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Decorating with Vintage Suitcases for Home Décor

Updated on September 9, 2014
Vintage Suitcases
Vintage Suitcases

Home is Where the Journey Begins

Vintage suitcases have nostalgic charm and style. They recall a romantic era where travel was more slow paced. Trains and boats were common modes of transportation and taking a trip to the countryside in an automobile was becoming more popular too.

But nowadays those suitcases that were taken on many adventurous travels around the world are making their way into places previously unexplored. The home.

Although they are large, vintage suitcases are a practical collectible because they provide excellent storage and organizing possibilities. They also are a great way to add a one of a kind look to your home décor. They can also be adapted for surprising uses that you'll love.

The most welll known idea for vintage suitcases in home décor is to simply stack several together to make a table. This is a classic way to make a simple side table in the living room or a night stand beside a bed. They can also be set at the end of a bed as well. Using suitcases in this way is one of my favorites, but you aren't limited to just this.

By placing legs or casters on the underside of a suicase they can be transformed into into anything from a writing table, an ottoman, or even a pet bed. A suitcase can also become a cabinet by simply hanging it on a wall.

The interior of an old suitcase can be completely refurbished as well. New fabric can be used to replace old, yucky lining. Add more pockets, as well as some ties, loops and dividers and it can be repurposed into a case for your craft supplies that you can carry from one room to another.

As for what to store in vintage suitcases, the possibilities are endless. Things such as dvd's, board games, blankets, children's play costumes, etc. are just some of the items I've seen them used for.

The ideas and uses for vintage suitcases are truly without limit.

Vintage Luggage on Paper

Vintage Suitcases Repurposed

If you're looking for fresh and creative ideas to re-use your vintage suitcases for something totally different than what they were originally intended for, check out these ideas on the right.

I have seen suitcases turned into cabinets hung on the wall, turned into tables, chairs, shelves, pet beds and more. The possibilities are endless, limited only by your imagination.

What else do you need to know?

So where do you find these vintage suitcases?

Local classified ads may occasionally mention vintage suitcases for sale, you will also find listings for yard sales and estate sales which are good places to find vintage suitcases. You can also check out Consignment stores, thrift stores and antique stores are good places to look. And probably the easiest place to find them is eBay.

What should you be looking for?

If you want to stack the suitcases you'll want ones that stack easily. So you'lll want suitcases that have hard bodies, rather than the fabric or other soft bodied suitcases.

Some suitcases like the Samsonite brand were wider at the bottom and narrower at the top, these are difficult to stack and use as tables. Also, later brands from the sixties and later were more rounded on the sides and these are difficult to stack as well, American Tourister is an example of these types of suitcases. These are great suitcases, just be aware that you'll have to put them to some other use, such as the pet beds mentioned earlier.

Tweed suitcases (usually brown in color) are older and tend to be more desirable by decorators, I believe these are often from the 40s and earlier. Leather suitcases are of course desirable too. In my experience the most commonly found hard cased suitcases are blue, I believe these are mostly from the 50s and 60s.

Check the suitcases for damage, stains, and mold (pass ones with mold by or be prepared to do massive work removing the mold, as it is very unhealthy).

For more information check out this article on Vintage Suitcases for Sale.


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    • JimmieWriter profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 6 years ago from Memphis, TN USA

      Neat idea. I love repurposing and reusing. The upside (besides being frugal) is that your décor is totally unique.

    • gottaloveit profile image

      gottaloveit 6 years ago from MD

      I love your vintage luggage stuff. Hope you get lots of sales.

    • profile image

      Sgolis 6 years ago

      I have been looking at antique stores and yard sales for the vintage suitcases. I want to stack them in the corner of my den. I never thought of ebay. I am thankful that I read your hub. Nice article

    • MisCook profile image

      MisCook 7 years ago

      Wonderful idea and very unique. I am a number one fun of vintage décor.

    • DreamsInBloom profile image

      DreamsInBloom 7 years ago

      Hi Ocean Styles. I'd recommend checking the link in the article above titled How to Use Vintage Suitcases for Decorative Storage. It mentions many ways and places to find vintage suitcases, ways to clean them, as well as ways to use them. I'll add them to this Hub too.

    • profile image

      Ocean Styles 7 years ago

      Where do you go about finding these suitcases?

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      I have been thinking of buying an old trunk to use instead of a coffee table. Great Hub!