More than just a utilitarian receptacle for bills and postcards, a mailbox is an expression of personal style—whether that be elegant or eccentric.
Mailboxes come in all shapes and colors, and the one you choose can add to or change the look of your landscaping. However, keep in mind that the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Postal Service, and local zoning boards all have a say in what the mailbox at your curb looks like. Once the rules and regulations are met, the rest is up to you.
There are standard sizes recommended for mailboxes on most delivery routes, ranging from 19 to 23.5 inches long, 6.5 to 11.5 inches wide, and 8.5 to 13.5 inches high. If you build your own box, it can fall anywhere in this range, but you need to get the local postmaster's stamp of approval before it can become your official mailbox.
You can paint your mailbox any color you want, but the superior day and night visibility of bright white makes it the U.S. Postal Service's color of choice for curbside mailboxes, posts, and supports. Here, a sturdy cedar post with a pyramid post cap and gracefully bracketed support helps a standard-issue sheet-metal box stand out.
A black box can be hard for motorists to see after dark, but this sleek receptacle's bright white post helps it get noticed from dawn to dusk.
While traditional, round-topped boxes are favored in rural areas, sleek contemporary boxes stand their ground on suburban streets.
A classic copper mailbox looks right just about anywhere.
Gentle Holsteins deserve their day in the limelight, but the house number on this bucolic box might be a little difficult for the mail carrier to spot.
Place your assigned box number or house number on the side of the box from which the postal carrier approaches it (usually the right). The numbers should be in a contrasting color and at least one inch tall.
Anything placed so close to the roadside can be a potential driving hazard. That's why the U.S. Department of Transportation recommends that homeowners mount curbside mailboxes securely on wooden or light-gauge metal posts like this one, which will break easily in the event of a collision. Stone pillars, concrete-filled barrels, or anything immovable is a danger to drivers.
In this woodsy environment, a bark-covered limb pruned from an overgrown tree is a natural support for a chickadee-embellished box.
For safety as well as aesthetics, three lightweight metal mailboxes are mounted on cast-aluminum posts of their own. Each is fitted with a separate newspaper-delivery box, thus assuring that the daily news doesn't compete for space with personal correspondence, monthly bills, or your favorite home improvement magazine.
Postal regulations prohibit mounting campaign literature or political ads on mailboxes—but that doesn't mean you can't flaunt your true colors.
Postal regulations also ban mailbox designs that disparage or ridicule any person. Just about anything else goes—including this quirky beer-cap and dinosaur mosaic.
You have to collect your mail six days a week, so the mailbox you choose should satisfy your personal style—whether classic or slightly off-center.
As a work of folk art, this sculpture composed of cast-off musical instruments, architectural fragments, and hand tools is hard to resist, but it might not make it past the Postmaster General.
As far at the U.S. Postal Service is concerned, home improvement starts at the curb. Did you know that the U.S. Postal service designates a Mailbox Improvement Week for customers every spring? During this week, customers are encouraged to assess and improve the appearance of their mailbox.