Vintage Suitcases for the Home
Vintage Suitcases for Storage, Home Décor, and More
Vintage suitcases are great to collect and use in your home décor. These old suitcases bring a sense of nostalgia and adventure as you wonder where they have traveled. They have charm and style and are a wonderful way to create a unique look. They can be used as furniture and they make excellent storage to help you be more organized. They can also be used in unique ways that may surprise you, but that you'll love.
(Suitcases photo courtesy of purdywurdy @ stock.xchng)
The Many Uses of Vintage Suitcases
Vintage suitcases can be stacked to make a table or tucked away underneath them. They can simply be used as storage for things such as cd's, books, vintage linens, fabric, children's play costumes or toys, etc.
By adding legs or casters they can be turned into other useful furniture such as a table, ottoman, or pet bed. Hang one on the wall and a suitcase can even become a cupboard.
Add new pockets, loops, and dividers to the inside of an old suitcase and it can become a portable carrier for craft supplies.
Old suitcases can even be painted to help you match your own style and vision. In the suitcase shown here a vintage suitcase has been painted with chalkboard paint so it can be used as a message board or sign.
The possibilities for vintage suitcases are endless.
New Ideas for Vintage Suitcases
Get your creative juices flowing for what you can do with your old suitcases by checking out these ideas and tutorials at the websites below. From pet beds to cupboards, how to reline a suitcase or turn it into a craft center, you'll find lots of creative and useful ideas and information here.
- Make an Ottomon Out of an Old Suitcase
Fun project on Instructables.com telling how to make an ottoman/seat out on old suitcase.
- How To Make a Vintage Suitcase Pet Bed
This tutorial on Cut Out + Keep tells you step by step how to make a pet bed from a vintage suitcase.
- How to Re-line the Inside of a Suitcase
Sometimes the interior of that vintage suitcase is not so great. This tutorial has simple instructions on relining the inside of a suitcase.
- How to Refurbish Vintage Luggage
This is a great article on how to refurbish vintage luggage. It also tells a lot about the history of vintage luggage too. Definitely a great article to check out.
- Painted Briefcase Tutorial
A tutorial on how a briefcase or suitcase can be painted to give it a new look.
- Vintage Suitcase into Mobile Studio Tutorial
Organize those craft supplies and make them portable by following this tutorial on how to alter your suitcase.
- Frugal By Design : When traveling’s done, rest your feet…
A vintage suitcase is re-purposed into a footstool/ottoman with storage.
- Vintage Suitcase Storage Solutions
A handful of storage solutions using vintage suitcases including a vanity/medicine cabinet.
Where to Find Vintage Suitcases
Vintage suitcases can be found at a wide variety of places. Keep your eye out for them at second hand stores, thrift stores, consignment shops and antique stores. Those found at antique stores may be higher priced, but you also might find some older and better quality ones too. Don't forget pawn shops dealing in antiques may sometimes have old, vintage luggage as well.
Other places to hunt for old suitcases would be yard sales and estate sales. Check craigslist.com too. And if you're really adventurous you may even occasionally find some suitcases when dumpster diving.
But one of the best and easiest ways is to look online at places such as www.eBay.com or www.etsy.com
Finding Vintage Suitcases on eBay
eBay is a great place to find the perfect vintage suitcase you desire.
The hunt for vintage suitcases from yard sales, thrift stores, or antique stores can be quite fun. But when you get your suitcases from such places you can be limited in your selection, if you find any at all. But with eBay you can search for the color, type, brand, size, etc. and receive gratification more immediately.
Vintage Tweed Suitcases
Some of my most absolute favorite vintage suitcases are the ones often identified as "tweed" suitcases. These are suitcases that are either covered with tweed or material that looks like tweed. They are often a little bit older, but even if they aren't they still give a more old vibe.
Reproduction Travel Stickers
Reproduction travel stickers can be a great addition to your vintage suitcases. You can add them to your suitcases or be creative and use them in other ways, such as put them in small picture frames and use as works of art.
Antique Luggage Books
Books About Antique and Vintage Luggage
There are almost no books about vintage suitcases available, and the one I do know of (shown here) is out of print and incredibly expensive. There are a few books about old trunks and restoring them, however, if you care to search for them.
You can also find books about decorating and vintage items in general that may mention vintage suitcases in passing.
So in other words, information on the subject matter is scant. You'll probably find most of your info about suitcase online, and even there it is sparse.
Vintage Suitcases on Flickr
A lot of people share great pictures of their suitcases on the photo sharing website flickr. Get inspired by some of the ideas shown in these photos. I've found a few couple people on flickr who have generously given others the right to share their photos with Creative Commons attribution licenses. So check these out for inspiration.
From Suitcase to Sewing Machine Case
Flickr user "one tiny spark" found this vintage suitcase was the perfect size for her sewing machine. It hides the suitcase when it's not in use (and helps protect it from dust too). And the handle on the suitcase makes it easier to move the sewing machine around too. And it only cost her $3 at a thrift store.
Stacie had this great looking table made from an old suitcase shown on flickr. There was no mention of it, but it looks like an old table was used to make it as well. Her parents put it together for her as a gift. Shows what a little ingenuity and work with tools can do to a cool old piece of luggage.
You can read more about this project on her blog here.
Other Vintage Suitcase Goods
If you don't want actual vintage suitcases you can get the look of vintage suitcases with reproductions. Or if you don't have room for full sized luggage look for mini suitcases or even use art that features vintage suitcases for your walls.