The Mailbox Makeover Project : Boost your Curb Appeal With 5 DIY Upgrades
DIYing with Dad-
If we can do it, you can too!
If your mailbox has seen better days take charge and try these five easy DIY upgrades to enhance your curb appeal and give your mailbox a much-needed makeover! These five budget-friendly projects will boost your mailbox without spending too much or breaking your budget. These DIY fixes are quick, easy, and even better, don’t require the tools, patience, and skills that come with the dreaded removal of an old post, digging a new post hole, and pouring of cement that many mailbox DIY projects require.
1. Refurbish the Box
I’ll begin with the easiest upgrade as far as time, tools, and money! Start with the mailbox itself. It is a simple fix that makes a big difference in appearance. Simply remove the mounting hardware attaching the mailbox to the post; it should be a few screws and BOOM, you’re ready to roll!! Take the box off and determine your next steps based on the condition. Ours was in terrible shape. So I sanded off the years of dirt, grime, paint, and rust. Next, I cleaned the box really well & let it dry. Finally, I sprayed it a new color with Paint + Primer Rust-oleum spray paint.
If your box is in such bad shape that it can’t be refurbished, don’t freak out! You CAN replace the box completely for very little money. See the table below for some examples of post-mount mailboxes in all sizes, prices & colors that I came across while researching this project. These mailboxes range in price from $25 - $180. I found all of them at Wayfair.com, but other retailers, like Home Depot & Lowe’s, sell a variety of post-mount mailboxes in the store.
I chose a color that complemented the cobalt blue ceramic address tiles—the stars of this project! To get an even look, I sprayed one layer of flat, matte black Rust-oleum, which is suitable for outdoor metal, wood, plastic, etc. This paint is a beast when it comes to protecting against the elements. The matte black looked really good, but black isn’t my favorite color. To add some interest, I sprayed a light coating of Metallic Cobalt to give it some shine and color! After a few hours, I finished with one layer of clear, enamel, protective sealer!
- Metallic Cobalt Blue is THE color!
- The Metallic Cobalt Blue of the box looks great with our freshly painted white post.
2. Give Your Mailbox Flag a New Look!
Another easy way to give your mailbox an upgrade is to look at your mailbox flag from a new perspective. Once you remove the box, it is easy enough to take the flag off. You can paint the flag a contrasting color so it pops with the color of your box, or just give it a fresh paint of bright red so it looks new and shiny. You can even get funky and creative and add an ornamental bauble to the tip of the flag.
For my project, I upcycled an old, metal, Christmas ornament in the shape of a star. I just bent the wire until it slipped right over the flag. The star underwent a number of color changes until I finally found a combination I liked. Keep any embellishment you add simple so it doesn’t take away from the functionality of the flag.
3. Choose Address Numbers That Reflect Your Personality.
Not only are visible address numbers a necessity, but they are a fun way to show off your personal style! Address and house numbers should be displayed in full view so the postman, delivery trucks, and visitors can find you! You may as well pick some that reflect your style and add personality to your curb, instead of buying the plain old black and white stickers that everybody has.I chose these amazing cobalt blue ceramic and glass tiles by Ecco. They are handmade using a layering process and each tile is fired in a kiln multiple times giving it its rich and crackled effect. They are 4’’ in height and look soooo good displayed vertically on the upper part of the post. They are available at Wayfair.com for an amazing price! All three tiles come bundled together for $25.00
If ceramic and colorful isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other unique styles and designs. I discovered a huge variety online! The unlimited ways to display your address on a mailbox really did surprise me! Be bold and make your address stand out in unique, creative way. Below are different address numbers, plaques, and signs I found at Wayfair.com.
Address numbers range in price, but the average price of a single cast-iron, brass, or stainless steel number, can be pretty pricey. The numbers below are more traditional and are very nice, but cost between $11.00 - $37.00 for EACH letter or number! Try to find a good deal, or find the tiles on sale to save some money and still stay stylish:)
4. Polish Up Your Mailbox Post (without removing or replacing it)!
Fixing the post is the most time-consuming upgrade to undertake, but has a HUGE effect on the appearance, durability, and lifespan of your mailbox. Depending on the material, condition, your DIY experience, and budget, your next step is to strip the post back to its original state, give it a fresh coat of paint, and seal it so it’s protected from the outdoor elements. You can do this a number of ways.
1. Decorative Mailbox Post Kits
2. Adding Stone or Brick around your Existing Post
3. Sand, Strip off old Layers of Paint, Repaint, Add Protective Outdoor Sealer
Our post was wooden, and not completely rotten (yet)! Before painting, you need to strip the layers of paint off the post and sand it back as much as you can to its original condition. This is defiantly NOT fun, but necessary for your paint to go on smooth and clean. A power sander will save you a whole lot of time and effort, but you CAN strip and sand by hand. I did!
Completely wipe the post clean of all the dirt, sawdust, and debris before painting! I took the box off during the painting stage. If this project takes 2-3 days (like it did me), you can finish the mounting area of the post FIRST, and just balance the box there for the postman to deliver your mail. I partially screwed in one screw to hold it steady and keep it from falling.
I did a little research for the best outdoor paint options. My contractor, who is remodeling the kitchen, suggested an oil-based paint when I bugged him incessantly about tools, carpentry and paint products I have always been a fan of Rust-oleum and Kilz, so I went with Kilz Complete Primer + Sealer. Kilz is awesome at repelling stains, and preventing mold and mildew. This comes in a spray and I can’t tell you how much time and energy that saved me! I used Rust-oleum in a satin white. This is an. oil-based, protective enamel, and I painted a layer over the Kilz.
After a base layer of Kilz Complete + one coat of Rust-oleum + a top layer of Kilz ---- I didn’t need to seal the post with Poly-Urethane! But, if you live in a place where the weather is especially harsh or you’re concerned about your wooden post standing up to the elements, you can use something like the Poly Minwax® Helmsman® Spar Urethane. Be careful though, and follow the directions. The Poly is supposed to go on clear, but over white paint, I’ve had it leave a weird amber-colored glaze behind or finish too glossy for my tastes.
5. Landscape with Mulch, Edging, and Plants
This is the final DIY upgrade on the way to a mailbox you can be proud of! It’s basic, easy, simple gardening! Mow the grass, pull the weeds, pour a layer of top soil, plant some pansies, and cover with mulch.
We found a great deal on an Overlapping Rock Edger from Home Depot. This rock border was super easy to install. It comes in 12’’ sections that you just link together to form a circle or square around your mailbox. Just measure out how big you want the space and order the amount of sections you need. For about $4 a section, it shouldn’t put you out more than $40, depending on how big you want your surround. The rocks do look a little “fake” at first, but once they’re placed in the soil and mulch, they look very natural and nice.
Below are some other good, inexpensive edging options I found at Home Depot :
• 12’’ Red Straight Concrete Scallop Edging ($1.34 / section)
• Vigoro 1.3 ft. Wood Full-Log Edging ($3.97 / each)
• Dalen Products 6 in. x 10 ft. StoneWall Border ($54.00 / box)
Landscape with Dramatic & Functional Lighting
Add outdoor lighting to showcase your beautiful new mailbox after dark. Lighting can add a dramatic effect to your curb and highlight your newest DIY mailbox. It also serves a practical purpose – lighting up the end of your driveway and helping people see where they’re going at night. Think about a solar light that would work for you, your design, budget, and needs.
I added a solar post cap to showcase my new mailbox and post! I chose to go dramatic (of course), and found a stained glass solar post cap that coordinated with the colors of the mailbox, the house and our style. I love, love, love it!! As a post cap, it lights up the numbers below it and the entire area around it night, without being too bright and annoying to the neighbors.
To add a new cap (with a light, or without) to your existing post might be a bit tricky, depending on the design of your post. I sawed off the top 4’’ of the post with my Ryobi Reciprocating Saw. I’m glad I did this, because once I had a chance to look at the old cap, it was obvious that the wood was rotten all the way through. I painted 6’’ piece of flat wood, and installed the 5’’ stained glass solar post-cap.
You can choose to go simple and place a solar spotlight in the ground, and point it towards your mailbox to give it some light at night! Go out around nightfall and move the light around until it's directed at the address numbers or plaque so your guests can find you at night!
There are many products you can purchase that are made especially for highlighting your outdoor address plaque or mailbox numbers. Some lights are made to be installed directly onto the post or mailbox, others are landscaping lights that anchor on the ground, some are solar-powered, while others are hardwired. I've listed some of the best-rated products from Amazon.com that I found while researching lighting for this DIY project.
1. Solar Powered Garden Spot Light by HumaBuilt
Amazon.com - Outdoor Spotlight for Walkways, Security, Address Plaques - Ground/Wall Mount Options --- Make sure if you purchase a solar-powered outdoor light, that is not JUST a motion-sensor security light, but has a dawn to dusk feature.
3. Low Voltage Rock Spotlight Path Light, 20-Watt at Amazon.com
All the hard work pays off at night when the mailbox is all lit up and beautiful! Outdoor lighting, whether you go with a lighted post-cap, ground-anchored spotlight, or one of the thousands of other outdoor lighting options, will be both functional and visually appealing! Lighting highlights the address numbers and adds THE finishing touch to your DIY Mailbox Makeover!!
Following our Mailbox Makeover we had soo many of our awesome neighbors stop by and compliment us on the new mailbox. Some asked where we got certain products or how we added various elements. With this post, I hope to share the steps I took to upgrade my mailbox and inspire you to do the same! If I can do it, so can you!! I promise 🙂
I hope your mailbox is everything you want it to be after these 5 Easy, Budget-Friendly Upgrades! Happy DIYing 🙂
Learn. Try. DIY.