From Modern to Farmhouse | A File Cabinet Hack

Metal Filing Cabinet Makeover

For the past four or so years, all of Charlotte’s craft supplies have lived in a big plastic tub on the top shelf in her wardrobe.

Aside from the fact her room has limited storage space which means we can’t be too picky about where things are housed, they were stowed away somewhat out of reach so that I could be the one in charge of when and where crafting would take place – I think we all know, or can imagine, just how prudent three year olds are with paint and glitter!

Though with Charlotte maturing, starting school and showing a growing interest in all things craft, it was clear she needed her supplies closer at hand.

Enter this little file cabinet

File Drawers Before

To be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to fit any more furniture in Charlotte’s teensy room though when I saw this sweet cabinet at Officeworks it seemed just right. It’s nice and compact yet still bursting with storage space. Seriously, this thing is like Mary Poppin’s handbag! I even made my sister, who also has a tiny house, go out and buy one too and she was equally as impressed by its TARDIS-like qualities!

Of course, me being me, I couldn’t leave well enough alone so decided to give it a little makeover. I know that altering a brand new piece of furniture may seem weird though the glossy black finish teamed with the shiny silver handles was just a tad too harsh and modern for Charlotte’s cottage style room. So, this is what I did…

Step 1


Using course grit sandpaper I thoroughly scuffed the entire cabinet. This gives the surface “tooth” which allows new paint to adhere well.

Now, I could have stopped here as sanding does create a nice distressed look, though it was just a tad too “scratchy” for my liking. Plus, it was difficult to get around the handles evenly so the distressing looked a little unnatural and linear in some areas.

Sanded File Cabinet

Note: I chose not to remove the handles because they are riveted on. Removing them would have meant breaking the rivets and probably having to replace the handles. For ease and the sake of ‘making the most’, I decided to keep them.

Step 2


To remove any residual dust or grime I thoroughly wiped down each surface using isopropyl alcohol.

I’ve used isopropyl alcohol to clean metal prior to spray painting in the past and find it helps provide a fantastic, long-lasting bond.

Step 3


I gave the entire cabinet two – three light coats of chalkboard spray paint.

Ordinarily I would have removed the drawers though this time around I decided to keep them in place. And it worked really well! To keep the finish consistent I did pull each drawer out, just to the end of the inner lip, and spray painted around all the edges.

As soon as the cabinet was coated with the chalkboard paint I knew it was going to look cool when finished. Phew! It instantly lost its modern edge and became all vintage-y.

File Cabinet After Paint

I love the matte finish with that slight graphite note.

Step 4


To finish, I lightly rubbed the entire cabinet with chalk before dusting it off again. This creates that soft, multi-tonal look you see on old chalkboards. It’s wonderfully textural and grungy and the gentle grey is a great neutral.

Oh, and don’t worry, it’s not dusty or anything to touch. The texture in the chalkboard paint holds the residual chalk dust in place.


Modern Metal to Farmhouse Fab File Cabinet Makeover

Seriously, that’s it! And I’m so in love with this easy transformation!

To complete things I added some aged paper labels to the handles.

File Cabinet Label Holders

The cabinet came with generic plastic castors which I chose not to attach. I contemplated adding vintage wheels instead though decided I quite like it sitting flush on the floor. Plus, it doesn’t need to be moved around so wheels aren’t really required anyways.

Farmhouse Style Cabinet Redo

As mentioned above, the chalkboard paint knocked-back the modernity of the glossy metal beautifully and now the cabinet suits the overall vintage scheme of Charlotte’s room perfectly.

Farmhouse Style Filing Cabinet Redo

I was unsure how the handles would look being painted to match the cabinet itself. I thought they might get a little lost however the labels provide just the right accent.

Here’s a close-up pic to show the texture and variation of the chalkboard paint…

Chalkboard Paint Texture

So yum!

As with all of the projects I complete for Charlotte’s room, this one was tricky to photograph due to the tightness of the space. No jokes, at one stage I was being harassed by dangling dresses as I stood inside the wardrobe to take some of the pics! The things we I do.

Filing Cabinet Makeover

I actually have a matching cabinet with five small drawers which I plan to sit on top of this one. It will house Charlotte’s Lego and create a nice tall bank of drawers. Unfortunately, it will be too tall to sit beneath the lowest wall shelf so I have to move them all over a bit. It’s not a hard job though I keep putting it off.

When I do work up the motivation it will be the final project before this room is complete. Yay! Can’t wait to share the full reveal.


From Modern to Farmhouse | Filing Cabinet Makeover using Chalkboard Paint

Easy DIY Ruler Drawer Pulls

I’ve been meaning to add handles to Charlotte’s under-bed toy boxes for a while now.

Easy DIY Vintage Style Ruler Pulls

At first I was going to use some simple metal pulls.

Though that seemed a little bit boring.

Then I was going to DIY some leather strap handles.

Though that felt a tad too mature.

Then I was going to re-purpose some old wooden folding rulers.

Though the brown of the rulers would have been lost against the brown of the toy boxes.

Then I had an idea. This is it…

I’m sure some of you will wonder why I didn’t just use real vintage rulers. For a different project I probably could have, and may do in the future, though in this case I have a few reasons; 1) as mentioned briefly above, most vintage rulers have a natural wood finish which would have been lost against the brown of the toy boxes, 2) if I had painted some wooden rulers a lighter colour I would also have painted over their markings which kinda goes against the point, 3) vintage rulers can be expensive – and these drawers are under a bed most of the time!, 4) due to the size and weight of my toy boxes I would have needed to brace the rulers with something to make them more sturdy, 5) I tried to find some nice-looking new white rulers which I could “age” myself though they were all really expensive and too flimsy, and 6) finally, I just thought this would be a fun and original project to try and share…plus I got to create something completely custom for a great price and in no time at all!


DIY Ruler Pull Supplies

I used a scrap piece of trim I already had. It was 34mm (1.3″) wide x 10mm (.4″) deep. Of course you can use anything appropriately sized.

Note: See below for further information about how the dimensions of your length of wood may impact on using the ruler graphic I have provided.

I made this from scratch in Photoshop. You can make your own too or simply use mine. For your convenience, I have created four different ruler graphics in two different lengths and widths. Simply choose the one which best suits your needs. There is a download button towards the end of this post.

Note: Depending on the dimensions of the length of wood you select, you may need to make some slight adjustments to my ruler graphic in order to get it to fit nicely. You can do this by opening my file in an image editing program (such as Photoshop) or a desktop publishing program (such as Word) and altering the scale as required. Of course, this might mean the ruler dimensions are no longer accurate though they’re only be used for cosmetic purposes anyway.

Regular copy paper is fine.

To seal the printer ink.

I used Mod Podge because that’s what I had in the cupboard.

I simply used the decoupage medium (Mod Podge) again which I diluted slightly with water. Saves having to buy or use a new product. You can use any clear sealer, or, like me, you can simply use your decoupage medium/glue. I prefer to use a brush-on-sealer, rather than a spray, because I feel it provides better coverage, especially for any paper edges or joins.

To provide the “arms” of the handle. You can use whatever you like, as long as the proportions are right. Plastic beads, rubber stoppers, wooden dowels, toothpaste caps! I used some sweet little cotton spools which I found here on Etsy.

To attach the handle to your item. Again, you can use whatever you like. I sourced some fancy brass carriage bolts because they have neat dome heads which provide a nice professional-looking finish (I didn’t want standard heads with visible screwdriver indentations). You can use regular bolts and conceal the heads with screw caps for a similar look. Or you can use decorative nuts.

Note: I spent ages hunting for pretty screws or nuts for this project. Here in Australia you’re very unlikely to find attractive/decorative fasteners at the hardware store! If you’re happy with a slightly industrial look then you can use standard screws or bolts. If, like me, you’d like a more refined finish then you will probably need to source something online.








Step 1

STEP 1 Trim wood.

Decide how long you’d like your handle to be then trim your wood to length (if you’re using one of my ruler graphics ensure you cut the wood to fit). As my toy boxes are quite substantial I made my pulls relatively long at around 26cm (10″). To trim the wood I simply mounted it in a vice then cut it using a handsaw. It was really quick and easy. Of course, you could also use a drop saw.

Step 2

STEP 2 Sand wood.

If necessary, give your piece of wood a good sand to smooth any roughness and remove splinters. I also rounded my corners and edges slightly to give the appearance of wear.

Step 3

STEP 3 Print graphic.

Print the ruler graphic onto regular copy paper. I just used my domestic inkjet printer.

Step 4

STEP 4 Seal graphic.

Mist the printed graphic with a few light coats of clear sealer then allow to dry. This simply protects the ink and saves it from bleeding or running too much when it becomes damp during steps 6 and 8.

Note: Did you notice the extra “wear” on my graphic in this pic. To add character and make the rulers look a bit more distressed, I splashed them randomly with some water prior to sealing them. This is entirely optional.

Step 5

STEP 5 Cut out graphic.

Neatly trim around the ruler image.

Step 6

STEP 6 Attach graphic to wood.

There are a few different ways to go about decoupaging the ruler onto the wood though I’ve outlined my process below…

Decoupaging Steps

A Brush some glue onto the face of the wood, position the graphic in place then smooth it down.

B Flip the piece of wood over and make a straight cut at each corner.

C Brush some glue along each long length, fold up the sides and press them into place.

D Brush some glue along one end and fold both side flaps in. Repeat at the other end.

E Brush some glue on top of the folded-in side flaps and fold the final flap up. Press everything down firmly.

F Apply more glue as required then fold and press the remaining paper down as needed, wrapping it around and smoothing the corners.

G Done!

Don’t worry if things look a bit messy or unprofessional at this stage. As the glue dries any bubbles should dissipate and other imperfections (such as folds, joins or crinkles) will be addressed in the following few steps.

Step 7

STEP 7 Sand.

Once the glue is completely dry, to disguise any paper joins, creases or bumps, carefully sand as needed. I used fine grit paper to distress the corners and edges slightly.

DIY Vintage Ruler Pulls

Although it won’t be seen I also sanded the excess paper from the rear of the pull for a nice, neat finish. Don’t worry if things look a little rough and rugged at this stage. And don’t be too concerned about any flecks of white paper or areas of wood peeking through. The sealing process will help bring everything together (and remember, we’re going for a rustic, vintage feel anyways).

Step 8

STEP 8 Seal.

Finish the pull with a few generous coats of clear sealer, ensuring you get good coverage on the corners and edges. The sealer not only provides protection though also helps meld everything together for a nice finish.

Step 9

STEP 9 Attach.

Using your chosen spacers and fasteners attach the pull to your item. As mentioned above, I used cotton spools as my spacers (which I stained to co-ordinate with my toy boxes) and brass carriage bolts.

DIY Ruler Drawer Pull Tutorial

To attach the handle to my toy box I simply drilled two holes through the face of the pull then drilled matching holes through the toy box. I threaded the ruler and spools onto the bolts, passed the bolts through the holes in the toy box then secured everything at the rear with some nuts.

DIY Ruler Drawer Pulls

I probably could have used some washers too…meh. Or trimmed the bolts to exact length…also meh. Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow (#yeahsure).

Easy DIY Ruler Drawer Pulls

STEP 10 Done!

This was a complete experiment of a project and I’m absolutely loving the way these pulls turned out. Yay!

Charlotte actually has three under-bed toy boxes in total, and all of them got these new handles, though it was too tricky to get a decent pic of more than one (sorry about that, her room is just too tiny!).

The pulls look a little small in the above pic though they’re merely dwarfed by the scale of the toy box. Being almost full ruler length they’re actually quite substantial.

DIY Ruler Drawer Pulls

I love all the “vintage” goodness they resonate!

Although I’ve used them on toy boxes, they would look cute anywhere – especially in a row on a dresser! They’re quick and easy to make and only cost a few dollars each.

Download your free printable ruler graphics below.

Free Printable Vintage Rulers

Free Vintage Ruler Images

Note: The measurements given in the file names are based on the dimensions of the rulers themselves – not the extended backgrounds. If you’re unsure, do a test print first to ensure you trim your wood accurately.

I so hope this inspires a few of you to give it a go!


If you’d like to save this project for later, feel free to pin the image below.

Make Your Own Vintage Style Ruler Drawer Pulls


An Easy and Effective Door Refresh

Hey guys!

Just popping in with a quick update about some progress in Charlotte’s bedroom – it’s soooo nearly done now!

If you follow me socially (on Instagram or Facebook) you may have already seen a little sneak peek of this door makeover.

Easy Door Trim Refresh

I tend to procrastinate over painting decisions though this time around I managed to go from concept to completion in just three days. That’s kind of a record for me.

Though let’s not go getting too smug…the boring state of Charlotte’s plain hollow core door was a pretty convincing catalyst!

Solid Core Door Before

To add some character I attached some simple pine moulding (you can find my step-by-step tutorial for adding trim to plain doors here) then painted the whole door “Domino” by Dulux.

Door Makeover with Trim and Black Paint

“Domino” is a super dark charcoal with a slight hint of navy.

I used a semi-gloss paint, for its gentle sheen and hard-wearing nature, which I applied in two coats using a brush. The glow of a semi-gloss can be a bit more critical in harsh light than a matte finish though it’s easier to maintain and does provide a nice subtle lustre which imparts a touch of glam.

And there’s just something nice about the way some brush strokes can make things feel “real” and a little more loved.

Door Makeover

To finish things off I added a shiny brass ‘C’.

Brass Alphabet Letter C

I contemplated switching out the door handle for a brass one, or even painting the existing one gold, though decided I actually quite like the eclectic mix of metals. Plus, I now plan to trim out and paint the other five doors in our house and don’t really love the idea of changing all of the handles as well!

DIY Door Refresh using Trim and Paint

Although you don’t really see both sides of the door at the same time I love the way the black echos my DIY decals on the rear…

How to Make Your Own Cheap Custom Wall Decals

So, there you go. A really simple, affordable and fast project which packs a lovely little punch.

You can see just how impactful it is below…

Door Refresh Before and After

I only have a few little projects to go then Charlotte’s big girl’s room will be ready for its final reveal. Yay! Can’t wait to share some of the other elements I’ve been working on!


If you’d like to learn more about adding trim to your plain doors, click the image below for my full tutorial.

How to Add Trim to Doors


Free Printable Large-Scale Farmhouse Quote Art!

You can now also order your very own CUSTOM quote art sign here!

Did you guys think I’d forgotten about these?

Dictionary Quote Art Free Printables

‘Course not!

On the contrary, I’ve actually been working away (granted, in my “sloth/snail fusion” kinda manner) on this new round of free printable quote art since I published my original post.

And now I’m super excited to finally share them!

I stepped a little sideways with these dictionary inspired signs which give a nod to the canister labels I designed back in 2012!

Farmhouse Free Printable Over-Size Dictionary Definition Quote Art

I ummed and ahhed for ages over whether I could pull these off. They are a little more quirky and unusual than the book page style quotes. They were also much more difficult to come up with! Do you know how hard it is to try to capture the essence of a quote using a single word?

I first researched the context and implied meaning of each quote (where possible) then tried to choose the “prettiest” synonym of the most appropriate word. Of course, quote meanings can be very personal, subjective and even ambiguous so I did need to take some liberty with my interpretations. I’m sure some of you might have chosen very different words though I hope what I came up with resonates for the most part.

In this bundle I’m offering 18 free printables in total. Yes, people…18!

There are three different quotes available in three different colourways (chalkboard, sepia and off-white) AND in both landscape and portrait orientations!

Amazing Over-Size Free Printable Farmhouse Quote Art!

FREE Printable Farmhouse Signs

Amazing Over-Size FREE Printable Farmhouse Quote Art!

As per my book page quotes, these are all excellent quality, high resolution, large-scale images designed to fit standard large (60cm x 90cm/24″ x 36″) poster frames. For your convenience, I’m also offering them in both PDF and JPG formats.

Free Farmhouse Quote Printables Download

Some of these quotes were selected from those shared in the comments section of my original post – thanks so much to everyone who took the time to divulge their favourite quote! I’ll keep referring back as I create fresh quote art so if your suggestion wasn’t featured this time around it may still be used in future designs.

If you have a quote you’d like to see featured, please share it in the comments below.

Farmhouse Free Printable Over-Size Dictionary Definition Quote Art

I hope they bring your walls joy!


For further information about printing or framing these images please refer to my original post. And, as always, if you have trouble or are unsure of anything, feel free to ask.

If you’d like to save this project for later, please feel free to pin the below image.

18 Large-Scale FREE Printable Quote Signs!

Free for personal, non-commercial use only.
Reproduction, republication or redistribution in any form is forbidden.

Another Option for the Cottage Kitchen?

Further to my last post about the cottage kitchen renovation at our friend’s beach house, I had another idea about a possible layout option…

Cottage Kitchen with Cabinets

Cottage Kitchen Cabinetry 3D Rendering

Virtual Kitchen Plan

Virtual Cottage Kitchen

If the symmetry of the ‘U’ was skewed slightly by reducing the length of the peninsula then a bank of narrow cabinets could span the whole right wall!

Yes, this is a slightly more “full-on” look though something about it is quite grand. And the storage it provides is amazing!

The compromise would be losing a tiny bit of counter space and possibly one seat at the breakfast bar though I think it’s worth it. Naturally, it would also be a more expensive option though that’s something for our friends to consider.

I included a rolling ladder just for fun (this might not actually be practical) and gave the central cabinets glass fronted doors for displaying pretties though of course these features aren’t necessities.

Another thing I did, which I should have done in the other plans too, was remove the door from the doorway beside the fridge. I couldn’t think of any good reason the door would actually be used and having a simple doorway with no door would help open-up the wall space beyond, making the entrance feel less narrow.

Virtual Kitchen Rendering Before and After

So, what do you think. Does extra cabinetry help a small kitchen appear more expansive? Or does it constrict the space further? And regardless, does the added storage take priority?

Here are the three plans for comparison’s sake…

Cottage Kitchen Options



PS I’ve just finished designing my next round of free printable quote art and will have it up on the blog next week!