Do you love old suitcases but are unsure what to do with them? With a little paint and creativity, you can breathe new life into a vintage suitcase. Learn how to transform old luggage into unique and stylish decor.

Vintage Suitcase

A vintage suitcase refers to an older or antique style of luggage that was commonly used in the past. These suitcases were typically made of hard materials such as leather, wood, or metal and were designed to protect and carry personal belongings during travel. Vintage suitcases often have a distinctive and charming aesthetic, with features such as leather straps, metal hardware, and decorative stitching. They can vary in size and shape, from small carry-on cases to large trunks. Many people appreciate the nostalgia and character of vintage suitcases and use them as decorative pieces in their homes, showcasing their unique design and historical significance.

Vintage Suitcase Decor

Vintage suitcases can add a touch of charm and nostalgia to home decor. Here are a few ways you can incorporate vintage suitcases into your interior design:

  • Stack them as a side table: Place a stack of vintage suitcases next to your sofa or bed to create a unique and functional side table. You can mix and match suitcases of different sizes and colors to add visual interest.
  • Use them as storage: Vintage suitcases can provide stylish storage options. Place them in your entryway to store shoes or umbrellas, or use them in your living room to hold blankets or magazines. They not only keep your space organized but also add a vintage flair.
  • Create a vintage display: Arrange a collection of vintage suitcases on a shelf or mantel to create a visually appealing display. You can place small decorative items on top of the suitcases, such as vintage cameras, books, or potted plants, to enhance the vintage aesthetic.
  • Turn them into a unique coffee table: If you have multiple vintage suitcases, you can stack them securely to create a one-of-a-kind coffee table. This adds a conversation piece to your living room and provides extra storage space inside the suitcases.
  • Hang them on the wall: For a creative wall display, mount vintage suitcases on the wall as decorative shelves. You can display small plants, framed photos, or other decorative items inside the suitcases to create an eye-catching arrangement.

Vintage suitcases are not only functional but also have historical value and character. Incorporating them into your home decor can add a sense of nostalgia and uniqueness to your space.

Vintage suitcase collection in winter bedroom
Vintage Cobbler Racks: Step Up Your Home Decor Style

Hard Shell Vintage Suitcase

Over the years, I have collected all kinds of vintage suitcases. Many have collected dust and become pretty shabby. Therefore, I thought it would be fun to clean up these old luggage pieces by giving them a coat of paint and repurposing them into some of our home decor.

The two suitcases I’m using for this project are hard-shell vintage suitcases.

Old vintage suitcases
Vintage suitcases before

Vintage Luggage Restoration

Let’s restore these vintage luggage pieces to look brand new with a little paint and charm.

Materials needed:

How to Paint a Vintage Suitcase

  1. First, choose the paint colors that will work with your home decor. I chose an alabaster white color that matched our interior home’s trim. I also had the paint on hand, so this project cost me nothing.
  2. Using painter’s tape, tape off your vintage suitcase, preserving any leather, hardware, or handles that you don’t want the paint to touch or ruin.

Using materials that you already have is a great way to keep your DIYs budget-friendly.

Vintage Suitcase with Painters Tape

I really like how the color white brings out the leather and hardware, adding context and character to the vintage luggage.

Hard-shell vintage suitcases can be very dry, so it may require several paint coats to reach the coverage you desire.

Vintage Suitcase with Paint and Painters Tape
  • 3. Using a paintbrush, start painting your old suitcase in all the open areas. Be careful not to get paint on the buckles or leather accessories as I did here, as these are the details that will make this repurposed vintage suitcase really pop.

Should you make this mistake, I used a little Goof Off to remove the overlying paint.

Vintage painted suitcase in white

Painted Suitcase

Here is the old suitcase after two coats of white paint. You can see I chose to try to freestyle some of my suitcases while painting, which caused overlapping. This is why I recommend taping up all the details of the suitcase prior to painting.

My vintage suitcases held a total of three coats of paint. Again, this may vary depending on the individual luggage, its age, and its material.

Painted white old suitcase

Let’s Add Stripes

After the suitcase was painted white and completely dry, I decided it was still lacking something. So, I decided to add some striping to the painted luggage.

To do this:

  • Choose your paint colors.
  • Add the painter’s tape to the suitcase where you want the striping.
  • Using a paintbrush or a small roller, paint your contrasting color or colors inside the painter’s tape.
Luggage painted white with blue painters tape as striping.

Pale Yellow Stripes

I chose a pale yellow color that matched our home’s wall color at the time for the striping. Again, I had this paint color on hand at home, too. So it didn’t cost me a thing.

White and yellow striped DIY suitcase project

I waited 24 hours for my painted suitcases to dry before I brought them inside to decorate with. This is important, as you don’t want your old luggage pieces to get marked up once you start to decorate with them.

Vintage Suitcase Repurposed into Decor

Before removing the painter’s tape, I allowed the suitcases to dry at least 24 hours before bringing them inside to decorate with.

Once dried, I brought these vintage suitcases into our sunroom to use as side tables and display pieces.

Repurposed vintage suitcase decoration

These old suitcases look so clean and fresh today while still maintaining their vintage vibe.

Vintage Suitcase Decor Ideas

Here are some more vintage suitcase decorating ideas that you may enjoy:

Vintage Luggage Rack

Don’t forget the vintage luggage rack, too! They look super cute in guest bedrooms. Luggage racks are also easily customizable with a fresh coat of paint, and add your own ribbon or leather straps to match your interior decor.

A Vintage Affair

If you have any thoughts, comments, or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you. Please share in the comments below. And be sure to share this blog post link with your friends who are also vintage enthusiasts.

Do you have a flair for all things vintage, too? I would love to see and feature you in our Reader’s Showcase Series. A place for you to share and be recognized for your talents and passion for all things thrifting, vintage, and antique decor-related inspired by your time here with Dabbling & Decorating. Email me at

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