Organization and visual style aren’t separate disciplines. File your papers in style with original filing cabinet ideas and alternatives.
I used to work for a commercial leasing company. I was responsible for scanning, saving and filing every new contract and every additional document to old contracts. I was young and a student. The work was easy and left me with plenty of mental space to think about my next blog post or my next party. (Okay. I was 19. I was thinking about partying a lot.)
For safety reasons, the company used big, ugly, black fireproof filing cabinets. Only my boss and I knew where the keys were. I opened and closed these cabinets dozens of times every day. The drawers were heavy, surrounded by a thick layer of black metal. For fire-proofing, I suppose.
Filing cabinets are ugly
By their functional nature, filing cabinets are ugly. They’re available in a limited number of colors (manila, manila, manila, black), are made of shiny metal and make lots of noise when you open and close them.
But what if there was another solution to this mass-produced ugliness? What if you could organize all your files and documents in ways that not only keep everything under control, but also adds flair to your office decor? Yes, it’s possible!
Just paint it
If your budget is tight, getting a boring old metal file cabinet might be the only thing you can afford. But add a few extra bucks for some metal-friendly paint, and you can at least turn black or (sigh!) manila into gorgeous, eye-popping colors.
A bright yellow filing cabinet is a great complement to the black and white chairs. Although this is actually in a living room, you can easily imagine it in a creative office.
Speaking of creative, remember that orange is the color associated with creativity:
As far as I know, this filing cabinet was found as-is by the owner. However, it’s everything but boring: bright orange on a black background, with plenty of colorful accessories on top. (The chalk paint is the best idea ever for an office. I must do this.) That’s the way to turn a boring filing cabinet into a statement piece!
Another great idea is to hide (or at least cover a bit) your filing cabinet with something more visually pleasant. You will need to get it custom-made for the dimensions of your cabinet, but it will save you the money you could spend on a more design-conscious cabinet.
If you’re handy and comfortable with woodwork, making a table cover for your filing cabinet should be a breeze. This homeowner added a few narrow shelves for extra filing space, too.
For those getting custom shelves and cabinets, consider adding a few filing drawers to the mix:
I love how the filing section is accessible but inconspicuous when closed. It’s simply part of the whole look.
Use the unexpected
When I found this photo, I was amazed and how clever and creative this filing solution is.
No, really. Old suitcases as filing drawers. How amazingly clever! It has plenty of vintage style and is easily portable. If only I had a bunch of vintage suitcases and a gorgeous chest of drawers–sans drawers–to slide them in…
On a simpler note, you can get a bunch of baskets on sale and fit them neatly in square spaces:
This setup makes filing much more attractive, clean, and easily adapted to your circumstances.
Another great trend I’ve noticed with filing is going with vintage filing ideas, like this card filing cabinet:
If you’re going to stock small things like restaurant and shopping bills, this is perfect. You could also use it for keeping your notecards for your next novel!
And what flair would your office have with this gorgeous vintage cabinet!
I love the natural wood shades, the decor accessories on top, and the three small drawers at the top. Simply beautiful.
Filing doesn’t mean boring
I tend to conflate “filing” with “boring”, because that’s what my experience has taught me. But these amazing filing ideas just may be enough to change my mind.
How about you?