Filing Cabinet Makeover

Gianna Montero
by Gianna Montero
3 Materials
2 Hours
Hey Hometalk Family!

My name is Gianna from @allthingspure27 on YouTube where I post beauty and lifestyle videos.

So when my husband and I got married 5 years ago and moved into our own place, I remember thinking we really should have a place to put all these official adult bills and documents and then it hit me, oh so that's why grown ups own filing cabinets. You see we're both pretty traditional so we lived with our parents until we got married and never really had to think about this. And so we headed out to Target and bought the cheapest most basic looking cabinet they had.

Over the years, I've gotten pretty good at making our home look cute, cozy, and decently decorated with a small budget so when I thought I was done re doing our living room, I noticed this not so cute foreign object that just did not belong in my now gorgeous living room. It was the $50 cabinet, looking cold and lonely and honestly how I felt when I took a French class at the French Alliance in NYC, out of place.

That's when I decided I had to do something about it and it was honestly so cheap, so easy, and so simple and yet it looks at least like a $200 cabinet. Check out how I did it and if you prefer to watch, click on the youtube link down below.
Here's what the cabinet looked like before, since I was going to be painting it I put a trash bag under it to protect my floors. If you have an outdoor space or at least a balcony I recommend you paint it outside.
I used acrylic chalky finish paint for the entire cabinet, white for the front of the drawers and black for everything else. Pro tip: these are usually on sale for buy one get one half off. For the handles I used a gold spray paint since I was going for a more sophisticated look. You'll also need some paint brushes or sponges to apply the paint, if you use brushes like I did, make sure the bristles are soft to avoid a streaky finish.
Lastly you'll need a screwdriver or a drill to remove the handles, this will make it easier for you to paint both the drawers and the handles.
Now let's get painting! For the black part I only had to apply 2 coats of paint since the cabinet was black already and I was basically just changing the finish of it from metal so chalky matte.
The white part was much more challenging, since white is literally the complete opposite of black I had to apply 5 coats of paint to achieve the opacity that I wanted. Make sure you give each coat a few minutes to set before applying the next one or you'll end up moving the paint around and it'll never be even.
While I waited for that white paint to dry, I went ahead and moved on to the handles. Again, I used a trash bag to protect my floors but if you can do this outside that would be ideal, not only for the floors but more so because you shouldn't be inhaling the fumes from the spray paint. Don't worry, I don't do this often and when I do, I make sure all my windows are open.
For these, I only needed 2 coats of paint on each side, make sure to spray from the top but also the sides so you don't miss any spots.
Once everything was dry, I attached the handles again and this is the final look. I had seen many projects on how to revamp a filing cabinet but I really didn't want to create patterns or anything crazy so when I decided to just paint it I didn't know if t was going to make much of a difference but omg it looks amazing! I am so happy with the result and now months later I can say the paint has held up, you can write on it with chalk and just wipe it with a wet towel to clean. How do you think it turned out?

If you do this make sure to tag me on Instagram @allthingspure27 =)
Suggested materials:
  • Americana® Decor™ Chalky Finish Paint, 8oz. - Everlasting   (
  • Americana® Decor™ Chalky Finish Paint, 8oz. - Carbon Black   (
  • Krylon® DIY Series™ Metallic Paint - Gold - 11 oz   (
Frequently asked questions
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  3 questions
  • Jewellmartin Jewellmartin on Aug 07, 2017
    Pretty classy job! You should be able to use this in several rooms of the house over the next few years. Have you painted anything else to coordinate with the file cabinet? Best wishes 😇

  • TnKaren TnKaren on Aug 20, 2017
    I've been re-doing my house. New paint and carpet. I love what you did with your file cabinet, and wondering what you would do about mine?
    The pulls on mine are recessed into the drawers, and are plastic. If I used some handles like yours it would leave a hole about 2.5X3.5. I cant think of any way to fix that. Have you any suggestions Please? Thanks

  • Lynn Lynn on Aug 28, 2017
    Will magnets still work as well through the chalk paint?

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