5 ways diy multi drawer furniture

I had a really hard time knowing what to call this post.  Because I’m not just talking about dressers, today, folks.  I’m talking about furniture that looks like it would be in a vintage laboratory or library that has stacks of tiny drawers you would never be able to fold a sweater into.  You have probably seen these around and may have coveted them like I have.  You may have heart them referred to as card catalogs, specimen drawers, apothecary cabinets, or cartographer’s drawers.  They are often on wheels and almost always have labels.  When you see them repurposed in a home as furniture they give off a slightly industrial vibe which is so on trend right now.  Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware showrooms are full of these multi-drawer furniture pieces–for those who aren’t fortunate enough to have one in the family or find one at a flea market–and you will pay an arm and a leg for them.  Luckily, there are some fantastic tutorials out there that show you how to make your own from scratch or by repurposing easy-to-find furniture.  Her are 5 Ways to Make Multi-Drawer Furniture.5-ways-diy-multi-drawer-furniture

1. Map Drawers from Nightstands


One thing I realized as I was researching this post is that Kristine at The Painted Hive is pretty much the queen of DIY multi-drawer furniture–she has some awesome tutorials!  One of my favorites are these gorgeous, detailed map drawers made out of two thrifted Midcentury Mod nightstands.  You’ve got to see the before on this one.

2.  DIY Cartographer’s Table


Wide, shallow drawers like these were traditionally used for storing things like maps or blueprints that needed to lie flat.  While the size of a coffee table only allows for a short stack of drawers, it’s still a fun way to add storage and style.  Check out this build from scratch tutorial at Shanty 2 Chic.

3.  Card Catalog Secretary’s Desk


This fun transformation comes from In My Own Style.  It started out as a no-frills Ikea Tarva dresser.  The addition of faux drawer fronts, shiny brass labeled cup pulls, and wheels, it now looks like a card catalog and functions as a desk.  What a transformation!

4.  Card Catalog Cabinet


Here’s another version of Ikea furniture being repurposed into apothecary drawers by Sawdust 2 Stitches.  In this case, the tiny drawer fronts cover doors that open to reveal tons of useable storage for this family’s entryway.

5.  Specimen Drawer File Cabinet


Little House of Four created this pretty stack of specimen drawers from an old file cabinet!  I love the two-tone finish on this one.  The Painted Hive has another version of this type of file cabinet makeover, too.

After seeing all these, I’m feeling the urge to makeover some furniture!  Are there some tiny, labeled drawers in your future, too?

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  1. I keep hoping that some day in my thrift store travels I’ll come across on of these multi-drawer chests. I have no doubt I’d fine something to fill them with.

    Thanks for all the cool photos!

    Nancy Ü

  2. Just wanted to let you know that the IG image is incorrectly tagged. It would be great if you could amend the tag on the top left image. Thanks so much 🙂

  3. Wow! You just inspired me to make tiny, labeled drawers. I love all of these transformations especially that Ikea makeover. Anyway, I just wanted to say as a DIY and Home Design Blogger myself, I think your blog is lovely. Your blog is so fabulous that I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award which you can view here. http://www.diydesignmom.com/onelovelyblogaward/

    It is nice to meet you!


  4. Some great ideas here! We’ve been looking to get some drawers like this – will definitely have to go looking a bit harder for them. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve been a huge fan of this type of furniture since I can remember. Unfortunately when my local public libraries were upgrading they threw out all the old card catalogs. This style of furniture costs $$$ and it’s good to know that I can do a diy. I’m going to go take a peak at these sights right now.

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