Google+ House Revivals: How to Decorate and Organize with Vintage Trunks

Sunday, January 12, 2014

How to Decorate and Organize with Vintage Trunks

I think I will never get tired of dusty old trunks and chests. They all have stories hidden away inside. As a kid, I loved looking at the old newspapers that had been used to line some old trunks that my mother had. I used to have a hump-backed trunk that was lined with lovely old wallpaper.  I used it to store vintage linens. Another trunk was used as a bedside table. We no longer have the hump-backed trunk -- it was a victim of a cross-country move years ago, but the other trunk still serves as storage. These days we use it to store Christmas ornaments.

That's the wonderful thing about trunks. They can live so many lives.  They start out going on grand adventures, and later retire to life as an end table or are tucked away in an attic, storing treasured items.

I love how the trunk below is used to store Christmas ornaments.  It is the perfect size for reusing egg cartons to organize.  After the ornaments are tucked away, the trunk can be used as an end table or possibly a TV stand.

Sometimes trunks are called into action as coffee tables -- their rounded corners and leather edges make them perfect choices for little ones learning to pull themselves up and stand. They can be used to store extra blankets or out of season clothes where space is tight, so humble steamer trunks and foot lockers are popular choices for urban dwellers and for people on the move.

This foot locker is on Craigslist right now, for twenty dollars -- can you see the potential? You could give it a bit more pizzazz with the addition of "luggage stickers" from a scrapbook store.

More sophisticated trunks might be repurposed as cocktail tables or carts.

They might even be given legs!

Popular mass mail catalog stores recognize the potential of using trunks in decor!  I love this trunk from Pottery Barn.

You can pay $599 at Pottery Barn for a knock-off, or you can buy the real thing from craigslist right now for a fraction of the Pottery Barn price!

When used as coffee tables, trunks can be a bit problematic. If you pull them close enough to the sofa to be useful, there is no "kick space" for your feet.  If you push them out far enough to have room for your feet, you won't be able to reach your coffee.  At I Heart Naptime, you can find a tutorial for how to add feet to your trunk.

Or, you can just throw some six by six boards underneath your trunks to elevate them!

If the dimensions work out, you can strap or screw your trunk to a furniture cart, like this one from Lowes.

Or simply purchase some casters like these.

Add some hanging files inside for a portable filing and bill paying center!

Here is a tutorial for a filing trunk at PBJ Stories.

Do you have an old trunk tucked away somewhere? Do you use it for storage, or as a piece of furniture?


  1. Trying again to leave a comment - blogger seems to be acting up again.
    Love the legs on the trunks - thanks for that idea. I keep an old wooden trunk at the end of each bed to store linens.

    1. Oh dear! I'm really thinking it may be time to migrate over to Wordpress.... I like the legs on trunks idea, to -- or wheels. As I get older, I'm liking wheels on things more and more!


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