Before and After: A $58 DIY Turns Vintage Heirlooms into Functional Furniture

published Oct 11, 2021
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White IKEA bedside table gold pulls
Credit: Natalie Quindt

Itching for a home refresh but want to keep your spend to a minimum? One smart way to give your space a new look is to reach for things you already own and repurpose them in surprising ways. For proof, take a look at this redo from Natalie Quindt and her partner Aaron. The couple’s bedroom had been outfitted with IKEA HEMNES nightstands for years — “one of my first big purchases as an adult,” Natalie says. But in the time she’d bought them, “I started realizing that I didn’t actually like them!” she says. “They’re fine, there’s nothing wrong with them, but they didn’t bring me joy.”

Credit: Natalie Quindt

Slight tweaks didn’t help the matter much. “I tried to spice them up by changing the knobs once… to no avail,” Natalie says. “I started thinking of our bedsides as a stressful, unhappy sight, which you don’t want in a bedroom!”

Inspiration struck one day when Natalie spotted a glimpse of her great grandmother’s old suitcase, which reminded her of a project she’d seen that turned a suitcase into a table. “Then I looked at my partners side and thought, hey! I can put legs on that old trunk of his too!” she says.

Credit: Natalie Quindt

First step: Restoring the old suitcase to bring some luster back to its canvas and leather exterior. Natalie washed and waxed the canvas portions, then cleaned and conditioned the leather. Once that was complete, she attached a set of mid-century-style metal legs to the bottom of the suitcase, with a piece of scrap wood inside to hold the legs stable.

Credit: Natalie Quindt

The trunk, Natalie says, was much easier. “Part of its charm is its rough and tumble appearance, so no restoration necessary,” she says. “I just fitted an extra piece of wood to the bottom inside for the screws to go into, then I attached the legs.” For this table, Natalie chose metal hairpin legs.

The total cost for the trunk redos was just $58 — including both sets of legs plus the wax for refinishing the suitcase. Being able to use pieces the couple already had — and loved! — helped keep costs low for these character-rich nightstands.

“I love that my nightstand makes me smile!” Natalie says. “Both sides are now less cluttered, and the space feels so much more open with such a small change. They’re quirky and fun to looks at, and they feel so much warmer than the IKEA ones!”

The moral here, Natalie says? “You might have your next favorite piece of furniture hiding in plain sight— just use your imagination!”