A unique, contemporary, and stylish take on storage benches to give your corner nook in the Dining Room or Kitchen (or anywhere!) an industrial chic flare!
Step 1: Obtaining Filing Cabinets
Now, I'm a thrifter by nature (more like a Get-It-For-Free-Wherever-Possible-er), and my motto has always been: "Where there's a will, there's a way." As cliche as that may sound, it's worked for me 100% of the time, so why fix something that's not broken, right? Therefore, it was my natural inclination to find some metal filing cabinets for free (or super cheap). And wouldn't ya know it, it didn't take long to find two filing cabinets (of the exact same color, can you believe it!?) from two separate sources for FREE utilizing my friends and Kijiji (the Canadian version of Craigslist).
1. Depending on your level of chicness you're trying to obtain, these cabinets can be found really roughed up, or left nice and neat. Decide on the character you're going for and make it happen (even by force if you have to beat up your cabinets a bit lol).
2. If you can't get the same depth of filing cabinets--do not fret! You only need two dimensions of the filing cabinets to match. For instance, the one filing cabinet had a 26" depth, but a 15" width, and the second cabinet was 18" depth by 15" width. So I could still use them at the 15" width to be my seats. :)
Step 2: Take Out the Drawers
Since we will be putting these babies on their sides to form benches, the drawers as-is won't work properly for storage, so they must come out. This is a very easy process. Not much to explain for this step. Basically there's one of two things that need to happen. Either you can just pull out the drawers (because they're so old they're just falling out lol, or because the style of drawers doesn't have a stopper) OR there will be a latch on the inside of each drawer (usually toward the back) that you can unlatch and thus pull the drawer out completely.
Now if there's extra sliding pieces after the drawers are out, and you want a nice, clean look inside the storage "cubbies," then you should probably take these out. They will either slide out as well, or unscrew from the cabinet.
Once out, you can either (at the end of the process): A. Use baskets or even old wooden crates to slide in the cubbies and use as storage, or B. Use plywood and screws to make walls in each individual cubby and you can paint/wallpaper/contact paper these or whatnot before putting in your baskets/crates, or use for bigger items as-is (without baskets/crates) like boots or blankets.
Step 3: Position Your Cabinets
The last step is to position your cabinets in the desired space and decorate with a plethora of stylin' throw pillows! (NOTE: when positioning your cabinets, you can opt for no storage and place all the fronts face-down, or you can opt for half-and-half storage like I did here where one side is face-up (well face-sideways) and the other cabinet is face-down, or you can opt for 100% storage and have all of the cabinets face-up. Soooooo versatile! And you can change it to fit differently when you move it later.) Now, Add your baskets/crates, etc and pop a squat--you're done! :)
These two benches allowed 6-8 people to sit on them comfortably around just HALF of our 4ft wide circle table (when before we could only seat 4-5 chairs around the entire thing)! Leaving the other half for chairs to sit at...increasing our seating space and making it an awesome and fun way to entertain (not to mention a fun conversational piece). Believe it or not, they're really comfy too! No different then sitting on a wooden dining room chair.
The bottoms of the cabinets usually will have an opening, and it's a great way to store/hide things you don't want to see. For example, we had our wireless router inconveniently hoarding the corner of our dining room because, unfortunately, that's the only place we had the proper hookups at. This not only solved our seating problems, but we could hide this eyesore by pushing the cabinet base up to the wall, completely encasing the router and all it's wires! Win-win!
Even if the metal bends or dents overtime with wear, it won't break inward completely as it has lots of support internally. Also, this just adds to that Industrial Chic charm and character ;)