By Jemma Howlett
Ready to vamp up your homespace with a little DIY décor? Let’s start with the essentials. A solid table is a must for any home, but this versatile piece of furniture can set you back. And aren’t you sick of the same old drab wood or chintzy IKEA plastic? If you’re looking for a cheap alternative that will also breathe some life into your room, a vintage suitcase table is just the thing. This table not only gives your space a recycled retro vibe, it’s functional! Easy and inexpensive, this project can store your all your precious trinkets, too: perfect for small apartments and anyone living the dream in NYC with zero storage.
What you’ll need:
Sturdy, vintage suitcase: $5-30
You can purchase a vintage suitcase at a garage sale, thrift shop, or online. Make sure your pick is sturdy enough to hold whatever you might want to place on top and thick enough on the bottom to endure a bit of drilling without falling apart. Be sure to choose a size that matches your purposes (i.e., if you want a coffee table, choose a larger suitcase than you would for a bedside table).
4 top plates: $2 each
You’ll need these to screw your table legs onto the suitcase. I used straight top plates, but if you want your table legs to be angled outward for added stability and style preference you can also buy angled top plates. You can purchase them online or at any hardware store.
4 Table Legs: $2-5 each
I got my legs, still attached to a table, from a garage sale for $5. But you can also find them unattached online or at any hardware store. Again, make sure to keep your desired table size in mind.
Pretty much any drill will do. If you need to purchase one, they’re available for as little as $19.99 on Amazon. If you are interested in investing in a more expensive drill, these people who do things like buy lots of drills and then test them for fun said the Bosch PS31-2A was the best household drill for $99.
Optional: wood to fit to the bottom of the suitcase: $3
If you want to avoid screws sticking up through the bottom of your suitcase when you are finished, cut a piece of wood the exact size of your suitcase to place in the bottom and drill into. If you do not have the equipment to cut the wood yourself, most large department stores can cut custom wood to dimensions of your choosing. If your suitcase has rounded edges, cut at a 45-degree angle an inch and a half from the corner so that your wood is still able to fit.
Optional: paint to match your suitcase: $2
I chose not to paint my table legs, which were already varnished, because I liked the way the wood looked with the color of my suitcase. But if you don’t like your legs’ color or the wood is unfinished, pick up a paint color of your choosing to add that finishing touch.
• If you are painting your legs, paint them the night before to let them properly dry.
• Grab your suitcase and flip it to the side you will be screwing into. Place your top plates in the four corners where you would like your chair legs to stick out from. Outline in the edges of your top plates so that if they shift while drilling you will know where they are supposed to be.
• If you are using wood to protect the inside of the suitcase put the wood in now. Grab a friend to help you hold the wood in place while you drill.
• Drill holes in all sides of the top plate. This will make it easier for the screws to go in cleanly. Make sure you are not drilling holes that are larger than the screws or else they will not hold.
• Put screws in all of the drilled holes you made and complete faceting the top plates to the base of the suitcase. Continue holding the wood in place until at least two opposite corners of nails are completely screwed in.
• Make sure your table legs are completely dry and screw them into the top plates.
Ta-da! You’re done! Go make yourself a snack and eat it off your adorable, brand-new table
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