Library Card Cabinet Upcycle

Whada you do when you come across something you really love?

Something for your home that you know there is no practical place or use for?

Do you buy it just because?

Just because you might never come across one again? Just because it was a really good price? Just because your mother’s sister’s second cousin Mavis had one just like it? Just because you could remove that, paint this, add some of these and turn it into an umbrella stand?

Well, a while ago I bought this old library card cabinetI bought ‘just because’.

It sat in my junk room serving absolutely no purpose for about a year until the arrival of Charlotte saw my junk room (which was the temporary home for many of my ‘just because’ items) become a nursery.

So, with our shortage of storage space made even shorter it was finally time to let some things go, starting with my card drawer cabinet.

Before selling it though I decided a mini makeover was in order.

Rather than paint over the character-filled timber I simply gave it a good all over clean and oil (just with furniture polish) to retain and enhance the original patina.

I also attached some solid metal castor wheels (as I had always originally intended). Along with the advantage of mobility the wheels also add enough height to give the cabinet perfect proportions for a coffee or deep side table.

I could only find silver steel castors which looked too modern paired with the old cabinet so I tinted them black to resemble cast iron.
Here’s a little trick; rather than use spray paint (which easily chips off smooth metal) I coloured the wheels with a black permanent marker! It sounds time-consuming though it was actually really quick and so far has held up great. Whilst I imagine it will likely fade a little over time where the wheels roll it will probably look nicely worn rather than just plain chipped.

So, mini refresh complete, I re-arranged my living room a bit to plonk the cabinet beside my leather couch to take some photos for the eBay listing and….

….I’m kinda loving it!

Luke even made the rare comment that he also liked it!

Did I say we have a shortage of storage space and it was time to let some things go? Well, maybe not this…for now anyway.

Hmmm, perhaps I should stop buying stuff ‘just because’.

  1. Kim says:

    Love, love, love it!!! So glad you didn’t part with it. You SO would have regretted it. How many times have I had something sitting in storage and then a lightbulb suddenly on and I’m so happy to have it. It’s why I’m a borderline hoarder!

  2. that is awesome kristine! i also love the other piece you posted today that has chunky casters! they are both so industrially amazing!

  3. Katie says:

    Should be a picture in Pottery Barn! Fantastic job!

    Creatively Living Outside the Box

  4. Jamie says:

    this is amazing! I’m usually not a huge fan of castors, but you made the whole thing look so chic!!!

  5. This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime finds that you would have kicked yourself for not buying … even if it DID end up sitting around gathering dust for what probably seemed like forever. I thoroughly believe that we should buy what we love, and the perfect place/use will come. I love how it looks beside your couch.

  6. Jamie says:

    Why can I NEVER find stuff this cool. I WANT one. Love how you put wheels on it. Amazing idea. And it adds SOOOO much storage. I love your blog. I’m your newest follower.
    Would love to see you DIY Home Sweet home.

    P.S. More the Merrier Monday ends tonight. Stop by and link up if you have not already.

  7. fromgentogen says:

    I want one!!! Thank you for sharing!
    Blessings, Becky

  8. Megan says:

    Gorgeous, Gorgeous, Gorgeous. Absolutely love it.



  9. ADORABLE! LOve it!
    STacey of Embracing Change

  10. Theresa says:

    That is fabulous! I know what you mean about finding something that you just have to have but that new side table of yours is definitely a keeper! t.xoxoxoxo

  11. This is so awesome that I featured it at my Hookin Up with HoH Party!

    Feel free to stop by and grab a button if you’d like!


    Allison @ House of Hepworths

  12. Mandy says:

    love it! i soooooo want one too! ;)

  13. Christine says:

    Oh my goodness!!!! I LOVE IT!!

  14. Oh my gosh this is the best thing I have ever seen in my entire life, I want it! WOW. I love to read and how cool would this be sitting in my living room?!?! Thanks for sharing. Now i’ll be hunting for an old library card catalog!! :)

  15. I LOVE IT! Thanks for linking to Wicked Awesome Wednesday!

  16. Oh.My.Goodness. I love this so much! I’m glad you decided to keep it because it looks absolutely fantastic next to your couch!

    Take care,

  17. LOVE THIS! :)

  18. How clever to put the wheels on it. Love your blog! I’m following.


  19. OAK House 5. says:

    Amazing transformation! I love the industrial wheels. Well done!

  20. Ruth says:

    I love the cabinet. One of these is on my dream wish list, so I definitely would have bought it, too. We are always short on space here but I would find a place. The castors look terrific with the permanent marker. Such a genius idea. This is my first time to your blog. I love it. Such beautiful things. I came over from Furniture Feature Friday.

  21. mia says:

    You should NEVER get rid of this piece! It is so unique, and not everyone has one! My vote is that you don’t ever stop buying things just because, I won’t either!

  22. Keep this piece! You love it, it’s beautiful and like everyone else has said, very unique. I won’t EVER stop buying things ‘just because.’ It’s the thrill of the hunt, the restoration and end result that we all love, right? ;) Thanks for sharing this with us! Following you now!

  23. Kayla Retich says:

    So beautiful. Just need to find a library catalog. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Absolutely beautiful :) Thanks for joining us at Creative Bloggers’ Party & Hop.

  25. Very cool. Following you :)

  26. Leanne says:

    This card cabinet is gorgeous. I love how you’ve restored it and turned it into a beautiful piece. Thanks for linking to the Home Decor and Organizing Link Party. I’m featuring this on my blog.

  27. Q @ JAQS says:

    Thank you for posting your project at “Made by Me” JAQS linky party :)

    I featured your awesome project today!

  28. I absolutely LOVE this! I’m on the lookout for an apothecary cabinet or something similar like this. :-)

  29. Rachael says:

    so love it!

  30. Sophia's says:

    This is so beautiful. I found you through Miss Mustard Seed and I’m in love with your style!

    I’ll be following along.

    Sophia’s – Live Beautifully

  31. Marci says:

    It’s beautiful. I could think of a million places a perfect little table like that could go. Multifunction pieces are always a keeper.

  32. Dont sell it

  33. aarond says:

    This little cabinet is awesome. I would have bought it too. Love the handles and rollers. You did a good job with this one.

  34. Rachel says:

    I love this look and have the opportunity to buy a similar cabinet. I was wondering what your cabinet dimensions were prior to the castors? My mind keeps telling me what I’ve found is technically too small 16x16x16. But I love it and I really want to find a way to make it work. Yours appears to be shorter than the average 24″ height side table. Does it work well?? Thanks!

  35. Found your blog on Pinterest via your amazing ikea/card catalog hack…Then saw THIS amazing card catalog cabinet! I’ve been coveting one of these for awhile! LOOVE how you used it, also, LOOOVE the old fan! I’m your newest follower!


  36. Noreen says:

    I don’t know how you could ever let it go now! I would love to find one of those old library units! Love the wheels!

  37. Amanda S says:

    Kristine help…… Where did you get those casters from? I’m in Melbourne and I’m not sure where to buy them. I love all of your items in your home. I would love to find such beautiful items. :)

  38. Amanda
    They are just from Bunnings. As mentioned in the post, they were silver so I painted them black.

  39. Amanda S says:

    Thanks so much Kristine you are a life saver! I wouldn’t have bothered with bunnings! Guess where I’m going tomorrow. I am so glad I have found your blog and more importantly you are from Melbourne! Yay! I absolutely love your style and what you have done. I have a completely blank slate and I’m not sure where to start. Maybe I might inbox you for your help :) thanks again

  40. Hi Amanda
    You can always email me for a brainstorm session or for help with local resources. I spend waaay too much time treasure hunting for places to buy awesome affordable homey things.

  41. Brooke says:

    Where dd you get the handles or are they original to the piece?

    • The Painted Hive says:

      Hi Brooke
      Yep, the handles were already there. Sorry I can’t help.

  42. Cheri Mello says:

    VERY cute! I love it!

  43. Cindy says:

    Where did you find the casters?

    • Hi Cindy. I’m not sure where you are based though I bought the casters from Bunnings Hardware (Australia). They should be available from most major hardware stores.

  44. Claudia says:

    I love the wheels on this piece, mostly because I also have a library card catalog in my possession. I worked for many years as a school media specialist at an elementary school. There were two card catalogs left from the olden times. When I left I asked permission to take the two pieces as a parting gift, as they were not used and were just taking up space and gathering dust. As I was packing, my media clerk asked if she could take the smaller one. The piece I kept for me is a very similar color to yours. Instead of key holes it has metal handles with a space to put in a name or alphabet. It is three drawers wide x four drawers tall. It’s sitting on the floor of my office/craft room at the moment filled with pens, pencils, crayons, paints, markers, etc., etc. Tomorrow I’ll be on my way to the hardware store to purchase some wheels. Thanks for the brilliant idea! Claudia/West Lafayette, IN, USA

    • Oh Claudia. What a special and sentimental piece for you to possess!
      Glad my addition of some simple industrial wheels has helped inspire you.

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