How to Reuse Old Cardboard Boxes for Decoration

Don't throw away your cardboard boxes! With a bit of imagination, you can give them a second life as decorations for your home.
How to Reuse Old Cardboard Boxes for Decoration

Last update: 03 April, 2019

How many times have you thrown away a cardboard box that was originally used to store something? Before you throw away any more, we want to give you some fun ideas on how you can actually reuse your old cardboard boxes as a form of home decoration.

Used correctly, cardboard is a great decor accessory. It’s also a very versatile, moldable material that you can do all kinds of things with. That’s right, there are a lot more options for cardboard box decoration than you might think!

Cardboard boxes don’t look like much on their own, but that’s why you need to use a bit of imagination. You can certainly give them a more interesting look. One way is obviously to paint them, which will liven them up, but there are other options too.

It’s still a box, but it’s got a new look

cardboard table and chairs

You don’t have to take away their original purpose. You can use your cardboard boxes as decoration without them losing their storage functionality. The main thing you’re doing here is updating their look so that they can be part of your decor scheme.

  • Any box can be useful, whether big or small, tall or short. It doesn’t matter if it has anything written on the outside either, you’re going to cover that up.
  • You can use anything from paint, patterned paper, or fabric to cover the outside surfaces. Scraps from clothes you don’t wear anymore are also a great option for this.
  • You can also decorate the new surface. Our only suggestion is that you make it different than the original look because the goal is to create a contrast. Doing that makes the box much more interesting.

One great idea is to use them as gift boxes. 

Ideas on cardboard box decoration

cardboard lamps

If you want to add a unique touch to some of the rooms in your home, a lamp made of cardboard is perfect. It will give the room just the right subtle, striking touch that will show off your good taste and your eco-friendliness

  • You should use a rectangular (or square) box. It should also have enough space inside so that a light bulb will fit and the light will spread.
  • You can give it all kinds of different designs on the outside. You could even just use white paper so that the light goes farther and the lamp has a more defined shape. In the end, your goal is for it to have an interesting aesthetic.
  • Another option is to use pizza boxes and stack them on top of each other, with a hole inside for the bulb. Piling them unevenly can make for a really dynamic, avant-garde look.

But there are lots of options, you just have to use your imagination and remember all the benefits of using cardboard boxes as decoration.

Decorative planters

planter made out of a shipping box

If you want an extra original accessory, you can use your boxes to make planters. The best ones to use are rectangular, with an opening at the top so that the plants can grow properly. 

You can decorate them on the outside in whatever way you like. Remember: this is all about creativity! For example, you could cover the outside in paper and draw a pattern or picture on it.

File holders

file holders

Still looking for some more ideas? One of the simpler, easier options is to make your old cardboard boxes into file holders. If you have kids, this is something they can help out with, too!

  • Open the box and spread it out so you can make straight cuts. You also need to have exact measurements planned so that the pieces all fit together.
  • After you cut them all out, glue the pieces together and voilà, you have your file holder, with a base too, so that it stays upright and doesn’t fall over easily.
  • You can also decorate these with color or leave them plain. It depends on the style of your office.

Cardboard shelves

cardboard shelves

This one is more outside the box (no pun intended). You can put multiple boxes together as a kind of shelfOf course, you can decorate the outer surfaces and give them a more interesting look, but the main thing to worry about is how strong they are. If you’re going to use them as shelves, they need to be balanced to hold the weight.

In a bedroom or in the living room, no matter where you put them, your recycled boxes will give the space an odd, unique, and very striking touch. They’re an amazing form of decoration.