How to Decorate With a Cedar Chest

A cedar chest is a versatile piece of furniture and can be used just about anywhere in the home.

Tfhe smell of cedar is a repellant to insects.Tfhe smell of cedar is a repellant to insects.
Traditional hope chests were used by young women in preparation for marriage. The chest held quilts, embroidery and even her wedding gown. Cedar chests have never lost their popularity and, staying true to tradition, still hold keepsakes. Modern homemakers have found other useful ways to use the cedar chests for decorating.

Paint an old cedar chest to coordinate with the colors of the room it will be used in. Prepare the chest by sanding with medium-grit sandpaper to remove any glossy finish. Use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth the finish and wipe with a soft cloth to remove dust. Choose satin-finish paint for a slight gloss and washable finish.

Add a stenciled monogram for a personal touch. Tape the stencil to the lid or center the stencil on the front. Use a stencil brush and craft paint to dab paint on the chest. Make the monogram as light or dark as you would like. Carefully remove the stencil when the paint is dry. Use the chest in a child's room for toys and use a stencil design that your child will enjoy.

Use the top of the cedar chest as a coffee table and set in the living room or family room. Set one large tray or two small trays on the top to protect the lid from sweaty glasses.

Display photographs on top of the cedar chest with a mix of assorted frames. Choose different sizes and arrange according to height.

Place the chest under a picture window. Top the chest with two pillows to complement the room décor and use as extra seating.

Store blankets and linens inside the chest and place in a bedroom. Lay a throw or hand-made quilt across the lid or keep the lid bare.

Things You Will Need

  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Soft cloth
  • Satin paint
  • Stencil
  • Stencil brush
  • Craft paint
  • Tray
  • Photographs
  • Pillows
  • Throw


  • The lid of a cedar chest could shut and cause serious injury to a small child.

About the Author

Emma Lee owns a photography website and also works as a freelance writer specializing in home improvement, animals and photography. Her work can be found on various websites. Lee attended Charles County Community College located in Maryland.