DIY Side Table Made From Flea Market Finds

I recently got a new bed and have been wanting to get new side tables (night stands, whatever you like to call them) and a console for under the window. Looking online, I just wasn’t finding a side tables I liked and decided to create my own out of old suitcases. They make the perfect side table, really. They’re sturdy, have stood up to the test of time, and provide storage.

I checked out some options online and found this for inspiration:

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It isn’t quite right, though. I think it looks cheap for the price. It is too uniform, I don’t like the edges, and I wanted something more authentic looking.

I started looking at vintage stores around town for suitcases to stack and use as a table. The cheapest one I found in a store was $80, talked down from $100. Some suitcases even went up to $250 each.

Well, if you know me, you know that won’t do.

I decided to brave the heat and check out the famous Rose Bowl Flea Market. Armed with a hat, an umbrella and TONS of water, I set out early, fearing the heat wave we’ve been experiencing in LA.

It was SO worth it! There was so much good stuff this month. I got way more than enough for my side table and even walked away with a new toolbox for my Craftsman collection!

Vintage Craftsman Toolbox
The newest addition to my Craftsman collection. It even has the tray inside! I’m in love.

The toolbox was a last minute purchase. We were carrying the suitcases out and stopped at a favorite stand that usually has awesome cameras, typewriters and adding machines. My boyfriend spotted it first, kind of hiding in the corner.

I was standing at the edge guarding my suitcases. He kept calling for me to come over to see the toolbox, and the second I would start walking away, people would pick up the suitcases and begin enquiring about them. It was actually quite funny.

Just to give you an idea of how we looked with all of these suitcases so you can understand my struggle protecting my purchases:

Rose Bowl Finds
Beating the heat and taking a break from carrying our finds with a frozen lemonade. Don’t worry, I helped carry them!
Flea Market Suitcase Haul
Sneak peak into my backseat on the way home!

Here’s the final result:

Vintage Suitcase Side Table
The final result! I got the bottom two suitcases as a package deal for $60. The top suitcase was $25. I ended up not using one of my finds ($20) but I’m sure I will use it for something else around the house.

I am obsessed! A unique, customized side table for only $85. That’s a steal compared to the boring table going for $899 at Pottery Barn.

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Rose Bowl on a Rainy Day

Yesterday I decided to check out the Rose Bowl Flea. Because it was raining, I went ready to find a good deal (I figured people would be bargaining because of the weather.)

I found some good stuff, but it wasn’t as great as usual. I’m sure people didn’t want to have their really good stuff out in the rain. I ended up buying one side table for a friend, but that vendor wasn’t really budging on the price. I guess fewer sales meant less negotiating.

Anyway, here are my flea market finds from yesterday:

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This desk was very cool. Loved the green details.
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This is the little side table I ended up buying. I think it will look great stained a little darker. The patina is really pretty, and the claw feet are fun.

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These desks were super cool. I’m not sure what the top part is for, though. Any ideas?

Rose Bowl Flea Market: Favorite Finds

Here are a few of my favorites from the last Rose Bowl Flea:

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Love this set by Uber Chic home… I brought a friend to check it out, and she ended up ordering a custom piece for her closet. I think I may have to get one for my place!
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This color.
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Love the color of the legs, love that this table is tiny. For some reason, I was loving everything green this month!
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Love these coffee tables! They had a ton and were right at the entrance… love the grape sweat crates.
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I like anything reminiscent of marquee lights!
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These sweet little tables had interchangeable tops. Lots of vendors had some, so you’ll surely find commercial versions out soon!

A Lesson in Colors and Textiles

So it’s pretty basic that color and fabric can completely transform a piece of furniture. The right combo can take something you want to hide in the corner to a showpiece that everyone loves. The wrong picks can make a piece that was already pretty good look pretty terrible. I saw a lot both today at the Long Beach flea market.

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Not as big (therefore not as intimidating) as the Rose Bowl flea market, Long Beach still had a wide variety of stuff. It had great vintage clothes, dishes and colored glass as far as the eye can see, lots of pieces of furniture sitting there just waiting to be rehabbed, and some really creative finished items. It didn’t seem as crowded as Rose Bowl or even Fairfax, but I went at the end of the day, so it may have died down by then. Anyway, I left feeling super inspired.

So, walking down the aisles, searching for that perfect piece for my next project, I nearly choked when I stumbled upon chairs just like my roadside find I recently finished. Remember this post? These chairs?!

Finished chair

Well, they were just like them but different. Different fabric, different paint, different feel.

I loved mine so much I couldn’t bear to sell them. These just weren’t my style… but it was cool to see someone else’s take on the exact same piece. It really goes to show how much difference the paint and fabric can make!

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Another view of the chairs in Long Beach. I wonder if they found them on the side of the road, too?