Exploring Trunks and Chests of Diverse Styles for Your Decorating Projects

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Trunks and chests, with their timeless charm and versatility, have become beloved elements in modern interior design. In this blog post, we will explore their historical background and how they have evolved to suit various interior styles. From ancient civilizations to the Industrial Revolution and present-day design trends, these functional yet decorative pieces have left an indelible mark on our homes.

Traditionally, trunks and chests have  been categorized based on their primary uses. Trunks, equipped with handles, were designed for portability, serving as go-to storage solutions during travel. On the other hand, chests, often with feet, were intended for stationary use within homes. However, in contemporary language, these terms have merged, and they are now referred to interchangeably, celebrating their blend of features.

A Glance into the Past: Trunks and Chests through History

Prepare to embark on a journey through time as we explore the history of trunks and chests. Let’s unravel their significance in various eras as we discover the stories they hold.

Ancient Civilizations: Storage, Luggage, Furniture, and Beyond the Afterlife

Ancient Egyptian chest
Djehouty, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

From the annals of ancient Egypt and Greece, trunks and chests held multifaceted roles. These timeless pieces served as essential storage units, practical luggage for travels, and even stylish furniture items. Archaeologists have unearthed chests, one of the most famous of which are from within Egyptian tombs, preserving precious treasures for eternity.

Medieval Ages: Trunks as Guardians of Valuables Amid Conflict

Medieval Style trunk
By avideus via Canva Pro

During the medieval ages, trunks played a vital role as people fled from invasions, carrying their valuables with them. These sturdy companions not only housed important belongings as prized coffers, but also served as storage for cozy blankets, and even concealed weapons. Additionally, chests and trunks doubled as tables, seats, and beds, showcasing their adaptability.


Early banks also relied on these sturdy containers as makeshift vaults to secure their most valuable possessions.

Trunks as Iconic Symbol of the Industrial Revolution

Stacked vintage trunks
by nimu1956 via CanvaPro

The Industrial Revolution was a turning point for chests and trunks, as advancements in transportation, such as steam trains and steamboats, made travel more accessible and widespread.


During this era, trunks became an iconic symbol, representing adventure and luxury, and also became a status symbol in society. Owning a beautifully crafted trunk showcased an individual’s ability to travel and reflected their appreciation for artistry and aesthetics. Elaborate designs signaled higher social standing, demonstrating the owner’s discerning taste and appreciation for fine craftsmanship.


As a result, trunks evolved into statement pieces, transcending their practical use to symbolize aspiration and sophistication.

Evolution in the 20th Century: Flat Trunks for Mobility

By the end of the 19th century and into the early 1900s, flat trunks emerged, catering to the need for easier transportation. Their smaller sizes allowed for faster movements, adapting to the evolving systems of the time. People embraced these convenient versions, allowing them to carry their belongings without having to hire costly porters.

A Global Legacy of Culture and Style

Trunks and chests transcended cultural boundaries and became beloved across the globe. From the Chinese Camphor Chest to the Hope Chests of the European World, from the Spanish baul to the inlaid decorated Turkish trunks, and from the Dowry chest to many others, each kind reflects a rich fusion of art and culture.

Present-Day Applications: Trunks and Chests in Modern Decor

In contemporary interior design, trunks and chests have come a long way, transforming into multi-functional pieces that go beyond their conventional roles. Today, they effortlessly serve as versatile coffee tables, chic side tables, practical end-of-bed storage units, and captivating decorative elements.


The exciting part is the wide array of looks available, catering to every taste and style. From timeless vintage elegance to trendy urban chic and beyond, let’s delve into how these adaptable pieces flawlessly harmonize with various design aesthetics. Join us on this exploration of the fascinating world of trunks and chests in modern interior design.

Antique or Antique-Inspired Trunks: Old-World Elegance

For a touch of old-world charm, consider antique trunks boasting tooled leather with intricate designs, carvings, inlay works, and metal details in black iron, brass, or bronze.

Industrial Design Style: Embodying Modern Travel Nostalgia

Indulge in the essence of modern travel nostalgia with wooden trunks adorned with leather straps, weathered surfaces, and travel-inspired markings. Let wheels add a subtle nod to the Industrial Revolution, where mobility and exploration flourished.


For an authentic Industrial Design Style touch, opt for trunks that appear crafted from salvaged wood, evoking the principle of repurposing. In today’s world, industrial spaces have transformed into residential or commercial havens, making these trunks a perfect homage to the past.

Urban Style: Striking Grit and Sophistication

Transform your living space with a touch of urban or urban chic using leather, rugged metal, or polished wood trunks that exude a mix of gritty industrial charm and sleek metropolitan elegance. For a creative twist, explore the College Dorm or Camp Storage Trunk available in a range of vibrant colors inspired by urban graffiti, adding pops of vibrancy to your decor. With their practical wheels, these trunks are not only stylish but also allude to the modern and dynamic city lifestyle.

Farmhouse Country Style: Rustic Simplicity

Embrace the simplicity of country life with wood and galvanized iron trunks in distressed and weathered finish. Look for diagonal bracing or wicker and rattan trunks for an authentic farmhouse feel.

Modern Farmhouse : Timeless Charm with White Shiplap Trunks

These charming trunks effortlessly blend vintage charm with contemporary flair, making them an ideal addition to any modern farmhouse-inspired space. Their timeless appeal and practicality make them a must-have element in your decor repertoire.

Beach Country Style: Coastal Serenity

Embrace the laid-back ambiance of coastal living with charming wicker and rattan trunks. Opt for weathered wooden trunks adorned in beach-inspired colors like tan, blue, green, and white, bringing the soothing essence of the seaside right into your home.

Mid-Century Modern: Nostalgic Retro Revival

Metal trunks with their sleek and simplified silhouettes, finished with earthy, muted colors reminiscent of the mid-century modern era, offer the perfect fusion of modern aesthetics and nostalgic charm. Elevate your space with these stylish yet functional pieces that bring a touch of timeless sophistication to your home decor.

Boho Eclecticism: Embracing Wanderlust, Nature's Allure, and Artistic Expression

Let your boho spirit shine with wooden trunks featuring intricate ethnic carvings and rustic elements. Opt for unfinished or weathered body to evoke a simple, back-to-nature vibe that celebrates the beauty of imperfection.


For a delightful nod to the 1960s to 70s era choose earthy-colored trunks adorned with flower power, musical instruments, peace signs, or psychedelic patterns. To capture its wanderlust spirit,  go for trunks with travel-inspired vibes.


These captivating details evoke the essence of the style and add a touch of whimsical charm to your boho-inspired space.


No need to worry if you haven’t found the perfect piece yet. In the boho style, the possibilities are endless, so embrace your creativity and explore until you discover the ideal addition that perfectly embodies your bohemian vibe.



Summary: Where History and Style Converge

In conclusion, trunks and chests have withstood the test of time, evolving to match contemporary design sensibilities while preserving their historical significance. From ancient civilizations to the Industrial Revolution and beyond, they have captured the hearts of enthusiasts worldwide. Embrace their timeless allure and explore the vast array of styles that breathe life into your decorating projects, making your space truly unique and captivating.

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