How to Convert a Dresser Into a Filing Cabinet

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Things You'll Need

  • Dresser

  • Plastic handles

  • Screwdriver

  • File folder housing

  • Screws

  • Lock (optional)


A coat of glossy paint will make your file cabinet look like a metal one.

When you have furniture that is no longer needed, you can convert it into something for your current use. Whether your kids are gone, and now it's your time to go back to school or start that business you've been putting off, you're going to need a file cabinet. Don't go looking to spend money. With just some cabinet hardware, and a twist of the screwdriver, you can convert a bedroom dresser into a great looking and functional filing cabinet.

Step 1

Remove the drawers from a dresser. Use any dresser that has drawers tall enough to accommodate the length and width of the desired file folder size. Folders come in legal or standard 8 1/2 inch-by-11 inch sizes. Allow for the addition of a hardware suspension frame, about 2 inches around the inside perimeter of the drawer.

Step 2

Add new plastic grip handles to the front of the drawers. Remove the old handles using a screwdriver and put the new ones on. This should help turn that bedroom look into real office appeal. Slide the drawers back into place onto the cabinet frame.

Step 3

Insert metal file folder suspension frames into each drawer. Attach the metal framework to the drawers with screws. Some models just insert with no hardware requirement.

Step 4

Add file folder sleeves onto the metal framework. These will hook on at each side of the framework. Use legal or standard size sleeves, depending on taste and space available. Insert printed labels into the clear label holders on the sleeves. Add file folders into the sleeves in an appropriate filing category.

Step 5

Add a locking mechanism. Drill a hole on the front of the top drawer of the cabinet. Make a hole of appropriate size to fit a small lock. Add the latching assembly to the inside of the cabinet frame.


Erin Moseley

Erin Moseley is an advocate for science education. Since 1985, she has written numerous technical, user and training manuals for major corporations, public agencies and universities. She holds a Bachelor of Science in geology.