Using Vintage Steamer Trunks To Add Antique Flair

Few pieces of vintage furniture have become as ubiquitous as the steamer trunk, and for good reason. These pieces work in a number of styles and in a variety of iterations.

Used for travel in the late 19th and early 20th century, they come in a range of materials including wood, animal hides and leathers; complete with metal hardware and lined with everything from silk to canvas to keep its cargo protected.

In more recent years as we’ve moved to more streamlined types of luggage, these trunks have started to serve exclusively decorative purposes. No longer tucked away in attics and storage rooms, steamer trunks have taken centre stage as central conversation pieces particularly in traditional spaces with a nautical or worldwide theme.

They can be used for everything from in-room storage for linens or accessories, or as a coffee table or other centralized furniture item. Adding specifically sized glass to the top of one of these trunks adds to its table aesthetic. In a bedroom, a larger trunk can make the perfect bench seating for the end of your bed, while smaller ones make the perfect nightstand table. In entryways, tall variations make for excellent side tables and a great way to set the tone for the rest of the space.

You can also stack these trunks if you have more than one, for added visual impact. From small sized trunks to oversized options, the design possibilities are endless and there’s many creative ways to incorporate the look into your living spaces.

While many are drawn to the weathered appearance of these older trunks, it’s also possible to “up-cycle” them; or rather, adding treatments, additions and modifications that gives the item a newer, more streamlined look. From paint, updating both outer and inner fabrics to changing fixtures and hardware; a few small tweaks can create an item that still has the old-world charm of the original, while also creating a more updated aesthetic that fits much better with your room’s look. vintage trunk dresservintage trunk tablevintage trunk furniture living room