Vintage Suitcase Coffee Table
Updated: Apr 16, 2018
All pieces of furniture tell a story. Whether it’s vintage or new or simply passed down from generation to generation, each piece carries its own past. When we bring these furniture pieces into our home, we not only add to its narrative but we gain the opportunity to tell it’s past one as well. We may not know the real story or who owned it, but the guessing game is half the fun. The point is that your pieces create conversation and add a unique element to your home that can not be copied.
This DIY is a story of love between a woman and her favourite vintage suitcase.
1 Vintage Suitcase
Murphy’s Oil soap
4 feet of choice
4 hardware straight top plates
4 square pieces of plywood
1 Tempered Piece of Glass to the dimensions of your case (this step is optional + could help you save money if needed)
20 wood Screws
1 Package of Gel Glass Protective Pads
⅛ pre drill bit
Square head bit tip - ¼”X 1”
Step 1: FIND YOUR VINTAGE SUITCASE.
You can find a nice vintage suitcase at garage sales, vintage stores, online, ebay or antiques shops. I found mine at a little antique shop and when I saw it, I knew I had to have it. At the time, I didn’t know what I wanted the piece to be, but I knew it had a great story and I knew I wanted it in my home. It was selling for $100.00 but I talked the women down to $80.00 (with the purchase of a few other items) so I would say I got a huge deal on this!
Step 2: BRING BACK THE SHINE.
Any vintage suitcase you buy will likely have some wear and tear. Use oil soap to help bring out the natural oils in the wood and leather. You will immediately begin to see the difference if you give it a little love.
Step 3: SOURCE YOUR COFFEE TABLE LEGS
Now it’s time to turn this suitcase into a bonafide coffee table! Source the legs you are going to attach to your case. I sourced wood legs from my local hardware store and opted to paint them black to match the black metal frame on the case. You could even add iron castors, but they are more expensive and I wanted the project to stay on a budget.
Step 4: ATTACHING YOUR LEGS
You’re going to need four top plates. These are going to help attach your legs to the piece. I purchased mine from a local hardware store. These normally come in a steel colour. You can keep these original or feel free to spray paint them a nice brass colour to match the hardware on your case.
To fastened your top plates, start by pre-drilling your top plate holes using a 1/8th drill bit. This will help break through the tin lining of your suitcase or any other materials in-between. Once the pre-drills have been made, attach your plate using wood screws. To ensure your screw has something to sink it’s teeth into on the inside, I’ve added a small piece of plywood on the inside of the suitcase.
Now screw in your legs!
Step 5: PROTECTION IS KEY
Feel free to leave your vintage suitcase coffee table as is. At this point it works, but being the practical women that I am, I knew I would use this coffee table to put my drinks on, or everyday items, so I worried about the extra wear and tear on it. I wanted to ensure the top was protected so I ordered a piece of custom tempered glass that fit the dimensions of my suitcase. This was really easy and honestly took one phone call, 1 week and $60.00. BAM. Easy Peasy folks!
Step 8: KEEP IT IN PLACE
To keep my glass from sliding around, I added gel protective pads. I personally call these “those gelly things” but they won’t damage your piece and they will stop your glass from moving around.
Voila! All done!
Step 9: ENJOY YOUR COFFEE TABLE
This vintage piece not only creates a wonderful conversation starter in your home, but adds extra storage too. I now have a place to keep all my favourite cozy blankets and movies that stay nicely tucked away when I’m not using them.
All in all, this vintage coffee table adds another story to my home. Whether I believe it was from a pirate ship or perhaps it belonged to and old english man in the 20’s - it’s a story that I will tell and continue to embellish on as I enjoy it in my home.
Wood Legs: $21.40 (5.35 each)
Top Plates: $19.92 (4.98 each)
Glass Top: $60.00
Gel Protective Pads: $3.28
TOTAL PRICE: $191.45
Store Bought Prices: $300- $400