File Cabinet Make Over

File Cabinet Makeover

This project started as they all do. One day I wake up and just can’t look at that ugly piece of furniture one second longer. My sudden need to DIY is directly tied to my stress level. If I feel anxious or out of control of my life I suddenly become obsessed with giving something a makeover. I guess it’s not the worst coping technique. Thankfully my DIY’s are usually low budget and hey it’s better then eating an entire cake right? Or day drinking, or online shopping or insert a vice here.


The before. This file cabinet wasn’t terrible it just wasn’t me. It had some scratches and those knobs weren’t doing it any favors. It’s well built. I found it for $40 at a vintage shop. This room is our office and the original log cabin part of our home. There is a ton of wood going on in there. I eventually want to paint the floor but until then I have a large rug in there so most of it’s covered anyways.

As my need to modify this cabinet came to a head I had the idea to add wood slats to the front of the drawers to make it look like a map cabinet. When I opened the drawer I noticed hey this thing is decent wood and unfinished on the back. What if I take the drawer fronts off, flip them over and cut grooves into them to make them look like separate drawers.


So that’s what I did. I measured and divided the width of the drawer front into thirds. I set the gate on my table saw and lowered the blade so it would only cut into the wood about 3/16”.


Once that was done I stained the wood Provincial by Minwax.

Next up I figured out placement and drilled all the holes for the pulls.

I found the pulls here , they are very reasonably priced.

Then I reattached to the drawer fronts with screws from the inside.

map cabinet diy.JPG

I decided to screw in small flat head screws to disguise the holes that were left from how they were attached to the drawers. I had tried to fill them but you could still see the holes and it looked terrible. Now they stick out on purpose and add to the industrial look. They were silver colored screws so I dabbed them with gold and brown paint to make them look more bronze.

That’s it! An easy makeover. The hardest part was attaching the pulls and having to find the right length of screws. I had to inset them so that took forever.

DIY map cabinet.jpg

You can see this cabinet on your way to the powder room through the windows in the barn door. It’s now 100% cuter and much more interesting. I painted the body in a gray milk paint. Even though there’s a lot of wood in that room I like the wood on the drawers so I’m keeping it. I’m happy with it. makes me smile every time I pass by it.

DIY Map cabinet from a file cabinet.JPG

Michelle Minner