This is probably one of our easiest DIY tutorials.  Build your own functional file cabinet desk in 3 easy steps.

Step 1:  Place two file cabinets several feet apart.

Step 2:  Lay the work surface on top of the two file cabinets (secure if needed).

Step 3:  Enjoy!

It’s that simple, but you know we aren’t just going to leave it there!  We have plenty of great ideas on how you can really spice up this easy DIY project.

What Paint Color Should You Choose?

Metal file cabinets are one of the easiest pieces of furniture to paint because sanding and priming aren’t necessary.  This years paint trends include cool neutrals, romantic pastels, brights like blue and orange and rich hues like teal.  Another popular color choice is coral.  It was named color of the year by Sherwin Williams.  Why stick with putty or grey when you can liven things up with turquoise?

Coral Reef    Bright Blue

What should you use as the work surface top? 

This choice will set the style of the desk.  Reclaimed wood would give it a rustic feel, while glass adds a modern elegance.  Here are some other options:

  • Scrap countertop or laminate work surface
  • Butcher block
  • Old door or window (You may need to put glass on top for a smooth surface)
  • Pallet wood
  • 1 x 6s glued and screwed together
  • Scrap metal

How can you dress it up?

Add legs!  Metal or wood, either will make your desk look more sophisticated as well as raise the desk height (great solution if you are dealing with shorter file cabinets).  Depending on the file, you can also replace the drawer pulls.

How do you attach the desk top to the file cabinets?

This depends on what you choose as your work surface.  You can screw the top into the files from inside the cabinets.  You can mount the top to the wall.  You can use an adhesive to make sure it won’t shift off the files.  Or, if it is heavy enough, you may not need to attach it at all.  There are some great tutorials pinned to our DIY Friday Pinterest board.

Metal legs add style to this all white file desk.  Notice the support bracket mounted to the wall.   Wood block legs match the butcher block top  Old door as a desk top

Desks for multiple peopleNeed work space for multiple people?

A file cabinet desk is perfect for this because you can customize the length of the desk.  By using file cabinets every several feet to support the top you can create 20 foot desk if you wanted.  It is a great way to save money and still accommodate everyone with their own space.

So are you ready to take on this easy DIY project and build your own desk?

For more DIY ideas keep checking back every Friday!