Last summer, a friend found these old steamer trunks by the side of the road. They had clearly seen better days. I knew the beauty that lay under all those years of dirt and dust, so I bought them from him. The taller one had it's makeover a few months ago, and this shorter one I knew was destined to be a trunk coffee table! It was the perfect size to put a few legs on the bottom and make it into a piece to be loved for years to come! Wanna see how I did it??
This post contains affiliate links and other website sources to help you find the tools and parts I use and recommend. I get paid a small commission for use of the links. To see my full disclosure policy, click here.
First things first, let me say this was probably the worst condition I'd ever seen as I worked on this trunk. I think it may have been home to some mice in it's days. The inside wasn't musty, but it was all very dirty. I removed the layer of waxed canvas on the outside to reveal the wood underneath. I used this method to clean and oil the wood to bring it back to life.
All the metal was painted with a small brush and General Finishes Lamp Black Milk Paint. It just makes it all come back to life!
The inside of the trunk got a new look with fabric - this seals in anything undesirable on the inside and gives a clean surface for use. Here's a video I filmed of that process.
Since this was a shorter, skinnier trunk, I knew it needed some legs. I reinforced the base of the trunk (on the inside, under the fabric) with some new pine boards. That gave me a solid base to screw these 6" hairpin legs into. This is a sturdy piece!
The handles on this one were replaced with new black leather ones. Check out this post to see how to replace steamer trunk handles. The new black leather matches so well with the black metal finish, and makes this so much easier to move around.
I always look for flat top steamer trunks, because they are much more functional as a table. This one will work just great to set a cup of coffee and a book on!
Here's the inside all finished up - brand new fabric, looking sharp!
I love the look of these industrial trunk coffee tables! It went home with a fantastic young lady at Kinsey Vintage Market. I'm sure it looks stunning in her space.
I loved making this trunk into a coffee table - it was much easier than I thought, and makes the piece unique and super functional.
Until next time,