DIY: Trunk Coffee Table

About a week before moving into my new apartment I decided it would be a great idea to refinish an old trunk that was collecting dust and housing mini-sticks (throwback Thursday anyone?) in my parents’ basement. I decided it would make the perfect coffee table and double as storage, adding a bit of character to my new place.

This bright idea turned out to be more time-consuming than anticipated during a busy work week of packing but, in the end, I’m extremely happy with the way it turned out!

If you have a spare trunk handy, or are looking for one to convert, here are the steps I took:

1. Acquire the necessary materials. I needed a hammer (see right corner for the reason), screwdriver, sandpaper/steel wool, protective work gloves, rust paint, gold spray paint and, of course, a trunk. I also bought wallpaper to refinish the interior but, due to my fast-approaching move-in date, I was unable to complete this part of the project!

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2. Repairs. The right corner hinge/hardware was mangled so I hammered it back into place and screwed in any missing bolts. It was a bit of a challenge to dig through a bag of screws to find ones of a similar size, but even if they weren’t exact, I was able to find some that worked.

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2. Sand it down/use the horrible horrible steel wool to make the surface a bit rougher. The bottom also had some rust on it, so I used this to remove some of the damage.

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4. Paint it! Well ventilated area, yada yada… I chose black since it’s versatile and classic. Second choices were burgundy or turquoise. I tried my best to avoid the hardware. After painfully trying to paint around the small beams and bolts, I decided they’d look just as good black!

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5. Apply a second coat. One coat of paint didn’t quite do the trick, but I wasn’t very generous with my application either  as I didn’t want any bubbles or drips!

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6. Paint the hardware. I used this teensy brush because I got used to it and it was easy to control around the edges and turns. As the hours wore on, perfection became less important than coverage.

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I was unable to find gold paint (in a reasonable size bottle for under $30) so I improvised using gold spray paint and an old plastic container.

Maybe the fumes had something to do with my decreasing attention to detail?

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7. Admire your work. Here is the little beauty when all was said and done.

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Here it is in its new home. I think it fits in nicely, adds some visual interest and weight to an otherwise pretty standard room, and is the perfect height for my very low, futon couch!

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I’m storing extra pillows and blankets for when friends visit and sleep on the futon bed. Plus, it makes a great foot rest!

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