Easy Small Decorative Trunk Makeover

I thought I would share another awesome score from my neighbor's garage sale a few weeks ago. I'm a sucker for trinket boxes and small trunks so when I saw this cute little trunk sitting on one of the tables I grabbed it.

It had definitely seen better days but I knew it had so much potential to be brought back to life. This small decorative trunk makeover was super easy to complete and in just a few short hours it received a night and day transformation!

A quick and easy small decorative trunk from a garage sale gets a makeover.

Small Trunk Makeover Before And After

Here is what the small decorative trunk looked like when I bought it. As you can see, it has a wooden scalloped base and faux snakeskin body that was screaming for some TLC. The outside was banged up a bit and had a few noticeable scratches.

A small decorative trunk with faux snakeskin before getting a makeover.

Instead of giving the base a fresh coat of dark stain and polishing the faux snakeskin back to its original luster, I had another vision for this piece. I could see it in a crisp white finish so I went with it and decided to paint the trunk instead.

So if you were wondering if you can paint an old trunk? Absolutely! It never ceases to amaze me what paint can do to transform an outdated piece of decor. What a difference a little paint made to the small wooden storage trunk!

A small decorative trunk makeover with chalk-style paint.

What You'll Need To Make It

This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend for this project. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from any qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

My chalk-style paint of choice for this project is from the Country Chic paint line. Listed below are the supplies you'll need for the old trunk makeover. Please note that if you use all-in-one paint you will not need the clear wax to protect the paint finish.

Supply List

Small Storage Trunk (thrift store)
Simplicity White Chalk Style Paint
Elegance Chalk Style Paint
Clear Wax (optional)
Brown Antiquing Wax or Glaze
Wax Brush
Small Fleur De Lis Stencil
Round Stencil Brush
Vintage Style Scrapbook Paper
Paper Cutter

How To Makeover A Small Trunk

Now that we've covered what supplies you'll need to makeover a small wooden trunk, I'll begin the makeover with the most important step; how to clean and prep the trunk for paint.

Clean And Prep Small Decorative Trunk For Paint

Cleaning and prepping the small wooden trunk is the most important step of the makeover process in order to get a lasting finish as outlined in my makeover prep tutorial.

To clean the trunk I used my homemade cleaning solution of 1 part white vinegar to two parts warm water with a drop of Dawn dish soap. Alternatively, you could use my readymade go-to degreaser spray cleaner.

Once the trunk is clean and completely dry, lightly scuff the wood with 150 grit sandpaper in the direction of the grain to give the paint some bite. Wipe the trunk with a damp lint-free rag to remove the dust particles.

Painting The Exterior Of The Small Trunk

The exterior is painted using chalk-style paint in two colors. The faux snakeskin exterior is painted in two coats of Simplicity White and the scalloped base and details in two coats of the color Elegance.

How To Give The Decorative Trunk An Antiqued Patina

This step is completely optional but I wanted to give the painted trunk a time-worn antiqued patina and it's so easy to do with a brown chalk paint wax.

It's important to note that if you paint the trunk with regular chalk-style paint, then you'll need to apply a light coat of clear wax first so the brown wax doesn't stain the white paint. But if you used Country Chic all-in-one paint, it does not require wax to protect the paint finish.

With a small wax brush, apply brown wax over the painted surfaces, especially in the crevices of the faux snakeskin. Lightly buff with a clean lint-free rag to remove the excess brown wax.

A small decorative wooden trunk refreshed with white paint.

The Inside Of The Small Decorative Trunk

This is what the inside of the small decorative trunk looked like.

A small decorative trunk interior before a makeover.

The inside was not in too bad of shape, albeit rather dark, and so I wanted to lighten and spruce it up! I painted the whole interior with two coats of the pretty Elegance color used on the exterior of the trunk.

If you are a regular reader you know how much I love adding a Parisian touch to my pieces. So to add a little surprise when you opened the lid, I stenciled a Fleur De Lis with the Simplicity White paint color.

A small decorative trunk makeover interior with fleur de lis stencilled lid.

Once the paint was dry, I repeated the antiqued look on the inside of the trunk with a brown wax.

Aside from a fresh coat of paint, I like to pretty the inside of decorative trunks and trinket boxes by lining the bottom with vintage scrapbook paper.

I found some lovely distressed style damask scrapbook paper in my stash that complements the paint color nicely. I measured the bottom of the box and used a paper cutter to cut it to size. Then rather than decoupage, I simply set the paper in place so it can easily be removed down the road.

A small decorative trunk makeover with vintage-style distressed damask paper lined interior.

What was an old, outdated small decorative trunk is now a beautiful and unique piece of home decor in just a few easy steps. And not to mention budget-friendly too!

Thrift stores and garage sales are a wonderful resource for finding old wooden trunks. I found one in a similar style but with a wood divider inside and gave it a coastal-style trunk makeover. I also found an adorable treasure chest style wooden box that I transformed into a guest wedding card box for my son's wedding.

Almost all of our DIY ideas have step-by-step tutorials so why not get your budget DIY on and subscribe. You can also find us on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Wouldn't you agree that the small trunk looks far prettier now than in its original state? It would look lovely displayed on a bookcase, coffee table tray, or bedroom dresser. I could also see it displayed on a dining room sideboard for table linen storage.

An easy garage sale decorative trunk upcycle.

Thanks for stopping by the Interior Frugalista today! I hope you were inspired by the small decorative trunk makeover.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below or the Contact Me tab at the top to drop me an email. I love hearing from you!

If you enjoyed this small wooden storage trunk makeover, I'd be so thankful if you shared it with a friend and pinned it to your favorite board on Pinterest.

This small decorative trunk makeover was easy to complete using paint and took only a few supplies. Great for a beginner! #woodtrunkmakeover #woodstorageboxideas #upcycleddecor

I share my projects at these inspiring link parties.



  1. What a beautiful makeover Marie, you never disappoint with your creations.

    1. Awe, you're so sweet Anita, thank you! I have the trunk displayed on a bookcase and love it.

  2. Great colors, Marie and I love that paper treat in the bottom! How fun!!

    1. Thank you very much, Kim! I chose the colors to match our master bedroom to display the trunk on the built-in bookcase.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks so much Virginia! I'm loving the storage potential of this trunk.

  4. Happy Sunday Marie. This is awesome. You know how I love a chippy looking piece. Have a great week. xoxo Kris

    1. Happy Sunday backatcha, Kris! It's a gorgeous day here so I might take the chance and plant some flowers. xoxo

  5. Wow! Now this is a makeover! Love the white and soft green/blue, so pretty! Yes, the magic of paint!

    1. Thank you so much, Jenna! I love the soft green/blue color too, it's one of my favorites.

  6. This box is adorable Marie! Just as you said, I see so many boxes of all different shapes and sizes in thrift stores. Wish we could save we them all like you did this one!💜

    1. Thank you very much, I'm glad you like it! Oh my, tell me about it. I have amassed quite a collection for the makeover queue because I can't resist rescuing them. LOL

  7. Yay!!!!! You're back. I missed seeing all your creations and makeovers, Marie and you're right about a day and night transformation. She's a beaut and then there's the little surprise when you open the lid too. Love how it turned out.

    1. Thank you so much Michelle for you sweet comments! I'm quite liking the handy storage potential of this little box and it looks so pretty displayed on our built-in bookcase.

  8. Marie,
    You always make items look amzing. Congratulations, you are being featured on Thursday Favorite Things.
    I hope you stop by.

    1. Thank you for your sweet comments AND the feature, Bev! Hugs backatcha xo

  9. Marie, this is an amazing transformation! I have several little wooden/wicker chests that are just dying for some transformation! I will certainly follow your tips when I get my hands on them!

    1. So glad to hear my trunk transformation has offered inspiration for your wooden/wicker chests, Maya! If you have any questions during the makeovers, don't hesitate to contact me, I'd be happy to help. 🙂


Post a Comment

Don't be shy, I love reading your comments and reply to every single one! If you want to be notified when I reply back to you, click the "Notify Me" button below the comment box.