A cedar chest can be used for many functions aside from a "hope chest". A large cedar chest could make a perfect cocktail table in a non-formal living room. In the bedroom at the foot of your bed it makes a great place to store blankets during the summer months.
I have seen cedar chests used for many things. My aunt used hers for a toy box. I have known people that have used them for footstools. There is also the possibilty of an ottoman or coffee table. People have used them to hide presents prior to the day of giving.
A lot of people keep their cedar chests at the foot of their bed to be used as a bench while putting on shoes, or keeping blankets in. You could just as easily use this in the living room for the same reason.
My grandmother had one and she stored blankets and liquor in hers. We didn't know about the liqour until after she passed. I would keep keepsake children clothing, wedding dress, linens, anything wool.