diy project: suitcase vanity & towel holder

When I visit a friend’s home, it’s the little details filling the house that stand out and make me feel welcome. In my own home, I want to find ways to make my guests feel special. Baking cookies or having a favorite drink on hand is easy. What is not so easy is the tiny size of our guest bathroom. The small space makes it difficult to have extra little items on hand for guests. To add a bit of storage that is both pleasing to look at and practical, I attached a thrifted vanity suitcase to the wall to serve as a towel holder and small cabinet. Depending on the space you have available, there are numerous ways to create your own wall storage units from found suitcases. — AshleyAnn

Read the full how-to after the jump!


  • vanity suitcase (I found mine for $5 at an antique store.)
  • fabric or lace to decoupage (I used a thrifted lace curtain.)
  • decoupage medium
  • hooks, screws, screw nuts
  • Hammer-Drive Hollow Wall Anchors (if you are attaching to drywall)
  • long wood screws & washers (if you are attaching to the wall studs)
  • scissors, X-Acto knife or rotary cutter for trimming fabric
  • hand drill
  • hammer


1. If you want to add fabric or lace to the suitcase, apply a thin layer of your decoupage medium directly to the suitcase.

2. Add the fabric or lace on top of the glue. Typically, you want to let this dry before adding a top coat to avoid any bubbling. Since I was adding lace to my suitcase and bubbling was not an issue, I soaked the lace with the glue and let it dry.

3. Trim the edges of your fabric using scissors, an X-Acto knife or a rotary cutter. Apply more glue to the edges, making sure everything is firmly adhered.

4. Measure where you would like the hooks that will hold the towels to go. Make sure you leave enough room for the towels to easily slide on and off the hook. I used the hooks that go inside lockers. Drill your two holes, and then attach the hooks using screws and screw nuts.

5. In the photo below, you can see the towel hooks attached. Next, you will want to pre-drill the holes for attaching the suitcase on the wall. Find the center of the suitcase and drill holes toward the top and bottom.

6. This is an inside view of the towel hooks. You will want to use screw nuts to hold the hooks in place.

7. This step will depend on where you are attaching the suitcase to the wall. If you are attaching it to drywall and not a stud, I recommend using Hammer-Screw Hollow Wall Anchors (see photo below step 5). You will want to pre-drill two holes into the wall that line up with the holes you pre-drilled into the back of the suitcase. Once your holes are drilled, you will place the anchors in the holes, hammer them through the suitcase and wall and then secure the anchors by screwing them tight.

8. Finish it off by adding a hand towel and a little “for our guest” luggage tag. If your towel does not have a small hanging tab, you can stitch a ribbon to one corner for easy hanging.

Keep in mind that many old suitcases are made of a heavy cardboard. You will want to consider the humidity of the room and the weight of the contents before hanging the suitcase. Depending on the size of your bathroom and the size of your suitcase, you can fill it with a few basic items or outfit it with everything an overnight guest may need.

  1. This is fantastic – I wish my home was a little bit more vintage like this or more DIY project filled. I am working on my first Reupholstering project today – maybe after doing it once I will feel more confident in trying new things!

  2. Awesome! I love this idea!!! I’ve been wanting to use some suitcases on the wall, but was confounded by just how to do it.

  3. Troppo says:

    That’s very cute but I just pictured it as a floating night stand instead.

  4. This is darling!! I also love the idea of using it in a ‘guest’ room or bathroom. Very clever! I like the simplicity of just a single piece of lace.

  5. Kaitlin says:

    This is so clever and beautiful!

  6. what a great, great idea. I have an old suitcase lying around on the attic too and know now what to do with it. thanks for sharing, I am truly inspired :)

  7. That’s way cute! I have a rather large collection of vintage suitcases, I might try to pick up a few smaller ones to make little cupboards in my studio. Thanks for sharing!

    PS I’m having a vintage themed photo giveaway over on my blog if you are keen :)

  8. So cute and so easy! this is such a wonderful and clever idea.
    Thank you for the inspiration!

  9. Friday's Kid says:

    What an AMAZING idea!!

    I am definitely going to try this, thanks for the inspiration!


  10. Natty says:

    What a great idea! I love the lace trim on the suitcase…

  11. hillary says:

    I love this! Troppo, I’m with you, a floating nightstand would be great. Thank you, thank you!

  12. Loora says:

    I found a fantastic old wooden suitcase in a beautiful black a few months ago. Paid 2 euros for it ! It has been staying in my basement, waiting for our bathroom to be renovated. It will wait a little more, but I’m so doing this project ! I may add a shelf, since my suitcase is a little bit bigger.

  13. I’ve been in the DIY industry a long time and it never ceases to amaze me just how creative some people are with recycling household items.

    This is a brilliant idea, looks quirky, but is so appealing.

    10/10 for this one!

  14. Claire says:

    Thank you for this. Inspired. Love it.

  15. garconniere says:

    so beautiful! i’ve seen it before, but i love all the ways people can adapt old suitcases. i’ve seen them as pet beds, and i saw a vanity back in may on poppytalk:

  16. colleen says:

    you are just so smart…thanks for this inspiration!

  17. I LOVE this idea and I have room in my bathroom for one. I shared this awesome project on the Vintage Lovers Facebook page that I administer. The members will love it. Just discovered this blog….:)

  18. Mary says:

    This is great !!

  19. What a wonderful idea — it looks fantastic!

  20. christiane says:

    This is so amazing!

  21. kirsty says:

    This is such a great idea, have a big collection of vintage suitcases too!

  22. Sophie says:

    This is stunning – I love it! I’ll be including it in my round-up of favourite links for the week!

  23. AmberLove says:

    This would go great in my bathroom! Its very small with little storage space. And I think it would add a nice touch.

  24. Karla says:

    I love it…the best thing ever for my new appartement!

  25. Brenda says:

    Love this idea. I am really into antiques and different ways to make them useful. This is absolutely adorable. Clever use of things rather than throwing them away.

  26. Carole says:

    I don’t want to use mine as a cupboard, but I love the idea of adding lace to an otherwise uninteresting make up case! I have one that I picked up for $10, and it’s one of the pearly white Samsonite types, which I’ve never been that fond of, but couldn’t pass up either. This is the perfect solution.


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