet couch cushions to choose from but I had pinned black cushions to my mood board and I knew that was going to work so I ordered them right away.
See, making a mood board saves you so much time because you don't need to spend ages deciding which colour this or that is going to work – you already know.
It also means, that when you come across a bargain which almost matches something on your mood board, you can grab it without a second thought. That's exactly what happened with one of the next items on my list:
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I shopped my house and came up with a few lanterns I could use. My three trusty IKEA lanterns, which are very old and rusty and which have been used all over my house at some point.
I already had some lovely minimalist black lanterns from 'The White Company'. These have mirrors on the bottom which reflect the light of the little tea lights which I use inside. The lanterns have handles for hanging so I decided to attach one to some jute twine and hang it from one of the wooden beams. This looks gorgeous at night when the flickering candlelight dances over the blue wall of our house.
I also wanted to find a taller lantern with a similar minimalist style to those from 'The White Company' and this is when I found my bargain. I had run out of staples for my staple gun when I was making my privacy screen and needed to pop to the DIY store. I'd paid for the staples and was on my way out of the shop when I spotted it sitting at the end of the checkout on a bargain-basement trolley. I thought the bright red price sticker said €5 but I knew better than to rely on a price which was read without me having my reading glasses on! Glasses on - price still €5! On closer inspection, I realised why.
One of the small panes of glass at the bottom of the lantern was cracked. Now me, I'm thinking "If I place that lantern against a wall so that the crack is at the back who is going to see it when there's a church candle inside?" Answer – nobody! I can tell you that not one single person has noticed it yet!
Don't ever turn down a bargain because it's not perfect! I have gotten some of my best pieces that way. This time last year, in that very same shop, I picked up my lovely ficus tree with a twisted spiral trunk for the same price of €5. It had become infested with mealybug which is why they wanted to get rid of it quickly. Trees like that usually sell for close to €100 in that shop! Well then, that brings me nicely on to my next item.
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As you can see, my ficus tree has made the move up here to the balcony and sits nicely in the space to the side of the pallet sofa. I worked hard to get rid of those pesky mealybugs using various natural remedies including sprays containing:
a vinegar/water mix
A rapeseed oil spray
I'm pleased to say that the tree is now in perfect health and thriving here on the balcony. I'll take it back inside before the first frost though – it would never survive our winters.
Pilea – this is an indoor plant but I like to give all my plants an outdoor holiday in summer. So far they haven't complained and I think they thrive in areas of light shade like here where they are protected by the screen.
There are four hanging bamboo plants. Three are in a flower box fixed to the rail of the balcony and the fourth is in a lovely reed planter on a beam just above the pallet sofa. Hanging bamboo loves partial shade so this spot on the balcony is perfect because they are protected by my DIY privacy/sunscreen.
I've been wanting to try out these indoor/outdoor festoon lights for ages. These ones have low energy LED bulbs. The great thing about these lights is that the lead cable is five meters long. I plugged these lights into an inside socket and tucked the cable through the wooden planks of the deck. I love how cosy they make this outdoor pallet couch look and think they give off just the right amount of light. Here are a couple of places you can get them:
Germany - otto.de
Mother of Pearl Hanging Garland
I found this lovely garland at our local DIY store and it cost around €2.
Pallet Sofa - Textiles
The diamond throw is from 'WestwingNow'. I bought it for our bedroom when I did the refresh in Spring. We don't need it in the bedroom over the summer but it's perfect for snuggling up under in the evening when the air cools down outside.
I used a black fleece throw to cover the seat cushions on the pallet sofa. I know the cushion covers are washable, but I'd rather not have to. This throw can be easily thrown into the washing machine and it's also really cosy. I actually turned it over and used the non-fleece side here and everyone loves how soft it feels.
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The black and white embroidered cushions are from 'H & M Home'. I've had them a few years now and they still look fantastic.
The white fake fur cushion was an end of season purchase and the white Moroccan cushion with fringes was bought in Spring from WestwingNow.
Phew! This post has turned out to be much longer than I planned but I think I've covered just about everything.
I think I managed to successfully transform this dead space into a lovely seating area which will be much used over the summer months. At least, I'm dead chuffed with it and from their reactions to seeing the finished result, the rest of my family are too.
Even Brilli gave her seal of approval.
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