Just in time for Mother’s Day, Nicholas Rosaci shows us how he turned a forty dollar Goodwill find into a fabulous DIY project, and shares thrifty tips to creating magazine magic on a budget!


On a recent trip to the local Goodwill, this great big steamer trunk caught my eye and I had to have it! At forty dollars, this designer “must-have” was a steal. You often see smaller, flimsy reproduction trunks sold in department stores at a much higher price. Real steamer trunks found at flea markets and second hand stores are almost always picked up immediately. Decorators know that there is always a client looking for the real thing and there is hardly a day I don’t see one when flipping through the pages of magazines.

Accent cushions are an easy way to change up a room from season-to-season but the problem becomes finding storage for all these beautiful pillows when the season changes. I knew this trunk would provide the perfect place to store my collection of seasonal accent cushions.




  • Disinfectant
  • Mild Bleach
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Steel Wool
  • Indoor/Outdoor Krylon Spray Paint
  • LePage No-More Nails Glue
  • Mod Podge
  • Mod Podge Wedge Tool
  • Gift Wrap Paper


  1. Apply a good disinfectant or bleach solution and give the trunk a good cleaning.
  2. If there is any loose wallpaper lining inside the trunk, glue it down.
  3. Prime and paint the interior of the trunk to help seal it. This will help neutralize any musty smells.
  4. Spray paint over any mismatched brass and metal trim.
  5. Use a steel wool to remove rust from the metal hardware and give it two coats of gloss black indoor/outdoor Krylon spray paint.
  6. Where the veneer is cracked or peeling, use LePage No-More Nails Glue to affix it firmly back onto the trunk.
  7. Use Mod Podge and a paint brush to affix the paper over the veneer, smoothing out bubbles with a rubber Mod Podge wedge tool. Then apply two more coats of Mod Podge over the gift wrap for durability.


Nicholas’ Tips for Creating Magazine Magic on a Budget

The visual eye candy we see on a magazine cover showcases picture perfect spaces. These spaces usually don’t start out “picture perfect.” They are styled and polished by professionals but don’t despair, you to can have a magazine-worthy space. Think outside the box and you are sure to create big style on a small budget. Whether it’s a colourful painted chair or a gallery wall of pretty framed pictures that catch your eye, this look can be created for less by checking out your local Goodwill and dollar stores.

Plan to visit your local Goodwill on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning. Donations are often dropped off on the weekends but don’t make it out onto the sale floor until mid-week. Be selective and look for quality pieces. Older furnishings are often made of real solid wood and constructed better than newer pieces.

Keep an eye out for collections of inexpensive items that are identical or similar to each other to create rhythm and unity. The Goodwill often has a large assortment of metal and brass serving trays. A coat of bright Krylon spray paint can easily transform an old tray into a “tray-chic” designer showpiece perfect for displaying tiny bud vases or a collection of perfume bottles. Dollar store pictures frames are so inexpensive you can easily buy a dozen matching picture frames. Instead of framing personal photos, try something different like colour blocking pretty magazine pictures, old scraps of gift wrap or scrapbook paper. This is an easy project that will give any wall in your home that magazine magic without spending a trunk load of money!

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Nicholas is the DIY Editor for Canadian Home Trends Magazine, an award-winning Designer Decorator, and appears as a guest expert on City TV’s CityLine. As Principal Designer, Interior Decorator and Stylist for Nicholas Rosaci Interiors, Nicholas creates chic, confident and glamorous spaces that cross the divide between Modern and Traditional.

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