Adding Hardware To An Ikea Cabinet (And Hiding The Printer)

So as much as you guys gushed over our temporary string handles for our new Effektiv file cabinet (note: this is sarcasm), we did scoop up some actual hardware that we much prefer.

They’re black glass handles that were originally $9, but Hobby Lobby (aka Schlobby Bobby) was having one of those perpetual 50% off sales, so they were $4.50 a pop instead.

As I mentioned here, I was a bit nervous about installing them, since it was up to me to make sure they were all centered and level (Sherry + measuring = meltdown). So I triple-measured and even made myself a little guide out of card stock. First, I figured out that my holes needed to be 6.25″ and 9.25″ in from the edge if I wanted it to be centered (which is why I drew those two vertical lines), and we decided we wanted the handles to be placed 2.5″ down from the top of the door (so I added that horizontal line 2.5″ down from the top fold). I used the crease in the paper to line it up consistently for each handle and some tape to hold it in place while I screwed through it to create guide holes. Maybe I should’ve splurged the $3 or so to buy the little plastic hardware guides that a lot of you mentioned from various places (Ikea even had one), but this actually ended up working really well (and I wasn’t sure the Ikea one would work with non-Ikea handles).

Once the holes were made in my guide, it also made it easy to flip the piece of paper over and use it on the opposite cabinet door (ensuring perfectly symmetrical placement).

Luckily all of my holes came out perfectly. But it was only after drilling them that I noticed not all of the handles were perfect. Urgh. Notice how the holes on the right handle are perfectly centered? And the right hole on the left one kinda looks wonky, like it’s raising an eyebrow?

If Hobby Lobby weren’t on the other side of town (good news, we just heard one is coming closer to us in October) I would’ve driven back and exchanged the two bad ones. But instead I just drilled the corresponding holes in the door a bit longer (you know, taller?) to account for the crookedness. Then we could just tighten the hardware to hold them in place so they were nice and level. That worked out just fine, thank goodness. Note: this all looks very whitewashed, we can’t wait to get some color on those walls.

They’re definitely a subtle addition from afar, but up close they make us glad we waited to find these outside of Ikea’s big blue doors (or are they yellow?).

Sherry calls them “her lovies” and says things to them like “don’t you look posh today?” when she walks into the room. Gotta admit that I really like them too.

We especially like how the shape kind of plays off of the caning in our office chairs (which will look a whole lot better when we make some desk upgrades among a thousand other things):

Oh, but no post about a file cabinet is complete without a look behind the doors at the glamorous things that we store in there. A printer & camera bag. Oooooh. Extra paper & hanging files. Ahhhh.

Our wireless printer (an HP PhotoSmart C4780 that we don’t love – let’s just say it’s quirky) fits in there quite nicely (it’s 17 x 11 x 6.5″) since the paper tray folds up when not in use. Of course it still has a wire for the power cord, which I first attempted to slide through the back by drilling a hole. Then I realized it’d be easier just to detach the top shelf of the Effektiv momentarily (since it installs in three vertical parts) and then lift it slightly and tuck the cord through the crack in the back (thanks HP for making a tiny flat cord!).

See, you can’t even see it:

In the file cabinet drawers there are lots of, well, files. Surprise!

We bought some colorful hanging ones from Office Depot (for something like $7 for 25) to make filing a bit less manilla. If only there were some green ones in the mix, we could almost call them Sue the Napkin’s more productive sister: Susan the File Folders.

We even decided to store some various printer papers in there for easy access. You know, for that one time a month when we actually print something.

So thar she be for now. Effektiv is officially decked out with handles (string, you will be missed) and various office necessities (pile in the corner of the room, you will also be missed). Up next? Perhaps some furniture rearranging and definitely some building/lighting/general upgrades.

In the meantime, who else is obsessed with hanging files? Have you ever ended up with crooked hardware that has a sarcastic eyebrow-raise-thing going on? Did you notice I spelled card stock as all one word in my file tab (Sherry gently mentioned that to me a second ago)?


  1. says

    I like the new handles! They seem very sophisticated and play well with the chairs. Nice choice!!

    We’re in the process of moving in (well, we’re mostly moved in, but our 2nd room is sort of a dumping ground for stuff – which you can see here.) so I can totally relate about how good it feels to put things in their rightful place!

  2. says

    I’m a new reader and really glad I popped in on this post, because my roommate and I have recently inherited an awesome old entertainment center… except that the (magnetically closed) cabinet doors have lost their handles. Thanks for the quick and easy guide to measuring and installing cabinet hardware! Hopefully with your card stock trick, we’ll soon be able to get to the buried DVD stash within.

    Also, I got a spelling lesson from your blog today, too. I always thought that “card stock” was one word!

  3. says

    I love it!! Have to admit that when you posted about the filing cabinets, the first picture you showed had the Ikea handles and I thought wellll….those handles….these are SOO muchos betteros! They really take the cabinets from Euro Efficient to Sue the Posh Accessories ;)

    We bought the Ikea handle-drilling guide when we redid our kitchen with Ikea cabinets, and the guide works fine regardless of the type of handles – it’s basically a plastic version of what you made out of paper here – so you saved money by making your own! 8^)

  4. says

    I love the idea of filing paper in with everything else, and I think the handles go really nicely with the chairs and add some nice “depth” to the cabinet (maybe because they have lots of different angles? I dunno…)

    And GOSH the dining room looks lovely from that angle.

  5. says

    I love the handles, but what else do you guys have planned for the office? My office is more of a craft room so I could probably follow your lead and do something about it!


    • says

      Oh lots. Too much to list without getting hives. We’re just trying to take it one step at a time so we don’t get overwhelmed, so next on the agenda is rearranging the furniture to determine what stays and what will get moved/altered/upgraded, etc. Then we’ll probably come up with a nice little bulleted list of what we’d like to tackle. Should be interesting…


  6. Jordan says

    As usual, LOVE IT!
    I recently used scrapbook paper to decorate the outside of all my manilla folders. Now they’re totally covered in fun designs that make me happy to be dealing with the stuff inside them. Just an idea in case any of your folders will be out for public eye :)

  7. says

    I love how the handles really make the piece look like a nice filing system. Plus, the darkness of the handles plays well against the white cabinetry and works with the chairs in the room.

  8. laura says

    I love the handles…I think they make it look a lot less Ikea-ish and lessen the contemporary-ness of them. Wow, lots of technical terms in this comment. Anyway, good work as usual. Have a good weekend :)

  9. Katie says

    Nice! I like the way they work with the chairs. Can’t wait to see what else you do. Are you going to put some colour on the walls?

  10. says

    OMG!!! LOVE the handles and they totally bring in the cane chairs! Nice selection! Much better than the “standard” pulls you can buy at Ikea (no bash on Ikea because I LOVE them)! You guys were so right to skip them and search out your own!!!

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