Unique Decor: How to Spray Paint a Suitcase

Add an accent piece that doubles as storage in two easy steps.
By: Alix Adams
DIY Metallic Gold Suitcase

DIY Metallic Gold Suitcase

Update a dated suitcase with a few fresh coats of trendy metallic spray paint.

My mom is like a thrifting ninja. As she browses the flea market fields or scans second-hand store shelves, she always turns up with the best finds. And I’m not talking about the kind of finds your eccentric aunt brings you when she cleans out her attic. Nope, my mom will turn up with that last teacup to complete your set of thrifted China. She brings home the good stuff. A couple of years ago she gifted me an old Samsonite suitcase. As my nursery remodel came together I knew that the suitcase would soon find its home in that little girl’s room, but it looked pretty out of place amongst the white, yellow and coral nursery furniture. So I decided to paint it! Painting suitcases can kind of be tricky business, so let me share a few tips and tricks I learned along the way!

DIY Metallic Gold Suitcase

DIY Metallic Gold Suitcase

Update a dated suitcase with a few fresh coats of trendy metallic spray paint.


  • (1) suitcase (or any piece of vinyl furniture or accessory that you want to paint)
  • (1) can of white spray paint (this will act as primer)
  • (2) cans of spray paint in the color of your choice (I chose metallic gold)
  • newspaper

Step One

DIY Metallic Gold Suitcase

DIY Metallic Gold Suitcase

Update a dated suitcase with a few fresh coats of trendy metallic spray paint.

The first step is to prime your suitcase with white spray paint. Covering the suitcase in white paint will help the colored paint go on more evenly, and it will have a brighter finish. When applying spray paint, lay your suitcase down on several sheets of newspaper in a well-ventilated area. Hold the spray paint can about 2 feet above the item you are spraying and begin spraying just off the suitcase. Then spray the suitcase back and forth, making sure to spray off the edges of the suitcase, which will help avoid any drips.  

Step Two

DIY Metallic Gold Suitcase

DIY Metallic Gold Suitcase

Update a dated suitcase with a few fresh coats of trendy metallic spray paint.

Once the white spray paint dries, apply the gold spray paint using the same technique. There were several detail areas around the locks and handle that I made sure were fully covered in paint as well. I added three coats of gold paint total to give it an even and vibrant metallic gold finish.

More Tips:

DIY Metallic Gold Suitcase

DIY Metallic Gold Suitcase

Update a dated suitcase with a few fresh coats of trendy metallic spray paint.

If you think the piece may need another coat of paint, then add the extra coat of paint! I am always more happy with a finished piece of painted furniture when it has a clean final coat of paint. Just make sure that you let every coat dry completely before you add another.

DIY Metallic Gold Suitcase

DIY Metallic Gold Suitcase

Update a dated suitcase with a few fresh coats of trendy metallic spray paint.

If you are looking for more even and smooth coverage, use spray paint. But if you want to use canned paint on a smooth surface like vinyl or waxed furniture, I would recommend using an oil-based primer can of paint for the first coat. Then you can use any water-based paint after that.

More Thrifty Fixes

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Print From Home

Sometimes the best things in life are free, or nearly free. No need to break the bank on wall art for the nursery or kid's room. Make your own prints on your home computer by printing funny or favorite quotes on cardstock in interesting fonts and colors. Pop them in colorful frames for a fun effect and voila, you have great wall decor that's personal and cheap. Photo courtesy of ProjectNursery.com

Build a Bed

Take the toddler bed to a new level like Rebecca Propes of Fresh Chick Design did when she used toddler sized palettes to create platform beds in her boy's clever surf inspired room. Not only is this project smart recycling but a valuable space saver, too. Photo courtesy of ProjectNursery.com

Take an Adventure

It's refreshing to see a kid room with personality. Unusual furniture pieces or artwork tell a story. Children always want to feel like they are on an adventure, so why not bring it into their space? This old wooden dresser was upcycled with a reverse stencil treatment to create a showcase piece that brings the room's travel theme to life. Photo courtesy of ProjectNursery.com

Use Books as Decor

Every parent wants to encourage their children to cherish great books, and what better way to infuse a love of reading than by displaying them as part of the room decor? This is a great budget-friendly decor tip because everyone has plenty of children's books on hand. Display books on inexpensive wall shelving, which can easily be spray painted a fun color. It's a terrific way to showcase your children's favorite reads so they never forget tales from their youth. Photo courtesy of ProjectNursery.com

Make Something Old Become New Again

It's so easy to find a lone piece of furniture that's itching for new life via a fresh coat of paint and a little TLC. If you don't have something you can spare around the house, scour local garage sales or Craigslist to find pieces on the cheap, or even FREE. Choose a fun color and voila, you've got a perfect focal point for any kid's rooms. And it's always more exciting to sit in a chair that's got a pop of color so the kids will surely love the revamped piece, too. Photo courtesy of ProjectNursery.com

Collect an Alphabet City

Kids fall in love with letters early on in life and the fondness never really goes away. Create an alphabet collage curated over time, using wooden or fabric letters in mismatched colors, sizes and patterns for a fun look and big impact. Photo courtesy of ProjectNursery.com

Map It Out

Old maps are easy to find and they never go out of style. Perfect for children's spaces with large walls to fill, maps add flavor and design to the room without taking on a dominant design. What fun it is to look over the map with your child and point out different areas and locations! And you can give it deeper meaning by choosing a map of a place that is special to the family. Photo courtesy of ProjectNursery.com

Make Room for a Mini Office

As your child grows and starts school, consider transforming the closet into an area that's perfect for homework, art projects or focused play. By removing the closet doors and installing simple shelving and a desk on one side, the closet takes on a whole new meaning. This special spot will surely become your child's favorite place to be. Photo courtesy of ProjectNursery.com

Make Your Own Shelf

Being creative and resourceful can really get you a lot of bang for your buck if you are willing to put in the work. Rebecca from Fresh Chick Design created this cute shelf that was inspired by a more expensive version she spotted in a retail store for her son's beach themed room. It's an easy DIY project and can act as a mini storage or display piece for the room. Photo courtesy of ProjectNursery.com

Make Your Own Rug

You don't need to invest in a fancy and expensive rug to get a polished look. Think outside the box. Buy a few mats and tape them together to form one larger rug. Choosing ones with variations and multiple colors makes it easy to hide any seams. Photo courtesy of ProjectNursery.com

Fabric Is Your Friend

Finally, a great way to use all those extra swatches of fabric you have collected — a fabric collage! Pick up different sized fabric hoops, and mix and match colors and patterns to give the collage some life. Photo courtesy of ProjectNursery.com

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