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Trend Alert: 12 Unexpected Uses for File Cabinets

Alastair Hendy Kitchen File Cabinet Utensils

Vintage file cabinets come in the oddest dimensions: flat files are short and wide, card files are skinny and stacked tall. That explains why they offer perfect storage solutions in small or awkward spaces. Here are 12 examples of file cabinets put to inspired use in every room but the office.

A single, narrow file cabinet occupies the under-stairs space in the kitchen of chef and shop owner Alastair Hendy. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista. See the full setup, scullery included, in our post Revolution Road: A Ground-Breaking Kitchen in London.
Above: A single, narrow file cabinet occupies the under-stairs space in the kitchen of chef and shop owner Alastair Hendy. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista. See the full setup, scullery included, in our post Revolution Road: A Ground-Breaking Kitchen in London.
Hendy stores an eclectic mix of vintage flatware in one of the drawers.
Above: Hendy stores an eclectic mix of vintage flatware in one of the drawers.
Graphic designer Jordan Carlson uses a vintage low file cabinet as a coffee table in her Williamsburg railroad apartment featured on Design Sponge.
Above: Graphic designer Jordan Carlson uses a vintage low file cabinet as a coffee table in her Williamsburg railroad apartment featured on Design Sponge.
Stockholm shop owner and stylist Lotta Agaton created a daybed from a pair of flat files. Photograph by Pia Ulin for Lotta Agaton; seen on Emma’s Design Blogg.
Above: Stockholm shop owner and stylist Lotta Agaton created a daybed from a pair of flat files. Photograph by Pia Ulin for Lotta Agaton; seen on Emma’s Design Blogg.
Metal cabinets in the bedroom of Danish designer Birgitte Rabens are used as a dresser. Photograph by Raul Candales for Elle Decor Spain.
Above: Metal cabinets in the bedroom of Danish designer Birgitte Rabens are used as a dresser. Photograph by Raul Candales for Elle Decor Spain.
Designed by Maurice Padovini, the Prado Residence in Marseilles has a vintage filing cabinet in the living room that serves as a bookshelf.
Above: Designed by Maurice Padovini, the Prado Residence in Marseilles has a vintage filing cabinet in the living room that serves as a bookshelf.
File cabinets at the foot of the bed form an extension to a custom-built wooden frame made by Greg and Grey, owners of Portland, Oregon, shop Antler & Co.Photograph via Design Sponge.
Above: File cabinets at the foot of the bed form an extension to a custom-built wooden frame made by Greg and Grey, owners of Portland, Oregon, shop Antler & Co.Photograph via Design Sponge.
 Two filing cabinets are put to use in a living room photographed for sofa slipcover company Bemz: one cabinet functions as standard storage and the other serves as a coffee table. For more on Bemz, see our post Instant Ikea Upgrade.
Above: Two filing cabinets are put to use in a living room photographed for sofa slipcover company Bemz: one cabinet functions as standard storage and the other serves as a coffee table. For more on Bemz, see our post Instant Ikea Upgrade.
A glamorous bathroom mixes a feminine chandelier with industrial cabinets used for storage. Photograph from Living Etc. seen on Lovenordic Design.
Above: A glamorous bathroom mixes a feminine chandelier with industrial cabinets used for storage. Photograph from Living Etc. seen on Lovenordic Design.
In a small bedroom, a white filing cabinet works as a headboard/bedside table. Photograph via Hananaa.
Above: In a small bedroom, a white filing cabinet works as a headboard/bedside table. Photograph via Hananaa.
Pale wood flat files are turned into a child’s daybed in a Swedish house. Photograph by Kristofer Johnsson via Hitta Hem.
Above: Pale wood flat files are turned into a child’s daybed in a Swedish house. Photograph by Kristofer Johnsson via Hitta Hem.
A dresser drawer made from dark wood flat files. Photograph by Emma Mitchell seen on Desire to Inspire.
Above: A dresser drawer made from dark wood flat files. Photograph by Emma Mitchell seen on Desire to Inspire.
In a Philadelphia loft designed by Qb3, a row of white flat files serves as central storage. For more on the project, see Strategic Storage in a Minimalist Loft.
Above: In a Philadelphia loft designed by Qb3, a row of white flat files serves as central storage. For more on the project, see Strategic Storage in a Minimalist Loft.

N.B.: This post is an update; it was first published June 2014.

To see some nice-looking vintage file cabinets, go to Justine’s post on French Industry at No. 40 in Copenhagen. Tight on space? Go to Storage & Organization for more ideas.

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