For many years the stylists in the mens’ department at large department stores have used suitcases in their displays. They can be stacked or standing….if they are leather and there is a patina about them, all the better. Lately, you will see stylists for the shelter magazines using suitcases in their photo shoots. The fact of the matter is that stacked suitcases are not only nice to look at, but they provide wonderful storage for things that you do not often use. If you inherit a matched set that is very good. If the set happens to be leather, you are really lucky. I like to use suitcases in the same color family. Put the largest one on the bottom and work our way up to the smallest. This is not only a practical issue but it is the best design idea.
If you do not inherit suitcases, then of course the best place to find them is at flea markets and garage sales. I once bought a beautiful leather suitcase in a consignment store. It was under $10 and all it needed was to be polished with some shoe polish to remove imperfections. Unfortunately, I do not have it anymore….and I am sad that it is gone. The Golden Oldies in High Point, N.C. import vintage and antique accessories. This photo via www.velvetandlinen.com
Here is a stack of twelve. Note how the color pallette is in the same family and the other items in the room are more rustic. I can imagine that the owner has lots of Christmas decorations within each case.
from Hooked on Houses blog
This screened porch needed a table and two leather suitcases were just perfect.
by Chad Jackson photo
from Houzz by Chad Jackson photo
It is easy to find suitcase stands or butler tray stands. This decorator put an interesting looking suitcase atop a stand and left it there for a table. The cost is minimal and the look is great. Also, there is storage!
by My Eclectic Bedroom
What if you have some suitcases but they are too scarred for your taste or the colors just do not work in your room. You can use paint! I would recommend chalk paint because it covers imperfections and there needs to be no prep work done on the case. When painting leather without chalk paint, remember to wipe it down with alcohol to remove dirt and wax. You might even need to take a piece of sand paper to the side or the top. These two painted white suitcases make for a nice bedside table.
by A Beach Cottage
Sofa tables and hall tables usually have negative space. Here some more decorative suitcases are stacked beneath. You can also use baskets…attractive storage is the name of the game.
by Sylvia Martin
Platform beds are very popular. Put a vintage suitcase beneath the bed and utilize the wasted space.
by Harrell Remodeling
Stacked suitcases here create an extension to the desk area in this foyer.
Here is a stack in the corner of a living room. They have been “styled” with a pot of flowers and two pictures.
by Custom Home Group
You may have a nice suitcase but it is too low to the ground to be used where you need it. The answer? Open the suitcase and add decorative legs to the four corners. You can drill right through the bottom of the case to attach the legs. You will need to add wood corner blocks so that the screw has something to grip. I think that they are best when they are chunky….you probably don’t want tall and spindly legs. Then the unit becomes top heavy. Even bun feet would look nice on a table used beside a sofa or a chair.
by Sarah Greenman
This home owner opened the top case and uses it for display. You could change the display with the seasons.
by Lola Nova
These might be brief cases and small carrying cases. The alligator leather texture makes the display interesting and the addition of twine bound books and manilla tags elevates the display even more. Again, please note that they are sitting on top of a very distressed painted table or chest.
If you are feeling really brave, cut a suitcase in half and mount it on the wall with “L” brackets and make a shelf unit. This way you get two for the price of one! The back half can be used just as well as the front half with the handle.
I hope that I have you thinking about ways to improve your storage and get a designer look for pennies. Create and be happy!