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!


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.


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.


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!


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!


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.


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?


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


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!


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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