DIY Upgrade: File Cabinets

Updated: Apr 18, 2015 08:41
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File cabinets are an unfortunate fact of life: by the time you hit your mid-twenties you’ve accumulated a sizable portion of your life on paper. From transcripts to manuscripts, recipes to medical records, vehicle registrations to credit card statements, that shit can’t just sit in a corner of your closet. It’s absurd to buy a new file cabinet, because we both know you’re gonna score that tan, banged up number off Craigslist for $30. Of course, now you’re stuck looking at a hideous piece of drab office-drone furniture from 1987.

Or, you know, not.

image courtesy of

If you’ve got some Modge Podge and wrapping paper, or some paint, you can upgrade that ugly utilitarian box pretty quickly. If you don’t really trust yourself with a paintbrush, using some contact paper or colored duct tape in a pattern, or, use those super-hip wall decals. All you’re really going to need to do is take apart the file cabinet, clean it, then go to town with your wallpaper/contact paper/spray paint/duct tape design. Wait for it to dry, then reassemble. Bonus idea: consider adding new drawer pulls.

image courtesy of

This example use a faux wood front to screw the draw pulls into.

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Amber Bouman - Crafty & Cashless

Amber Bouman - Crafty & Cashless

A freelance writer, blogger and poet based in San Francisco, Amber has written for PC World, InfoWorld, and the 16th & Mission Review. She has performed at City Hall, Litquake, the Brainwash, 16th & Mission, BlueSix, and SFSU among other places. Amber is also consummate fan of swearing, organizational freak, yoga practitioner, music geek, caffeine addict, and tattoo enthusiast who enjoys platform shoes, making out, thumb wrestling and fighting the good fight. She owns a bicycle named Gretel, a motor scooter named Elroy and a cat named Simon. She can be found in various virtual locations all over your interwebs.


  1. January 21, 2011 at 11:21 am

    the pictures above is your result? whoaa..they are very nice. you should make the best redecoration for them. I like your job.

  2. […] a big fan of those stick-on decals and stickers; they’re an easy upgrade for tons of things like file cabinets, etc., etc. They also work great as a “headboard” – yeah, not really supportive or soft, but […]