Disguise the utilitarian appearance of storage drawers with decorative paper or iconic product labels.

How to Decorate Storage Drawers

by Benna Crawford

Your storage drawers might be a jumble on the inside, but you can impose some order on the outside by decorating them in imaginative ways. Use clever methods of labeling the contents of a drawer, blend drawers with your sewing room or playroom decor, or hide the scramble of small objects inside with matching signs that let you know what's hidden away.

1. Brand It

Put your hands on stored items, from spices to socks to spools of thread, with an image of the contents on the outside of storage drawers. For households where the kids are a bit older than the everything-goes-in-the-mouth age, super-glue a plastic building block, a dollhouse lamp or chair, or a toy car to serve as the handle on a drawer that's filled with loose pieces of a game, collection or set. Decoupage and clear-finish a picture of the spice kept in each spice drawer on the outside of the drawer. Trace a child's hand and a small sock or doll's shirt on the front of a drawer; paint the designs and write the child's name inside the handprint. Keep the pictured items belonging to the child in that drawer.

2. Pattern on Plastic

A tower of plastic storage drawers is as practical as it is unlovely. Match that essential storage to your decor with spray adhesive and leftover wallpaper, scrapbook paper or fabric. Cut a piece of decorative material to fit over every visible surface of the tower. Add interest by mixing the patterns for different drawers, sides and ends, or the top and sides. Glue the patterned pieces to the drawers, smoothing out all wrinkles and air bubbles in the material as you apply it. Protect drawers that are frequently used with a coat of clear acrylic, brushed or sprayed on.

3. Canvas-Covered Containers

Create storage drawers from leftover cardboard boxes and disguise them with canvas, stencils, ribbon and pretty fabric. Remove the top flaps from several sturdy boxes that are all the same size; use boxes that housed appliances, food or nursery supplies, like diapers, or remnants from your last move. Cut the boxes to slip easily into a shelf or under a high bed frame. Cover the bottom and sides with canvas, folding it over the top edge and gluing it to the box with spray adhesive. Line the inside of the box with patterned fabric, reserving enough to fold over the top edges of the box to make a decorative border. Punch two holes in the visible end of the box and thread wide grosgrain ribbon through the holes, tying a big bow on each drawer. Under the bow, stencil a contents label or a number to help you locate stored items when you need them.

4. Chalk It Up

The drawers in a wire shelf system allow a messy glimpse of the chaos inside without clearly revealing the contents. Glue a small wood-framed chalkboard to the front of each wire drawer, or secure it with screws or wire. Keep colored chalk and a chalkboard eraser in a basket nearby and write the name of the item stored within on its individual chalkboard. The repetition of the mini-chalkboards creates a neat, uniform appearance and lets you change the labels as the items inside the drawers change.

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