Try This: Suitcase Chair

Turn old luggage into extra seating with this suitcase chair project.
January/February 2005
For the guest bedroom or attic hideaway, this suitcase chair is perfect impromptu seating. Pull it out when you need a place to perch, then fold up the straps and close up the suitcase, and it tucks away in the closet or under a bed.

Old suitcases bring back a certain whimsy, charm and character from their long-ago travels. That makes them hard to throw away, even if they don’t cut it for modern air travel. You can recycle your old baggage into innovative and useful seating. Whether they’re used as a casual perch or a chair that’s there where you need it, these old suitcases are heading off to a new life.

Suitcase Chair

1. ATTACH STRAPS: Side straps of patterned webbing keep the back at a comfortable angle. We drilled holes in the suitcase and used barrel nuts to attach the straps.

2. CUSHIONING: Cushion the chair with UltraTouch recycled denim insulation, 100 percent cotton fiber that’s less toxic than foam. Using scissors, cut your pieces 2 or 3 inches wider and taller than your case. You’ll need 2 or 3 layers for the bottom.

3. UPHOLSTERY: Use heavyweight fabric such as cotton, linen, or hemp for the cushions. Wrap the batts in the fabric as though you were wrapping a present. Then secure with safety pins.

4. ATTACH CUSHION: Here’s where cutting your batts slightly oversized starts making sense. Squeeze the wrapped cushions into the suitcase so friction, not glue, will keep them in place.

5. SECURE FABRIC: Because it’s fighting gravity, the back cushion will benefit from upholstery tacks hammered through the fabric into the case every 6 inches or so.

6. OPTIONAL LEGS: If you want to add legs to your chair, buy new ones at (or use existing materials around the house). Use top plates from the hardware store to attach the legs to the suitcase. For added stability, place 1-by-4-inch boards across the interior of the suitcase at the front and back before attaching the legs.