How to Revamp a Vintage Suitcase | DIY Night Stand

how to upcycle vintage suitcase into a nightstand

I recently found a beautiful red vintage suitcase at the local Goodwill Industries store for $6. I had been searching for something unique to add to our guest bedroom. A vintage suitcase side table was the perfect solution to add a bit of vintage style to the room. A vintage suitcase adds a timeless sense of adventure with a traditional feel combining rustic and antiquity. Just imagine all the places this suitcase has been.

Follow along as I share with you how I upcycled this thrifted vintage suitcase to bring new life to it and create a small side table. Get ready to repurpose and upcycle your vintage suitcase into a chic side table.

how to upcycle vintage suitcase into a nightstand

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Vintage Suitcase Makeover – Before Picture

Here’s a look at the vintage suitcase before I made it into a side table.

before picture of vintage suitcase to side table

I loved the red color of the suitcase and knew it would fit perfectly with the guest room decor. There’s nothing like an old suitcase to signify your love of travel and beauty. As you can see, the vintage suitcase from Goodwill Industries is in pretty good shape.

The aged leather provides tons of character and charm. However, it was quite dusty and dirty and needed some cleaning up. The gold hardware on the suitcase is already very beautiful and doesn’t require any change.

close up of vintage suitcase to side table

The good news about this makeover is that this DIY project only requires three (3) simple steps and not a lot of work. It won’t take you much time – no more than an hour to complete the makeover of turning this vintage suitcase into an end table.

close of vintage suitcase for side table


Suitcase End Table Makeover – Step-by-Step Instructions

Supplies needed

  • Vintage Suitcase
  • (4) Hairpin Legs
  • Screws
  • Drill or Screwdriver

Step 1 – Clean the suitcase

Although minimal prep work is needed, the first thing you need to do is thoroughly clean the suitcase. There is a good chance your suitcase has seen better days and has been tossed and moved around in various places. The truth is, you don’t know where this suitcase has been. So, the first step is to clean it thoroughly with a cloth and hot soapy water.

Step 2 – Affix the Legs

Turn the suitcase over so that the bottom of the suitcase faces you. Position your first hairpin leg on the corner of the bottom of the suitcase. With your drill gun or screw, use the nails to screw the legs into the suitcase. Continue to do this for each leg until all four legs are attached to the suitcase.

one leg attached vintage suitcase side table

Pro tip: It’s a good idea to check the size of the nail to ensure it does not poke through the suitcase. If it does, you may need to get more size-appropriate nails that don’t push out through the suitcase. If you don’t plan on using the inside of the suitcase, then the size will not matter.

For this particular DIY project, I got size-appropriate nails from my craft storage area since the nails that came with the hairpin legs were too long. You will have to measure to see what size will work best for you.

bottom of vintage suitcase with affixed legs

Step 3 – Stand up the suitcase.

Turn your suitcase over to stand up. This is the final step.

vintage suitcase upcycled side table

Now it’s time to take a closer look and admire your new upcycled end table made from an old vintage suitcase. Take the time to admire your upcycled creation. This little end table makes a great addition to a small apartment or tiny bedroom. It can be used as a little side table to hold your eyeglasses and remote control. You can even sit an alarm clock or table lamp on top. I’m sure this suitcase has some serious history, so I am glad that I was able to give it new life.

Where can you find a vintage suitcase?

If you don’t have an old vintage suitcase lying around or prefer not to touch grandma’s family heirloom, consider going to a thrift store to find one. Thrift stores such as Goodwill Industries, The Salvation Army, and Value Village are great places to find a cheap suitcase or trunk.

You can also go to the local antique shop, flea market, garage sales, or yard sales. Online marketplaces such as Offerup, Facebook marketplace, or Craigslist are alternate choices for where you can find cheap vintage pieces and old furniture to upcycle today.

If all else fails, keep an eye out in your neighborhood for donated and unwanted treasures on the side of the road. With all these options, you may be able to find exactly what you are looking for. But be warned that the suitcase may not be in the best condition, and it may warrant additional upcycling with a new paint job or dark stain.

What else can you do with a vintage suitcase?

Although I chose to turn my suitcase into a night stand, there are plenty of other ways to upcycle your suitcase. You can easily turn it into a piece of furniture, such as a bar cart, wall decor, breakfast tray, or upcycled coffee tables. The Spruce and Architecture and Design have excellent creative ideas for you to decorate with vintage suitcases.


Do you have an old vintage suitcase lying around? Now is the perfect time to transform that old suitcase into a side table.

So what do you think? Leave a note below with your thoughts or comments about the new side table.

For more DIY projects, check out How to Paint a Vase with Acrylic Paint to Look Expensive and How to DIY a Farmhouse Rustic Coat Rack.

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Hi! I'm Tamara White