Vintage Suitcase Transformed Into Beautiful Home Decor

8 Materials
4 Hours

I was lucky enough to scoop up a vintage 1940's cardboard suitcase, it wasn't anything special but it brought with it a flood of childhood memories. You see we had the exact, same suitcase and it was an old suitcase when I was young. My older brother got to own it and he used it to store and protect his stash of drawings and sketches in. Being a younger, picky finger sister the suitcase was way off limits for me to touch but heh 40 plus years later....pffffttt I have my own, na, na, na, naahh!

Isn't she a beauty? Okay well...isn't she lovely? No? Okay well she's got potential and I'll prove it to ya!

First, I gave the metal corners a buffing with a high grit sanding block to scuff off some surface rust spots. There were also flecks of paint here and there, I imagine it was sitting underneath a painter who didn't care much about the old suitcase.

I cleaned over all surfaces with a degreaser in preparation for the paint I was going to use, you always should prep well before you paint.

I used a sash brush to paint around all of the trims and accents, the paint I chose was a white furniture paint. It was a new product that I wanted to dry and I assumed it would be very durable.

After one coat, it's getting there but it definitely needs another coat of paint, I'm leaving the strap accents dark.

While I waited for the lid to dry thoroughly I started to update the handle with a black, multi surface craft paint. It adhered excellent and covered very well. While I was using it for the handle I was thinking about painting the strap accents black too.

The solid black wasn't the look I liked so I used the lint free cloths in the first photo and wiped the paint back off...wait a minute! That looks good, it's darker and richer looking yet not stark black...I like it! So that was the process to update the strap accents... paint and then wipe it off so that the rough texture held some of the black paint pigment.

The chrome is now shiny, the case is now all white, the handle is black and the strap accents are darkened. Is it hard for you to remember how the old girl looked first?

Well just let me remind you...old cinnamon vs. new marshmallow? Well for my home I wanted to add in more black and white accents so I'm in love with the marshmallow look.

Stacked atop the vintage trunk, being paired together they certainly add a whole lot of charm and character plus I now have an old suitcase like my brother did to now to hide "my stuff" in!

The trunk is awaiting a minor facelift as well, nothing too serious as it is in near perfect condition. The suitcase has a certain look of Farmhouse about it now since being painted white, don't you agree?

I can envision a plaid throw laid over the top, a pretty stack of books, maybe a tray on top if I were to use it as a coffee table? Those are just a few ideas that quickly pop in my head. The main point I'd like emphasize is that the old, splattered suitcase did indeed have so much potential! Thanks for stopping in and check back if you'd like to see the trunk transformation.

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  1 question
  • Carolyn Sackett Carolyn Sackett on Mar 07, 2021

    Such great storage opportunities but aren’t they awkward to access, especially when they’re stacked and topped with scarves and other decor? What do you put in them that makes practical sense? Thanks.

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  • Robyn Robyn on Mar 07, 2022

    I have an old brown leather vintage suitcase that I picked up at a consignment store, and I have been waiting to change it up to fit in with my decor. I never thought of painting it white, but I love the look! I think that I may do the same and perhaps stencil a decoration on the front.

    I store old family photos and albums in mine so they stay safe.

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us! 💗

    • Awwwh, that's sounds so special what a heirloom you are creating! Enjoy the makeover process and thank you too for sharing that.

  • Cathy Cathy on Mar 07, 2022

    I just love it. I have my grandmothers huge old steamer trunk that she used to come to the United States from Austria years and years ago. I’ve been looking for ideas on how to put it to use as far as display

    • If it has a flat top yes you can stack a wicker tray, old suitcase, a fancy hat storage box?. Enjoy and it will make for a great conversation starter. Thank you!