Make a designer cat bed from a suitcase

Turn a vintage suitcase into a sleeping space for your feline friend for the cost of fabric and paint

An old-fashioned case isn’t very practical for modern travel but is great as a retro accessory in the home.
They are commonly stacked for a bedside table or used singly as a storage trunk, but this project takes the idea a step further.
This suitcase was revamped and while it looks like decorative storage, when you lift the lid instead of homewares you find a comfy spot for a cat or small dog to sleep.
The makeover is as simple as painting the suitcase, lining the inside of the lid and adding 80 x 65mm pine bun feet to the base, about $6 each, from Porta (

Paint the suitcase

If you don’t have any old luggage lying around, check out secondhand stores or eBay to find one.
To clean the case of dust or grime vacuum it inside and out then wash the exterior with warm soapy water, using a damp not soaking wet sponge.
Dry immediately with a soft cloth, airing in the sun for a day if musty.
For leather, apply a cream cleaner with a soft cloth then a conditioner.
Refresh the metal hardware and fasteners with silver polish. To paint, remove flaking rust with a wire brush then apply a rust-inhibiting paint.
Add furniture feet by marking the screw holes on the base 50mm in from each corner, securing from inside.
Finish the case by applying two coats of primer to all surfaces and the feet, then two or three coats of semi gloss acrylic, sanding lightly in between with 120 grit abrasive paper.

Lining the interior

To make the case into a bed the lid is lined with a padded fabric board and a sleeping cushion is added to the base after it is painted.
1. Cut a piece of 3mm MDF or stiff cardboard to fit inside the lid using a utility knife.
2. Attach wadding or seat foam using spray adhesive then position the padded board on a piece of fabric, cutting it to fit with 50mm extra all around.
3. Staple the fabric to the back of the padded board using a staple gun, pulling it taut as you go.
4. Position the board in the inside of the suitcase lid, attach with PVA adhesive and weight it until dry.
5. Make a cover for a pillow and position it in the base as a mattress or buy a cushion to suit the colour scheme and dimensions of the case.

Before: Old and battered this suitcase was a good size for an animal bed.

After: Padded and lined the revamped suitcase makes a comfortable spot for a catnap.


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