Stenciled File Cabinet

I’ve been working on my home office makeover for, oh, over a year now.  To say that it’s slowly coming together is an understatement.  But high five me because I finished one more project on my to-do list the other day– stenciling my file cabinet.


Psst, my home office makeover is finished!  See the big reveal here!

I started with a dull, greenish/tan file cabinet, which I scored for free.

Then I painted it white… and it sat for a year, waiting for more to happen to it.  But recently, the great people at Royal Design Studio got in touch with me and asked if I wanted to review one of their stencils.  The file cabinet was the first thing that popped into my head.  I had been eyeing their Rockin’ Roses Damask Stencil for some time, and I knew it would look great on the file cabinet.  So Rockin’ Roses it was.

The stencil was pretty easy to use.  It probably helped that I was able to roll the file cabinet over so whatever side I was working on was face upward.  I started by taping the stencil in the middle of the the long sides.  Adhesive spray wasn’t necessary with this project.  In addition to the stencil, I used a paper plate covered in foil (super classy and professional), foam roller, and a sample of latex paint (Valspar’s Gravity)– all things I already had on hand.

I used the smaller stencil to finish one end and the large stencil to finish the other end of the tall sides.  The stencil registration system made it easy to match up the pattern.  The large stencil was all I needed for the top of the file cabinet.  

I wanted the handles to stand out a little, so I covered them with painters tape before stenciling.

The stenciling itself didn’t take very long.  I found that the key was using just enough paint.  It’s better to go with too little paint and do a second coat than go with too much paint on the first go.  The most time consuming aspect, for me, was cleaning the stencil.  It may have had something to do with the intricate pattern of the stencil I chose.  Ultimately, I found it best to soak the stencil in hot water with some dish soap and scrub the stencil with the green side of a Scotch Brite sponge.  
Altogether, this project probably took about 3-4 hours (that includes prep, stenciling, cleaning the stencil, clean-up).



I love how the file cabinet turned out.  Now having to file paperwork won’t be as boring because I’ll be looking at this pretty little thing.


Tadah!  A stenciled file cabinet.



Drab to fab!  File cabinet makeover!
Have you used a wall stencil?  What did you stencil?
Do you have a less-than-pretty piece of furniture you’d like to stencil?

I received my wall stencil for free.  I was not compensated to review this product.
As always, all opinions are 100% my own.


  1. Wow! That turned out beautifully! I love it combined with the pink accents.

  2. Now that’s a file cabinet you wouldn’t want to hide! Beautiful job, Chelsea!

  3. Oooooooooo, me like!!

  4. LOVE!!!!

  5. Looks great!

  6. Looks great! I have a black file cabinet, and I never even thought about stenciling it, let alone painting it! What kind of paint did you use??

  7. High five! That looks AWESOME. I love it. I want you to come to my house and infuse it with some Chelsea style. So so pretty.

  8. Ooh, I have a black file cabinet in my closet now that really needs a makeover! Thanks for the inspiration, girl!

  9. Who knew you could make a filing cabinet look so fantastic! Love this!

  10. Oh, it’s SO pretty!!

  11. What an awesome job you did! I love the pink accessories too.

    Thrifty Decor Mom

  12. I love love love it!

  13. That looks awesome! What a great idea!

  14. I have one just like it that I have waiting for a makeover and now I am more inspired than ever to get creative with it! Yours turned out amazing, it looks so chic and fun!


  15. Woah! That looks awesome! It doesn’t even look like a filing cabinet anymore!

  16. Oh that is so very pretty

  17. I love it, I’ve got plans to do that to our filing cabinet just have to change it from a laminated cabinet to a metal one and then try to get a stencil. I’ll have to just order one from America and hope the postage to Australia is good lol.

  18. Absolutely LOVE it! I have an old tan filing cabinet too that I’ve been wanting to spruce up. Thanks for the inspiration!

  19. What a great idea! I love the stencil you chose and that gray is perfect!

  20. I love how it turned out! So pretty and fun to look at and use.

  21. That is so gorgeous! Great job, high five!

    Melissa @ The Alchemist

  22. Gorgeous makeover Chelsea – love how it brought out the soft grey. Beautiful!

  23. File cabinets are not supposed to be this pretty.

    Kelly @ View Along the Way

  24. Awe I love this! Definitely storing this away for when I have a home office

  25. I have been dying to redo my filing cabinet somehow. This gives me HOPE. Ours is so ugly.

    I just asked someone yesterday at work if they had ever painted with stencils before because a friend of mine is painting a nursery tomorrow using stencils. I think I was meant to find your site. : )

  26. Love this makeover Chelsea! You picked a beautiful stencil and the Valspar color is perfect with the other colors in your space! I have a similar filing cabinet that has been waiting forever for a makeover like this one! You’ve inspired me to get my game on and just do it!! I would love it if you would share this at “It’s Party Time” Linky party at my blog here:

    Hope to see you there! Have a fab weekend :) Heather

  27. I looooove it! What a simple transformation with high impact. So pretty!!

  28. What a difference! Yes! I have 2 ugly filing cabinets in our office that are crying out for attention! Thanks for the inspiration.
    Saw you linking at Serenity Now.
    Debbie :)

  29. What a difference! It looks great girl!

  30. This looks so amazing. What a great idea to stencil the file cabinet.

  31. I love how this turned out! You turned an extremely boring item into something gorgeous. I have to say… you ROCK!!

    Jeannine @ The Concrete Cottage

  32. Looks fabulous! I want to try this out…

  33. That’s reallllly pretty!

  34. That is gorgeous!! Thanks for sharing at Create & Inspire!

  35. Love this. How do you think the paint will hold up to wear and tear?

  36. Very cute! I love the romantic, yet simple look of it. Pink and grey are perfect together! =) Have to check out some more of your blog!

  37. Oh goodness, this is too cute. I love the stencil you chose and how the file cabinet turned out. Great job.

  38. What a pretty idea…love it! I would have never thought of such a cute idea.

  39. WOW. this is spectacular. Really beautiful!! It really turned out great.

    I would LOVE for you to link this up at my Ginger Jamboree Link Party!!

  40. This is beautiful. I have a BRIGHT pink cabinet that I need to do this to, and hopefully tone it down a little. ;)

  41. Wonderful- what a transformation! Pinning…

  42. I absolutely LOVE this. I think I want to kidnap my husband’s file cabinet and do this now!

  43. Awesome DIY project. I can not wait to give it a try myself. When you painted the cabinet white, did you spray it?

  44. This turned out so nice! I love the stencil that you chose, too! Thanks for sharing it with us this week!

    Take care,


  45. Have you had any issues with the latex paint peeling off the metal file cabinet?

    • No ma’am. I primed it and painted it with white latex paint (and let it sit for over a year, so there was more than enough curing time) before I stenciled it. I’m letting it sit untouched for a month so the grey paint can cure.

  46. This looks great! I can’t believe your stencil job looks so perfect. I’ll have to re-read this a few hundred times before I pick up my next paintbrush. Love it! Found you from house of hepworths.

  47. Beautiful! I love the gray and white and the rose stencil is so pretty! My filing cabinet is getting a makeover soon as well : )

    Love Always,
    Liz – Love Grows Wild

  48. Beautiful!! Love the girly touches. You’ve given me some inspiration for my home office.
    I work for a vinyl graphics company so I actually had mine wrapped in a floral/paisley design. I will be showing pictures on my blog soon. Who knew filing cabinets could look so cute!

  49. Lori Green says:

    I love it!! I have some craft maid cube shelving in my craft room I would like to do this to. Just wondering if you had any experience painting that cheap laminated board? Thanks!


    Such a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  51. Gorgeous! Where’s the alarm clock from?!

  52. Your file cabinet is beautiful! I’ve been wanting to install a small under desk cabinet in my home office, but didn’t like the plain dull look of the metal shelves. Now THIS is an idea to solve that design dilemma. Thanks for sharing your idea!
    Wendy recently posted..No Wasted Ink Writer’s LinksMy Profile

  53. Saw your project featured on Iheartorganizing. So beautiful! Such a fab way to makeover otherwise boring (but essential!) office furniture.

  54. Where did you get the pink box beside the file cabinet and is it file storage?
    carrie recently posted..$20 Thrift Shop ChallengeMy Profile

  55. Love this! I have a 4 drawer cabinet that is screaming for this sort of thing! It was a $25 purchase from a previous employer of mine who didn’t want to pay shipping to have it brought back from my home office. My Grad School Graduation present to myself is to redo my office and this project is going to be on that list. Love the whole office redo – my creative juices are flowing!
    Dragonfly Diva recently posted..One of the Many Reasons Dogs RuleMy Profile

  56. Michelle says:

    Hi there,

    I love this but i really love your vintage alarm clock, could you please tell me where you got it?


  57. WOW! This is so impressive! Your filing cabinet is absolutely gorgeous!
    Danielle recently posted..Why You Should Rent College TextbooksMy Profile

  58. Thanks for sharing! I’m glad that you posted the website that you got the stencil from! They are great :) You did such a great job on this file cabinet. This DIY is perfect for me. Thanks again! <3

  59. This looks so elegant! I’m usually not good with stencils but I really want to revamp my pld metal file cabinet to look like this. Pinning!
    Kelly Bonanno (@Savvysuburban_) recently posted..6 Simple Ideas for Summer FunMy Profile

  60. Looks lovely! Now I have all kinds of ideas for updating my office cabinets. Thank you! Pinned it :)

    <3 Christina @ I Gotta Create!
    Wildly Original link party is open.
    Christina @ I Gotta Create! recently posted..Wildly Original link party #75My Profile

  61. Absolutely love the results. Thanks for the idea. I may not have to bin my ugly old filing cabinet after all!

  62. Now I know how to rescue my filing cabinet in my art room. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks.

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