Creating a flippable topper for a standard storage trunk turns a useful piece into a multipurpose one. Use the cushion side for added seating, and then flip to the board side to use it as a coffee table, kids’ table or game surface.
Things You’ll Need
- Flat-topped storage trunk, 16 inches by 30 inches
- ½-inch hardwood plywood, 16 inches by 30 inches
- 5 mm underlayment board, 16 inches by 30 inches
- Wood stain
- Paintbrush or rag
- High density foam slab, 4-inch depth, 16 inches by 30 inches
- Cotton batting, 21 inches by 35 inches
- Utility fabric, 23 inches by 37 inches
- Staple gun (with staples)
- 1-inch wood screws, 6
Flat-topped storage trunks are pretty common to come by and can be found at local antique or thrift shops, garage sales, and online ads and shops. First measure the top of the trunk’s length and width — standard college trunks (like ours) measure 30 inches in length and 16 inches in width. Hardwood plywood and underlayment board usually come in 2-by-4-foot boards. Cut both the hardwood plywood and underlayment board to match the trunk’s measurements.
Tip: Hardware store staffers will cut these boards to size if you know the measurements. If cutting at home, use a Skilsaw to make the cuts.
Sand and stain the hardwood plywood; this board will act as the coffee table side of the trunk topper. While waiting for the stain to dry, gather supplies for upholstering the top of the bench seat.
High-density foam can be found at fabric stores and is sold by the yard. The fabric store staffers will cut the foam to size for you if you know the measurements. If cutting at home, use a serrated knife to make the cuts (an electric serrated knife will also do the job).
Lay out a layer of cotton batting that measures an additional 5 inches around each side of the foam when centered on top of the batting. Top the foam with the underlayment board, lining up all the edges.
Beginning on the center of a long side, pull the batting snugly around the side of the foam, stapling it to the underlayment board. Working from the center, staple in this way until the full side is complete, and then repeat on the other side, followed by the two shorter ends.
Trim the excess batting before moving onto the next step.
Just as you did with the batting, lay out a layer of utility fabric that measures an additional 7 inches around each side of the bench cushion.
Pay careful attention if using a patterned fabric to ensure everything lines up as you hoped.
Finish by wrapping the corners tightly and neatly before stapling to secure.
When flipped over, the fabric should be tight around the sides, forming a base for the seat cushion.
To complete the trunk topper, secure the stained hardwood plywood to the base of the bench cushion using 1-inch wood screws in each of the four corners and at the center of each long side.
Position the trunk topper board-side-down to enjoy the trunk as an ottoman or added bench seating. The weight of the topper will naturally secure the cushion in place, keeping it from sliding or wobbling.
Position the trunk topper cushion-side-down to enjoy the piece as a coffee table or game surface.
Those of you who keep up with our blog regularly might know we’ve been working to help update a 1976 Airstream camper that our friends recently purchased to use on their farm as a camping-style AirBnB rental. A multipurpose storage trunk like this will be the perfect addition to the small space as a coffee table and additional seating when needed.
Looking for more organizing project ideas? Learn how to make an outdoor accent table with added storage using terra cotta planters, and see how to quickly turn metal spice tins into magnetic storage bins for the kitchen.
Mary & Tim
Keep up with Mary and Tim’s adventures in DIY, home and gardening on their collaborative lifestyle blog, 17Apart. Find them on Instagram (@17Apart) and page through delicious recipes on Tim’s food blog, E.A.T. Photo credits: Mary & Tim Vidra