How to renovate an old school trunk

Gyre and Gymble
2 min readMar 30, 2022


This old boarding school trunk had seen better days. I loved it and wanted to repurpose it as a coffee table, so I set to work.

Remove all the glue and old paint stuck to the surface with a metal plaster spatular and razor blade. Rubbed down all the metal with light sandpaper. Cleaned the inside and removed all torn or loose paper. Once it was clean, Started on the renovation. Paint the outside panels with Farrow and Ball railings paint. This gave the trunk a rich deep colour without taking away from the original surface.Painted all the metalwork with antique gold paint. You may need a couple of coats.

Then to the inside:

Cut to size and secured some leftover or fabric to the inside walls using wood glue to reline your trunk. I used some left over fabric from another project.
My advice is to measure and cut the top and bottom panels first, secure these into place, and then cut the side panel. For a neat finish, iron a narrow hem along the edge of each panel. There is no need to sew, just stick well with lots of glue.

Good luck I hope you love your own project as much as I loved making mine


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