Monday, September 12, 2011

DIY or DI-Buy?

Hey hey! How was your weekend?! We had a great one!

I worked on a project I’ve been wanting to try for awhile now. Our backyard redo is finally finishing up this week…and it’s been a long time coming. :) The landscaper and his team have done an incredible job and stayed right on track, but we’ve had many, MANY issues with the deck and staining it (which I’ll tell you about soon) and it’s pushed things back quite a bit.

I’m hoping I can show you the deck (finished) and the patio (finished) later this week or early next. Of course now that I say that, some random, freakish storms will come through and push it all back again…but I’ve come to expect that. ;)

Anyhoo…the patio is mostly done, and the outdoor fireplace is DONE and it ROCKS OUR WORLD! I’ve been trying to find a coffee table to place in front of the fireplace – we have some chairs set up around it and I knew a table in the middle would be the perfect set up.

So I went to a bajillion stores and of course…nothin. It’s September, after all. That’s like trying to find Christmas decorations in August. Well…wait. Not really. Cause that you can find.

But anyway, it’s impossible.

So I decided to make one. Our landscaper had plenty of pallets so I decided to recreate this project:


I’m digging the slightly rustic, industrial look right now, and I love that it was large and in charge and it rolled. I’m obsessed with things that roll right now too, if you couldn’t tell.

So I got two pallets (free):


Then cut down 4 x 4’s to the height I wanted (four inches) for the legs:

I turned the top pallet over, as you can see. I attached the legs with brackets:

I attached the bottom part of the bracket first (onto the pallet), then put the leg in and then attached the sides of the legs.

Then, I turned it over and put it on top of the second pallet to make the table.

Because I couldn’t attach the bottom part of the brackets the same way I did before, I would line up the legs, place the brackets where they went, and then prop up the top part of the table while I screwed in the brackets:

Does that make sense? I did that for all four legs, then placed them all back into their brackets, and then attached the brackets into the legs.

Are you with me? ;)

Then, because I was trying to use what I had, I found some honkin’ washers from my stash to attach the casters:

casters on

I had to use the washers because the holes on the wheels were too large. The washers are ridiculously large and look goofy so it’s a good thing they won’t be seen. :)

I sanded it down to prepare it for a dark stain:

pallet coffee table

Annnnnnnnd…I didn’t like it. OK, not really. I mean, it looks fantastic. I love it – it just wasn’t going to be right for the patio.

I kept standing there trying to convince myself that it would work, but I just knew it wasn’t the look I wanted. It has some rough edges and is way dirty (underneath) – which I was OK with because it was going to stay outside. But I didn’t want to worry about the Bub playing around it either.

And it was just a tad too rustic for me.

Then the most important little detail came to me – uhhh…the table is wood. The fireplace has fiyah. Fire and wood – not a good combo. I mean, the fire isn’t shooting out, but the occasional ember will, and I don’t want to have to worry about that.

Why do I think of these things AFTER I spend an hour on a project?

So…it was on to plan B.

On a total whim I called a Menards about 30 miles away to see if they had more of the set we had already purchased (on clearance) a few weeks ago. None of the stores around us had any pieces left…but this location did. I couldn’t believe it!

I got a great little coffee table for $50-something and it matches our furniture exactly:

menards coffee table

Usually I’m not a “buy the whole set” kind of girl, but in the second week of September, I’m not pushing my luck. I bought that baby up FAST.

But one little issue was bugging me – it was too tall. Too high coffee tables are one of my biggest pet peeves. They are right up there with parking lots that don’t connect – HATE THAT.

Seriously…hate. it. Aren’t you glad you’re not me?? :)

So I decided to take care of that myself. I cut down the legs with my plumbing tool:

pipe cutting tool

I showed you how I use this baby to cut down my curtain rods here. It works like a breeze!

First I took the little feet off the table legs:

Then I measured five inches from the bottom and marked the measurement. I usually put some blue painters tape around the metal so I can clearly see where my mark is:

cutting metal rods

You just tighten the cutter around the metal and then turn it around and around – with every rotation, tighten it just a tad, and after a few rotations, you’ll get this:

A perfectly clean cut! It’s SO easy!

I pushed the little feet back in:

And now we have a much lower (it was 22 inches high, now it’s 17) outdoor coffee table:

I love it! It’s perfect! I find lower tables make a space feel much more intimate. And you can put your feet up on them much easier. That’s the main thing. ;)

Here’s a sneak peek of the patio – it’s SO awesome, I can’t wait to show you!:

(The Bub had set up a picnic for us. Sweetie pie!)

So…that was my long road to a table for the patio. The good thing – both projects were easy and super fast. The pallet table took less than an hour to put together, and the coffee table adjustment took about ten minutes.

And now I have a pallet table for sale! Ha! No, for real -- if any of you local Indy folks are interested, let me know. If not, I’ll take it apart and use the parts for a later project. :)

Have you started something that ended up all wrong? How did you fix it? Trash it? Walk away? Is it still sitting there? ;) Sometimes store bought is just right -- even if you do have to make a few little adjustments to it!

I will show you the whole space SOON!


  1. I love the way you adjusted the table. It is looking so nice.

  2. Love the table and the sneak peek! :) Looking pretty! I hope the flooring issues are resolved pronto! xoxo

  3. I could totally find a spot for the pallet table. Too bad I live in Mississippi. :(

  4. I love the changes you made! I bet the pallet table still came out fantastic! Honestly, I feel so much better knowing that you've gone a whole other direction after a project! I've done it so many times! Can't wait to see the end result!

  5. Great "back-up-and-punt" decision! Yes, I've had projects that didn't turn out the way I planned. Some I rework, some I live with, and some I do-over, or decide the best and fastest answer is to buy what I had my eye on in the first place. Can't wait to see the finished outdoor space - it's just in time for fall!

  6. Love it! Too bad we are 3hrs away. I have always wanted to do something with pallets but never knew what.

  7. You are amazing. And funny! I love the look of the pallet table, but I'm like you...I like to look at it in someone *else's* space, not mine! But I am truly amazed that you were brave enough to alter a brand-new piece of furniture. Good for you! I'm glad that you have something you love.

  8. Love how you made the too tall coffee table just perfect. As for the pallet table, the fire aspect was the first thing I thought of. You know where it would be perfect. For the men folk who like to open up the garage door, throw out some lawn chairs and sit on the drive and shoot the breeze. Wheel that baby out, prop the feet up, have a spot to set the beer and chips.... and wheel it back in when the clouds show up. I think it's great and could be really useful.

  9. Ooohh, it's lookin' soo good Sarah! Can't wait to see the whole back yard all finished. = ) Love that you're Little Miss Handy. I liked doing a "guy" job whenever I can!

    And yes, I to have done a project and not used it. I put some branches and moss in a vase. Liked it, took some pictures, did a blog post and less than 24 hrs. later I didn't like it and took it off my side table. You are not alone!!

    ~ Catie

  10. First of all, that's one amazing tool and both my husband and I need one. Second, the pallet table is really awesome but I do like the newer table more. I have way too many projects that I have given up on because I'm stumped. Our kitchen table and chairs need to be painted and I haven't even started. I have a really awesome storage coffee table my brother made for my dad, but it's too southwestern for us. Can't even think of what to do with it. I also have an ottoman that I re-covered and now I hate it. :)

  11. Oh Sara you would have been in heaven if you were with me last weekend. My nephew manages a pallet making place and I went to get some wood for signs and there were hundreds of pallets. Next time I am going with a bigger vehicle! I want that pallet bed sooo bad! Great job by the way!

  12. I have several projects that I started and then trashed. My latest one was when I made my own dishwasher soap. I tried to make pre-portioned, individual soap biscuits (or whatever you call those packet thingies!). Anyhoo, it was a disaster which involved my oven, and my food processor!

  13. OK, love the table. LOVE. Love that you cut it to size. Love the first try, even... but... What do you mean about parking lots that don't connect?

    (This isn't the main thing I'm taking away from the post, honest.)

  14. It's looking great! Good call with the glass table

  15. Great! I really love what you've done with the glass table!

  16. Hi Sarah,

    Not sure you're looking to spend any more time on the pallet table, but my first thought was that it could be improved if the slats were a little thinner and closer together. That's the main difference between yours and the one in the picture, I think! Just a thought. It looks good as is, but I think it could be great. :)

    *Love* what you did with the purchased coffee table! Looks fabulous and WAY better than the fresh from the store version.

    Oh, and I totally know what you mean about parking lots that don't connect. Ugh!

  17. Great ideas; I have the hardest time finding good tables so this is awesome inspiration. Thanks!

  18. Good job with both projects! Can't wait to see more pictures of the back yard. Also, just wanted to let you know I made your crock pot chicken and dumplings last night and they rocked our world!!! Deeeelish

  19. Love what you did with the DIY coffee table! What is the brand and color of the dark stain you used??

    We just made a wood outdoor dining table and I REALLY want a dark stain but haven't found one. Can't wait to see the rest of your outdoor space!

  20. Was it the Avon, IN store? I LOVE that store. I live really close, so I spend lots of time there. The sneak peak looks awesome!

  21. I'm wondering how far Indy is from Nashville. Hmmmm--that's a great table and would look fab in my living room. The coffee table I have now is way too high--you'd hate it! (As I do--but $25 for a marble top table was too much to resist.)

  22. I'm an indy gal... but I have nowhere for your pallet table to go! Sad face =( maybe if I got rid of my patio table/chairs/firepit I would consider it hahah

  23. just did a similar trip and will give you the name of a GREAT antique shop when i get home--all my info is at home--BUT the main purpose for our trip to Ohio was the POTTERY BARN OUTLET! It is right on your way--near Dayton--and I have a name of a GREAT very different shopping center in Dayton--very cool-all info at home for now here are some pics of the Ohio PB Outlet
    It is not as big as the one I go to in Texas--but there were some GREAT buys!! Will get the antique shop info and Dayton shopping center info to you this afternoon!!

  24. sorry above comment was for Urban Farmgirl!! I always have your blog and hers open when I get to work!! silly me!!

  25. I really like the pallet table! I hope you can find a spot for it. It has a great rustic feel. A few weeks ago I made a daybed out of pallets and an antique was pretty cool. But... Your new table looks much better with the furniture you have. You are right, the pallet table just doesn't "go". Can't wait to see the rest!

  26. For things like this I buy. It's just easier for me. I really like the table, especially after you made it shorter. Can't wait to see the whole space.

  27. Wow! You truly are amazing!! I am loving that pallet table!

    I'm hosting a giveaway at for a free digital scrapbook software that I think you would love! I'd love it if you'd check it out! Thanks!

  28. I really like the pallet table, but I completely understand that just because you love something, it doesn't mean it will work in your space (I waste a lot of money not remembering that in the moment though). Great idea to shorten the new table's legs - I have to pick up one of those plumber's tools!

  29. AAAAAH! I hate it when parking lots don't connect also! I just kills me. Cause the you have to drive around some other way and when you finally get there you find out you have to turn right only instead of left and that's the way you wanted to go! Can you tell that happened to me just the other day?

  30. I think the pallet table could do as a nice little plant stand area. Wouldn't need to worry about the table getting wet and you can roll it wherever you want to.

  31. I love that you showed us the whole process, even if the first part didn't work out for you. I love the pallet table you made, but I agree that the store-bought one looks fantastic, especially after you doctored it up!

  32. Great job-it's really pretty and I know the whole tableau will be a stunner out there by the fire! The oooonly I recall a glass-top table you had bursting under snow??? Tell me I'm wrong!!

  33. Love it! I love the pallet table! I've had many projects work out like that, too. Usually I walk away, for a while, then try again! :)

  34. You did a great job on the pallet table. I just love it! You really came up with a super idea.

  35. Amazing pallet table - it is so unique. Such a shame you cannot keep it.

  36. Can I count the times I've gone wrong? Ha! Sometimes, ya make it work, sometimes, ya recycle it, and others just go in the trash! The cool part is not being afraid to end up with any of the above...

  37. I tried to make some outdoor seating from pallets and ran into the same issue. Too rustic for our patio. Total fail. Oh well, at least we didn't waste any money!

  38. Oh yes I have projects gone wrong. Usually I tend to fiddle with them longer to see if I can get them right, sometimes I start over other times I push it out of sight and try to forget about it.
    I love your palette table, ship it over here....
    But I love the new table too, can't wait to see the big patio reveal.

  39. Love the pallet table.If I didn't live in Florida I'd snap it up. I would seal it and place a piece of glass over it.

  40. I haven't had any decor projects go terribly wrong, generally because I let my fiance take those on. He's a carpenter, so I don't even try to out skill him. I handle the pretty little things, artwork and such, and let him tackle the big projects. I'm usually just the assistant.

    Your table looks amazing. I am very impressed!

  41. So glad you found a simple way to get what you wanted. It looks great at that height! :)

  42. I really like your pallet idea for a coffee table. I wished I could make one skinner for my family room.

  43. I really like the collection you have posted on your blog for home interior..Its amazing..

  44. I love the pallet table. The picture of it got me to read the article and I was quite surprised to see you ended up using a totally different table. I am totally into rustic - everything. I will be making a pallet table for my yard. Thanks for the idea! :)

  45. Totally love the pallet table. I can already see myself trying something like that. I looks super easy and inexpensive gotta luv it....your patio is looking good...can't wait to see the end result

  46. Good call on the pallets/fire proximity!

    I love what you did with it looks great!

  47. Can you re-purpose that table as a roll away dog bed? Insert a soft pillow or some blankets and then you can create a space for pets.

  48. This is what me and my girlfriend did with a pallet :)


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