Pallets are even more ubiquitous than shipping containers, and they are both are beloved on every design site. And why not? They are cheap, they are usually free, and if you are careful they won't kill you. Chris Meierling has designed a lovely bookcase and bike rack out of pallets. He explains:
The pallets shelves were rough and dirty. I picked 4 pallets up off a nearby street, made the shelves, and screwed them directly into my drywall with drywall anchors. Each pallet had about 10 screws across the pallet to distribute the weight; each anchor had a 40 lb hanging capacity.The shelves were made by prying off the slats with handy tools, and then sawing out slots so that they they sit snuggly into the three main pallet supports. After that, you can gently screw the "shelves" into the vertical slats that remain!
No varnishing; just raw wood and rusty nails. Functions moderately well to showcase your books but not great for daily access to your library!
I think the red background is the touch that makes it all work.