Asked on Oct 01, 2014

Trunk upcycle

Vicki Pemberton
by Vicki Pemberton
I found this trunk for $10, it's been painted on the outside and I really like the makeshift strap but it is metal. The legs need to be replaced and looks like it had a few original castors on it. The inside is unpainted and in great condition. Any ideas on the type of trunk this is? Any upcycle ideas?
q trunk upcycle, painted furniture, full view
full view
q trunk upcycle, painted furniture, The inside is in good shape
The inside is in good shape.
q trunk upcycle, painted furniture
  31 answers
  • Madonna Madonna on Oct 05, 2014
    Very cool cedar chest. Many girls used them as hope chests when I was growing up in the 60s and 70 s.

  • Jea389548 Jea389548 on Oct 05, 2014
    Great find. Paint to fit bedroom decor and use at the foot of bed!

  • Barbara Milligan Barbara Milligan on Oct 05, 2014
    Turn it into a filing cabinet.

  • Jea389548 Jea389548 on Oct 05, 2014
    Filing cabinet is a great idea. At night you can still put extra pillows on it. I like double duty for everything.

  • Darlene Gordon Darlene Gordon on Oct 05, 2014
    Cut off the legs, sit it on its end with a mirror on the lid side and shelves on the deep side. Would be cute in a child's room with children's books on the shelves.

  • C C on Oct 05, 2014
    We have almost the identical trunk, but ours is still original all wood inside & out. We use ours for our coffee table & store our board games & photo albums inside :) Having said that, if you want to repurpose it, think of it as a big cupboard. Like @Darlene Gordon described, stand it on its side {like your first picture} remove the feet & attach feet to the "new bottom" so the lid will open & close freely. Love her idea of a mirror on the inside of the lid {now a door} and add a rod & shelf for a little girls dress-up cupboard

  • Buster Evans Buster Evans on Oct 05, 2014
    Great find! and an AWEsome price! This piece is a cedar chest...and they are or can be very expensive new..If you want to repaint it then you can match it to the room wall paint where it will be. A little more intensive would be to strip it all down to the bare wood on the outside (as on the inside) and then a few coats of clear gloss polyurethane or varnish (only on the outside) and it will be stunningly beautiful. If you can picture in your mind the inside of the chest with a glossy finish thats what it would look like... The inside is left Unpainted . Cedar wood is a great insect repellant and these chests were often used to store Heirlooms like wedding gowns, Table cloths, delicate fabrics that would be eaten by moths... I Would opt to restore it to its former original self if at all possible..Its a beautiful piece under all that paint, and would make a great heirloom gift to a daughter.. I wouldnt cut it up or dismantle any more of it than absolutely necessary..

  • Dee Toomey Dee Toomey on Oct 05, 2014
    Turn it on one end. Remove legs. Put a rod near the top. Use it to hang "dress ups" for your little girl. Paint the outside in fun/colorful way.

  • Karen Veal Karen Veal on Oct 05, 2014
    Strip off the paint & seal. Remove original legs on it, put some bun feet on the end,put some hooks & trays on the inside, mirror on the lid framed out in some nice trim, if stained the chest, stain trim the same. Jewelry/Make-up chest!!

  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Oct 05, 2014
    I vote for a coffee or end table for the living room/den. Who does not need more storage?

  • Rhonda J. Murry Rhonda J. Murry on Oct 05, 2014
    I would just scuff paint on outside of box, it could be turned into a coffee table or a window seat.

  • Greg Brauner Greg Brauner on Oct 05, 2014
    Stand it on end, put one or two shelves in it for either a towel cabinet in the bathroom or a wine/liquor cabinet in the library

  • Bibi Sweet67 Bibi Sweet67 on Oct 05, 2014
    I would make a cushion for the top and paint the wood then place it near a window and turn it into a seating area/storage..

  • Sharon Russell Sharon Russell on Oct 05, 2014
    I put a cushion on the top, polished the wood to a gloss, and put it in our dining room's bay window. It's an extra seat, extra storage for tableclothes and accessories, and also a great spot for my 28 year old violet!

  • Sherry Fram Sherry Fram on Oct 05, 2014
    I would paint the outside and leave the inside alone. If you want it to "smell" the cedar then lightly sand the inside with a fine grit sandpaper and wipe with a tac cloth. If you don't like the legs the take them off and get some different ones. I vote for a coffee table or put a cushion on top for a bench.

  • Jerri Watts Jerri Watts on Oct 05, 2014
    Looks like a good coffee table, sand it down to wood and stain it

  • Robinshay4 Robinshay4 on Oct 05, 2014
    We one that looks like it could be twins with yours, except, it has never been painted. And with it's natural wood, although it is old, it is beautiful. And i have had offers for it upward $200- 400. But my husband bought it for me as a gift for our wedding almost 18 yrs ago. I love it. I know it would be some work, but I wish you could really see and appreciate the beauty of what you have!

  • Mary Mary on Oct 05, 2014
    Years ago, I bought an old trunk at an auction for $1.00, to my husband's chagrin! I had been saving color tear-outs from magazines; no particular pictures .... just colors ranging from tan to a rich dark brown. These random colors got modge-podged to the trunk, followed by several coats of a tinted polyurthene for protection. 8" legs were finished and screwed into the base. My daughter threw a fit to have it and it's sat in her living room for about 15 years. Spent an entire winter on the thing and although I'd love to do another, don't know if I have another in me. She has received many positive comments on it over the years. Not only is it unique, but is good storage as well.

  • I have 2 cedar is a coffee table and home to all my family photo albums...the other in my bedroom holding memorabilia from my wedding and my kids births.

  • Debi-14 Debi-14 on Oct 05, 2014
    I love trunks used as coffee tables as well and so great for whatever you want to store in them. It looks the perfect size for a coffee table, too.

  • Cathy C Cathy C on Oct 05, 2014
    It looks like an old cedar blanket chest. Before I touched it I'd do some research on the label , on the company. You might be able to see what a similar one looks like in original finish and possibly find the value. I love antique furniture and I wouldn't do any cutting up, legs or otherwise.

  • Jane R. Jane R. on Oct 05, 2014
    First it's not a trunk. Decide what you want to use it for, where you what to put it and go from there. I'd paint it to match the décor of the room I'll use it in. You can stencil a design on it to suit the room you put it in,

  • Ellen Dunlap Ellen Dunlap on Oct 06, 2014
    hope chest it is lol

  • Lisa Salerno Lisa Salerno on Oct 06, 2014
    I have cats, so I'd probably turn it into a litter box hider.

  • Christine Schultz Christine Schultz on Oct 08, 2014
    I have a cedar Lane chest at the foot of my bed. I think you should paint or strip the original paint and stain it. Add metal casters to the bottom of the legs gives it more mobility. Especially when making the bed or cleaning the living room floors if using as a coffee table. Cedar smells great and it is great for storing linens and blankets.

  • Dianna Blumricl Dianna Blumricl on Oct 12, 2014
    I also have an truck at the foot of my bed & I use to store blankets. I can also sat on it. Love it. Keep it shabby chic.

  • Sharon Russell Sharon Russell on Oct 13, 2014
    I should have started my reply ( above) by mentioning that my husband bought me one at a farm auction 15 or so years ago to replace a plastic one I had moved here with. Still needs the leather straps replaced after all this time but I forget that when it's open and I get a whiff of that wonderful cedar :)

  • Kitty Kitty on Oct 13, 2014
    Because of the ceder lining I would say it is a linen storage truck which you can still do. I would lightly sand the interior to bring back the smell and store table cloths etc in it.

  • Joanie Joanie on Jul 01, 2015
    It's a cedar chest, to hold linens, blankets, etc. Moths hate cedar smell. Many, use it as a hope chest.

  • Vicki Vicki on Oct 27, 2015
    i use it as side "table" by my sofa with pretty washable table clothing cover, a pretty lamp & plenty room for anything else to use like for my am coffee with my magazine or my laptop for the morning, then my wine to watch tv movie for the evening. plenty storage for my living room only like blankets for my recliner to keep me warm during cold weather, extra table covers, etc.... i added 4 wheel coasters with lock on bottom trunk with 2 inches wood blocks to move it around & lock it to stay, not move. very useful to have trunk as storage/furniture. ;-)