Make a lift-top coffee table out of pallets…

DIY Lift Top Pallet Coffee Table

This isn’t the first lift-top coffee table we’ve shown you and it probably won’t be the last. But it may well be the least expensive! It’s unique in a number of ways including the fact that it’s made out of reclaimed shipping pallets that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

The great benefit of these lift-top coffee tables is the mechanism that keeps you from hunching over your laptop, or your food when eating off the coffee table. Another highlight of this design is the huge central storage space and the side storage compartments.

DIY Lift Top Pallet Coffee Table
Make a lift-top coffee table out of pallets…

If you had to build one, what changes would you make to make it more personalized?

BTW, if you want to know which pallets are safe to use, you can get all the facts – and instructions on how to dismantle a pallet, in this post:  Pallets – fact and fiction (or how to tell a safe pallet from a toxic one)

Click on any image to start the lightbox display. Use your Esc key to close the lightbox. ?

You’ll need these materials:

  • 2 Pallets
  • Wood slats (that match the pallets, or you can buy a third pallet and disassemble them to use the pieces)
  • Heavy duty Casters
  • Heavy duty Cantilever Hinge
  • 2 Heavy duty Slides
  • Screws
  • Thick Steel Straps (for holding tabletop pieces together)
  • Wood Glue

And these tools:

  • Cordless Screwdriver
  • Saw
  • Belt sander
  • Crowbar
  • Drill with a 3-4 mm drill bit for pre-drilling (optional)


Start with the first (bottom) pallet. The steps needed to be taken here would depend on the kind of pallet that you have. Ultimately, the goal is to have a box-like result where space is available for storage inside and the bottom is closed.

You want to start by cleaning it up by sanding it or removing unnecessary things found on it. Cut some wood slats, if necessary, to provide the space that you are aiming for.

Now pallets have holes on all four sides, right? Close these with the smaller wood slats or boards.

Then turn it upside down to work on the bottom. You need to close it as well by hammering or screwing wood slats.

Attach the casters on the corners.

DIY Lift Top Pallet Coffee Table

Now we need to disassemble the second pallet, removing the top part of it. Do the same “cleaning” with it.

Attach the second pallet to the first one, and now you have the “body.”

DIY Lift Top Pallet Coffee Table

For the table top, join wood slats together with the thick perforated steel straps (you can also use ¾ thick pieces of wood) as show in the picture. Make sure you place these fasteners where it will hold the wood planks steadily together but also where it would not hit any other parts of the table when closed. You might want to put some wood glue at the sides of the wood planks for more strength.

The overall size of the table top should be the same as the dimensions of the body, of course. But you have to divide the table top into two as shown in the picture above. One would have a sliding mechanism only, while the other can be lifted. As an example in the picture, this will serve as an easier access to the things you will be storing inside.

DIY Lift Top Pallet Coffee Table

Next, install the sliders and the hinge. You have to do a trial and error to determine the accurate positions of the mechanism before screwing them into place.

DIY Lift Top Pallet Coffee Table

If possible you can install the slider on the pallet itself. But for some, you might need to add wood pieces on the inside of the body where you can attach the sliders and the hinge (lift mechanism). As you can see in this picture, the two mechanisms are installed on different wood surfaces.

DIY Lift Top Pallet Coffee Table
DIY Lift Top Pallet Coffee Table

Thanks to dirkdeus for the original idea.



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