Bringing one of these high-impact storage aids home will make you feel like you’ve just doubled your storage space.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated March 22, 2019
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Credit: crateandbarrel.com

Storage trunks—or storage chests—are all grown up. Once the mainstay of global travelers as luggage, trunks and chests have been used primarily by sleepaway camp–goers and college students and ignored by most everyone else in recent years. But no longer: Storage trunks and storage chests are coming back into homes all across the United States as coffee tables, end-of-bed accessories, entryway décor, and plain old storage, and they look better than ever.

Modern trunks and chests are moving on from the classic steamer trunk look (though plenty still pay homage to that early iteration) and adopting fresher, more contemporary styles. CB2 is offering an acrylic version that would be an ideal spot for storing all those gorgeous coffee table books (To buy: Mod Large Locker, $764; cb2.com).

Wicker storage trunks are also all over, as end-of-bed storage chests, storage trunk coffee tables, and more. Wicker storage trunks, including the Jacoby Bedroom Trunk pictured above (To buy: $610; crateandbarrel.com), give rooms a softened feel that still offers effective storage. Plus, depending on the strength of the material, they even offer a spot to sit while putting on socks. The material avails itself to vacation and seaside homes, but any laidback bedroom could handle a wicker storage trunk, especially if storage is in short supply.

Wicker and acrylic trunks might come off as a little too trendy for some, but never fear: Traditional-looking trunks are still out there. Pottery Barn has an option that comes in 18 colors, with options ranging from the playful to the classic, and has rubbed brass trim for a little polish (To buy: Canvas Dorm Trunks with Rubbed Brass Trim, $299; pbteen.com). For wood storage trunks, look to Pier 1’s Pyra Large Trunk (To buy: $400; pier1.com); for elegant leather, check out Restoration Hardware’s Mayfair Steamer Trunk Low Chest in Vintage Cigar Leather (To buy: $2250; restorationhardware.com).

Storage trunks and chests are all over, in all different styles; but what makes them so great? There’s almost nothing they can’t store. Many storage solutions can handle either an assortment of small items or one large piece; trunks can store several large items, whether they’re shoes, throws, weighted blankets, pillows, bath towels, or something else. Best of all—ignoring the acrylic option—they keep all that clutter out of sight. (Consider them the appliance garages of the rest of your home.)

Plus, with a tray or a few coasters on top, storage trunks and chests easily double as coffee tables. Like icon storage, they serve a purpose and contribute something bold to a room’s décor; try to find a standard storage basket that can do the same.

In small homes where every square inch is valuable, a storage trunk that can serve a number of other purposes while containing clutter is a game-changer. It’s no surprise dorm-dwellers and campers love keeping their possessions neatly stowed in them; and, with so many sizes and styles out there, there’s sure to be one for everyone.