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Goodwill File Cabinets to Hip DIY Desk

When Melody from My Passion for Décor got a “feeling” that she needed to take a trip to her local Goodwill.

It turned out that her furniture-revamping radar was spot on.

Melody ended up finding a pair of honey oak filing cabinets that were reminiscent of a desk she had been admiring from Pottery Barn.

With a fresh coat of chalk paint and a wood panel desktop, Melody turned the old cabinets into a desk that she absolutely adores!

And honestly, who wouldn’t?

file cabinet desk

This kind of desk would certainly cost hundreds of dollars if purchased from a catalog store.

To our amazement, Melody reveals she only spent $66 on all materials used for this desk.

Not bad!

This included two thrift store wooden filing cabinets, a solid wood top and of course the supplies for her treatment: paint, stain and wax.

So, how did she do it?

Transforming Old Cabinets

To complete her filing cabinet makeover, from that late century honey oak style, Melody sanded and painted them in Annie Sloan Old White.

You can think of this as a throw-back “off white” color that really works well with the effects brought on by the chalk paint.

She removed the hardware and spray painted them an oil-rubbed bronze.

After a little distressing, she had a convincing aged look for the base and drawers of her desk.

Making a New Desktop

Next up was the desktop. She contemplated using glass, but that’s an instant Frankenstein of styles that would “frankly” just ruin the outcome you’re after here.

So, she picked up a thick piece of solid, unfinished wood from her local big box store.

She used a couple of stains on the thick wood panel to get a nice contrasting color to the white cabinets underneath and which also helped the dark bronze hardware pop.

Two funny things happened with the top…

First, she decided it was too nice. It was a freshly sanded wood panel, after all.

This thing needed to be aged. And what comes with real aging are dings and scratches.

Nothing that a few bangs with some random tools couldn’t produce. Sounds a bit fun doesn’t it?

Second, she decided this desk should have some history. Perhaps it was once a fixture in a factory office or warehouse.

It may have been one of several desks, so it needed identification.

She used a unique method of stenciling a number on the surface to give it this authenticity and further its character. I think it worked… see what you think!

Melody was inspired by the Bedford Desk from Pottery Barn.

Would you pay the price tag for this?

Not when you see that Melody’s version is just as nice, if not, better.

pottery barn bedford desk

To see Melody’s work in progress and more photos of the finished result, head on over to her blog: My Passion for Décor.

Next time you’re at the thrift store and are thinking about buying a desk, check for a pair of old filing cabinets.

You might just end up with one of the coolest desks on the block!

Sharing is Caring!

Mary Gilbert

Sunday 30th of June 2013

I am going to do this for my sons room. I just love this idea. With metal cabinets, it will hold up. Tyvm!!!!


Sunday 30th of June 2013

So glad you were inspired, Mary. Hope you son loves his new desk!


Wednesday 5th of June 2013

Thank you for featuring my desk! You made my day!


Thursday 6th of June 2013

Yay! I love hearing that. :) You are so welcome!

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