Smart ways to decorate with apple crates

An instant shelving system or practical side table – it's amazing what you can make out of the humble fruit crate. Keep them simple or customise with pictures for a unique look that's easy to achieve.

  • Bag yourself an old wooden fruit crate by trawling your local car-boot sale or local vintage shop, or check on eBay if you want to buy a few.
  • When hunting for a vintage apple crate, look for the genuine article. Check the provenance – a seller saying they’re pre-used is one thing, but information on where they came from, such as ‘old apple crates bought in France from a farmer’, is a more accurate way of ensuring a genuine vintage item.
  • Measure it carefully – the older the box, the less uniform it will be. Try and buy ones that are all the same size if you want to stack them up.

Make a functional side table

Simply attach castors to the bottom so it can be moved around, and decorate the inside with old book pages, sheet music or leftover wallpaper or paint. Display a few carefully curated objects inside the crate, then use the top as a table.

Create instant shelving

Fill an alcove or make a feature of a plain wall by stacking the crates one on top of the other. Simply stack them up and add a few judiciously placed screws to keep them in place and attached to the wall. Don’t overfill them or they’ll look too dominant. Alternate between open space, books and ornaments for an eye-catching display.

Create a mobile recycling hub

Kit out your kitchen or utility room with a portable vintage-style recycling crate. Screw castors to each corner of the base so it’s easy to manoeuvre. Pop a few plastic boxes inside the crate, so you can throw paper, plastic and glass into separate tubs. Line each box with a plastic bag with handles, so you can easily lift out the recycling to transfer it to your outdoor bins.

Liked this? Find more vintage decorating ideas here.

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