Back when some of our mothers were teenagers who dreamed of having a hope chest. This was generally a cedar chest that would hold all of the things that they needed for married life. In this chest was the young girl's valuables and it was often part of their dowry. This was something that was given as a special gift.
The hope chest was also made out of cedar because it contained the linens, quilts and sometimes a bridal gown that was passed to the daughter and cedar keep away bugs and fungus; it also added a pleasant smell to the items put into it.
Today hope chests are usually not given as a privilege before marriage but they will keep similar things. As an example, many woman and young girls use them for keepsakes from childhood. Some will use them in their first apartment as a decoration.
The other way that these have changed is that they are not only for girls today. Boys and men also use them as ways to keep special things from childhood, keep special clothing in or to keep important papers. The point is that these are great pieces of furniture that have a variety of uses.
Also, hope chests still come in cedar, but you also have the choice of wicker and wood. Some have a cushion on top for sitting and can come with casters. This is a very important part of being able to move them around.
One of the nice things about a hope chest is it has a sturdy design. There are a variety of finishes you can choose and they can contain scroll work or other decorative designs.
Uses for Hope Chests– besides the uses we have already described here are some other uses for hope chests:
As a place to store blankets –many people use them in the bedroom or living room as a place to store extra blankets.
Give to your daughter – even though it looks old fashioned you can give your daughter a hope chest in the traditional way. A couple of ideas for what to put into it would be baby pictures or albums or homemade keepsakes.
Give one to your son – if your son is going away to college or getting his first apartment this is a good sturdy chest to give him for special things from home.
As a decorative piece – many hope chests make beautiful decorative pieces in hallways or other small rooms.
Types of Hope Chests
In the past you had one or two styles of hope chests to choose from and they were generally in yellow because this was the color of cedar. Today, there are a variety of styles and colors. The type you choose will be a matter of choice.
Shopping for a hope chest is easy because there are hundreds of websites online. You can find many in some of the more contemporary furniture stores and you may even find some of the older ones at garage or estate sales.