File Cabinet Makeover: Painted Two Tone Green and Wood Trims

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The Hubs and I have been doing a few projects around the house on his days off.  Like repurposing this old television cabinet you can see HERE. We also gave our small entryway a makeover HERE. As I was at my desktop finishing up computer work, I couldn’t help but notice my ugly file cabinet.  It had seen better days.  Read on for the DIY File Cabinet Makeover.

Wood Lateral File Cabinet Painted White Missing Hardware
File Cabinet Before

DIY File Cabinet Makeover

I have been concentrating on so many other projects, I had never noticed how shabby and neglected my file cabinet looked.  I had purchased it from an auction a few months back and had planned on painting it.  But, as you can see, that never happened.

The file cabinet was boring.  It needed some pizazz!  The Hubs had a few scrap pieces of decorative trim he used from a previous project.  I knew it would be perfect for outlining the drawers and breaking up the boxy look. You can get this decorative trim at Lowe’s or Home Depot.

Wood Unfinished Decor Trim
Unfinished Trim

The Hubs measured the area around the drawers where he would place the trim.  He cut four (4) pieces, two long pieces for the vertical sides, and two short pieces for the horizontal sides. On the ends, he used a 45-degree angle cut to form the rounded corners.  This allowed the trim to fit perfectly together on the corners.   

Unfinished Trim Cut at a 45 degree angle
Trim Cut to 45 Degree Angle

File Cabinet Prep

I removed the hardware, including the “L” corner brackets. 

Removing Old Hardware
Removing Hardware

I found this beautiful bronze pull on Amazon that I will be using.

Bronze Drawer Pull
Bronze Drawer Pull

Next, I lightly sanded the entire cabinet with 220-grit sandpaper to rough it up.  I did not need to remove the existing paint layer.  The drawers were left in the file cabinet because they were too complicated to remove!

Adding Trim

Before I started painting, the trim was attached to the drawer faces using wood glue and a nail gun.

Applying Trim to Drawers
Adding Trim

Staining Trim

The first task was to stain the décor trim pieces.   (Note:  I should have stained the trim before attaching it to the cabinet. However, the Hubs had to work that night, so he wanted his portion completed, and we didn’t think about staining it first).

My stain choice was Dixie Belle’s Voodoo Gel Stain in Tobacco Road.  It is a beautiful brown.

Dixie Belle Voodoo Stain
Tobacco Road

I used a small chip brush and applied the stain, using a cloth to wipe off any excess.

Applying stain to trim
Applying Stain

I allowed the stain to dry overnight.  I knew I would have to tape off the trim so I would not get paint on top of the stain so it needed to dry completely.

The next day, I taped off the trim.

Applying painters tape to trim
Taping Off Trim

Painting Process

I surveyed the paint colors that I had in my stash when I came across Dixie Belle’s Spanish Moss.  I wanted the file cabinet to be a tad bit brighter, so I mixed Dixie Belle’s Cotton and Farmhouse Green into the Spanish Moss. You can get your Dixie Belle paint HERE.

Mixed paint colors
Custom Color

The file cabinet took two coats of paint to achieve full coverage. 

Cabinet after two coats of paint
Two Coats of Paint

After the paint dried overnight, I hand sanded the painted surface with a piece of 220-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface.

Finishing Touches

Using my tack cloth, I removed any sanding dust.  The final step was to apply the wax.  I used one coat of Minwax Paste Finishing Wax making sure to apply it to the trim as well. Simply follow the directions on the back of the can.

Minwax Paste Finishing Wax

Gold Office Decor

Lastly, the Hubs added the new bronze hardware.  He had to drill a new hole because the new hardware was shorter than the original hardware.

Drilling hole for new hardware
Adding Hardware

I love the way the file cabinet turned out. The green is calm and relaxing. I can’t wait to get it into my home office. What once was a $10.00 ugly duckling is now a stylish and classy piece.

Final file cabinet makeover
File Cabinet After
Side view of file cabinet
Side View
File cabinet top

(Affiliate links are used in this post. I make a small profit if you order from my link at NO EXTRA cost to you. Thank you!)

Supplies the File Cabinet Makeover

It will be a great addition to my home office.  Now to finish up a few other office projects.

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“It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it will be.”

30 thoughts on “File Cabinet Makeover: Painted Two Tone Green and Wood Trims”

  1. Wondering if it might have been easier to paint the cabinet first, stain the trim second, then attach the trim after it had been stained? Might have saved some time taping and possible touch-up.

    1. Your probably right but sometimes things do not go as planned 🙂 I even made a note in the post as to why it happened like it did.

  2. Well done. It’s encouraging to see how I can take something ugly and office-looking and make attractive furniture with it. I appreciate that you put so may pictures of the progress along with your description.

  3. I was thinking “oh no not another filing cabinet makeover”, but I humbly eat my words. This is one of the best makeovers I have seen. Great job, absolutely stunning.

  4. You did a fantastic job. I love the colour in the trim. A little tip on getting hardware. I put an advert up on my local facebook marketplace looking for free broken furniture. I strip off all the hardware and clean them up. I now have a drawer full of handles and hinges for free. ??

  5. Love it….. I have never been a fan of greens, but now I am going to use it instead of blues and pinks. Picking up the greens in my throw rugs and drapes. Now another question. Can you redo pieces that has wax on them?? Was told no!! I haven’t used wax on my last pieces.

    1. You can use chalk paint and paint right over the wax! I would recommend lightly sanding by hand with a low grit sandpaper just to scuff it up 🙂

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