Using Antique Trunks in Your Home
Bringing an antique trunk into your home is an easy way to add a vintage and authentic designer flair to your decor. Trunks are wildly functional, combining storage and a flat surface that works for any sort of table. Their well-worn metal, wood, and leather accents give a worldly, vintage look without taking up too much floor space or overwhelming the rest of your room. They can be charming, imposing, or exotic, but an antique trunk is never boring. From coffee tables to home bars, a trunk is a great way to add style, character, and personality to your room.
Update an Antique
If you find an antique or designer trunk that you love, don’t be afraid to get a bit crafty. Let's say the shape is perfect for your room, but the color is off-putting, or there’s extensive damage to the piece that you cannot look beyond, in these cases a fresh coat of complementary paint is a good way to salvage a piece. If you’re blending an antique trunk in with a mostly mod room (think Art Deco, clean lines, punchy colors) don’t be afraid to add fun details like stripes or an all-over bright color like chartreuse or citron.
For a less dramatic update, don’t shy away from a crisp white paint color or more subtle grey. A neutral color is a great way to blend together styles without seeming too match-y. Updating a designer trunk's hardware is another way to blend together styles. Add a white-painted, designer trunk to your bedroom for a fun update on a bedside table. The top makes a perfect table, while the storage inside keeps your room from being cluttered.
If the thought of painting over an antique trunks fills you with dismay and you’re ready to utilize and showcase the rustic elements of a trunk, here are our tips for using them in your home.
Bring a large leather, metal, and metal antique trunk into your living room to double as a coffee table. The top is sturdy enough to hold stacks of books, while the storage inside holds blankets, extra pillows, or even seasonal decorations. Offset the dense look of a solid antique trunk with a plush white rug and clean, upholstered furniture. If you’re already in love with your current coffee table, add an antique trunk as a low side table. A stately black trunk with bright gold hardware fits in well with any style. Keep one in the corner to store board games, throws, or (if it’s large enough) extra seating.
Keep in mind the size of both your room and the antique trunk. Don’t shy away from oversized pieces in a smaller room, but maybe take a second look if all the designer trunks you’re finding are too small for your space. It’s better to make a bold statement with a larger piece in a smaller room than let a trunk get lost in a variable sea of chair legs and empty space.
Not all trunks are made of wood, metal, or leather. Upholstered pieces—think touchable wool—make a large impact in a small area. Stacking two matching trunks gives a completed look to your room while also providing you extra storage and counter space.
If you’re looking to make a big impact with your antique trunk, seek out a gilded piece. Typically larger and more ornate, a gilded wood antique trunk reflects the other pieces in the room while adding some warmth and light. Mix these pieces with other metal-hued pieces and ethnic or animal textiles—think a gilded trunk atop a plush sheepskin. Add a less-structured sofa for a more relaxed look.
Make it a Table
Elevating an antique trunk (which can be weight-restrictive) on sturdy legs can incorporate your personal style and the functionality of the trunk. Using it as a side table or bar adds more character than an off-the-shelf piece. Typical bar carts have had their moment, but the functionality hasn’t—upgrade your liquor collection with a carefully curated designer trunk. Add wheels if you need to be able to move it from one room to another (or even outside!) with ease.
If you find a designer trunk you love, but the top isn’t functional for your space, sacrifice the extra storage for a perfect side table—just add a hardwood top. A heavy enough table won’t require addition securing, but if you’re worried about flipping or sliding, some well-placed screws, nails, or other securing devices can make the two pieces one.
With designer trunks, sometimes more really is better. Several mismatched pieces stacked together can mimic sculpture, with all the perks of storage. When stacking trunks, keep in mind the shapes of each piece— designer trunks with flat sides will stack together neatly and provide a more stable staging area for art, live plants, or books.
Decorating Your Home with DECASO
At DECASO, we believe in curating your home, not just decorating it. We source our pieces from all over the world, and showcase our very favorite pieces online, where you can browse our virtual showroom from anywhere.