Hey there and welcome to another project with the Less Is More series! This is when I, along with other creative bloggers, create a project to help you make more of your home decor for less! Using thrifted, repurposed, or dollar store items, you’ll find ways to create beautiful home decor on a budget. Like with this filing cabinet makeover.
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When my home office studio was getting a makeover, this bright pink filing cabinet left the room. It was being used to store extra papers and school supplies, but not used for actual files. On the other hand, my massive oak filing cabinet upstairs was too bulky and needed to go. A swap made complete sense, but my college years’ sense of design did not. That’s nothing some paint couldn’t fix!
Here’s what the filing cabinet looked like before:
It’s a beauty right? Did you have one of these too? They pop up on the buy n sell regularly.
Filing Cabinet Makeover Supplies
1 Filing Cabinet
1 Can of Paint Primer
2 Cans of White Spray Paint for metal
1 Can of Black Spray Paint for Handles
Prime Your Filing Cabinet
It’s best if you take all the handles and accent hardware off your filing cabinet. It’s a big pain in the butt to try taping everything off to paint your filing cabinet, then tape off your filing cabinet to paint your hardware. You may find some pieces are glued on, but most should be screwed into place. You should be able to access these screws from inside your filing cabinet.
Giving your filing cabinet a light sanding will help your paint to adhere better to the shiny metal finish. It roughs it up just enough.
Then give it a wipe down with a mild cleaner, like a tsp solution, to get any dirt and dust off after sanding.
If you have a brightly colored filing cabinet, it’s not a bad idea to do a coat of primer first. I didn’t and we wish we had as the pink kept wanting to show through. The filing cabinet ended up needing 4 cans of spray paint to no longer look white. And that’s with me giving up and not caring that the backside still had a pink tinge. If a coat of primer was used first, it would have saved me 2 cans of white spray paint.
Spray Paint In Light Coats
The key to any spray paint project is to go in light coats. Too heavy and you’ll get drip marks. Which will need to be sanded down once it’s fully dried so that you can start over. Bleh. Don’t do that to yourself. Take your time and let your paint dry between coats.
Take your drawers out and paint them separately from your filing cabinet. This will lessen the chance of drip marks and accidentally painting the drawers to the cabinet.
Trick To Painting Handles
If you have a piece of styrofoam laying around or a box, use these to make your handles stand up while being painted. In the photo below, the handles are standing up on nails that were popped through the underside of the box, This gives you a better view of all the angles while spray painting. And you’ll get a smoother finish than if you have to paint one side, wait to dry, flip it, and paint the other side. Meaning no middle line of overlapping paint! I didn’t worry about this with the file name slots as only one side mattered.
Drying Time Then Reassemble
Please allow your filing cabinet enough time to fully dry. Follow the directions on your paint label. The reason this is so important is that you don’t want to put your drawers back into the cabinet, have them stick, and then scratch and tear your fresh finish. I’d cry for you. Let’s spare us both the pain.
Finally, put the handles, label holders, and any accent hardware back on. And enjoy your “new” filing cabinet!
Here’s how mine turned out in the end:
So much better right? I’m no longer hiding it away. It’s now out in full view, showing off its pretty paint job.
Less Is More Filing Cabinet and Other Projects
Are you inspired to try making over a filing cabinet in your home? Other than the drying time, this was a pretty quick and easy makeover project.
Check out these other amazing projects by my fellow Less Is More bloggers. There are so many great ideas in this group!