Decorating with Vintage File Cabinets

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Decorating with Vintage File Cabinets

Staff Writer · Jan 28, 2011

Today, file cabinets are no longer just a safe place for holding important documents. Now, it’s a wonderful way to spice up your apartment as well as create a unique storage option. Follow these suggestions for jazzing up your office, bath, living room or even patio or balcony.

Where to Get Vintage File Cabinets

Visit a n antique flea market to get all kinds of vintage office furniture. Several national flea markets take place each year, and there’s likely one held in your area. To find flea market listings, flip through decorating magazines, or visit travel and tourism websites.

Thrift stores, estate sales, consignment shops, and business foreclosure sales are equally good places to seek out these items. There also many other resources, such as eBay and antique auction sites, which are rich with charming pieces.

Different Options in File Cabinets

These vintage cabinets come in a variety of shapes and finishes. Simply select a few different cabinets to create eye catching storage appropriate for your living area.

A card-file with many square drawers is ideal for stowing away smaller items. While an industrial-style filing cabinet works well for an office or work space. If your goal is to  organize a lounge or entrance way, a file unit with several thin drawers is useful for housing magazines, TV guides, instruction manuals, and mail.

Tips for Refurbishing File Cabinets

The best way to breathe life into a worn file cabinet is to give it a fresh coat of paint. Get a good craft paint that is made specifically for metal structures. Follow the instructions on the paint for how many coats to apply, and tips for preparing and cleaning the item before painting. For a more rustic look, consider a wood or oak file cabinet with a coat of white paint.

Replace Cabinet Hardware

A great way to update an old file cabinet is with new hardware. Purchase oblong label holders or card frames with curved corners to dress up the front of a cabinet. Replacing knobs, handles and hinges can also modernize a metal or wooden cabinet. You might also want to select hardware in different finishes such as pewter, polished brass, or stainless steel to match the décor of your room.

Functional and Decorative Uses

Think outside the box when you decorate with something like a file cabinet. For instance, a wide, low file cabinet makes for a nice plant holder or coffee table for your balcony, patio or sitting area.

Have a file cabinet double as a table by adorning the top of it with embroidered linens or doilies. Along with that you can also decorate a file cabinet with different fabrics.

Try and avoid bulky pieces that are too large for small spaces like a bath room. Instead, choose slender file cabinets with small compartments. These are ideal for stowing first aide and cosmetic supplies.

Lastly, create a sense of dimension by adding different sized cabinets to a room. For example, place three in a row or paint them different colors.

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