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BEFORE & AFTERs: My Pretty Pink File Cabinets!

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I’m not a “girly-girl,” but for some reason, I love girly rooms. Feminine rooms with pinks and purples and prettiness (have you seen my laundry room makeover?). I think it all stems from when I was a little girl; even though I was a tomboy, I wanted a pretty bedroom but never got one. And now, as an adult, I keep trying to recreate a childhood room I never had. Slightly weird, but hey–at least I’m ‘fessing up to it. And I’m even showing you a picture of that little tomboy.

It’s January and I’m trying to get organized in my new home office in my cluttered basement  for my 30-Day Junk-Free January Room Challenge. Here’s what I’ve been able to pull together so far!

My Pretty Thrifted Scrapbooking Cabinets

I picked both of them up eons ago at a salvage shop for $20. I couldn’t believe the find! I mean, they were ugly, but we creative people see the beauty in dirt. And we see a hot deal! File cabinets like this can easily set you back a couple ‘hunnet (that’s $200 for those that don’t speak ebonics, LOL).

I couldn’t lug them in my car quickly enough, but ended up leaving them (where else?? LOL) in my garage and basement for at least 18 months. No kiddin’.


file cabinets - BEFORE

Sometime last year I thought I was going to paint them blue and couldn’t decide on the shade (thus the crazy hot mess you see below), and ended up abandoning the project. Isn’t DIY always like that? I think the reason we leave projects unfinished is because we lose our inspiration. The project doesn’t “speak” to us and we just STOP.

(Heads up!! February’s Challenge here at Thrift Diving is going to be the 28-Day “Finish It Up” Challenge where we tackle 5-10 unfinished projects. Sign up HERE)!


Yeah…the blue just wasn’t workin’ for me.

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But I loved the idea of pink, though! I couldn’t wait to see how pretty they were going to look!

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I’ll be using them in my new basement office for my 30-Day Junk Free January Room Challenge, which I’m deeming the new “Thrift Diving Headquarters.”

To mark my new territory, I even stenciled my logo on the wall! (More on that in another post).


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Mixing the Perfect Pink

Do you know how hard it was to find the perfect pink to match my logo?! Impossible, actually.

I ended up mixing Annie Sloan red and a vintage white together to get the perfect shade of magenta.

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The handles were gross!

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…so I used silver spray paint. I wanted to use silver Rub ‘n Buff which is easier to use, but I didn’t have any on hand. And since losing my job, I am getting creative about trying to use whatever materials I DO have instead of going out to buy NEW ones!

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I hate using spray paint, though! It’s messy, stinky, and the over-spray has ruined too many projects for me to count. So instead of spraying the handles, I just sprayed a bunch of it into an old plastic cup and collected about 1/4 a teaspoon of paint, like this:

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It was just enough to dip in a small paint brush and just paint it on the handles.  Worked just find for me and eliminated the spray paint mess!


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I missed a few spots on the handle, but hey–I’m not perfect, and no one is going to see it if I don’t point it out, right? 🙂

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But It Doesn’t Stop There…More Thrifted File Cabinets!

I desperately needed a new desk for my new basement office! I’m always fighting for space on my cluttered blogging desk (the ombre painted one I found next to the dumpster). I wanted something big and with tons more storage to help make organizing my paperwork and files easier.

I kept seeing DIY desks with file cabinets.  That’s what I needed!!

My thrift store and I have this magical relationship where “I THINK IT”and “THEY DELIVER” exactly what I need. 🙂

And once again, they didn’t fail me:

Filing Cabinets at the thrift store

Unfortunately they weren’t matching, but I didn’t think it was a problem. For a measly $6.99 each, I could get creative to make it work!

Finding the Top

We stopped by a salvage shop, and I found this awesome top for–GASP!!!–$1.76! That’s not a typo. It really was just $1.76.

And that baby was HEAVY!

For $17.00 this was a a sweet deal, despite the slight irregularities (which can be fixed with a small piece of wood to level them out evenly).

1-thrifted desk - BEFORE

Deep Cleaning the File Cabinets

I’m notorious for lugging home dirty furniture from the thrift store. These cabinets had some deep down gunk and dirt that needed more than a wet paper towel! So I pulled out my awesome HomeRight Steam Machine (which just happens to be one of the prizes for my 30-Day Junk-Free January challenge!) and got to work. (Note: You can buy the Steam Machine on HomeRight.com and on Amazon.com, but it’s slightly cheaper on Amazon).

(NOTE: See the full video tutorial I did on all the clever ways you can use the HomeRight Steam Machine!)

HomeRight Steam Machine

They were filthy! No way I can get organized with dirt like this lurking in the belly of these cabinets….

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All clean now!

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The tan one was just as nasty!

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You can see how the Steam Machine cut through the grime?! That’s a lot of hot steam!

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Watch my video to see the Steam Machine blast through the dirt and get my new file cabinets super clean!


I’d like to say I’m done with my office, but I’m not.

I’d like to say I totally love the Annie Sloan Antoinette I used on the cabinets, but I’m not sure about it yet. The florescent lights in the basement gives the pink a more washed out, faded look. So when I do my final office reveal, they may very well be a different shade of pink or another shade altogether!

However, it’s a HUGE improvement! But it just doesn’t have that “kick” yet. Let’s see what I can pull off before the challenge ends.

(P.S. This $20 thrifted chair is getting reupholstered next!).

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The top for the desk painted in Annie Sloan Cream. I wasn’t keen on Cream, but again, I’m trying to use what paint I’ve got instead of spending $38 on another color I’ve run out of. I’m still working on the office (I have 4 more days until the challenge ends!!). Wish me luck!

I can’t wait to hang my big DIY whiteboard (see the tutorial to make your own).  I’m finding that blogging has become even more busy, with tight deadlines, since leaving my day job! I need a way to get organized and track everything.

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1-thrifted desk - BEFORE


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Basement Office – IN PROGRESS

I haven’t fixed the top yet to even our the irregularities, but I will.

And the kitchen cart will hold my printer and will be painted (possibly orange). Just trying to work out the color scheme in my head!

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So what do you think? Any suggestions on colors for the desk cabinets? And do you think I can pull this whole basement together in just 4 more days??!! EEK!



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  1. Looks great Serena. You really seem to be enjoying your new life – you go girl!!

  2. NICE!!! My office/scraproom needs such a makeover, you have no idea!! Your’s looks great!

  3. Serena, you are amazing! I love those little cabinets, and pink makes them perfect. File cabinet desks have been my husbands go to for so long. He just never wants them painted so…yuck. Lol. I’m with Tootsie in thinking they’d look great a turquoisy/blue green color. No playing around for you for the next few days…work, work, work! You got this!

  4. Serena, those pink file cabinets are hot, hot, hot! I know what I’ll be looking for next time I hit the thrift.

    <3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting

  5. tootsie meece says:

    Such an inspiration! Me, i’d paint the cabinets a bright turquoise. It would sure pop with the magenta dont you think? Keep up the awesome work!

  6. Wow,I absolutely Love the pink makeover of the file cases…..awesome job!

  7. Oh, yes! We have that same HomeRight Steamer. We used it to remove wallpaper, and it worked really well. Now I use it to clean my bathrooms and kitchen — love all the attachments that it comes with – heck I can even use it to steam out the wrinkles in my clothes! Definitely worth every penny we paid for it (I think we bought it off of Amazon). And I like the pink cabinets, I think they will look nice with the cream desk top and grey rugs. I hope the next four days of finishing your basement makeover go over smoothly 🙂 Looking forward to all the “afters”!

    1. Yes, isn’t the cleaner awesome?? It’s really the only thing that works on my toilets!!!

  8. Well done! Great job as always!
    Have you considered orange for your cabinets? It always brightens any area, it’s a mood lifting colour and it’s in your logo too. Just a thought, good luck.

    1. Hey Michelle! I thought about orange, but then I realize I just want PINK, PINK, and more pink! LOL. I’ve got some orange worked into other areas. So we’ll see how well it coordinates and ties everything together! Thank you!

  9. You manage to make pretty out of darn near everything!!
    I do NOT have the vision that you do for things, your projects always blow me away!

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