VINTAGE TRAVEL trunks – sometimes called steamer trunks, cabin trunks or wardrobe trunks – are wonderful throwbacks to the halcyon days of travel. People travelled on ‘grand tours’ of Europe, the USA and adventured to the wilds of Africa and Asia for long periods of time. They journeyed by steam train and luxurious steamliner cruise ships and had ‘help’ to pack (and unpack) their clothes, and most definitely to carry their luggage!
Today travel trunks are no longer used as pieces of luggage, but they have evolved into stylish functional furniture pieces for bedrooms, living rooms, hallways and even home-offices.
A travel trunk in a room along with interior accessories, such as an old globe or some old artefacts from far-flung places, can inject a mood of adventurous travel. Many will still have their old labels and tags attached which add to the intrigue and mystery. Use a trunk to create a light colonial-style feel with pastel backdrops, leather armchairs and old teak furniture.
For example, this Louis Vuitton steamer trunk [below] works perfectly as a coffee table, plus it creates a great focal point in the room.
New season trends this year are about mixing not matching, so don’t be afraid to mix it up: the old with the new, the quirky with the simple! So a compact travel trunk can be placed below a new glass table, as shown in the picture below, or a shiny new LCD TV on top of a battered vintage trunk.
Their bold simple construction and their used and distressed look and feel mean they can be used in so many ways. Apart from looking good they are great for storage. Use an old trunk at the end of a bed or on top of a cupboard or wardrobe for storing linen, clothes, children’s toys or memories.
Quite simply no retro or vintage influenced room would look right without a classic old travel trunk.
Here are our top five places for placing an old travel trunk in your home:
At the foot of the bed
As a coffee table
As a side table
In a hall or entryway
As TV / HiFi stand
Several of the pictures show steamer trunks from higher-end retailers and makers such as Louis Vuitton, Goyard, Ralph Lauren, Moynat, Haskell Brothers, M. M. Secor, but you can still find antique and old steamer trunks with prices starting from an affordable £50 on eBay, vintage interior specialists such as Scaramanga or in second-hand shops. Replica travel trunks can be found at department stores such as John Lewis.