Whereas our desks were once crammed with 8.5″ x 11″-inch documents, sheets of loose-leaf paper, and manila folders, nowadays we need a computer and little else. Indeed, the term “desktop” no longer means what it used to, and technology has redefined home office furniture. If thrift stores and flea markets provide any indication, metal filing cabinets have fallen completely out of favor with homeowners. If yours are standing empty, consider these creative DIY file cabinet projects, each designed to give renewed life to those old hallmarks of the paper age.
1. CREATE A KITCHEN CART
You wouldn’t expect to see office furniture in the kitchen, but in this DIY project from Curbly, the filing cabinet looks right at home. Prep meals on the butcher-block top, hang utensils from the side racks, and store rarely used or awkwardly shaped appliances in the unit’s deep drawers.
2. STORE YOUR GARDEN TOOLS
Although intended here for garage storage, the design of this Trash to Treasure DIY project is appropriate for many uses. Want your own? Remove the drawers from a cabinet, tip it onto its back, then apply a coat of paint. Add pegboard to one or both ends for additional storage, and attach casters to the bottom so you can move it around easily.
3. BUILD A BAR CART
More compact than traditional filing cabinets are those meant to hold index cards. Shop for one online, Remodelista suggests, then place your vintage find within the frame of an open, metal cart. What you get is a simple, industrial-style serving bar, as trendy as it is portable.
4. GROW A GARDEN
From Boopy Projects, here’s a DIY file cabinet project idea for the great outdoors! Where once there were bills and memos, there now grow flowers and herbs. Painted in a bold color, a repurposed file cabinet looks rather convincingly like a store-bought planter—only it costs a lot less.
5. MAKE A DESK
For a frugal yet functional desk, set a couple of file cabinets beneath a tabletop of your choosing, be it a piece of plywood, an old door, or a cut-to-size pane of glass. Homeowners have long loved this classic DIY approach because it so easily enables them to customize their own workspaces.