23 Vintage Suitcase Hacks

Do you have any vintage suitcases in your collection? Try one of these crafty vintage suitcase hacks to turn them into something newly functional.

What is it about vintage suitcases that’s so romantic? Is it their shape? The places you get to imagine they’ve been? The lovely colors and embellishments on them? Whatever that thing is, I have an incredibly hard time leaving a vintage suitcase at the thrift store when I find one, despite having a handful of them at home already.

Vintage suitcases make lovely decor pieces, but they tend to not be so great for travel. They’re heavy, and they often don’t have wheels on them. That doesn’t mean those old-timey suitcases are useless, though! There are lots of crafty ways to reuse those vintage suitcases all over your home!

Crafty Uses for Vintage Suitcases

23 Vintage Suitcase Hacks

1. Update it with Fabric – This is a great solution when you find a suitcase that’s a nice shape but either has a lot of damage or doesn’t quite match your home’s color scheme.

2. Floating Wall Shelf – Grab those power tools and turn one vintage suitcase into two floating shelves. Gorgeous!

3. Replace the Drawers in an Old Filing Cabinet or Bookshelf – Turn open storage into hidden storage with suitcases.

4. Make a Pet Bed – A suitcase makes a cozy bed for a cat or small to medium-sized dog.

5. On-the-Go Craft Organizer – Do you and your friends like to throw crafternoons? Keep your supplies travel-ready in a vintage suitcase!

6. Craft Market or Shop Window Display – Suitcases add character to your display. My favorite part about using old suitcases was that they didn’t just look cute – they could haul the items I was displaying. One less thing to carry is a blessing during craft market setup.

7. Unique Side Chairs – With some basic upholstery skills, you can transform your old suitcase into a sweet piece of furniture.

8. Simple End Table – This end table requires no tools. The only requirement is that your suitcases have a boxy shape. If the sides curve slightly, they won’t stack well.

9. Hidden Storage Side Table – For this side table you will need to bust out the drill, but the look of this is so worth it!

10. Rolling Bar – How cool is this bar cart made from an antique steamer trunk?

11. Kid’s Dress-Up Trunk – Do your kids play dress up? Store their play clothes in a vintage suitcase! I think that I would add a pretty mirror to the inside of this, so it would double as a play vanity.

12. Create a Dramatic Dining Table – A vintage suitcase dining table makes a beautiful statement piece.

Vintage Suitcases

13. Plant a Mini Container Garden – So many vintage cases are made from plastic. You can add drainage holes or just put a layer of rocks at the bottom for drainage if you can’t bring yourself to drill into your vintage find.

14. Easiest DIY Coffee Table Ever – Seriously. This is easier than that no-tool side table.

15. Make a Doll House – What kiddo wouldn’t love a magical doll house that hides inside a vintage suitcase?

16. Unique Medicine Cabinet – This is another project that works best with a boxy suitcase. I love the look of this suitcase medicine cabinet!

17. Build an Epic Boombox – Definitely the most technical project on here, but the results look amazing!

18. Rolling Coffee Table – A rolling coffee table is great for a small space. You can wheel it out of the way if you’re having folks over and need the floor space.

19. Turn it into a Vanity – In a dramatic transformation, Mark Montano show s you how to make an upright vanity from a vintage suitcase.

20. Make a Jewelry Holder – No more tangled necklaces!

21. Build a Unique Kitchen Cabinet – A vintage suitcase makes a beautiful display for your vintage teacups!

22. Suitcase Spice Rack – Go vertical with your spice storage inside a vintage suitcase.

23. Display Campaign Literature – This is another throwback to my craft market days! Display pamphlets, business cards, and other literature in a vintage suitcase.


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Laurel B.
Laurel B.2 years ago

Thank you! I like a lot of these ideas!

matt gowty
matt gowty2 years ago

I love altered suitcase crafts! Ive made some into coffee tables. Mostly I like the look of a few in different styles and sizes stacked in a corner. They look amazing with an eclectic collection of books, toys, fabrics and lamps you can even lean a framed picture against them, anything really! I love the occasional styled "arty pile". It's unfortunately getting quite hard to find affordable old suitcases though. Even in thrift shops they are over $50 now :(.

Alberta Gentleman

Cute ideas!

JOSE Honr2 years ago

Creative. Thanks.

Jess No Fwd Plz K.
Jessica K.2 years ago

Good ideas to reuse useful items. The pictures look great. Thanks.

Marie W.
Marie W.2 years ago

Old ones had charm.

S. L.

I have one vintage suitcase from 1952. It's about the size of a box that low winter boots would come in and it's covered with fake alligator skin. It was given to me when I was 4 to go to NYC. It didn't hold much but it made me feel ever so grown up.

Many years later when I got my first kitty there wasn't much around in the way of pet carry/travel cases as there is now. I bought him a fancy, turquoise lady's overnight case that someone had neatly drilled holes into at each end. In some ways it was better than the cases of today as the top opened so he could be placed into the bottom half and then the lid closed. He seemed to like it.

Dale O.

Interesting article. I don't have any vintage ones, if I did, the cat that owns me would take them over.

Tanya W.
Tanya W.2 years ago


Edo R.
Edo R.2 years ago