When you see a vintage suitcase sitting in an antique store or flea market booth, it has this way of inspiring stories about who owned it and where it’s been. Perhaps it once made a voyage to Bali or carried a soldier’s belongings, or maybe an immigrant brought it to America, holding everything they owned. Suitcases have stories, and that’s what makes them amazing conversation pieces, especially when they’re covered in stickers representing far-flung destinations.
You can add to a vintage suitcase’s story by bringing it into your home and decorating with it in a creative way. Suitcases can serve as furniture items, fill up lonely spaces, or even work as one-of-a-kind dog beds. Sometimes they require some DIY magic, while other times, they can be seamlessly showcased in inventive spots.
And there’s a bonus to purchasing vintage suitcases—they can work as double-duty decor pieces, offering storage for items like blankets, mugs, or even TV remotes.
If you’re not visiting a vintage shop or flea market anytime soon, you can scour Etsy and eBay for all types of suitcases—tattered or perfect condition, valises or steamer trunks, striped or solid. They can run from $10 to upwards of $4,000 for the Louis Vuitton variety.
These bloggers, photographers, and interior designers have given vintage suitcases a place to rest after years on the road.
01 of 10
Incorporate a Suitcase into a Vignette
A suitcase can be a whimsical addition to a vignette, adding visual interest to a corner of your home. Here, Instagrammer @houseonheatherfield displays a vintage hat atop a suitcase, nestled alongside a potted plant and ladder, creating a farmhouse-style look.Continue to 2 of 10 below.
02 of 10
Make a Dog Bed
Your four-legged friend will also benefit from a bit of vintage style in the form of a suitcase-turned-dog-bed. Honeycomb Living has added some bunting to make the bed even more adorable. You can easily place a soft cushion inside a suitcase, or you can choose from a myriad of DIY tutorials on Pinterest.Continue to 3 of 10 below.
03 of 10
Place a Plant on a Small Suitcase
For an unexpected plant stand, look no further than a diminutive suitcase for a vintage touch. Instagrammer @kelseymittleider has rested a succulent on top of a mini leather suitcase, making the houseplant the center of attention.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
04 of 10
Create a Pop-up Bar
If you don’t own a proper bar cart, this stylish stand-in will do nicely. StyleMutt Home has placed an open vintage suitcase on top of a suitcase table, adding a vanity mirror for a glamorous detail. Liquor bottles set out for guests suddenly seem oh-so-chic, as if they’re in a display from another era.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Stack up Suitcases to Craft a Makeshift Table
A short table can be created simply using a few similarly-sized vintage suitcases stacked up alongside a bed, couch, or desk. Toronto Interior Design Group opted for suitcases in subdued colors that complement the other hues of the room.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
06 of 10
Fill Empty Space Above Armoires and Cabinets
Sometimes, there’s that empty space in your home that calls for something. That’s when you can call upon the decorative power of a vintage suitcase, or two or three. Photographer Camilla Stephan captured a few suitcases sitting on top of an armoire, providing a pop of vintage to an otherwise sparse area. The same approach can be used to fill space underneath a coffee table as well.Continue to 7 of 10 below.
07 of 10
Set Up a Charming Cart
To complete the styling of a rustic, farmhouse kitchen, vintage suitcases can be just the thing. Here, Instagrammer @gwenmossblog has given wheels to two suitcases, then artfully presents a tray readied with breakfast essentials.Continue to 8 of 10 below.
08 of 10
Display Suitcases in the Same Color Palette
If you’re the type who’s willing to hunt for those exactly-right pieces, this approach was made for you. If you love creating decor features that fit in the same color palette, you can search for vintage suitcases that all share the same hue, then stack them on top of one another, just like in this photo shot by Rikki Snyder.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Use a Large Suitcase or Trunk as a Coffee Table
A sizeable suitcase or even a trunk can work as a surprisingly-perfect coffee table, conveying a vintage feel in your living room. In England’s Westbrook Court B&B, minimalist living space is punctuated by an elegant, distinctive antique trunk.Continue to 10 of 10 below.
10 of 10
Position a Suitcase on a Stool for an Instant Nightstand
Another straightforward way to craft your own table is to situate a small vintage suitcase on top of a stool. Voila! A nightstand that has plenty of vintage character, just like this one created by Scheer & Co. Interior Design.