The Vintage Home Decor Essential That Adds Style & Storage To Any Room

With the onset of warmer weather, weekend pursuits like estate sales and outdoor flea markets may soon have you dreaming of gorgeous vintage finds with which to fill your home. While there are some key pieces to always be on the lookout for like great vintage dishware, textiles, and artwork, you may not have considered one very important item: vintage luggage! Secondhand trunks and cases can serve a valuable dual purpose in your home's décor. Not only are they a lovely nod to the past, but can also be a great way to attractively and conveniently gain some extra storage. 

Vintage suitcases and trunks come in various sizes, shapes, and materials, from small vintage vanity cases to giant steamer trunks from the early 20th century. All are great accent pieces for the home that add immediate vintage charm, whether the midcentury modern vibe of a stack of sleek suitcases or the antique flea market chic look of a large wooden trunk. You can often find them in great vintage condition, though even those with some wear and marks of age can be put to good use. They also usually come with interesting decorative details like carved handles, intricate buckles and latches, freight marks or stickers, and satin or paper lining. These old suitcases and trunks usually tell a story of some kind, making them perfect for adding both texture and interest to your design scheme.

Stylish storage

Vintage trunks and cases allow you to gain a ton of additional storage discreetly. Because they are visually beautiful, they can be left in plain sight, looking much more stylish than boring bins and containers. On top of that, larger trunks and smaller stacked suitcases can be a perfect way to create an easy end table or nightstand. Large steamer trunks make great coffee tables, entertainment consoles, and, if reinforced along the top, even extra seating. 

There are countless ways to uniquely repurpose vintage trunks around your home. Try using them to store accessories and clothing in your closet, where they can be a great alternative to a larger dresser that takes up more room. If you find smaller ones, they can be perfect for under-the-bed storage for shoes or off-season items. In the bathroom, use small train cases as portable storage for stashing cosmetics and hair tools out of sight. A larger antique trunk can be a great place to store blankets and other linens when not in use, and can also be a great place to stash toys in a family or playroom. Books, vinyl, dishware, and other home goods can be tucked away inside with no one the wiser. Vintage briefcases also make for a  charming way to store paperwork and art supplies in an office or studio. 

Finding and DIYing vintage luggage

While vintage suitcases from the midcentury and later are easier to find at thrift stores, garage sales, and antique markets, larger steamer trunks can be a bit more challenging to find, especially ones in good condition. There are, however many retailers selling vintage reproduction trunks and cases that are dead ringers for the original ones. If your search has come up empty, similar newer pieces can be easily found via Amazon and Wayfair in a variety of luxe materials like sumptuous wood and leather that look antiquarian.

Basic new or second-hand inexpensive storage trunks can also be DIYed into gorgeous retro storage using paint treatments or decoupage. You can also refurbish older trunks in bad condition by repairing and refinishing them to fit your design scheme. With a little ingenuity, you can also upcycle them into other kinds of useful pieces like a vintage side table with added legs, a DIY planter, or an adorable and stylish pet bed.