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Storage With Character: Vintage-Crate Shelves
Stash lotions, potions, shoes and curios in cleverly reinvented wood crates
I recently moved to Portland, Maine, with my family. I spend most of my days reading storybooks and running after my two amazing toddlers, Juniper and Leo. I work as a freelance writer, blogger, stylist, and maker. I started out in magazines, working in the home department of Real Simple magazine and later worked as the home editor of Redbook. I love to scout cool finds for the home — everything from an amazing loveseat to a green laundry detergent that really works.
I recently moved to Portland, Maine, with my family. I spend most of my... More
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It's amazing to think how packaging has changed over the years. We drink our milk from cartons and (hopefully) recycle endless numbers of plastic soda bottles. But back in the day, glass bottles and wood crates packaged up milk, soda and more. These crates have hung around for decades, and they're now considered vintage treasures for decorating with an industrial edge. I love the idea of repurposing vintage crates as shelves. Reusing something in a new way is the ultimate form of recycling. Here are a bunch of ways to put those wood crates to good use.
Small spaces: Shops have to make smart use of every inch of space to display their goods. I love this clever display at Caribou Baby in Brooklyn. The shallow wood crates are the perfect shape and size to display their apothecary selection of products.
Apothecary display: If you're lacking a medicine cabinet, you could use a couple of wood crates as wall shelving to house your collection of lotions and potions. I love the way pots of cream are stored in the slotted soda crate at Caribou Baby.
Crate storage from Baileys Home and Garden - EUR 24
The great grid: If you can score an entire lot of matching vintage crates, create a wall grid with them for one eye-catching storage piece. I love the idea of storing your shoes in these wood crates — the solution would look neat in a mudroom. UK shop Bailey Home & Garden sells these vintage crates, but they're easy enough to find stateside. Etsy is a great online source for hunting down vintage crates.
Vintage Pop Shop Shelf from Urban Outfitters - $24
Kitschy display: Many vintage crates come branded with a logo that definitely adds to the kitsch appeal. Fasten one crate to the wall as an instant display case for your collection of glass bottles, trinkets, vintage postcards — you name it.
Old Crate Sign Box 3-in-1 Upcycled Wood Display by polkadotHOME - $68
Modern minimalist: Wait, did I say modern? Yes, we are talking vintage crates, and those are traditional terracotta pots. But if you take a vintage crate and simply add a few plants with one eclectic object you love, the spare style feels very contemporary-cool.
Repurposed Jewelry Display by stealthfox on Etsy - $40
Jewelry keeper: Many of these vintage crates come with a grid of wood slats inside to keep the glass bottles from breaking. Turn the crate on its side and you instantly have little shelves within the box. Add a couple cup hooks and your imagination, and you'll create a pretty display piece for all your jewelry — from bangles to necklaces.
Window box: In my last apartment, I had a big sunlit windowsill. So I decided to turn my vintage soda crate into an instant window box. I loved the way the plants looked peeking out of the crate.
Medium Sturdy Wooden Rustic Reclaimed Vintage by rustynailvintage - $28
Open bar: A worn vintage crate makes the perfect container for storing your favorite liquors. You'll instantly create the feel of an old speakeasy with a rustic wood crate keeping your bottles at attention.
Dairy Crates - $105
Build a bookcase: If you're a renter and want to minimize the holes you put in your walls, you can create freestanding shelving with wood crates of the sturdy and boxy variety like these vintage crates with metal edges.