Bring a touch of old-world adventure into your home decor.

How to Use Old Luggage for Tables

by Christina Ash

Just the sheer shabbiness and weather-beaten look of old luggage hints at stories of worldly adventures in exotic locales that would add a touch of mystery to any decor. Combine suitcases of all sizes, from trunks to vanity cases, in a variety of ways to create tables that add aesthetic and functional elements to all areas of your home.

Prepare and Protect

Choose old luggage that is still structurally in sturdy shape, without mold or strong odors inside. Clean the outside and inside of the suitcase carefully, and remove any loose rust from the hinges and clasps with steel wool. Repair any tears in the fabric or cover them with vintage travel labels, or copies. If the finish of the suitcase or trunk is in really rough shape, paint it with acrylic or spray paint. You may also need to replace the fabric inside the luggage if you intend to use it as a storage space. To fully protect the outside of the luggage, spray on a coat of polyurethane varnish.


Stacking old luggage allows you to create a table to any height and length you wish. Find suitcases that are approximately the same size for a uniform look, and place them one on top of the other. Place several stacks next to each other to create a longer table, attaching a board across all the stacks to form one surface. Be careful not to stack the cases too high. For a multitiered table, stack the cases with a large suitcase at the bottom, then a carry-on size, and finally a vanity-size case.

Add Legs

One of the simplest ways to put legs on your luggage is to attach it to an old table, a stool or even a small bookcase. Alternatively, you can remove the legs from the stool or table, or purchase new ones, and screw them into the bottom of the suitcase. You can use related unusual objects as legs, such as piles of travel books, or use casters to create a mobile table. For taller tables for behind sofas, consider using the legs from an ironing board. When building these higher tables, use shallower luggage so as to keep the center of gravity of the table low and so maintain its stability.


Strongly attaching everything together is essential in safely creating a table from old luggage. Choose solid suitcases and other pieces of luggage, and use nuts and bolts and screws to hold them together and to attach legs and other supports. Consider also using epoxy glue as well as, or in place of, the screws.

About the Author

Christina Ash has been writing since 1982, throughout her career as a computer consultant, anthropologist and small-business owner. She has published work in various business, technology, academia and popular books and journals. Ash has degrees in computer science, anthropology and science and technology studies from universities in England, Canada and the United States.

Photo Credits

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