For Australians, summertime is synonymous with the outdoors, whether that's hitting the beach to work on a tan or organising a backyard barbecue with good mates. Sometimes, though, the heat gets a little much. According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the country's hottest day last month was 46.8 degrees Celsius in Western Australia - and that was just during spring.
When it starts to feel like we're sweating our skin off, there's often no choice but to throw in the towel and seek shelter in our air-conditioned homes. But this doesn't mean that it can't feel like summer inside. All you need for a sunny interior is a stylish eye and some DIY skills. Pallet furniture is one such way to incorporate a summery vibe into your home.
What's good about pallet furniture?
You've undoubtedly heard of or seen how fantastic this type of furniture can look outdoors, as tables and chairs for barbecue areas in a DIY garden. However, when constructed with the proper care and know-how, these rustic wooden frames can transform an ordinary room into a comfortable luxury space.
Pallets are crude-looking wooden frames used to transport freight. Oddly enough, their rough, shambling appearance is a large part of their appeal, as it contributes to a modern organic design style. For a fraction of the price of ready-made furniture (you can sometimes even get them for free), these rickety wooden squares offer residents a sort of casual chic that is incredibly in line with the Aussie lifestyle.
In addition to this, pallets are reclaimed wood, so using them for DIY endeavours is very environmentally responsible.
As pallets are used in an industrial environment, there are a number of things that need to be done before they can be safely incorporated into your home. It's important to choose them carefully as many of them could be saturated in harmful chemicals.
Look for stamps that explain how the wood was treated, and don't bother with pallets that don't have any identifiers for this information on them. Your best bet is to opt for ones that have been used to transport light, dry goods as these are less likely to have been exposed to anything dangerous. Termites may also be an issue, so be sure to check for signs of them.
Once you have the right pallet, you will need to sand it down to remove splinters from the surface. Hire a sanding tool such as the Rotax Sander to safely and efficiently smoothen the surface of the wood. Pull the planks of wood apart and thoroughly sand and clean them, so everything will be spick and span when you pull it back together. Now the fun begins!
This type of furniture looks especially stylish in bedrooms because the rough, hardy structure of the wood combines perfectly with soft, cosy blankets and mattresses to create an intimate environment.
The sturdy structure of a pallet immediately makes it ideal for bed frames. Construct a base by stacking pallets next to and on top of each other and screwing them down with an electric drill. Then paint, stain or varnish the wood until it's the colour that you want.
You can also use the planks from a deconstructed pallet to make a trendy minimalist wooden headboard. For this, you'll need two long wooden posts. Lay a plank across these posts to form an 'H' shape. After this, screw down the remaining pieces across the top half, at an even distance from each other.
Coffee tables and sofas are your main bet here, especially since the long, low lines of wooden plank furniture create a contemporary, yet comfortable feel. The most basic tables are simply painted pallets with wheels attached. For a more stylistic touch, turn the pallet upside down and place a sheet of glass over it. This will create a shelf for magazines and books, making the coffee table a colourful feature point in your living room.
Sofas can also be made by stacking. This time, however, you will need back support. Simply turn a pallet on its side and screw that on. Next, find couch cushions to fit your project. This is especially fun as it allows you a great range of freedom in the colour department.
For a more earthy feel to your living room, stain the wood a dark brown and accessorise with forest green. If you're sticking to a traditionally woody colour, navy and lighter blues invoke a sunny, nautical feel. Add a few embellishments made of rope and your sitting area will have a uniquely summer-time feel, even in the middle of winter.
For the kitchen, you can make a classical wine shelf. Using a circular saw, cut off the end of a pallet. Pull out the centre boards and use them to fortify the base. You can also build an additional shelf underneath, with holes cut into it for wine glasses. Incorporating this style of furniture into various places around your house adds a whimsical element to your decor while encouraging a cohesive style to the overall design of your home.