House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

13 DIY File Cabinet Plans You Can Build Today (with Pictures)

files inside filing cabinet

files inside filing cabinet

More people are working from home than ever before, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down soon. Rather than using the kitchen table as a desk and cardboard boxes for storing important work files, now is the time to convert a home office space and introduce practical and purpose-built furniture. However, that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune or give your home a utilitarian office look.

Below, we’ve compiled 13 plans to show you how to build a filing cabinet, including ideas for repurposing and refurbishing existing file cabinets. You can get remarkable results by modifying one of these designs or combining features from two or three to create a functional and attractive piece of furniture.

Divider 2

The 13 DIY File Cabinet Plans

1. Trunk Home Filing System

diy home filing system in a blanket chest or trunk
Photo Credit By: Diy Beautify

The toy chest, blanket chest, and linen trunk are different names for basically the same thing, and they can all be converted easily into a home filing system. In this case, the file cabinet uses a hanging rack system so that you can hang your files up and slide them along the tracks.

The plans also suggest using different-colored file holders so that you can easily sort and retrieve the files.

2. Rustic DIY Filing Cabinet

diy filing cabinet build
Photo Credit By: Sweethings

This rustic DIY filing cabinet has a unique finish. The cabinet is made of reclaimed wood, and the upright folder drawers are numbered. However, you could use precise cuts and finish it with a stain or other paint for something a little more modern. It is a tall and narrow design, which may be ideal for makeshift home office spaces.

3. DIY Wood File Cabinet Plans

diy wood file cabinet plans
Photo Credit By: Clodagh Collection

The designs of these DIY wood file cabinet plans have an almost Tudor appearance. They are quite small but have ample room to hold a few files. If you need solid, reliable, dedicated storage for a small amount of work, these plans are more practical than giant four-story filing cabinets that remain half-empty.

4. Repurposed Coffee Table File Cabinet

diy coffee table plan modified for flat file cabinet table
Image Credit: Ana White

If you use a laptop or you sit in the living room to do most of your work, then why not repurpose a coffee table as an effective and efficient file cabinet design? This upcycling project has individual drawers for each file, but you could play with the design to make the drawers larger.

5. Plywood File Cabinet

diy cabinet and modular desk
Image Credit: Woodshop Diaries

This file cabinet plan starts from scratch, uses inexpensive plywood, and can, according to the creator, be used as part of a modular desk design and work as a standalone file cabinet. The design includes measurements, but you can alter them to match your own needs and to ensure that the cabinet fits neatly into its ideal spot.

6. Built-In File Cabinets

diy built-in file cabinets
Image Credit: Jen Woodhouse

Working from home is likely to become the new norm, and it’s nice to have built-in desks and, in this case, a built-in file cabinet. This plan is for a large file cabinet drawer, and it can be built anywhere that you will be doing your work from home.

7. Filing Cabinet Project

diy lateral file cabinet
Image Credit: Woodsmith Plans

This lateral file cabinet has plenty of room for paperwork and documents. It would look good in a dedicated home office, and with a few modifications, it would look good in any room.

8. Mail Sorting And Handling Console

diy filing drawer
Image Credit: Ana White

The mail sorting and handling console is another piece of home office furniture for multiple purposes. It’s another piece that looks ideal as home furniture because its design belies its purpose. It has a built-in shredder for secure file disposal.

There are several file cabinet drawers and additional drawers for stamps and stationery. It’s a great design for keeping everything in one place when you don’t necessarily have all your paper and pens on display.

9. Faux Zinc File Cabinet Finish

diy faux zinc filing cabinet
Image Credit: 100 Things 2 Do

This is another plan for those who have an existing metal file cabinet but want to do something different with it. In this case, adding a layer of primer and black paint, and then finishing with metallic silver paint on the cabinet gives a zinc look to the finished item. This plan utilizes a short file cabinet, but there is nothing to stop you from using a tall cabinet or any other piece of metal furniture to get the same result.

10. Painted Filing Cabinet Transformation

diy filing cabinet
Image Credit: Cherubs Chalks Interior

The zinc cabinet looks great, but it takes several layers of paint, and it may take some time before you get the cabinet looking great. Using this plan to paint an old metal filing cabinet is much easier. While it is easier, it still breathes a fresh lease of life into the cabinet to stand as a feature rather than an eyesore.

11. Repurposed File Cabinet

diy repurposed file cabinet
Image Credit: Pinterest

If you have a filing cabinet but don’t appreciate the way the industrial metal looks in your home office, these plans show you how to repurpose the cabinet. The front, sides, and top are covered in reclaimed wood. The file cabinet retains functionality while sporting an improved design and better looks. Because of the metal cabinet and the wood shell, it’s an incredibly heavy cabinet.

12. Rust Effect Metal Cabinet

diy rust effect metal cabinet
Image Credit: Pinterest

With the right paint, you can take on any project and turn an old item into something stunning. This rust-effect metal cabinet uses chalk paints to bring a retro, antique style to a plain metal cabinet. It does, of course, rely on you having an old metal filing cabinet or finding one in a thrift or second-hand store.

13. Transformed Metal File Cabinet

diy alternatives for metal filing cabinet
Image Credit: Chosen Course

This refurbishment does require that you have a metal cabinet. It combines the shell of the cabinet with reclaimed wooden fruit crates, but you can also make your own crates. The crates slide in and out, and they are used to hold hanging file containers. This design doesn’t hide your paperwork and files out of the way, but it certainly improves their look.

divider 7

File Cabinet Plans You Can Build Today

Several people worldwide work from home, and adding office equipment to their sometimes cramped workspaces is becoming more important. Whether you have the benefit of a dedicated home office or you have to work in the cubby under the stairs or the kitchen table, you need adequate storage to organize your work. We hope the designs we’ve discussed have inspired you to construct an attractive, durable file cabinet instead of wasting money on a manufactured one.

You might also be interested in: 11 Free DIY Wood Gun Cabinet Plans You Can Make Today

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay


Related posts

OUR categories

Project ideas

Hand & power tools