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.


Check out more about my home office, including the makeover and a bunch of DIYs, below!

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. says

    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??

  2. says

    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.

  3. says

    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. : )

  4. says

    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

    • says

      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.

  5. says

    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.

  6. says

    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

  7. says

    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!

  8. 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!

  9. says

    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!

  10. says

    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!

  11. Michelle says

    Hi there,

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


  12. Dakota says

    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

  13. Marijke says

    I have a file cabinet just like this one which I also got for free…. what a great idea. Love it !!!

  14. Marijke says

    I have a file cabinet just like this one which I also got for free…. what a great idea. Love it !!!

  15. Theresa Marie says

    Absolutely wonderful! I cannot wait to try this on a cabinet I was about to throw out. Love it!

  16. Sarah F says

    SO CUTE!

    Where did you get the stencil from? I am currently working on a project and that pattern is perfect for it

  17. says

    I love what you did to the file cabinet, and Ys! I love the stencil. I actually purchased it from RD, it cost me BIG $80. My husband thought I was crazy, but I had so much fun with that design :)

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