DIY Filing Cabinet Desk

2 Days

I have been using the plastic crates filing system for our important papers but I have never loved it. It is nice that it is portable, especially during hurricane season, and that's about it. Having a filing cabinet in the office was a must so I decided to go with a filing cabinet desk. This is not a new concept, I pinned several similar desks years ago. Also, there are a few options available to buy already done but I wanted something custom and usual.
I shopped around on Craigslist and a few local forums for some cheap used filing cabinets but could not find any. This project was on some what of a time crunch so I bought new. I found this filing cabinet at Office Depot for $25. At that price, I didn't mind putting holes in it and painting it. :) I bought two and got to work. Here is what they looked like before.
Several things needed to happen for this cabinet to be functional for us. First thing, I needed to add height. I am tall with long legs and I like to cross my legs when I sit. I know that's a bad habit...I am working on it. Anyway, tables and desks are sometimes my enemy. I hit my legs on them all the time and often they are too short for me to cross my legs under them. To create height, I added 2x1's to the top and bottom of the cabinet. I forgot to take a picture of this. FAIL. I was in a hurry. I used the Kreg Jig to create pocket screw holes and made two rectangles. One sits on top of the filing cabinet. The other on the bottom. I glued and screwed them into the filing cabinet.
To cover the added wood, I framed the top and bottom with moulding then caulked and filled the seams. The paint what was left over from the dresser that is also in the office. The generic plastic pulls were replaced with some pretty chrome ones.
To protect my floors and help keep things level, I added some adjustable feet.
The top of the desk is made of poplar 1x6's glued and screwed together. I decided on an aged, driftwood treatment. I love the dark stains but I wanted something a little lighter and beachy for this room. I love it!
I love the final result. Having a functional home office has made me more productive and I love being organized. It makes things so much easier. :) See more pictures and information on my blog.
See the entire office reveal at

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Brian & Kaylor

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Jen3163776
    on Dec 1, 2015

    Love this! I am making something similar with 2 Ikea Sektion kitchen base cabinets. I see that your desktop overhangs the front and back of the file cabinets and the file cabinets aren't touching the wall. Did you secure the desktop to the wall with brackets or anything? I am wondering if I should do this or not. Thanks

  • Molly Wimbush Carmer
    on May 21, 2016

    How wide is your desk? I'm planning to do this, but I'm not sure I have quite the space I need

    • Brian & Kaylor
      on May 29, 2016

      Hi Molly. My desk 6 feet long and almost 4 feet wide. That is huge for a desk and it can be made much smaller. I wanted something large for when I sew and do crafts.

  • Mary
    on Dec 31, 2016

    I need to make a desk like this but it needs to have wheels on it. Since you added the wood molding to the bottom (which is beautiful on top and bottom) would the bottom molding be able to be used to add wheels to it? (I also need to have a raised desk)

    • Cheryl
      on Nov 13, 2018

      In her instructions, she stated that there is a triangle board on the top and bottom that she hid with the molding. She also told us that she added adjustable feet to the bottom which means, it’s not sitting on the floor and you can replace the feet she added to her desk with feet with wheels to yours.

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