How to upcycle a pallet & charity shop trunk into a storage coffee table

Another day, another DIY! This time, it’s a classy coffee table that doubles up as handy storage. And would it even be a Cassie Fairy DIY if it didn’t include pallets?? The rustic-yet-cool chevron effect top is all refinished pallet wood – making this a money-saving project too. Read on to find out how to DIY a storage coffee table for yourself this autumn…

As luck would have it, at the exact same time that I thought to myself ‘hmmm I could do with some more storage…’ I stumbled upon this old trunk in a charity shop. It didn’t have a lid but that didn’t bother me because I knew I could fashion a new one using old wood.

If you wanted to recreate this project, you could use any secondhand suitcase or even a drawer from a chest of drawers to upcycle into your own coffee table. Keep an eye out at car boot sales, auctions and in charity shops to find a trunk or case to DIY.

Of course, I already had a pallet hanging around at home (I pick them up whenever I find one in a skip, so there’s always at least one pallet in my garden at any given time!) so I was able to crack on with making a new top for the trunk, turning it into a coffee table in the process.

If you need to get hold of a pallet or secondhand wood, do always have a look when you go past a skip or building site. Be sure to ask permission before taking anything though! Once you’ve got some secondhand wood, there’s no end to the projects you can build with the help of a trusty sander (my favourite tool)!

I really liked the idea of creating a chevron pattern with the old wood but had never tried it before. But that didn’t stop me! It’s fun to experiment on smaller projects like this (I mean, smaller in comparison to installing a whole parquet floor!) and now I know that it’s relatively simply to create a tabletop of any size using pallet wood. Bring on the dining table project, eh?!

The new table top acts as a lid for the trunk and means that I can stow things away inside the coffee table. Maybe magazines, books and photo albums, or soft furnishings and throws to add to the sofa on chilly days. I’ve shared the full step-by-step guide to DIY this coffee table on the Safestore blog so please do check it out for instructions, ‘before’ photos and my handy upcycling tips for this project.

Even though would be absolutely fine for the trunk coffee table to sit on the floor, I wanted to be able to move it aside if needed so, to make it easier to shift, I wanted to add some wheels to the base. The wheels are locking castors so that the coffee table can be safely locked into position when it’s in use and won’t go rolling off with cups of tea sloshing everywhere!

What do you think of my upcycled trunk coffee table? I quite liked the vintage style of the trunk with genuine shipping labels from the last century so I didn’t feel the need to do much to it – just a few internal repairs. But you could always re-paint a suitcase or drawer to match your decor, or even add pattern with decoupage. Let me know if you have a go at making this DIY for yourself – I’d love to see your photos so please tag me @cassiefairy on Instagram πŸ™‚



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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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