Vintage Suitcase DIY

I LOVE vintage suitcases. I wish I had space for them and uses for them… but this place has quite a few built-ins… I actually wanted to organise my craft and stationery supplies into suitcases… but I do like to see my craft and stationery on show like a store!! (But behind glass so dust collection is minimised.)

My Hannah in a vintage hatbox

My Hannah in a vintage hatbox

I guess I wanted to explore what others have done with vintage suitcases and inspire us in our constant need for more storage, more style and more chic-ness in our lives. Of course, we can’t do a post on vintage suitcases without addressing the more usual ways like:

Sewing supplies

Coffee table

Keeping off-season clothes


Past years’ tax files

Now, a peruse on the Internet and reading around…. I found these other great ideas :)

Filing organiser and noticeboard:

Vintage suitcase as noticeboard

Tutorials and information on Design*Sponge

Shadowbox cabinet

For something less usual, less humdrum, Etsy seller VanityCase can turn a vintage suitcase into a vanity cabinet. I bet you can even select your own suitcase.

vintage suitcase as wall hung cabinet shadowbox

Letter writing or gift wrapping storage

vintage suitcase as gift wrapping station

I do love this one… keep my writing supplies and bits and bobs in a little vintage suitcase via Craftzine

Side tables and ottomans


Simple instructions on DIY Maven on Curbly.

The only problem I can see with this is that nothing can be on top, so you can easily access your belongings…

Knitting station

… Like if you use it as a knitting station beside your lounge as you watch TV.

Pet bed

Create a chic pet bed for your pooch or kitty. Of course, this was a huge hit on design and DIY blogland. First appeared in Apartment Therapy and then on Design*Sponge

I love Design Sprout‘s version for her teeny tiny pooch. Quick and easy for human sleepovers!

vintage suitcase for a small pooch means you can take it away with you for sleepovers or for work!

It also means you can hide your pooch at work under your desk and have it living in the lap of luxury!

Pet carrier

What about carrying small pooches around? Via Retro To Go:


Reminiscent of airplane carts, you can salvage a large aluminium suitcase into a storage solution with custom shelves… Install a few MDF shelves with some brackets… and it can be vanity storage, bar storage…

Furniture base

A collection of suitcases make a great table base… Like this foyer in the Oakland’s Waterfront Hotel.

My solutions

Personally, I find these vintage suitcases very useful. Now my one-of-two sits on a dresser in the guest bedroom holding guest toiletries. It has held important documents and vintage purses.

I use a pink metal suitcase that was 75% off at a local organisation store (a bowl was missing) to store Hannah’s few jigsaw puzzles. It keeps the pieces all in ONE box.

Hannah's metal lunchbox used to store her puzzles

Hannah’s metal lunchbox used to store her puzzles

‘Course, I actually use a vintage vanity case for toiletries etc when I travel.

I did put on my thinking cap… Some other ways to use these cute vintage suitcases or vanity travelling cases:

1. New mother kits!

A friend giving birth soon? Want to be in a small way involved? Most new mothers walk around the hospital after the birth looking like wet rags… (I know I looked worse!). Scour eBay or vintage stores for a vintage travelling bag… and fill it with thoughtful, girly, just-mums things… like:

  • mints
  • chocolates
  • calcium tablets
  • new hair brush
  • some pink hair rollers (while she breastfeeds!)
  • facial wipes
  • lip balm
  • hand cream
  • magazines she loves
  • a romance novel (all those hormones, you know??)

vintage pink suitcase with flowy white dress

2. Cute laptop storage

In Australia, if you decide to give birth in a public hospital, even spouses are not allowed to stay past visiting hours. So if you’re a new dad, why not outfit a small pretty vintage suitcase with a small laptop, like the Asus eee pc so your wife can diary out her first days as a mother. Pop in her digital camera and the USB cable so she can upload photos.

3. Lunch bag

What about celebrating your friend or spouse or child when they get that new long awaited job. (I’d say children too, but more kids prefer the popular kids shows themed bags…). Get a few colour themed things like:

  • Pink Thermos only US$9.99
  • Tupperwares with sticks of celery, carrot, fruit
  • Candy
  • Chips
  • Chocolates
  • Teabags (Lipton Raspberry)
  • Pink chopsticks
  • A novel by her favourite author for the lunch hour break
  • Some pretty pink serviettes

4. Spice rack

Ya know, a metal one like my pink one could well serve as a great now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t spice rack! Just get one deep enough for some straight, small glass bottles… Mount the deeper end on the wall. Fill the glass bottles with your chosen spices and label the lids. Just stack them one on another…. After cooking, close the lid. I do like that idea…

5. Clutter hiderer

If you’re messy but want to hide the clutter by your bed and hate the look of your continually messy bedside table, find a stand lamp and place it above a cute vintage suitcase (better yet, get a pair) mounted on vintage feet. Place your precious things inside the suitcase and when you leave for work the next day, close the cover and then you have it all neat and tidy!!!

vintage suitcase as side table

6. Guest gift package

Got a special person coming to visit for a few days? Want to get them a special guestroom welcome? Fill a vintage suitcase with towels, soap, shampoo, small box of tissues, a book by a favourite novelist, chocolates…

guest package in a vintage suitcase

I’m toying with the idea of purchasing more suitcases and pile them on as storage for Hannah’s different toys sets… and pile them up in the living room… maybe attaching a photo tag of the contents…

Christmas decorations

What do you do with your vintage suitcase?

17 June 2009
24 June 2009



  1. Reply


    20 June 2009

    Oh I love this post! I have a few suitcases I've been longing on Etsy but with no use for them.I love the new mum gift idea!

  2. Reply


    24 June 2009

    thanks viv :) i fear i collect too many things!! suitcases is so tempting but i guess one thing that stops me is that hannah's toys are getting bigger, not smaller :P they won't fit into those suitcases!

  3. Reply

    the paris apartment

    24 June 2009

    What a great post! A friend sent me a link to your blog this morning and I got lost in it for a good long time. I love it, it's just gorgeous!

  4. Reply


    26 June 2009

    I have been looking for a small vintage style suitcase since seeing one in a store display. I contacted Ted Baker twice but received no reply! Is there a shop in the UK or a website that sells these replicas?

  5. Reply


    26 June 2009

    hi Mrs Bun, I don't have any idea of UK shops since I'm in Australia. (Although I'm dying to go spend 1 year there travelling!)But I did go to and found some GREAT I-so-want pieces like these: that helps!!!!good luck on your search!

  6. Reply


    7 April 2011

    I love love love vintage suitcases but can't seem to find any in NZ that are this cute! Love the makeup suitcase.Thanks so much for the inspiration.

  7. Reply

    Peony and Thistle

    21 April 2011

    This is FANTASTIC! Thank you so much for finding all these fabulous photos of wonderful things. So beautiful.

  8. Reply


    23 April 2011

    thanks Peony and Thistle! Love your User ID :)

  9. Reply


    3 July 2011

    I bought an old train case in a yard sale to keep my pyrography machine and pens in. It's the perfect size!

  10. Reply


    18 July 2011

    dragongourd: nice work! i recently scored an old old old shipping trunk for $15 from St Vincents, but had to chuck it out because of rot on the bottom (to the delight of my husband!!!) . oh well. :)

  11. Reply


    22 July 2011

    May I add: have been using the same vintage suitcases as bookshelves for about 5 or 6 years now and they've held up relatively well.

  12. Reply


    5 August 2011

    Hi Courts, thanks for your comment. I found your link and liked it :) Thanks :))

  13. Reply


    11 December 2012

    thanks for sharing.


The Woman behind the Blog

Welcome to my blog! It’s such a pleasure having you here.

What are you inspired by? I am inspired by beautiful and bright interiors, fabric, furniture, pinks, yellows, greens, chairs, china, trees, chocolate, peonies, hydrangeas, cherry blossoms, roses and rhubarb with cream.

Friends and family call me drey (pronounced 'dree'... short for Audrey) and I can often be found zipping through op-shops and vintage stores in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia.

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