Recently, I sold the small white desk in my office for a larger, industrial-chic Restoration Hardware desk. I was so excited to find this desk on my neighborhood buy/sell/trade page! For a while now I’d been dreaming of more surface space to work with and this desk was just what I was looking for. But what I gained in surface space, I lost in drawer space. Unfortunately, this new desk has zero drawers. Womp womp.
Of course, losing my desk drawer meant I need to come up with a solution for all the crap my old drawer contained. I wanted something useful and efficient, but also true to my design aesthetic in my office. What I really wanted was vintage card catalog drawers. So I went hunting for some at a few antique stores. What I discovered was that old card catalog drawers are ridiculously expensive! $800 for a tiny set of three drawers?! Did the King of England keep his grandmother’s recipes in these drawers? What the actual heck justifies that price?
Anyway, I clearly was getting nowhere on my hunt for beautiful but practical (and affordable) drawer storage. One day while wandering through the aisles of IKEA, however, I happened upon this cheap, plain, not-so-pretty set of small drawers. I stood there and stared at it for a while formulating a plan for how I could transform these nondescript little cubbies into a card catalog. Then I tossed them in my bag, paid the nice lady, and hightailed it home to put my plan into action.
Y’all. These drawers turned out so much better than I even thought they would! And they are just what I needed to corral all my office drawer crap! Hooray! Here’s how I transformed these simple IKEA drawers into a knock-off vintage card catalog.
IKEA Hack: Vintage Card Catalog Drawers
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- Remove all the drawers from the chest and set each piece on a dropcloth.
- Using a sponge brush, stain all sides of the chest and each drawer. I used a combination of Minwax Classic Gray stain and Minwax Provincial stain.
- Use the rag to wipe off the excess stain after you finish each piece.
- Let the wood pieces dry completely, preferably overnight.
- Now it’s time to attach the drawer pulls. What used to be the front of the drawers (with the little notch cut out) will now be the back. I used a tape measure to find the center of each drawer. Screw each pull into place using your drill.
- Put all the drawers back in the chest, fill ’em up, and admire your handiwork!