Craft Tutorials / Decorating / Relocation

Steamer Trunk Coffee Table: Repurposing Old Stuff

One of my favorite things about Texas is the multitude of antique shops scattered all over creation; they’re everywhere and loaded with stuff. A lot of antiques, some basic old stuff and some junk. For those of us who love vintage style, these places are awesome for finding inspiration and things to fill our homes, even though it often takes some digging. Usually what I find needs a little tweaking to make it just right for what I’ve got in mind.

I’ve been wanting to use a trunk as a coffee table for a long time, I just never could find exactly what I was looking for or what I did find was priced outrageously. So when I discovered this gem of a giant steamer trunk at a completely reasonable price, I jumped on it. It looks like it’s got the original hardware and innards, there’s someone’s initials on one end and is unbelievably solid. It’s definitely worn in places, scratched and is missing most of the handle, but it’s these kinds of things that give old stuff character!

The main thing I thought about this trunk and using it for a coffee table is that it was a little shorter than ideal. So I was thinking all the way home about how I could make it taller. One idea I thought would be interesting is to use big books underneath on each end. I love this idea and would like to eventually use it for something else, but I like my books too much to set them under something so heavy and I also wasn’t sure how secure it would be. I would never want Judah to accidentally slide it onto himself.

So I Googled “how can I attach table legs to something?” I found this awesome link: DIY Ashley’s Vintage Suitcase Coffee Table. This project is inexpensive, simple and FAST! Now I want to turn some old suitcases into side tables.


Old trunk or suitcase

4 Waddell top plate hardware

4 wooden table legs (mine are 6 inches tall, but get whatever size that meets your specific project goals…they were also unfinished so I used a gel stain on them)


your sweet hubby who enjoys using power tools more than you do…or do it yourself!


If your table legs are unfinished, paint or stain them your desired color and allow to dry. Seal them with a varnish and allow to dry completely.

Meanwhile, attach the top plates with an electric screwdriver at each underneath corner on your trunk or suitcase.

Screw on your table legs, flip over your new coffee table and admire your new furniture!

I could have done this without my hubby, but I’ve never used a drill, so I left it to his expertise. ;) When it comes to projects around our home, I’m the brains, he’s the muscle! Good thing he enjoys working on things with me. And he appreciates me making our apartment feel more homey.

Hunting out unusual items is half the fun, and then repurposing them for something useable and stylish makes it all worthwhile!

6 thoughts on “Steamer Trunk Coffee Table: Repurposing Old Stuff

  1. Pingback: Mirror Tray Makeover: Craft Tutorial « MotifBrophy

  2. Pingback: Zucchini Gratin | merveilleux sans gluten

  3. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.
    I do not know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already ;) Cheers!

  4. Pingback: reinvention wednesday: simple storage for small spaces | Mommy Inc. from Shannon CherryMommy Inc. from Shannon Cherry

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