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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.

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    1. What kind of paint did you use when you painted it white?

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

  2. 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??

  3. 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.

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

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

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

    Thrifty Decor Mom

  7. 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!


  8. 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.

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

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

  11. 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. : )

  12. 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: http://www.settingforfour.com/2012/10/ive-got-big-announcement-today.html

    Hope to see you there! Have a fab weekend 🙂 Heather

  13. 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 🙂

  14. 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

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

  16. 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!

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

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

  19. Wonderful- what a transformation! Pinning…

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

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

    1. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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

  24. 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!

  25. 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!

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

  27. 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!

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

  29. Where did you get the pink box beside the file cabinet and is it file storage?

  30. 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!

  31. Hi there,

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


  32. WOW! This is so impressive! Your filing cabinet is absolutely gorgeous!

  33. 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

  34. 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.

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

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

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

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

  39. Theresa Marie says:

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

  40. SO CUTE!

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

  41. 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 🙂

  42. Rachalle Liedy says:

    How did you get the stencil for free?

    1. It wasn’t free. Companies send bloggers products in return for reviews and giveaways. So in essence, I was paid in product.

  43. We have some horrendous looking old filing cabinets at work and I’m threatening to give them a makeover, I’m interested to know what paint worked, and how well it stands up to wear and tear. It looks so pretty, I know my colleagues would appreciate looking at a bank of pretty cabinets instead of the awful mix of grey and beige we have now!

  44. I love this! So pretty! Now if only my boss would let me do this in my office 😉

  45. Love it! What a darling way to make a rather boring necessity into something absolutely adorable! Thank you so much Chelsea for sharing at SYS and wishing you a very happy and healthy new year!

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