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A repurposed piece of furniture often adds character to a home.  With its own unique history, this piece not only promotes sustainability but it also makes a great conversation starter.

That said, I recently found a beautiful red vintage suitcase at the local Goodwill store for $6. I had been searching for a unique nightstand to add to the guest bedroom. This vintage piece was the perfect solution to add vintage style to the bedroom. With its timeless sense of adventure and rustic charm, a vintage suitcase brings a touch of antiquity to any room. Just imagine all the places this suitcase has been.

So, if you have a vintage suitcase that you are unsure what to do with it, then consider repurposing it into a stylish nightstand. Get ready to give new life to your old luggage!

Follow along as I share my step-by-step guide to upcycling a thrifted vintage suitcase into a chic and functional nightstand. Create a one-of-a-kind piece for your home.

vintage suitcase nightstand

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Before Picture of Vintage Suitcase

Here’s a look at the vintage suitcase before upcycling. There’s nothing like an old suitcase to signify your love of travel and beauty. The stunning red color would fit seamlessly into the guest room. And the best is that the vintage suitcase from Goodwill Industries was in pretty good shape. It just needed some cleaning up.

before picture of vintage suitcase to side table

The aged leather provided tons of character and charm. The gold hardware on the suitcase made the overall color pop.

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.

close of vintage suitcase for side table


Step-by-Step Instructions – Suitcase Nightstand

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 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 must measure to see what size will work best for you.

bottom of vintage suitcase with affixed legs

Step 3 – Stand up the suitcase.

Now it’s time to take a closer look and admire your new upcycled end table made from an old vintage suitcase. Turn your suitcase over to stand up. Take the time to admire your upcycled creation.

suitcase side table

This little end table makes a great addition to a small apartment or tiny bedroom. It can be a little side table to hold your eyeglasses and remote control. You can even put an alarm clock or table lamp on top of the nightstand. I’m sure this suitcase has some serious history, so I am glad that I was able to give it new life.

how to upcycle vintage suitcase into a nightstand

Where can you find a vintage suitcase?

If you don’t have an old vintage suitcase lying around or don’t have access to 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 visit the local antique shop, flea market, or garage sales.

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 small nightstand, 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 table. The Spruce and Architecture and Design have excellent creative ideas to decorate with vintage suitcases.


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.

Feel free also to follow me on my social media pages – Pinterest and Instagram or subscribe to my mailing list for other design inspiration and home decor ideas.

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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.

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