Smart ways to decorate with crates

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  • It's amazing what creations you can make using simple fruit crates. Create an instant shelving or storage solution that maximises the utilitarian appeal of the humble crate

    Sometimes the simple things can have the biggest wow factor for your home, an upcycled crate being a fine example.

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    1. Create instant shelving

    crate shelving unit

    Image credit: Debi Treloar

    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. If it’s more than two crates high we recommend attaching them to the wall for safety.

    Stylist tip: Don’t overfill them or they’ll look too dominant. Alternate between open space, books and ornaments for an artistic display.

    2. Rethink the floating shelf

    Image credit: Dan Duchars

    Get creative by grouping differently-sized crates together in a non-uniformed fashion and mount on the wall, for a quirky alternative to a display cabinet or floating shelf.

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    3. Add a background


    Image credit: James Merrell

    Create a schoolhouse style for playrooms by upcycling crates as book shelves, against a painted chalkboard backdrop for added fun. Be careful not to overload the shelves with heavy books and toys – keep it light and always ensure they are firmly attached to the wall before you dress them.

    Related: Play around with colour for fun children’s bedroom schemes

    4. Simply stack

    crates used for handy storage

    Image credit: Dan Duchars

    Two crates is all it takes to create an alternative storage solution for a utility or boot room –the perfect place to keep pet essentials. While it may live in an attractive enamel container, pet food is not the sort of thing you really want on the side in the kitchen. Rustic or painted crates provide enough of a home for such things, making them easily accessible and fashionably displayed.

    5. Attach wheels

    crate upcycled as a side table

    Image credit: David Giles

    Stack two vintage-style crates, one on top of the other and secure with a few simple nails. To make it more practical attached castors to each of the four corners, allowing it to be moved easily from room to room.

    Stylist tip: 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.

    6. Add decoration

    crate side table idea

    Image credit: Sussie Bell

    A shallow fruit crate can be made into a handy desk tidy with very little effort. Keep it simple or customise with a splash of paint or patterned wallpaper for a unique look that’s easy to achieve.

    7. Think outside the box

    crates to make bathroom shelving

    Image credit: Matt Cant

    Bathrooms are often the hardest room to find the right storage solution, due to limited space for floor units and restrictively-sized wall cabinets. A crate might not be the obvious thought but as demonstrated above – it just works! Affix crates securely to a free wall for instant quirky storage for towels, toiletries or even toilet rolls.

    Where to buy

    Bag yourself an old wooden crate by trawling your local car-boot sale, salvage yard or local vintage shop. Alternatively, check on eBay or visit

    Top tip: 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.

    Who knew there were so many ways to make the most of a simple crate. Maybe you have other great ideas? We’d love to hear them, leave us a message below on how you’d make crates great…

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