How to Fix Up a Vintage Suitcase or Antique Suitcase for Vintage Home Decor

How to Fix Up a Vintage Suitcase or Antique Suitcase for Vintage Home Decor

During one of my Junkin’ Journey trips (specifically to Richmond, VA), I came across the most GORGEOUS vintage suitcase at an antiques shop. But as much as I loved it, I couldn’t justify the cost on something I simply didn’t need- truly an exercise in restraint for me. So, I snapped a photo and thought of it often…until I wondered if I could recreate my own version of a vintage suitcase for vintage home decor myself!

Vintage suitcase with luggage stickers at RVA Antiques in Richmond VA as inspiration for luggage home decor by Sadie Seasongoods /

Now, of course, I already know that whatever I created wouldn’t look EXACTLY the same or be a perfect replacement for the Real McCoy. BUT…it might scratch the vintage luggage itch that I had…and would cost just a fraction of my inspiration.

The first step in my experiment was obtaining the right vintage suitcase. I found one at a thrift but an even better one came from Maliasmark, one of my favorite Etsy shops. NOW I could get started on creating the perfect vintage home decor with an antique suitcase.

Vintage luggage from thrift stores and Maliasmark to upcycle with luggage stickers into vintage home decor by Sadie Seasongoods /

This post contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Fixing up a Vintage Suitcase or Antique Suitcase

The beat-up vintage suitcase was, however, missing a handle. An interesting challenge that didn’t scare me off one iota.

Fixing a vintage suitcase or antique suitcase with luggage handle replacement using a door pull by Sadie Seasongoods /

Why? Because I had a plan for luggage handle replacement that was both simple and inexpensive: A plain ole’  door pull or door handle from the hardware store.

How to fix a broken suitcase handle with luggage handle replacement using a door pull or screen door handle by Sadie Seasongoods /

All I needed to do was spray paint the galvanized metal of the door pull and swap out the screws for nuts and bolts. So, I did exactly that (using this spray paint on all parts) and set it aside to dry. I also carefully pried off the old handle hardware using pliers – but seriously, talk about luggage handle replacement that is the easiest and cheapest way to go!

Now- to transform the vintage suitcase into the vintage home decor I was envisioning, I needed to do two things. First, I needed to add some luggage straps (said with air quotes!) and second, apply some vintage-y looking luggage stickers.

The former would be easy, and as it turns out, the luggage stickers weren’t difficult or expensive at all! I found another Etsy shop that sold digital downloads of luggage labels– I couldn’t decide on a favorite, so I bought four of them.

Luggage stickers for decorating an antique suitcase or vintage suitcase to use as vintage home decor by Sadie Seasongoods /

If you notice, the luggage stickers are kind of faded/pale- that’s because I printed them using my printer’s “Ink Saver” mode, which I thought made them look more worn and vintage-y! How funny is that?

Decorating an Antique Suitcase with Luggage Straps and Travel Stickers

Now for the luggage straps! I suppose I could have fashioned straps out of old belts or other material, but I decided it was just as easy to paint them directly onto my vintage suitcase.

Decorating a vintage suitcase with luggage straps that have been painted on and luggage stickers by Sadie Seasongoods /

It was easy enough to do- first I measured out where I wanted the luggage straps to be and marked the edges with painter’s tape– making sure that they were about as equally placed apart as possible.

Luggage straps to be painted on a vintage suitcase or antique suitcase for upcycling into vintage home decor by Sadie Seasongoods /

Then, I brushed on some dark craft paint inside my painter’s tape stripes, removing the tape after two coats had dried. And just like that, I had painted some luggage straps onto my vintage suitcase and they looked fabulous!

How to add luggage straps to a vintage suitcase with painter's tape and craft paint by Sadie Seasongoods /

Onto the luggage stickers! I had printed them on full-size label sheets, and cut them out leaving a “tag” of label edge on each one, if that makes sense. This made it a LOT easier to separate from the paper backing before fully trimming them out.

Luggage stickers printed on label paper for decorating vintage luggage or a vintage suitcase by Sadie Seasongoods /

I seriously love these full-size label sheets because you can turn anything you print into a sticker!!

Vintage Home Decor with a Vintage Suitcase

After covering my vintage suitcase with the luggage stickers (further securing them with this easy-to-use brush on super glue), I attached my now-painted door pull as the luggage handle replacement. Doesn’t it look great?

Vintage suitcase to be used as vintage home decor with luggage handle replacement using a door pull and luggage stickers by Sadie Seasongoods /

And that was it- my vintage luggage decor idea came to life exactly as I had hoped. And for a HECK OF A LOT CHEAPER than my inspiration suitcase at the antiques store.

Fixing an antique suitcase with luggage straps that have been painted on and luggage handle replacement with door pull by Sadie Seasongoods /

Now I can use it as vintage home decor and/or storage. I’ve been known to bubble-wrap breakables- vases, bottles, platters- that I use infrequently and store them in old suitcases. It keeps them safe and dust-free, and if the suitcase has a musty odor, it’s not a big deal for non-porous items like glass or glazed ceramics.

Such a fun project to work on and I think the door pull trick as a luggage handle replacement will come in handy for many folks facing the same dilemma. And while it’s not a perfect replacement for the original antique suitcase that I fell in love with, it’s awfully cute nonetheless. For even more upcycling ideas and repurposed projects, please check out my full collection here before you go!

Craft on!


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  1. Wow it looks awesome! And a door handle to replace the broken handle genius! I have had people try and give me vintage suitcases that are a bit worn and have no handle and of course, I would never take them. Well that want happen again 🙂

  2. girlfromwva says

    love it!

  3. I’m not a suitcase w/ travel stickers fan… but I AM a vintage suitcase fan – so love everything else! 🙂 Great handle Idea. Can assure you (as I’ve been there too) I have not thought of that. My brain needs to get with it!

  4. Rita Corblies says

    Your imagination is incredible…Straps painted….Door handle for suitcase handle…etc. You definitely think before you craft an idea you saw/liked.

  5. Nicole Lebamoff says

    Got loads of them in my attic. Pristine condition. [email protected]

  6. Janet johnson says

    Great job! I know I have a couple of these old cases in my garage. I am going to dig them out and see if they could use this idea to spruce them up. Thanks for for the info.
    Did you do anything to the samsonite case in the picture?

  7. I had the itch as well an actually tried to use a vintage piece. It smelled and didn’t last one trip.
    Then I decided to try and recreate a modern vintage style piece using lightweight materials and scrapping the cardboard and stain interior. Please check out our new vintage style tweed and leather suitcases at It is made in Ohio and the materials are sourced in the U.S. Please let me know what you think.

  8. mary scott says

    You did an outstanding job!! It looks fantastic. thanks

  9. Cute idea!! I may have to try it!

  10. Great job. You are a clever one!!

  11. l loved your transformation. I’ve had good luck using baking soda and/or cedar wood chips to remove musty odors from furniture. Love the idea of using non-porous items! Loving my yarn in a large flat picnic basket-idea from you!

  12. This e-mail was perfect timing. I have a suitcase just like that and it’s missing the handle. Couldn’t figure out what to do and now I know!! Great ideas. I can’t wait to make mine look like that. Thanks!

  13. I have passed by many a suitcase for lack of a handle. What a great solution!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      It seems to be a chronic problem with vintage suitcases!! And I’ve seen several where the old fix was looped wire- OUCH!

  14. You did a fantastic job on the suitcase! It looks great! Love your brilliant idea for fixing the missing handle.

  15. Love it, I have a few I should. Do this.


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