How to decorate plastic storage bins

Updated February 21, 2017

Plastic storage bins provide a fairly inexpensive, portable and versatile option for keeping your winter clothes, holiday decor and other valued belongings tucked away. However, those clear, grey or white bins so commonly found at department stores aren't necessarily the most attractive item in a well-designed room. You can remedy this, however, by decorating the bin to fit your taste and decor.

Paint the bins to add a bit of colour. Purchase a cheap brush, paint tray, a plastic dust sheet and enough paint to cover all bins. A latex or enamel works well.

Pour a small amount of paint into the tray at a time. Brush the outside with paint, moving back and forth only. Create a backpainted effect by painting the inside of the bin.

Keep the paint from chipping by applying layers of contact or wallpaper to the bottom and each side of the bin. Remember to allow the paint to dry completely before applying the paper liner so it will adhere well.

Take the bins outside and spray paint them for a quick cover-up, if you prefer that over using brush-on paint. Remember to make sure the paint is safe for storing children's items if you have little ones around.

Recycle fabric scraps or old curtain panels to cover your storage bins. The fabric adds texture and colour to your storage area.

Collect fabric in colours and patterns to match the room's decor, or create an entirely different theme for containers being stored in closet units or in your craft/sewing room.

Apply the same fabric all over or create a patchwork effect with squares and triangles sewn together like a quilt. You can use inspiration from scrapbooking methods and sew ribbon scraps on the sides of the bin so you can tuck bin labels or other embellishments under the ribbon.

Create collages from a variety of media and cover your bins with them. Cut out roses, hearts and images from antique Victorian magazines or picture books for an elegant, crafty look. Do the same with magazines from any era, or neatly paste old western photos or vintage postcards over the plastic.

Purchase "mirrored" film or contact paper so your bins appear as if they're mirror plated for a touch of glamour. This works especially well in an elegant bedroom or walk-in closet.

Purchase different colours of painter's tape and layer the bins with that (horizontally, vertically or on a diagonal), creating a modern, colourful container. Choose two, three or more colours based on your colour scheme.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • Paint tray
  • Dust sheet
  • Spray paint
  • Contact/wallpaper
  • Fabric
  • Glue
  • Ribbon
  • Magazine/postcard/book pictures
  • Mirrored contact paper
  • Painter's tape
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