DIY Filing Desk

5 Materials
$10
2 Hours
Easy

I wanted to update my old filing cabinet desk and I didn't want to spend too much. I had these 6 year old filing cabinets bought from Walmart 6 years ago.
Here are my old filing cabinets! I took the handles off and gave them a nice thorough sanding all over. The picture shows the locks, but I did take them out before painting.
Especially the bottom. This is what happens when you hurry to set up your room after cleaning the carpet and not making sure the carpet is dry. YUCK!!! Steel wool to the rescue!
Removed the drawers and cut a piece of cardboard to fit the opening and bottom to prevent overspraying the inside.

If you have to ask where to get cardboard that size, you're not shopping Amazon enough.
Fit the bottom with the cardboard.
First, I sprayed with Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer, then when dry, top coated with Valspar Outdoor Anti-Rust Paint & Primer in a Satin Oceanic color.
Let them dry.
Sprayed the chrome handles with Valspar's Outdoor Anti-Rust Paint & Primer in a gloss Peacock Blue.
I moved the filing cabinets back in - topped it with a section of countertop. You can find these at any store that sells countertops. This piece is 5' wide. I did put felt spacers/sliders on the TOP of the filing cabinets to prevent any scratching from the counter top and on the bottom of the cabinets to prevent scratching the floor.
It's starting to look like a desk!

You can easily drill a hole(s) in the countertop to fish your wires through, if you wish.


All finished! Those cabinets look SO much better now. I think I need a new chair....definitely a new chair cushion!

Resources for this project:

Krylon K09107000 COVERMAXX Spray Paint, Gloss Blue Ocean Breeze, 12...
Valspar 21955 Clear Gloss Enamel - 12...
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 10 questions
  • Kathleen Hokanson
    on Feb 21, 2018

    Love this idea!! I have two pieces of countertop left in my basement & didn't know what to do with them! Think you could use milk crates on either side & have extra storage & use file cabinet off to side?
  • LadyAleta
    on Mar 5, 2019

    Love the idea! Do you think a four drawer tall filing cabinet with recessed handles could be cut in half to be used? If so, how would one cut it & make the cut parts not so sharp? I know the cabinet would be short, however if they were put on castors, that would give them height. I'm very short so I don't them a tall clearance under the desk. Thank you for your answer, Everyone. Really would appreciate them. :)

    • Flipturn
      on Aug 18, 2020

      Architects and artists use high drafting tables with high stools. If there is a rest for your feet, then the high swivel stool/chair (example below) could readily be used with a taller desk.

  • Mildred
    on Feb 22, 2020

    Does the $10 amount include the counter top or just the paints?

Join the conversation

2 of 62 comments
  • Peggy Burnette
    on Mar 5, 2019

    You did a great job. Thank you for sharing.

  • Debra McMenamin
    on Mar 5, 2019

    Great idea. Reminds me of when my husband and I first met. He had a file cabinet on each side and had a wide, huge board on top as a desk. I was amazed at how much room was on the “desk “! It served us well for several years!

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