Have a wood table that could use a makeover? Here’s how to turn a plain wood table into an Ikea hack pallet head-turner along with added rustic storage shelves!
There is a very good reason I will always need a truck in my life. And that’s thanks to my hobby of collecting roadside finds.
On this one fine sunny Sunday, I was cruising home after lunch when I spotted an Ikea piece of furniture on the side of the road. At first I hesitated. The wood table wasn’t really my style, so I drove nearly all the way home, when a brainstorm hit! So you guessed it, I went alllll the way back to get it.
This was right around the time I was working on my garage makeover, so both vehicles and the roadside finds were piling nicely in front of the house. Why not add one more?! My neighbours adore me I’m sure…
So what happened to my big brainstorm? Yeah, well, I changed my mind. So I had no idea what I wanted or needed the table for. And outside it continued to sit.
A possible use?
UNTIL my son mentioned he’d like his fish tank lower…
Well, to hold a hefty fish tank, at the very least it would need to be strengthened! And that front drawer flap fixed…
Since I love a great challenge, I dug right in working on it! When one thing led to another. And the rickety little table turned into a DIY IKEA hack pallet side table with added shelves! Holey moley… and I aim to give it away?!
Have a plain old table of your own that could use new life? Here’s a tutorial how I revamped my Ikea hack making it much more cooler and way more productive!
And a handy must-have for every room in the house. Now where can I find 5 more?
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DIY IKEA hack pallet side table with added shelves
I found out that this side table is a discontinued IKEA Leksvik computer desk with a slide out keyboard drawer front that opens flat.
Nice size desk for a home office I suppose, but I personally think it looks more like an accent table or console table, or would even make a great bedside table for a taller bed if you had the right amount of space. But whatever kind of wood table it is, let’s make it look MUCH cooler!
The stained finish was too orange for my liking, and the somewhat modern style didn’t really suit the rustic farmhouse vibe I prefer.
There’s lots of transformation to come. But since this was going to be a fish tank base, strengthening the side table came first. Let’s Ikea hack!
Adding back bracing for support
The good thing about IKEA furniture is the fact that most of their furniture hardware is easy to tighten up. Every bolt was worked over with a drill to ensure all the joins were as stable as possible.
Next up, I desired to stabilize the entire table so it didn’t sway back and forth.
I had these Ikea metal cross supports on hand meant for other shelving, so I opened them up, realized they fit, and screwed them to the back of the table for hopefully a little more stability!
Adding additional side supports
Next up I felt some side supports would help strengthen the table further.
So I measured the distance in between the front and back table legs, cut some thin wood boards to fit, then added some pocket holes to them with a Kreg Jig pocket hole maker for easy installation.
Video: how to use a Kreg Jig
Click above to watch a short video on how to use a Kreg Jig. It’s very easy!
The side supports were screwed into place on each side of the table. Just like they’d always been there!
And that’s when I got the idea… those could become shelf supports as well! So let’s make a shelf!
How to make a reclaimed wood shelf
Since the look I was going for was reclaimed pallet wood, a few random boards were gathered up to crete a slip-in shelf for added storage space.
1. Measure, cut and sand reclaimed wood boards to the desired length.
2. Lay the planks good-side-down, then cut two smaller board supports and attach to the bottom.
I positioned these boards to land INSIDE the side support boards on the table so the shelf would stay in position.
3. If a backboard is desired, cut to size then attach with screws.
This will prevent things from falling off the shelf.
And here is how the reclaimed wood shelf looks on the good side.
Remounting the flap-down drawer
This IKEA desk has a keyboard sliding drawer that flaps open. However, the brackets were bent and no longer closed properly.
The drawer front and brackets were removed, then modified so the drawer front stayed closed all the time.
Two wood blocks were screwed to each drawer side, flush with the front of the drawer.
Then I attached the drawer front to the wood blocks from behind with screws. (supplemented with wood glue would be a good idea)
Some small L brackets would also have worked, however I only had 2 on hand, so free wood blocks did the trick, and blended right in after being stained!
Sanding the table
I didn’t love the orange-toned stain on the table, so I sanded it a little with an orbital sander to see how easy the finish was to remove.
Loved it better a little roughed up, which I felt looked more like a reclaimed wood pallet look!
But it was a little fussy, as only parts of the top coat came off easily. If I kept the piece, I would have kept going and removed it all. But being that the purpose was meant to house a fish tank, it would need water protection. So I decided to see what I could do working with stain.
So let’s protect it!
Staining the table
A coat of Fusion’s Stain and Finishing Oil in Natural was brushed on the entire top and legs, then wiped back off with a clean rag.
This Stain and Finishing oil tones and protects, and is floor-durable. I used it on THIS Argyle TV tray makeover and it is one tough, durable finish! So I knew this product would be perfect to protect this table.
Hoping for more of a reclaimed wood look, I layered Fusion’s Stain and Finishing Oil in Driftwood on top before the Natural cured. This caused a little bit of a blending effect which I really loved!
THESE CRATES offer a view with Driftwood over top of pine. It’s really lovely!
How to stain furniture
- Brush on stain with a price efficient chip brush. Brush quality doesn’t matter this round.
- Wait a few minutes.
- Wipe stain off with a lint-free rag.
- Apply a 2nd coat for more durability or added sheen once 1st coat is dry.
The finished table plain
Here’s the finished table, complete with the extra reclaimed wood shelf, and a large wicker basket and wire basket added for additional storage.
It sure looks different with all the accessories, doesn’t it?!
The finish is lightened up abit with parts of the grey stain showing through.
The wood table is a great IKEA hack as-is! But let’s add one more thing to it to really get that reclaimed wood vibe… and that was with a few details with a Pallet Stamps stencil.
A good companion: Shipping Crate Stamps stencil HERE
Adding Pallet Stamps with a stencil
Pallet Stamps is a pallet-styled stencil that mimics authentic stamped images you see on pallets. With random numbers, a product logo, along with bolts and screw heads, this stencil offers loads of creativity!
So the next day after the stain had dried, some Pallet Stamp details were stenciled all over the table, for a ‘classy pallet’ look.
The stencil was placed in random areas, then stenciled in Fusion Mineral Paint’s Coal Black for a somewhat authentic looking pallet stamped look.
Stencil placement was made in consideration of how this piece would be used, so the images would show.
How to stencil to avoid paint bleed
- Position stencil with masking tape.
- Load stencil brush with paint, then remove most onto a rag until the brush feels dry.
- Tap or swirl brush through the stencil for the desired effect.
Learn more about how to stencil from THIS post.
And don’t overlook the sides of the legs! Any nook and cranny is game for a few pallet stamps, bolt heads and nail heads!
A screw head and a bolt were positioned as if they were used for attaching the shelves.
It’s a subtle detail, but it sure is fun!
The completed table with pallet stamps!
And here’s the final Ikea hack pallet side table, along with an added shelf and a couple of wicker and wire baskets for added storage!
Different ways to use this table:
- entry table with nearby bench
- hallway console table
- shoe cabinet
- bathroom towels
- living room sideboard
- dining room side table
- small dresser
- unique chest of drawers
- Ikea cabinet
- mini kitchen island or counter with recipe bookcases
- phone station
- coffee bar
- add casters for a cart
I just think it’s so incredibly versatile, it can be an extra workspace for whatever you wish! Especially for smaller apartments.
And now that it’s Instagram-worthy, who wouldn’t want one?!
The pallet stamps are random and subtle, but just enough so the table resembled pallet wood being pieced together.
I call this a ‘classy pallet’ look!
It’s like a little peek-a-boo decor piece for the eyes. The more you look, the more pallet inspiration you find.
Imagine adding some mug or oven mitt hooks…
Now that’s a high-end pallet, huh?
The drawer front really turned out nice too! It sits nice and flat, pulls out perfectly, and the PRODUCT Pallet Stamp is just the right touch without overdoing a good thing.
Yup! I’m really loving my IKEA hack side table now! Which happens to NOW be just my style… and one of my own best ikea hacks yet any diy’er can do! For not that much work, it’s quite a little upgrade, huh?
Good luck now, son! Maybe I’ll just go get a fish tank of my own…
Video of stenciling this piece
Click above to watch how this piece was quickly transformed with just a few discrete stencils!
Fun, right?! What would you use this piece for?
Other IKEA projects
Check out loads of Ikea stenciled pillow tutorials HERE
See the many ways I’ve used these types of IKEA shelves! (closets, office, junk storage etc!)