Decorative Mailbox Ideas

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Other than a mailbox having to be three and a half to four feet from the road surface, not many federal restrictions exist for the exact type of mailbox you need to have in front of your house. This leaves lots of room for creativity and self-expression.

Across the country, people have come up with all kinds of unusual, whimsical and beautiful residential mailbox ideas. One of them just might inspire you to create a unique mailbox of your own.

Home Sweet Mailbox

One way of showing pride of ownership is to have a mailbox that looks just your house. Try one of these two approaches to achieve this affect:

  • Building from scratch: For people with carpentry skills, building a miniature replica of the family home with a mailbox door isn’t an overwhelming project. Paint the mailbox to match your house, shutters and trim, and roof it with some of your spare roof shingles.
  • Using a pre-built mailbox: Lots of stores carry plain wooden mailboxes that look like houses. Painting the walls, trim and shutters to match the family home helps it look like a small version of your house, even if the architecture differs.

For some fun variations on the house mailbox theme, some homeowners have adapted their mailboxes to look like birdhouses or barns.


Mailboxes For Hobbies & Professions

Since everyone sees your mailbox as they drive or walk by, mailboxes are a great way to tell the world about your professional skills or favorite pastimes. Here are some mailbox ideas that speak volumes about their owners:

  • Giant tooth: A white mailbox sculpted to resemble a molar with its roots lets others know they’ve reached the home or office of a dentist, or perhaps a hygienist.
  • Hammer: A carpenter might enjoy having a mailbox where letters could be deposited in the head of the hammer and the handle acts as a post.
  • Lunchbox: An old metal lunchbox is the perfect size and shape to convert to a mailbox just right for a worker who brings lunch to the job or just anyone who likes to eat.
  • Fisherman: Is fishing your passion? You might want to use a life-size sculpture of a fisherman as a post for the tackle box mailbox he carries.
  • Cameras: Photographers might enjoy a mailbox sculpted to look like a still or movie camera.
  • Ovens: For those who love (or hate) to cook, an actual antique metal stove or microwave oven can be converted into a mailbox.
  • Robot: Use old metal buckets and parts to build a robot that will accept your mail.
  • Parking Meter: A salvaged old meter attached to the top of a metal mailbox might grace the home of a meter maid or even a police officer.
  • Football helmet: If you love football, adapt a sturdy helmet with your favorite team’s logo to hold your mail.
  • Diver: Paint the mailbox to look like a diver and perhaps add real goggles or a snorkel mask over the door face. Or, simply paint a traditional mailbox red with a white slash from the upper right corner to the lower left corner, mimicking the diver’s flag.
  • Spine: Large plastic pieces that look like spinal vertebrae can be stacked to form a spine post for a traditional mailbox belonging to a chiropractor or surgeon.


Mailboxes For Animal Lovers

Seeing the shapes of animals or insects in a traditional mailbox is as natural as finding all kinds of pictures in puffy afternoon clouds. The logical next step for animal lovers is to turn that traditional mailbox into a favorite animal:

  • Paint the mailbox to look like a horse’s head and attach ears and a bridle or even build a whole body around it.
  • Use your mailbox as the body of a dog, cat, cow or pig and attach the head, legs and tail. Paint the mailbox and body parts to give the animal features and fur.
  • Let the mailbox be the body of an insect, attaching six legs and a head.
  • Create a shark mailbox by adding fins and using the door as a mouth. Paint on lots of sharp, intimidating teeth.

Some people prefer to purchase or create non-traditional mailboxes or mailbox holders that already look like animals. Some particularly striking ones include:

  • Mother and baby dolphins or manatees
  • Frogs
  • Whales
  • Dinosaur

Humor and Horror Mailboxes

If you like a mailbox that makes a strong original statement, consider some of these mailbox ideas:

  • Sculpted man on a bicycle where the mailbox door is the seat of his pants
  • Spooky sculpted monster hand that acts as a post to hold the mailbox
  • Mailbox post that looks like a giant cactus
  • Toadstool mailbox with a stem post and the door in the mushroom top
  • Skull mailbox with the mouth or an eye for the door


Motoring Mail

The shape of mailboxes also lends itself to their transformation into all kinds of vehicles. With a little paint and some wheels or wings, your mailbox might become a:

  • Classic car
  • World War II airplane or modern jet
  • Farm tractor
  • Motorcycle
  • Backhoe
  • Railroad engine

More Mailbox Ideas

Not all unique mailboxes have to look like specific things. Here are a few other ways to individualize your mailbox:

  • Cover the box and/or post with river rocks.
  • Design a mosaic mailbox using tiny ceramic tiles, glass pieces, faux jewels or seashells.
  • Stencil a colorful pattern on your mailbox.
  • Use decals to instantly spruce up a mailbox.

The possibilities for one-of-a-kind mailboxes that express your personality are practically endless. Before starting your project, just check with your local post office to make sure that your plans conform to federal, state and local regulations. Chances are you’ll be free to create a mailbox that people will be willing to drive miles to see.

Last Updated: September 9, 2012
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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