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Have any of you ever refurbished a filing cabinet?

I did two after our last move - one with spray paint (disaster) and one with brush-on paint (slightly less disaster). The spray paint was patchy and uneven, and wouldn’t cover places where the cabinet was slightly rusted. The brush-on paint was much clearer, but there were some spots with no visible rust where rust rose to the surface of the paint, and I ended up having to cover the drawers in contact paper. I liked the look of it, but it wasn’t the original plan. And then the hardware wouldn’t go back on the drawers properly, so one of the drawers is still slightly broken. Both made a horrible mess in the garage of our rental home in spite of my best efforts to keep the paint mess to a minimum. (Note: I try very hard to be careful but I am rarely successful.)

My husband is unpacking and moving into his office, which has me in the spirit of making things nicer. My office bookshelves are old and pretty beaten up, but I’ve distracted from it with a fairly loud color palette and whimsical wall art, and by snagged the second coolest vintage tanker desk in the building. It’s mint green and I will try to steal it if I leave the job. I also have two beaten up filing cabinets in mismatched utilitarian colors - beige and green. There are only two sides showing, but they do not fit the palette and are kind of wrecking my aesthetic. They are also very heavy, and located in the basement at work, so getting them to a painting location would be an ordeal.

Colored duct tape might be cleaner and easier than the paint? The trouble is that the filing cabinets belong to the school and they might not appreciate my sense of style and I don’t think the tape will come off. I also worry a bit about the hardware fiasco.

I also toyed with a floral button collage, sort of in the vein of that Frida Kahlo collage that’s been floating around.

Found on Pinterest, credited to Jane Perkins

I’m obviously not that talented, but I could do the ambiguous color blobs in the background, and probably make some flowers. Then again, I dunno how much my boss and/or successors would appreciate my button art. Or where I’d get 9,000 buttons.

Suck it up and deal with ugly?

Pinterest’s Top 10 are all much more involved projects than I think I really want to do. Thoughts?

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