How to Decorate With Metal Galvanized Tubs & Buckets

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Once at home in the garden and on the deck, metal galvanized tubs and buckets now appear as frequently inside the home. Their unadorned design and simple finish work well in a variety of decor styles, among them shabby chic, cottage, nautical, rustic, farmhouse, country, Japanese-inspired Wabi-Sabi, bohemian modern, industrial and steampunk. They represent an ideal pairing of form and function, and their diverse sizes and shapes make them excellent options for storage and display containers.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal buckets and tubs
  • Plant stands
  • Floating shelves
  • Succulents, cacti and native plants and flowers
  • Stones
  • Sand
  • Potting soil
  • Bricks
  • Select galvanized metal buckets and tubs for decorative as well as functional purposes. A line of small metal buckets can brighten a dark corner or forgotten shelf. Larger buckets function well as open storage, while an open metal tub works better as a decorative element, holding plants or natural materials such as sea glass, shells or stones.

  • Create a pedestal or surface for decorating with metal buckets and tubs. Simple bricks or dishes work well for outdoor decorating, especially if the buckets have holes drilled in the bottom for drainage. Indoors, metal buckets add sheen to rustic or distressed wood surfaces. Set up a corner cupboard or a floating shelf made of weathered or antiqued wood and give it gleam with metal buckets. A shabby chic pie safe with a screen door allows a peek inside at farmhouse-style metal buckets or bins. A stainless steel or chrome contemporary etagere gets a touch of rustic contrast with a metal bucket.

  • Paint or finish a backdrop for metal buckets and tubs. Try a farmhouse aesthetic by painting the wall a dark color and allowing it to dry. Add a thin coat of antique whitewash. Once the wall is dry, use fine grain sandpaper to gently rub away at the edges and corners of the wall to give it a timeworn look. Set a plant stand, wooden cupboard or wire shelf in front of the wall and line it with metal buckets of different sizes and shapes. Fill the buckets with cacti, succulents or local, seasonal plants that require less water, thus posing less of a problem with drainage of indoor plants.

  • Illuminate the area around your metal buckets and tubs. A simple row of tea lights in a metal tub filled with sand or river stones creates a warm glow. An old-fashioned lantern or oil lamp on a cupboard next to a metal bucket can create reflections of light and shadows. For an industrial look, try recessed lighting or gallery-style miniature spotlights over a sleek, modular shelf holding galvanized metal buckets.

Tips & Warnings

  • For brighter pops of color, consider painting metal buckets using stencils. You can also adhere decals, wallpaper borders or fabric to metal buckets with craft glue.
  • Water can rust and damage galvanized metal buckets and tubs. However, many people like using rusted, stained or otherwise distressed metal in home decor.

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