Filing Cabinet Facelift

Do people even use filing cabinets anymore? Ours are currently looking as beautiful as ever, but I’ll admit we haven’t quite put them to use yet. But I do have plans to give each of my four kids a couple of drawers apiece for a place to save their artwork and special school projects from over the years. I think it’s kind of amusing that my oldest is now in high school and I’m just now coming up with a good system for this type of thing. At least I’m inching my way toward properly preserving their mementos!

First things first, though, I needed a landing spot for these made-over metal clunkers. I thought they would for sure end up in our great room upstairs, where we have plenty of room and our homeschooling things set up. But I don’t know if you’ve ever examined the body of a filing cabinet—they are awkward creatures!  Head on, they look slim and pretty, but if at all possible, their beastly profiles weren’t meant to be admired. What can I say, it’s often fashion over function for me, and alas, as good looking as we’d made them over, there wasn’t a single aesthetically pleasing spot for them in the biggest room in our house.

So, naturally, I found a place for them in the smallest room in our house; so small, they can only be viewed from one angle, and you know the angle: head on, baby!

Right next door to our girls’ bedroom is a charming nook of a space a bit reminiscent of Harry Potter’s cupboard closet under the Dursely’s stairs, except probably bigger… and not underneath the stairs. Maybe it’s nothing like Harry Potter’s closet, but it is a windowless dwelling with low, slanted ceilings. It used to house all of our toys, but after recognizing that the best place for the filing cabinets was in this little spot, I sent the toys to the great room and in came the filing cabinets. The once gender neutral little playroom is now a quite feminine extension of the girls’ room, and we’ve been calling it their hangout. 

“It’s not fair!” said the boys (including my sweet husband, who worried that I really wasn’t being fair by giving the girls a “second” bedroom).

I assured the boys they had full reign of their under-construction tree house, which would have appeased them, except “what about our special drawer!?”

Oh my goodness, I think I just signed myself up to makeover over the masculine version of another filing cabinet that may or may not ever get put to use! We might become the family with a filing cabinet problem; what’s worse my kids might start hoarding things because they can stuff it in a filing cabinet! What a weird problem to have! Again, do people even use filing cabinets anymore? Regardless, I think you should join my special club and go transform your filing cabinets, too, and be sure to let me know how it goes!

Here’s how we made ours pretty:

1.       Pull out the filing cabinet drawers. This was trickier than I expected, so I Youtubed it. To get them completely out, slide the drawers until you reach a stopping point, and then disengage the retaining clips by lifting them simultaneously on both sides.

2.       Next, take off the hardware. Again, trickier than I expected, but once we found the right sized wrench, we got the job done. #girlpower!

3.       Wipe everything down with a liquid deglosser! I use Klean Strip Easy Liquid Sander Deglosser in place of sanding all the time, and this stuff has lasted me for years! (It’s also probably saved me years of my life in time spent sanding!)

4.       Use Rustoleum Chalky Spraypaint in your color of choice (I used Linen White and Aged Grey) for this project, but can also vouch for the Blush Pink and Charcoal colors, too. For the handles and label holders, I used Rust-oleum Imagine Metallic Gold Spray Paint.

5.       Expect to you use A LOT of paint. Painting metal required more paint than I’ve used to cover other surfaces, but chalk paint on metal does work!

6.     Finally, after the paint has dried, spray the cabinets with Rustoleum Chalked Protective Topcoat in Matte Clear, or apply any type of chalk paint wax (this might be more cost effective). 

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