How To Decorate With Vintage Suitcases

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If you love collecting antiques, already own vintage suitcases or are simply looking to branch out into unique and recycled design, try these tips for decorating your home with functional, stylish suitcases.

Pet Bed

Easily repurpose an old suitcase into a cute, vintage pet bed. All you’ll need is a large pillow or cushion, and an old suitcase. Using a screwdriver, unscrew one half of the suitcase from the other. You’ll only need one side of the suitcase for this project, allowing you to turn the other half into another pet bed, or another project. Place one half of the suitcase on the floor, open side up, where you would like your pet to sleep. Place the pillow or cushion inside, and enjoy.


There are several ways to create a table from an old suitcase (or a couple). Select the best style for your home, and easily craft one of a kind side tables.

  • Stacked: Using two to four vintage suitcases allows anyone to create easy to assemble and unique tables. Simply stack the suitcases, with the largest on the bottom. Only create the stack as high as needed to reach the chair/couch/bed it’s sitting next to, as very high stacks can be unstable. If the suitcases are very light, glue them in place to ensure the table will stay together if bumped into. For an added, stylish touch, place a panel of glass or a mirror on the top suitcase to act as a smooth tabletop.
  • Stool: Glue a small to medium sized vintage suitcase to a short stool. The legs of the stool will act as table legs, giving your suitcase height without needing to be stacked on other suitcases, or haphazardly glued to separate leg posts.
  • Trunk: Check antique stores for a large, thick suitcase to use in place of expensive boutique trunks. For half (or less) the price of a store bought trunk, large suitcases can perform the exact same purpose with the same stylish look. Set one beside couches or beds to store blankets, sheets, books, etc. and act as a small side table when shut.
Ready for Planting Finished Product


While this project does require more effort than other vintage suitcase repurposing projects, it is sure to be a standout piece in your home. Carefully cut the bottom out of an old suitcase, then screw the suitcase to the wall. The suitcase should open from the side, on the wall, like a cabinet. Purchase small, inexpensive floating shelves from a home décor store, and install on the wall inside the suitcase, creating a shelving unit or medicine cabinet.

Antique Display Case

Use antique suitcases to display other collectible items throughout your home. Set one suitcase on a low table, or stack several to create height. Fill with vintage photos, trinkets, plates and other collectibles. Drape old scarves or other vintage fabrics around the collectibles to create the look of a display case.


Creating your own chair from a large suitcase will require you to purchase two large, plush cushions and a short bench. Glue or screw the bottom of a large suitcase (at least 20 inches wide) to a small bench of the same width (the suitcase should be laying on its side, as if you were packing it). While the bench can be slightly shorter than the suitcase’s width, only one to two inches of the suitcase should extend on any side. Glue one thick cushion to each of the inside panels of the suitcase, creating a seat, and chair back. The cushions should extend two to four inches above the edge of the suitcase, to ensure the edges of the suitcase do not touch anyone sitting in the chair. Place the suitcase chair against a wall, so the seat back it supported by the wall.


To create a suitcase bench, follow all the steps required to create a chair. However, rather than using a complete suitcase, remove one side of it (the “seat back” in the chair’s construction), leaving only the bottom half. Fill with a thick cushion, and place anywhere around your home.

Seasonal Display

Create easy to set up, easy to remove holiday displays with vintage suitcases. As friends and family frequently travel during the holiday season, the vintage suitcase will blend well with Christmas décor. Fill a small, open suitcase with snow globes, decorative pine trees, model trains, Santa Claus décor pieces and more. When the holidays are over, simply shut the suitcase and store.

Jewelry Box

Easily convert a small suitcase (18 to 24 inches wide) into a tabletop jewelry box to beautifully display your collection with vintage flair. Simply purchase silverware dividers or specially designated jewelry box dividers, and place inside the suitcase. Cover the interior with fabric from a craft store for a customized look, including satin or velvet.

Last Updated: December 19, 2011
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About Alexandra Kerr Through Ideal Home Garden, Alexandra covers topics ranging from interior design to home improvement, gardening and cuisine. Having a passion for cooking and entertaining in her own life, she hopes to communicate her love of home design and decorating with her readers. 

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