A Beach Cottage Year in Review II – White Vintage Suitcases

Mon 4th, Jan, 2010

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Early in the days of decorating the Beach Cottage I made a ‘side table’ out of a couple of old vintage suitcases, it proved to be a very popular topic on this blog and those old white enveloped beauties found themselves featured at many a blog, received a Flickr Explore award, are featured at Houzz and made it to Press (you can see a nice big professional photo of the whole room, here)

They stacked up beautifyully beside the bed and are a fabulous oh-so-budget side-table solution, with an old vintage door tucked behind them and a rickety beachy directors chair, covered in putty linen sitting alongside… (the bedroom post, which I hesitate to inform you is about to get a new look tho’ I haven’t told Mr BC that yet lol! is here)


I have lots of enquiries about the suitcases, funny really, because these few photos are the only times I’ve blogged about them, so I thought I’d finally run through how I did it

clean (rag, soap & water)

disinfect (I always use Dettol)

prime first (I like Zinsser)

cover all hinges, fittings, hardware with primer and paint

paint with either emulsion if you like a very matt look (but this will mark)

or oil based enamel

I like Dulux White on White (or if you like more creamy Whisper White)

or if you can’t get that Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White


it really is as simple and cheap as that!


If you want more information there is a (step-by-step video on how I paint and makeover old stuff here, oh and there’ll be a lot more painted things on this blog in the next few months, I have my white paint smothering urge building up and coming on baby!


here’s to re-cycling lovely old vintage things in 2010!


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13 Responses to “A Beach Cottage Year in Review II – White Vintage Suitcases”

  1. Zia Meadows says:

    wow! now I know where these come from! I had saved the picture into my things to do folder- love this idea!

  2. Tami says:

    Sarah ~

    Your decorating ideas are never ending….I so look forward to what you have instore for us this new year!!

    Hugs ~ T

  3. Sarah says:

    Hi Sarah,
    I was at a market yesterday & saw a stack of old suitcases & I imedietly thought of your’s.
    Once we get moved, I will be on the hunt for some to paint up & use as a side table or even just as a conversation piece.
    Sarah x

  4. Love those, too! I am fairly certain that I’ll be loving all the things you remind us about this week.

    Oddly enough, I thought of my beach cottage buddy as I was spraying a new basket white this afternoon. I’ll be posting about it later tonight. I found lots of pic-a-nic baskets this weekend, and almost of all of them will be getting a wintery white coat.

    I know I’ve told you before – but I really do thank you for all your lovely inspiration. Popping by for daily doses keeps me swirling with ideas.


  5. debra says:

    gorgeous as usual, helpful too…happy new year:)

  6. Kathy says:

    Hello Sarah,

    I discovered your blog only a few days ago and have had a brilliant time going through your archives, dreaming and gathering ideas. I am a long-time thrifter of other people’s cast offs as well. I have usually taken the laborious route of sanding furniture back to the bare timber and refinishing it. I may just pop down to the local hardware for a can of white paint next time!

    ps – re: the magazine article, do you *really* wear black jeans when painting?

  7. cindy says:

    Love all all our white…and simply adored watching your video of painting the porch settee! I love English accents, and the sound of the brush going over the rattan weave was bliss. Yes I’m weird. :)

    Happy New Year, and here’s to more beach cottage inspiration! *chinking glasses*

  8. Cyma says:

    I love your white suitcases!
    Wish you a very Happy NEw Year :)

  9. hi sarah@!!!! OOOPPSS!!

    i have sold lots of my vintage suitcases on ebay..painted pink…
    & some shabby green..

    I have just PLONKED the paint on…
    & voila…!!

    OOPS…may have to take some of your advice to make them MORE professional!! thanks….!!!

    xx andrea

  10. Mel says:

    Hi Sarah – i have a pink and a green suitcase that i love and now you have inspired me – i am going to paint them white, dont know why i didnt think of it earlier. am all keen now. Mel xxx

  11. Cindy S says:

    Gorgeous, I love your white painted stuff! Hugs, Cindy S.

  12. mary jo says:

    Love these, I guess the original post was before I started reading, so glad you’re bringing it up again. So funny, because yesterday at the flea market I saw this wonderful big green trunk and was immediately drawn to it, then thought–well maybe it’s a bit creepy to have a trunk big enough to stuff a person to in my home. But covered in white it might be a different story…such a lovely idea and just perfect for a beach cottage!

    xo Mary Jo

  13. [...] love the idea of repurposing unique vintage finds as a bedside [...]