Turn Everyday Ordinary Boxes Into Beautiful Home Decor

I think there is a quiet joy in finding an object that was once used as a workhorse in society, then allowing it rest in it’s later years as an object of beauty. It’s kind of like… turning it out to pasture for everyone to look at & admire.

Boxes are one such object that immediately comes to mind.

Once thought of as simple ordinary storage containers for feed or tools, they have now become objects of great decorating affection!

In doing a bit of research, you will uncover ordinary nondescript boxes that were used for everyday items, all the way to very special boxes made to hold particular items such as; bibles, jewelry, cigars, chocolates, hats, cheese, wine, shoes, and matches.

I thought we’d take a look at some of the creative ways that different people have given ordinary boxes new life in their homes, but first I’d like to share a few ideas with you for your own boxes.

When you’re out at the summer sales, keep your eyes open for boxes. Don’t worry about what they look like right now, because I’m going to give you some ideas to turn yucky boxes into yummy ones ;)

Here are a few ideas:

- You could leave the box as is – just clean it up a little. Sometimes the vintage look is best untouched!

- Perhaps a little color would be nice? You could give the box a coat of paint, a light brushing for a shabby look, or a nice crackled “cottagy” finish.

- Maybe you’d rather pull some bits together in a collage? You can use anything that comes to mind with this technique! Here are some things that come to mind right away… wallpaper bits, hand crafted paper, newsprint, old love letters, pages from a vintage book, wrapping paper, pretty tissue paper or napkins, fabric, pictures, ephemera, scrapbook paper, or sheet music.

** If you would like to use music in your design, you are going to love me for sharing this resource! Here you’ll find several music books from the very early 1600s that you can print off for free! I think they would be marvelous printed on some vintage looking paper!
This one is called “Pammelia” and it is from 1609
Here is one called “Deuteromelia” from 1609
The last one is from 1611 & it’s called “Melismata”

At this site you will find thousands of free vintage pictures to use!
Free Vintage Clip Art

Lets peek at the ideas of some other friends to see what they have come up with.

Kris has turned these ordinary cigar boxes into beautiful places to display even a most prized possession!

blue and pink box covered with vintage paper

vintage box top



beautiful paper covered cigar box

top of cigar box



Look what Jean has done with these stacking boxes!

I love the primitive look, so these boxes are “way” beautiful to me ;) I love how she has made them look like they’ve come right out of an episode of “Little House on the Prairie”!

vintage hat boxes

brown primitive hat box

stackable boxes - vintage colors



Look at how Pam has used all different kinds of boxes as storage and as beautiful decor for her open studio shelves.

decorated boxes

Here, she took a pile of old wine boxes and turned them into beautiful boxes to use on display!

Before
wine boxes

After
covered wine boxes



Here’ a wonderful little tool box, that now has new life dancing with flowers!
You’ll love poppin’s blog as well!

vintage tool box with flowers


Here’s a beautiful box that Natasha’s father made for her out of old pieces of wood covered in green chippy paint. She uses it to hold her favorite magazines.

vintage box with chippy paint


One of my favorite things to see in the world of boxes is… the re-purposing of vintage sewing machine drawers. I think about how the sewing machine probably worked so hard for it’s owner over the years, only to be thrown out or replaced by a newer version, when they didn’t have use for it anymore. How appropriate that we at least take the drawers and put them to work in new ways… now to girl finally feels useful again ;) Silly… I know… but it sounds like a wonderful children’s book ;)

Here Joy puts a beautiful drawer (library drawer) to work as kitchen storage… beautiful storage I might add:)

vintage sewing machine drawer

Kris has made her sewing drawer into a place to display her pink baby shoes!

shabby chic pink box

pink baby shoes

This drawer is used to display china
vintage china

What a wonderful display idea from Cedar Junction! Isn’t this the cutest!
vintage bunny display


I love this wooden box that has been re-purposed as a perfect place to put the garden tools after a long day’s work.
vintage tool box

Don’t you love Abbie’s sweet cigar box turned collage supply center!
vintage cigar box


Moss is one of my favorite “bones” of the garden (along with trees, rocks, and ferns)… so this is a perfect project for me! I love how Sarah captured the beauty of something otherwise so very ordinary, but here in this vintage box… it’s a sight to behold!

moss

** Be sure to tell me about your boxes in the comments below!

Creatively Yours,
Pearl

Share With Your Friends!

44 Responses to “Turn Everyday Ordinary Boxes Into Beautiful Home Decor”

  • kathy on June 5, 2008

    What a beautiful post. I’ll be looking at these pictures often for inspiration! Thanks so much for sharing.

    • admin on June 5, 2008

      Kathy ~ Thanks for stopping by… it was so good to have you!
      Pearl

  • Pearl Maple on June 5, 2008

    Beautiful collection of boxes, just love the way people have turned recycling into an artform.

    • admin on June 5, 2008

      And the way we can have such beautiful things… for so little cost ;)
      Pearl

  • Alice W. on June 5, 2008

    Wow! What a great compilation of different boxes! I love them! Thanks for including my old trunk…it is one of my most favorite finds ever…currently it is acting as the coffee table in the living room…it sure has seen it’s way around the house…lol!

    • admin on June 5, 2008

      Alice ~ I saw your beautiful trunk in several of your pictures… so I know you must be a gal after my own heart! When you love something… you just want to move it around a bit ;)

      I have a WONDERFUL huge vintage pine cupboard that I bought at auction several years ago. We are getting very close to actually moving it into the house, but because I won’t be able to move it around much, I want to be that I can see it from several viewpoints within the house ;)

      Pearl

  • Cathy Scalise on June 5, 2008

    Pearl,

    I am so happy you made this post. I just bought a pink jewelry box at a yard sale this weekend. It needs some TLC, but I know exactly what I’m going to do with it, now that I’ve read this wonderful blog.

    I also painted a sewing machine drawer pink and its sitting in the attic waiting for someone to purchase it. I think I’m going to go get it and fill it up with my favorite bone china saucers. And, I have tons of those pretties.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for inspiring me today.

    xo
    Cath

    • admin on June 5, 2008

      Cath ~

      Sounds exciting! You’ll have to share a picture with me when you get “her” all dolled up ;)
      Pearl

  • Mary Ruth on June 5, 2008

    I just love your pictures and ideas with boxes! I love old luggage and use them to store my magazines and old publications of design. The old luggage tag has the list of items inside!

  • Natasha Burns on June 5, 2008

    What a beautiful collection of boxes you have found around the place! Thanks for including mine!

    • admin on June 5, 2008

      Natasha ~

      Thanks for coming by! I love your beautiful “chippy” box… tell your daddy I said so ;)
      Pearl

  • Teresa on June 5, 2008

    I love all the clever ways to use boxes. Boxes are so fun. Thanks for including my sewing machine drawer rabbit in your compilation.

    Teresa – Cedar Junction

    • admin on June 6, 2008

      Teresa ~

      What a cute display!! I want to pick up that little bunny & squeeze him ;)
      Pearl

  • roberta cavanaugh on June 5, 2008

    Thanks for your inspiring, renewing article on boxes. I have had a love of boxes forever and lately have been keeping a supply of pretty ones to fill with little treasures to gift people on birthdays or for no reason at all! Have also covered some with calico and antiqued and grunged them. My collection of treasured boxes is displayed on a long shelf high above my living room window. I am always on the hunt for more boxes!

    • admin on June 6, 2008

      Roberta ~ I’d love to see some pictures when you’re done creating!!!
      Pearl

  • Kay on the farm in Neb on June 5, 2008

    Thank you for this! I found a shallow box in the barn and didn’t know what to do with it. Now I’m going to clean it up and paint it and use it in my sewing studio. OR I’m going to clean it up and paint it and find a liner and use it for plants in my retro sun porch.

    • admin on June 6, 2008

      Kay ~
      Don’t you just love finding things around the house that you can use in different – beautiful ways! I think any of the ideas that you mentioned for your new box sound great!

      Nice find!
      Pearl

      * One of the places that I like to find lots of wooden boxes is… estate auctions! For some reason… people tend to think of them as the “container” for the piles of stuff & not something to be desired by itself. I have gotten MANY boxes this way – for about $1 per box of stuff. Now my only question is… what do I do with all that stuff that was hiding my precious little box ;)

  • Carol on June 6, 2008

    I already so loved your posts about bird cages, creations under glass and other artists studios Pearl and now this one is definitley another fave! I heart all kind of pretty boxes and to see how other creative people decorate and repurpose them is fabulous!:)

    I have a box to share you with you too. It was a simple cornflakes box before I made it a Vintage wallpaper wall box where you can store pretty papers or what ever you like in.

    Editor’s Note: I added Carols picture for you here. She has wonderful things for you to look at in her flickr account, and in her blog Boxwood Cottage!

    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Hugs Carola

  • Brenda on June 6, 2008

    I LOVE the boxes– all of them! I know I have some around here, plus I’ll be watching out for more. Thanks for the great ideas:)

  • teresa atkinson on June 6, 2008

    these pictures are wonderful
    here’s a link to a military ammo box in my flickr that I repurposed as a ribbon box.

    Editors Note: I’ve included a picture of Teresa’s box – as well as a link to her
    blog, where she shows some great re-purposing ideas!
    Pearl

    Check out her blog!
    Maggie Grace Creates

  • Great post! Love the vintage clipart source, thanks!

  • Carrie West on June 6, 2008

    Oh my gosh! These are drop dead gorgous!
    Fantastic!!!!!!!~

  • Alice on June 6, 2008

    Oh, I love the boxes! So many wonderful and beautiful ideas. I know when I’m out thrifting I’m always drawn toward boxes and containers. You have shown me some truely beautiful transformations for these items. Thank you!

  • andylynne on June 6, 2008

    Very nice display of boxes. I have a weakness for them in any style or condition. I love the different uses. Can one have to many boxes I think not!
    I’m really interested in storing those pretty plates in a box like that, thanks for the wonderful pictures.

  • Brenda Kula on June 6, 2008

    Oddly enough, I just purchased two old sewing machine drawers at a junk shop yesterday! ($3.99 each) One, I found once home, has a hole in the bottom. The other you can’t lay down straight because it is uneven and broken on one side. But I was so excited to find them, I don’t care! I gave up some from my great-grandmother’s sewing machine years ago. And I have beaten myself up over it ever since. Thanks so much for the fresh ideas!
    Brenda

  • Lindsay on June 9, 2008

    Thanks for sharing the nice collection of pictures. Lots of good ideas for recycling those old boxes. The nice thing about things made in ye olden days, is that you get solid wood (ick to particle board) and just better overall construction, so it really does make a lot of sense to reuse.

    I don’t have any good examples of my own but I’ve got an eye out for a good wooden chest/trunk to turn into a coffee table with storage :)

  • admin on June 9, 2008

    Here’s another great box from Joy

  • admin on June 9, 2008

    I love how this vintage Pepsi crate is used for small jars of buttons!

  • Eve Isk on June 12, 2008

    wow, it is wonderful collection of different types of boxes and iam very impressed by this… thanx for sharing the same…

  • Kitty on June 16, 2008

    I love, love, love, those round primitive boxes. They are gorgeous! You have shown some gorgeous boxes! Thx for the inspiration!

    Kitty

  • apple on July 13, 2008

    I absolutely LOVE old boxes and these are no exception. They are beautiful!!!

  • ABPryor on July 13, 2008

    OMGosh – I was looking up “repurposed ammo boxes” and found your blog.. it’s really special.
    Thank you – I am most definitely adding you to my “Blog Posse”! WOW!

  • Pennie on September 1, 2008

    Thank you so much, this is a beautiful post. Your blog is lovely.

    Best,
    Pennie

  • Gabreial on September 6, 2008

    Lovely post, wonderful ideas. Love them all!

  • padma on October 3, 2008

    I love the way you used boxes

    do you think you have a idea to reuse cereal boxes…..??

  • Ariel on August 17, 2009

    Thank you so much for the links to the old sheet music! I just recently found your blog & have spent the last hour looking through all your posts, I love it!

  • barbara jean on February 4, 2010

    Wonderful post!!

    sooo glad I found you.
    I’ll be back!

    barbara jean

  • pat zennario on February 6, 2010

    i never thought of putting those round hat boxes to work like that for my tools!!! they are in my kitchen drawer and taking up valuable space. ill have to make that a priortity come spring cleaning!

  • Mel on October 26, 2011

    I simply stumbled upon your blog and I loved your blog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing to your feeds quickly!

  • Josia on October 26, 2011

    Thanks for the great article!

  • Gail on November 11, 2011

    I stumbled upon your blog and I enjoyed your posts, and I’ll be subscribing quickly!

  • Nancy on March 28, 2012

    For what ever the reason for years I have been buying wood boxes, all kinds, jewerly boxes, boxes with carving on them. If it caught my eye and it was less than $2, it went home with me.
    About five years ago I happened up on a box/crate. This is a big box. I know it is homemade because the sides and ends are not solid. It has strips of wood with gaps between them. I almost cherish it. I want to do something different with it,as in paint it or do it with wall paper, though I’m not really sure what. I’m really afarid to do to much. Once you paint and do the paper on it, it will never have the old barn color it has now. I guess I asking for help. So please send me some ideas.

    • Pearl on April 3, 2012

      Dear Nancy,
      Would you be able to post a picture of your box – or send me a link to see a picture of it? I have some ideas, but I would love to see it first to be sure :)
      So nice to hear from you,
      Pearl

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