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DIY Hinged Drawer

By House*Tweaking on Sep 04, 2013

cl dresser 1

Remember the dresser I found on craigslist a while back? It’s been chillin’ in a corner of our bedroom while we brainstorm what to do with it. All of mine and HH’s clothes are stored in the bedroom closet so there’s no need to fill the dresser with clothing.

Over the past several months, HH has hinted at creating a space to take conference calls for work. HH’s job requires him to talk with coworkers in different time zones – both in the states and internationally – so he frequently conducts conference calls from home in the evenings when all parties are awake. He started out taking calls at the kitchen desk but it isn’t easy to keep three kids quiet in a such a communal area. HH retreated to the lower bunk of the boys’ room but that forced the boys out of their room during such conference calls. Finally, HH found peace in our bedroom but sitting on the bed with his laptop for extended periods of time wasn’t exactly comfortable. That’s when we decided to turn the dresser into a makeshift workspace and hinge the top dresser drawer using a piano hinge and double roller catches.

hinge drawer

HH took the top drawer it outside, removed the hardware, placed the piano hinge {you can find ‘em at home improvement stores} and marked the screw holes on the back side of the drawer front & on the bottom of the drawer.


He used an oscillating multifunction power tool to cut the front of the drawer off. It was one of those DIY moments that had us thinking, “Damn, we hope this works because WE JUST CUT THE DRAWER FRONT OFF OF A PERFECTLY GOOD DRESSER.” No pressure.


Here, the drawer front is off and the drawer is turned upside down. HH cut the center and side drawer guides to allow for proper placement of the hinge.


The notched space ensures that the drawer front has enough room to fold down once hinged.

hinge drawer

To keep the hinged drawer front flush like it was originally, HH cut in along the length of the drawer bottom so the piano hinge would be even with the drawer. {This is where the pre-marked screw holes on the inside bottom of the drawer come in handy.}


HH added a piece of leftover trim {shown in white above} to the thin bottom of the drawer so the screws would have something more substantial to tie into. Then he simply screwed the drawer front onto the opposite side of the hinge using the pre-marked screw holes as guides. The drawer front was thick enough for the screws to screw into – no additional trim was necessary.

hinge drawer 1

To hold the drawer front in place when the drawer is closed, HH added a double roller catch to each side of the drawer on the inside. And, voil !, now this dresser does double duty. The drawer front can be folded down to allow access to a hidden work surface.

Of course, I couldn’t leave it alone.

cork drawer

I found a roll of self-adhering cork liner at Michael’s and bought it with a 40% off coupon for $6.

cork drawer 2

I cut it to size to fit the bottom of the drawer and around the white trim piece. Then I simply removed the backing and smoothed the cork liner into place.

cork drawer 3

HH says it is perfect for him. He puts his work laptop on top of the dresser and keeps a wireless keyboard and mouse in the drawer. The squishy cork negates any need for a separate mouse pad and prevents the keyboard from sliding around. I went to Target and bought a few office accessories for the drawer and I’m dying to paint that white trim piece. I’ll post true afters later this week!

Have you ever tweaked a perfectly good piece of furniture to meet your needs? I know some people out there are cringing at the thought of cutting into a vintage dresser but, I’m telling you, this dresser has seen more use in the last two weeks than it has since the day we bought it. It works so much better for us this way. And the rest of the drawers are still empty!

Eeeeeeek! Things were so crazy last week preparing and traveling for my sister’s wedding. I forgot to announce the winner of the elephant bookend. So sorry. Check out the winner here!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

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