Updated October 2021
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Buying guide for best storage trunks

Many of us have items in our home that we want to access easily, and it’s not always practical to keep them stowed in a closet, attic, or basement. If you’re looking for a solution so that your linens, toys, or tools can stay within easy reach, a storage trunk may be your best bet.

Storage trunks are large, well-constructed chests that hold a variety of items. Because of their strong build, they become long-term investments as both furniture and storage solutions. In addition to holding your possessions, some storage trunks double as seating.

While you may be familiar with traditional wooden trunks that sit at the foot of a bed or the old-fashioned footlockers used in travel, there is a myriad of other types as well. Small trunks are popular additions to children’s playrooms. Plastic storage trunks are large enough to store equipment like bats, rackets, and tools. More ornate, decorative trunks are also available, and they are as functional as they are decorative.

If you’re ready to find a winning combination of home décor and storage solutions, we invite you to check out this buying guide.

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Always consider future uses for your storage trunk. If you plan to use it once, aesthetic details might not matter much. If it’s something that will be in your home for a while, opt for a model that matches the décor of different rooms and spaces.

Key considerations


Storage trunks are designed to accommodate collections of items, and they come in a variety of sizes. Small storage trunks are generally around the same size as a child’s toy box — between two and three feet in length. Traditional wood trunks have the largest range of sizes, though they make up the bulk of mid-size models. Many of these stretch between three and four feet long. The largest trunks are often footlockers and plastic storage models that can hold larger items. These are usually between four and six feet long, though there are some smaller and mid-size versions available.

Size is expressed in different ways, but most trunks are notated in terms of length, width, and height. Makers of plastic storage trunks often list capacity in quarts or gallons, too. Weight capacities may also be listed — especially since some storage trunks are designed to perform double duty as seating options.


When choosing a storage trunk, consider what you’ll be keeping inside. If you’re looking to store linens, towels, or clothing, a cedar-lined model may be ideal. The material helps keep fabric dry and preserved.

Toys and games can fit in nearly any storage trunk, though you could opt for a kid-friendly model with special safety mechanisms for hinges. For tools and sporting goods, consider a plastic storage trunk. These are designed to handle heavy metal and oddly shaped items.

Long-term plans

What are your long-term plans for your storage trunk? Some can function as furniture and could be placed in different rooms as you redecorate your home over the years. Others are simply storage solutions. The best of these trunks are reliable and durable enough to withstand years of use.

Down the line, if you decide you don’t want to keep your traditional wooden storage trunk as is, you could repaint it, refinish it, or even re-gift it to a beloved family member. Similarly, a child’s storage trunk could be repurposed once it’s no longer useful for toys — perhaps as a mudroom addition. When you’re finished using your plastic storage trunk for a move or a job, you could keep it in your garage for the storage of off-season sporting equipment or tools you don’t use very often.

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Expert Tip
If you’re buying a storage trunk for children, check for hinge safety mechanisms. The lids are specially designed not to close on their own and are sometimes featured on toy chests.




Wood is an excellent material for storage trunks. It’s an enduring material that keeps contents dry — especially cedar-lined models. Cedar contains oils that naturally repel moths. Although effective, cedar doesn’t completely prevent moths or other pests, so if you’re storing wool garments in your trunk, opt for an extra layer of protection with a sealed, moth-free garment bag.


Some storage trunks are made of metal, and many have toolbox-like elements. Not only are they functional, but they’re also trendy and decorative with a variety of finishes and hardware. What’s unique about metal models is that they often come in sets of two or three, so you can achieve a styled, coordinated look by stacking them or spreading them around a room.


Plastic storage trunks leave something to be desired when it comes to aesthetics, but many are highly functional. You might use a plastic storage trunk to house sporting goods or tools. Some are rugged enough to be kept outdoors. Many are airtight and leak-free, unlike other trunks. If you’re looking for something with locks, wheels, or removable interior compartments, you may be able to find these features in a plastic storage trunk.


The storage trunks of the past often locked, mostly because they were used for travel — think transnational trains and cross-Atlantic trips of the last century (or two). Locking trucks still serve a purpose, especially those used in moving, but now they’re more decorative than anything else. For ones that do have functioning locks, you’ll see padlocks and embedded locks that come with keys.


Some storage trunks are equipped with wheels. The wheels should be exclusively picked by the manufacturer to handle weight limits of both the trunk and its contents. Some models have swivel casters for 360-degree mobility. Others, especially footlockers and those trunks found in storage trucks, only roll back and forth.


Storage trunks with portability features are usually equipped with handles. These are typically made of metal or plastic and built to withstand a lot of handling. For footlocker models, the handles tend to match the rest of the hardware of the trunk.

"The stylish, iconic footlocker is making a big comeback in interior design and home décor. "

Storage trunk prices

Storage trunks that the average citizen might consider range from $35 and $200, although there are expensive models on the market that push $2,000.

For $35 to $60, expect to find storage trunks made with materials other than wood, particularly plastic and other synthetic materials. These aren’t always the most aesthetically pleasing items, but they do the job on a tight budget.

Storage trunks between $70 and $100 are more design-driven and take on attractive features, like wheels and carvings. Many of these end up becoming staple pieces of furniture.

Storage trunks between $100 and $200 tend to be much trendier, with far better hardware for trim, hinges, locks, and handles. These products are often constructed with high-end wood, flush edges, and seamless panels.

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Expert Tip
For a storage trunk that will double as seating, consider a bench cushion or some decorative throw pillows.


  • Use bug-proofing techniques. If bugs are a major concern, take advantage of mothproofing and pest control solutions. This shouldn’t be limited to the area around your storage trunk. Consider a house-wide treatment annually with pest control.
  • Turn it into a living room surface. Bring your storage trunk into the living room to become an extra surface and conversation piece. The trunk could serve as a coffee table, footrest, or extra seating.
  • Maintain the finish. Although storage trunks are built to last, it’s important to maintain them with the proper products, whether it’s wood polish or gentle surface cleaners.
  • Give as a housewarming gift. Especially for first-time homeowners, storage trunks are unique and functional gifts. New homeowners often find themselves spending money to furnish their new place; a storage trunk is a sentimental and functional addition to a new living space.
  • Keep a plastic storage trunk in your RV. If you enjoy camping and road trips, invest in a plastic storage trunk to store equipment and to serve as seating.
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You could benefit from organization solutions inside your storage chest, especially if you keep a multitude of items in it. Magazine racks, shelving, storage bins, and drawer dividers can help you maximize space and prevent smaller items from getting lost inside.


Q. Should I put wheels on my storage trunk?
You could, but keep in mind that it would involve some carpentry to properly secure the wheels. You’ll also need to seal off any new holes to keep dust and insects out of the trunk. Another option is to hire a carpenter or cabinet maker. It’s a small job for them, and they have the tools and experience to do it the right way.

Q. Do I need to line my storage trunk?
It’s not necessary, and it probably should be avoided, especially if you have a cedar-lined trunk. Cedar is what keeps moths and other pests at bay, so you’ll want it exposed to the content if you’re keeping fabric inside. As for other materials that make up the inside of a trunk, most of these are designed to protect and preserve the contents — so there’s really no need.

Q. Does a storage trunk need to be heavy to be sturdy?
Storage trunks are designed to hold a reasonable amount of weight, and even lightweight models of good quality can hold up to a few hundred pounds. Solid wood trunks are attractive and have a reputation for surviving for generations, but many other trunks built with other materials are also strong and have lasting power.

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