Creative Cabinets

One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure

Here's a riddle for you: What piece of furniture often shows up at garage sales and outside office buildings and can be used for all kinds of wonderful things? Here's another clue: They're usually flat grey or beige. Did you figure it out? Right-file cabinets. If the opportunity presents itself and you happen to find some at a garage sale or sitting close to a dumpster, pick them up. They make outstanding storage containers and with a little paint and creativity, they can be used almost anywhere in the house.

If you have a sewing room, a file cabinet can be the best answer to organizing supplies and fabrics. Give it a coat of paint (something other than gray or beige) and decorate it with fabric if you like. You can store your notions in one drawer, fabrics in another and items under construction in yet another drawer.

Use it as storage space in the kitchen or storage room. You can also use it in the family room as a place to store homework and arts and crafts supplies for the kids. Paint the cabinet a bright color, or paint it black and use magnetic letters to write the names of each child on the drawers. The little guy gets the bottom drawer and the older kids get the top drawers. No more wondering where they put their homework or art supplies.

The mudroom seems to always need extra storage space. For whatever reason, hats and scarves multiply and collect all over the floor. Paint the cabinet and designate a drawer for toques, one for scarves and the bottom one for muddy shoes. This way, everything is easily accessible as the family heads out the door. Of course, you may really need to have a cabinet in the office. If you do, paint it or decoupage the front and use it for magazine storage-or file storage if you really must.

The Many Faces Of The Faithful Armoire

There's another piece of furniture which is probably one of the most versatile ever made. It's the armoire. This item can be used in any room of the house-really!

Try using an armoire in the laundry room. Paint it a crisp, bright color and use it to store the ironing board, iron and laundry supplies. It's a great way to keep the laundry room organized and it looks fresh and bright. If you don't have a linen closet, you can make one out of this piece of furniture. Shelves can be installed and sheets, pillow cases and blankets are easily accessible and beautifully hidden.

One of the most common ways of using an armoire is as an entertainment unit. It can also be converted to a china cabinet with the addition of extra shelves that are properly mounted. Use it as a games center in the family room or install a fold-down table and use it as a desk. Additional shelves are great for holding stationary and supplies.

Use an armoire in the bathroom as a vintage way to store bathroom supplies, towels and soaps. The kids' room can always use extra storage space and display space for special projects or toys. In the office it can serve as a computer closet and desktop and, if push comes to shove, you can always use it to hang coats in the front hallway.