Stackable Chairs With Storage Out Of Old Drawers

3 Materials
2 Hours

All need you for the perfect multi-purpose furniture are some old drawers and pallet wood. These chairs work well in children's rooms when they haul out the board games but the dining room table is too big to comfortably sit at.

We still have quite a collection of these old, sturdy drawers in the garage. They were ripped out when we renovated. Dreaming up uses for them is very exciting. And this particular project solves a very real problem in one of the bedrooms - no storage and no seating.

I must confess, even though this is entirely my design, I’m no woodworking diva. As I've said before, I don't do woodwork because I don't have tools,skills or space. However, there is a job creation centre just down the road which makes my life much easier. So sorry, not much in the way of actual carpentry instructions. That said, the design is so simple that most carpenters should figure it out.

The basic principle is a cross-shaped lid that fits over the drawer. Mine has rectangular spaces for the wheels, which means they have to be perfectly positioned and locked when stored. In retrospect I would have had these a bit bigger, considering that the coasters move in an ellipse and you don't want to fiddle around to position them when stacking. So allow enough room so that they can stacked in any swivel position that each wheel happens to be in.

The back is reinforced with a frame which also acts as a stopper that prevents the lid from moving around. Make sure that it doesn’t fit too snugly. There are also two openings a bit wider than the width of a pallet slat but also slightly wider in length because the back needs to be at an angle to be comfortable. Also, pallet wood is not the straightest, so a bit of extra room on all the parts is always a good idea.

Inside the base there is a simple strip that acts as a stopper for the backrest. The position allows the backrest to sit at a more comfortable angle.

The backrest itself consists 5 strips and is small enough to fit into the base.

You could also make it in such a way that the backrest fits over the stopper slat and that they lay flush when packed away.

The coasters (with stoppers) were mounted directly to the base on a wooden squares. This part may be a bit of a weakness in the design. As you can see above, the coaster overshoots the frame, which means that each wheel has to be individually positioned and locked during stacking , otherwise they will be in the way. Moving them slightly more to the middle would prevent this from happening.

Also, this design would not work for a flimsy base or possibly heavier loads. If you were concerned about this, I suggest that you add a sturdier base that attaches to the actual frame.

Another consideration if you decide to reinforce the base is that the bottom of most drawers have one edge missing (see top edge on the picture above) and you would have to make provision for this uneven surface by adding an extra piece.

Anyhow, use wood putty to fix the holes where the handles would have been. Sand them down once dry and give everything a coat of paint.

All things considered, I think they came out well. And they have already survived some adult butts at a party!

With all three stacked, the chairs can be used as a table. With the backs all stored in one chair there would be lots of storage in the two others.

Note that time estimate given below is for one chair. The only mentionable cost would be that of the coasters.

Suggested materials:

  • Pallet wood
  • Old Drawers
  • Coasters

Frequently asked questions

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  1 question
  • Shannon Shannon on Nov 30, 2021

    Great idea! Question: could the seat/lid part of the chair be put on hinges? I'm trying to see if I can eliminate unattached pieces. Knowing me, anything not attached can & will eventually get lost! SMH


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6 of 12 comments
  • GeorgiaBulldogsFan GeorgiaBulldogsFan on Nov 25, 2021

    Great project, Thea! Terrific use of old drawers and pallets. I see a trip to the Habitat for Humanity Restore in my future for some old drawers. I am wondering what kind of flowers you have in the vase? I love their look and they are beautiful against the blue wall!

    • See 2 previous
    • Thea Thea on Nov 28, 2021

      Quite right Molly, they are indigenous to South Africa and pretty hardy.

  • MJ MJ on Nov 28, 2021

    Wow! Love the ingenious planning that went into such a clever and efficient design!

    • Thea Thea on Nov 28, 2021

      Ah thanks! It had me thinking for quite a while.