In today’s consumer world, we can easily be consumed ourselves by the constant need to buy more, get more. But recycling and reusing can be good for us, as well as good for the planet. One man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure, and by reusing things that would otherwise be thrown away, you can make yourself what you need or want without having to take another turn on the capitalist treadmill. Sustainability can be chic as well as worthy, to see that you just have to take a look at the any beautiful and useful items people have made from used wooden crates. Here are a few ideas to get you started
– Patio Decking:
Need some outdoor living space? Make a garden room by simply making some decking from old shipping pallets, which can often be found free of charge. Finish as you wish, with paint or wood varnish or whatever you like. Little joinery is required – just a hammer and some nails. Add sand to finish for a slip-free surface.
– Table and Chairs:
From simple pallet tables and chairs that use the pallets almost as they come, to loungers that use the reclaimed wood in more interesting and complicated ways, the range of tables and chairs that can be made from old pallets is limited only by your imagination and the tools you have at your disposal. Those with a covered area, or who live in a dry climate, could build an entire outdoor lounge, complete with L-shaped sofa and large coffee table. If you are feeling daring, pallet furniture can relatively easily be finished to a high standard and used inside – a very cheap but stylish way to furnish your home. Pallet furniture makes a great conversation piece.
Old pallets are a friend to keen gardeners. Simply hammer them together to make raised vegetable or flower beds, or compost containers. They can make a garden look amazing, and are also functional. Imagine how easy it could be to reclaim a bit of your lawn or paved area to create a raised bed for growing some of your own food. Those who are a little more adventurous have even made whole garden sheds and other garden buildings from old pallets.
– Vertical Gardening:
Those with limited garden space, or practically none at all, can use old pallets to turn any wall into a little garden. If you like to grow your own, the sky is the limit. Grow salads and herbs in layer-like shelves – not only saves on space, but also makes for easy picking.
– For Fun:
Create a romantic garden bower, or a children’s den by making simple walls from old pallets. Paint them fun colours, or grow plants up them make wonderful secret areas. Use them to make a sand pit, outdoor kitchen or play area.
A word of warning about using pallets for your projects. Be sure to check the markings on your pallets to make sure that they have been heat-treated rather than sprayed with lots of nasty chemicals. If the pallet is from Europe, it should be fine, so look out for Euro markings. Never use a pallet if it smells or is stained – these things can be used to transport anything, so steer clear if it seems a bit suspect. That said, most pallets today should be okay. Use common sense and you can have furniture for free that will last for years and bring you a lot of admiration for your style, good sense and ecological credentials. Remember, the uses of pallets are limited only by your imagination.