Military Trunk Makeover and Word to the Wise

I’m gonna start by admitting that this military trunk was one of my dumbest purchases ever.

WAY dumb.

For starters, I bought it when I was in New Mexico back in June.

Who buys a big wood trunk while traveling and would have to pack it in a vehicle full of people and luggage?

Well, that would be me.  What was I thinking?

I also had no need whatsoever of a military trunk.  None.

The other reason it was a dumb purchase is because it was in bad condition.

I don’t mean it just looked bad. I mean the wood was falling apart.

So, why did I buy it?

I’ve asked myself that question more than once.

I blame the hardware.

military trunk

Latches, metal corners and  metal feet are all I saw, and I didn’t inspect the condition of the trunk.

The store didn’t take returns, so I was stuck with it, and thus began…

     … the dumbest thrift store purchase makeover…

Military trunk transformed into Farmhouse Coffee Table -

My poor husband got the short end of the stick.

He had to basically rebuild it, just to make it sturdy again.

I had the easy job.

I told him what I wanted and he did it.

Military trunk transformed into Farmhouse Coffee Table -

The whole front panel had to be replaced, and he added supports inside to stabilize it.

I did paint it though, and stained the trim. 🙂

Upcycled military trunk makeover -

I didn’t take in-progress photos, but you get the idea.

Strengthen it, paint it, add trim, and add handles. Done.

Military trunk transformed into Farmhouse Coffee Table -

It sounds quicker than it was.  Neither of us was excited about it, and we drug the project out for several weeks.

The only thing I bought was  metal chest handles (affiliate link) to replace the original wood handles.

They were silver colored, so I painted them white to match the rest of the hardware.

My husband used scrap wood to do all the repairs on it.

So, it wasn’t an expensive makeover – just a dumb one.

vintage wooden military trunk makeover -

A word to the wise…

If you see an old wooden military trunk, salute it, then run away.

     Even if  it has cool hardware.

Vaya con Dios,


signature today's post

The Making of  My “Antique” Cupboard

Repurposed Windows on Antique Style Cupboard

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  1. LOL Angie! You did do a great job though. I appreciate the honest way you write your posts… refreshing!

  2. Good story and something I would do… wait I did do it. Had to take the train home while my family drove home with an antique in my car seat… LOL
    At least it turned out great!!! and you have a cool story.

  3. Ha ha ha Angie, too late, I have one in my basement storage room and after reading this post, maybe that’s where it will stay! Got it from my Grandmother on my 16th birthday – a “hope” chest (remember those). Survived two marriages and multiple moves and I’ve been wanting to give it a makeover for over three decades. Not so much anymore. lol Yours looks great and makes a perfect coffee table. You get an A+ for determination.

  4. Terri Hughes says

    Turned out great……I love it.

  5. Total transformation! Looks great. And where did the rug in front of the wicker coach come from?? Love it

  6. Marlene Stephenson says

    I have my fathers old footlocker from world war III and it looks simular. It is a great piece of family history. I like what you have done to yours.

  7. But now that you are done with the makeover it looks really great, especially with the cool hardware.

  8. Angie, you are so funny! You didn’t say whether you liked the looks of it once you were done or whether you like the way it looks in your living room. It does sound like it was a drag, but I think it is pretty nice-looking and a useful piece once finished. You did a nice job on it and, after all, everyone makes a dumb purchase from time to time. So, it’s a” learning experience”, right? I don’t know why we have to endure so many “learning experiences” over the course of our lives!

    Hope the next project is much more fun!

  9. Sue Hunsaker says

    Just think of all the stuff you can hide in it !!! Love you blog !

  10. Jann Olson says

    Dumb or not, I love it! My hubby is retired from the national guard. He had a trunk just like that. I just asked him where it was. I think it might still be at our old home, which our son bought. I must see if I can find it! lol! Now I’m going to have a hard time walking away. 🙂

  11. Bonnie Martin says

    My son received the Military trunk that my mom had after she passed away you have given me a great ideal to re do it for him to add to his home instead of it being in the closet. I think I might do a navy theme for my navy boy… take care of you and the family

  12. Awesome makeover and it’s going to be great for storing blankets, etc. in your family room.

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