Make decorative boxes from antique wooden crates to contain and display dishes or toys, or stack multiple crates to create a bookcase. In the kitchen, using sides of crates as cabinet doors gives a rustic feel. Hang a crate on the wall to serve as a spice rack. Other ideas for vintage crates include indoor or outdoor flower planters, benches, dog beds and coffee tables.
Bolt wheels to the bottom of a divided crate to create a decorative and convenient storage unit. To make an old-fashioned toy box, drill holes in the sides to add rope handles, and stencil the child's name. For planters, use a crate with a slatted bottom to allow drainage, and line the bottom with burlap to contain the soil.
Before using an antique crate as decoration, it should be cleaned and may need to be restored or refinished, depending on the condition. Sand the crate carefully if the wood is rough enough to splinter. Stamped labels on crates add character. Stain or paint them to match the decor. Apply wood primer and paint to any crates placed outdoors to protect against weather damage. Older crates may require reinforcement with metal bolts or braces to be used as shelves or furniture.