Monday, April 22, 2013

Suitcase Coffee Table

Sometimes the best things in life truly are free, or at least close to it. This coffee table adds so much charm and whimsy but it cost a grand total of $4. Yup. And that was technically a donation. To make this adorable and cheap table, you need very few things:

1. A hard shell suitcase (thrift stores, garage sales, and estate sales are the best) 
2. Table leg top plates - 4 (like these)
3. Table legs - 4 of your choice (these are super cheap and could easily be dressed up or left plain)
4. Screwdriver
5. Very short screws - I needed 16 but it depends on your top plates. The length also depends on your suitcase. Don't rely on any that come with the top plates because they are made for much thicker bases. If you're a really cool kid, just take your suitcase to the store with you and hold screws up to the edge to test it. I'm sure the people at the hardware store have seen crazier things. I speak from experience when I warn that getting screws that are even just a little too long means they will poke through the top which can scratch you, ruin the suitcase, or at the very least make it super wobbly. It's a small, but important detail.

Make sure the suitcase opens to be a flat surface before you try to use it as a table. Once you have all the materials, the first thing you need to do is the use the screwdriver to attach the top plates in the corner of the suitcase. If yours has a rounded edge like mine, the plate should go just before it starts to curve and instead of flush against the outside edge. Its' a good idea to keep your other hand, or at least a finger, or the outside of the suitcase so you can feel if the screw starts to poke through. No bueno.

After your top plate is secure, screw in the table legs. Flip the table over and you're done! It should take you a grand total of 20 minutes to make.

My suitcase was from an estate sale on the side of the interstate (the $4 donation) and the table legs/hardware were generously provided by friends who collect antiques  some of which are not always in the best of shapes and can be used for parts. The moral of the story is: always ask around. Who knows what you might find!

The best thing about this table is that when I moved, it was easy to unscrew that table legs but leave the top plates on, then shove curtains, pictures, and anything else that belonged in the living room inside. It was like creating a living room decorating kit, contained in a pop up coffee table. Cheap and functional. Who could ask for anything more?

In the Montana Apartment:

In the South Carolina apartment: 

If you decide to make one, let me know how it turns out! It could also be a fun idea for a nightstand or anywhere else you need some extra, but removable, surface space.

PS. My favorite part is that the address label of the last (maybe original?) owner is still taped on it. It adds so much character. I've been tempted to write a letter to that address before but that seems borderline creepy...

PSS. I'm struggling with blog worthy photos! Any advice is greatly appreciated! 


  1. wow this is really awesome !! I usually find that when the light is behind your back and shining on the thing you are photographing the picture comes out better. In the really dark picture the light is behind the suitcase table and blinding your camera :)

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving the suggestion. I just looked through some of your posts and your pictures are amazing; you obviously know what you're talking about!

  2. You should absolutely write a letter to that address!

    1. If I were to get a response, I would be so excited I wouldn't know what to do with myself.

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you! I won't lie, I'm so excited to see you visited; I adore Pure and Noble!

  4. That is a really clever idea. I cam over from Monday Funday.
    You asked about photos. That top one is totally blog worthy. When possible you want to take pictures with that much natural light. What are you taking your pictures with? I am only starting to get better myself but I might have some pointers for you. You can find my email at my blog.

    1. Thanks for the advice and the offer! I'll be sure to take you up on that. I'm using a regular ol' point-n-shoot at the moment since I've never been much of a photographer. I find often advice from people who are going through the learning process to be the most practical. Thanks again!


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