Filing Cabinet Makeover

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I have been wanting to do a filing cabinet makeover for almost a year now and I finally did it!  I’m in love.  If you’re anything like us, there seems to be a paper problem at our house and I’ve been begging my husband to let me get a filing cabinet.  His response has always been “Filing cabinets are so ugly and ghetto.”  So I made it my quest to do a fun filing cabinet makeover to make it “cool” in his eyes. :)  First, I made sure to avoid the tall ones, and just got a 2-drawer.  I figure if we end up needing more space I would rather have multiple 2-drawer filing cabinets than one huge tall one.  I got this metal filing cabinet off the classifieds for $10 (woo hoo)!  I spray painted it blue because it’s my favorite color, and also because we have a lot of accent blue in our bedroom in case I want to swap it out with my night stand (still have to warm up the husband to the idea).

spray painting a filing cabinet

Filing Cabinet Makeover: Painting a File Cabinet with Spray Paint!

Metal Filing Cabinet Makeover
















I chose Rustoleum spray paint for the filing cabinet makeover job and the color turned out the most perfect blue!  I first removed the hardware, washed and sanded down my filing cabinet, sprayed a couple of coats of metal primer, and then 30 minutes later came back and painted.  Okay, I’ll be honest I haven’t done a lot of spray painting in my lifetime, meaning this project must be quiet easy if I accomplished it, but there are a few things I would do differently next time.

Filing Cabinet Makeover Tips

1.  Watch the video I’ve attached on spray painting techniques (If you hate long and annoying YouTube tutorials, no worries: I picked a very short and professional one for you).  The part about not spraying continuously or in random patterns?  Yeah, I think that tip was for me.  I might have ended up with a couple runs, but luckily I was able to fix it and make it unnoticeable.  Well mostly.

2.  Buy two cans.  I thought I would only need one and ran out.  If you happen to accomplish the task with one then you can always return the other, but one of my biggest pet peeves is having my project interrupted because I have to run to the store for more supplies.  I guess I have patience issues.

3.  Wait a couple of days to bring it inside.  I was way too excited to get organizing and had my husband bring it in from the garage the very next morning.  Luckily it’s in the basement, but that room smells strongly of spray paint.  If you’re into that kind of thing–inhaling toxins and chemicals-then by all means ignore this tip. :)  I’m extra cautious right now because of the little fetus I have growing inside of me..

4.  Wear some gloves and shoes.  I had a blue flip-flop line and blue fingers for a few days :)

Filing Cabinet Makeover

Before and After pictures of the filing cabinet makeover















I also bought fun filing cabinet hangers and folders in all sorts of colors!  Let’s be honest, it’s a lot more fun to organize if fun colors are involved (at least for me anyways).  I use the top drawer to file all my fun “mom printables” and the fun things I find on Pinterest so they don’t just get pinned to my boards and become forgotten for the rest of eternity.  This is where everything goes that isn’t in my “mommy book.”  Hopefully by the time our house is noisy and chaotic with numerous boisterous children, I will have a vast resource of printables and ideas for their entertainment.  Subscribe to my blog if you’d like to be notified when I do a post including a bunch of free printables for moms and kids (I try to do at least one every month).

metal filing cabinet makeover









Look at those beautiful colors?  Who wouldn’t be excited about filing when you get a glimpse of the rainbow every time you open the drawers?! Oh yeah,  The bottom drawer is for the boring stuff…taxes, birth certificates, and so forth.  Didn’t want to leave that out. :)

And while I’m being honest, I might as well admit something else:  I had the help of an organizer.  She’s below in purple.  I did however discover that our views on “organization” differ quite a bit.

blue painted filing cabinet

photo 2 (11)










































How to Spray Paint:

Now that I’ve accomplished this filing cabinet makeover, I’m a little excited to do some more things with spray paint!

Here are some Paper Purge Tips from to help out with your filing:

Paper Purge Tips

Paper Purge Tips to Help You Get Organized



















What has been your favorite spray paint project?


Tina M
I'm six-foot tall mother of two and I'm enjoying the view! I use blogging as my creative outlet, swimming as my physical outlet, and the rest of my life revolves around my husband and girls (18 months apart). I enjoy warm summer rain, eating peanut butter by the spoonful, having dance parties with my husband and kids and I avoid folding laundry at all cost
Tina M
Tina M

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  1. says

    Love the blue! So much better looking than the icky taupe colored file cabinets that I have. If I re-do mine, will you please send the little organizer to help me out? She is adorable!

  2. says

    I painted our identical filing cabinet about 40 years ago! I painted it orange to match my husband’s in/out tray! Years later I painted it blue – and now it is chocolate brown!

    For my own study I use the colorful file folders too. We are a family of four and so one way to use the folders is to assign a color to each person. Although the children no longer live at home here, I have treasures for (or by) each of them which I am saving for later on.

    Your assistant is charming!

    • says

      Haha, that’s awesome that it’s changed colors that many times :) I’m sure mine will too over the years. That’s a great idea to assign colors for each person!

  3. says

    Thank you for this post! We have two 2-drawer filing cabinets upstairs that desperately need a makeover!

    Thanks so much for joining in this week!

    Your little one is so sweet.


  4. says

    This is so timely. I spotted a 4 drawer yesterday. It’s going to be reduced to $10 and that’s what I am waiting for. Thanks for sharing your process I really like this.

  5. says

    Well, I’ve been doing some culling of paper work this week. Shredding and sorting the whole nine yards… It is definitely NOT my favorite thing to do…but necessary, so I definitely appreciate the list at the end of this post.
    I also like the bright blue spray paint you used for your cabinet! Very cheerful. I’ve actually pinned some examples of anything other than ‘office beige’ filing cabinets this week; trying to find ideas for my out of date but still useful filing cabinet. I’m going to pin yours now!
    Pat, via MHC

  6. says

    That’s wonderful! You’ve inspired me to try to paint some metal pieces that I’ve wanted to update. Thank you so much for the tutorial and the images. The cabinet is really stunning! (I’m partial to that blue… I even painted my front door that color!)

  7. says

    I love this! I have an ugly filing cabinet in my kitchen (where our computer is) and want it another color so badly! I’ll be referring back to this for sure! It turned out adorable.


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