Vintage Charm: Repurpose an Old Suitcase into a One-of-a-Kind Side Table

Are you a fan of vintage charm and sustainable living? If so, repurposing an old suitcase into a unique side table might just be the perfect project for you. Not only will you breathe new life into a once-forgotten item, but you’ll also create a one-of-a-kind piece that adds character and personality to your home décor.

The Beauty of Repurposed Vintage Suitcases

Vintage suitcases have a certain allure that modern furniture often lacks. They tell stories of adventures and travels from a bygone era, and each one is as unique as the person who once owned it. By repurposing an old suitcase, you’re preserving a piece of history while giving it a new purpose in your home.

Why Choose a Vintage Suitcase as a Side Table?

There are numerous benefits to using a vintage suitcase as a side table:

  1. Unique Design: No two vintage suitcases are exactly alike, ensuring that your side table will be a true one-of-a-kind piece.
  2. Eco-Friendly: By repurposing an old suitcase, you’re contributing to a more sustainable lifestyle and reducing waste.
  3. Cost-Effective: Transforming a vintage suitcase into a side table is a budget-friendly alternative to purchasing new furniture.
  4. Vintage Charm: The patina, wear, and character of an old suitcase add a touch of vintage charm and personality to any room.

Sourcing the Perfect Vintage Suitcase

Before you can begin your repurposing project, you’ll need to find the perfect vintage suitcase. Here are some tips for sourcing the ideal candidate:

  • Thrift Stores, Flea Markets, and Garage Sales: These are treasure troves for vintage finds, including old suitcases. Keep an eye out for unique designs and sturdy construction.
  • Online Marketplaces: Platforms like Etsy, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace offer a wide selection of vintage suitcases from sellers around the world.
  • Family Heirlooms or Hand-me-downs: If you’re lucky enough to have an old suitcase passed down from previous generations, consider giving it a new life as a side table.

When choosing a vintage suitcase, consider the following factors:

  • Size and Height: Ensure the suitcase is the appropriate size and height for a side table in your desired space.
  • Condition and Structural Integrity: While some wear and tear can add character, make sure the suitcase is sturdy enough to support weight and withstand daily use.
  • Style and Aesthetic Appeal: Select a suitcase that aligns with your personal style and complements the decor of the room where it will be placed.

Step-by-Step Guide: Repurposing a Vintage Suitcase into a Side Table

Now that you’ve found the perfect vintage suitcase, it’s time to get crafty! Here’s a step-by-step guide to transforming your find into a stunning side table.

Materials and Tools Needed

  • Vintage suitcase.
  • Sandpaper (optional, for smoothing rough surfaces).
  • Paint or stain (optional, for customization).
  • Legs or a base (metal, wood, or hairpin legs).
  • Drill and appropriate drill bits.
  • Wood glue or construction adhesive.
  • Glass or wood top (optional, for a smooth surface).
  • Decorative elements (optional, for personalization).

Step 1: Clean and Prepare the Suitcase

Before you begin any modifications, give your vintage suitcase a thorough cleaning. Use a mild soap and water solution to remove any dirt, grime, or stains. If the suitcase has rough or splintered areas, lightly sand them down for a smoother surface.

Step 2: Optional Customizations

If you’d like to add a personal touch to your side table, consider customizing the suitcase with paint or stain. You can also line the interior with fabric or wallpaper for a pop of color or pattern.

Step 3: Install Legs or a Base

To transform your suitcase into a functional side table, you’ll need to add legs or a base. There are numerous options available, including wooden legs, metal hairpin legs, or even a custom-built base. Carefully measure and mark the placement of the legs, then use a drill and appropriate drill bits to create holes for attaching them securely with wood glue or construction adhesive.

Step 4: Finishing Touches

Once the legs or base are installed, your vintage suitcase side table is almost complete. Consider adding a glass or wood top for a smooth, level surface. You can also incorporate vintage or repurposed elements, such as antique drawer pulls or decorative accents, to personalize your creation further.

Finally, style your new side table with decor items or potted plants to showcase its unique charm and character.

Caring for Your Vintage Suitcase Side Table

To ensure your repurposed side table lasts for years to come, it’s essential to care for it properly. Here are some tips for maintaining its vintage appeal:

  • Cleaning: Gently dust or wipe down the surface with a soft, dry cloth to remove any dirt or debris.
  • Protection: If you’ve added a glass or wood top, consider using coasters or placemats to protect the surface from scratches or water rings.
  • Repairs: If any minor damage or wear occurs, address it promptly by sanding, refinishing, or replacing the affected area to prevent further deterioration.


Can I use an old suitcase for this project?

While most vintage suitcases can be repurposed into side tables, it’s important to choose one with sturdy construction and a suitable size and height for your space. Avoid suitcases that are too fragile or damaged beyond repair.

What if I can’t find legs or a base that fits perfectly?

If you’re having trouble finding the perfect legs or base for your vintage suitcase, consider designing and building a custom base using wood or metal. This allows you to create a truly one-of-a-kind piece tailored to your specific needs.

Can I use this side table outdoors?

While some vintage suitcases may be suitable for outdoor use, it’s generally recommended to keep your repurposed side table indoors to protect it from the elements and prolong its lifespan.


By repurposing a vintage suitcase into a one-of-a-kind side table, you’ve not only created a functional and stylish piece of furniture but also contributed to a more sustainable lifestyle. Embrace the vintage charm and let your creativity shine through in this rewarding DIY project.

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