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)?






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  • Michelle N says:

    A little off topic but I know you guys love a good sale. Home Dept online has lighting on sale for up to 70% off.

  • Lauren says:

    Love Love the handles.

    And I’m really happy to learn that I’m not the only one that talks to inanimate objects. I also assign them human feelings. Like I get sad if there’s one banana at the grocery store that was split from its bunch.

    The worst was when I used to talk to my food all the time, until someone at work heard me say “Hello Jello” and never let me live it down.

    Wow I’m so weird.

  • Lauren says:

    I love hanging file folders SO much that was inspired by this and did it to mine… I think I did about 50 or so? They’re all OCD color-coded and everything.

    It’s a great way to use up fabric scraps!

  • Vicki says:

    Oh they are PERFECT with those chairs!! Nice work.

  • Melissa says:

    I have been so surprised to read a few really rude-sounding comments on this post, but impressed (as always) by how graciously Sherry responds to these. Kudos to you, girl!

  • jess says:

    I love your nickname for Hobby Lobby! My granny’s famous words of that store were once “What’s that place called… uhhh… oh yeah HOLLY LOBBY!” So around here it’s called HOLLY LOBBY!

  • becky says:

    we just got the “stall” (i think that’s its name) shoes racks for the homeschool room and i think i might steal this idea – hmmm, i have some old jadite handles in the same shape…so conflicted.

    by the way, we’ve spent so much time putting together ikea stuff lately (just finished the kitchen), that we’ve all started cussing in ikea…my favorite is from my father in law every time he strips a screw out or something similarly frustrating – “son of a karlstad”. i hear lots of “what in the faktum adel are we doing her?!”

  • Katie says:

    Haha John, your handwriting is scarily identical to my husband’s! I always call it “man-writing” – looks so cute!

    Love the new cabinet. Can’t wait to see what else you do to the room, as our home office is one of the next rooms I want to tackle. Eek!

  • Rebecca says:

    In case you are feeling ceramic animal deprived….I was in TJ Maxx next to Brandermill last night and picked up three ceramic owls doing an interpretation of “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil”. They are mostly white (few intentional rubbed spots), about 5″ and were $6 each. They had a couple more sets.

    HomeGoods on Midlothian has had some awesome ceramic animals as well lately. I scored a life-size french bulldog! It terrified my 90 lb retriever mix!

  • Tanya says:

    I’m so relieved to hear that your printer has issues too. I got the same model as yours free when I purchased my computer and it’s been an ongoing battle. I remember reading your post about setting it up on your bookshelf and thinking, “how in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks did they get it to work?”

  • Pamela says:

    Grrrh! If I don’t get to one of your posts within about half an hour there are too many comments to read to make sure I’m not just echoing what someone else said. You people are just too popular! Time is running out so I’ll just comment anyway.

    Have you considered decoupaging a map onto Effektiv, ala Wisteria’s map chest? It may be sold out now, but Nate Berkus has one one his set.

  • COLLEEN says:

    this website should be called young house love ikea!!:)I like how you make their everyday furniture your own style

  • I thought you would like this site to see how you can decorate your Effektiv if you so choose (or any other furniture you might want. I also wrote about this company on my blog.

    Have a great weekend guys. I can’t wait to read your blog first thing every day.


  • Rob O. says:

    Looks great! A little crown moulding at the top would really make it look like a custom piece of furniture that was meant for that space!

  • Gretchen says:

    What is that above the effectiv on the wall? Seems like a message board in a great frame? Did I miss a post on it – or is it new?

  • Demi says:

    4 posts by John in a row? Wonder what big project Sherry is onto ;)

  • Megan says:

    I am just now re-doing a metal filing cabinet I bought for $3.00 MONTHS AGO. My husband brought home a whole lot of office supplies from his work including hanging file folders and that is what it took for me to finally re-do the cabinet. Before I just threw papers in there, no folders, just one big pile. So I know how you feel when you get excited over the hanging file folders.

  • Angela says:

    I don’t know if this has been brought up before in your gabillion comments but have you ever thought about painting the quarter round to match your trim? My eye gets drawn to it in any picture and I guess I’m an obsessed weirdo about matching the quarter round to the trim.

    I love the handles and they do look wonderful with your chairs. And I love the way you both right even more than any of your deco ideas. :)

  • You are inspiring me to get my neglected office project going too!

  • Jayne says:

    FYI: The Ikea guide does work for non Ikea handles. I bought my handles elsewhere and we used it on all the cabinetry in our house (kitchen and 2 bathrooms). It was a breeze.

  • Lux says:

    Love the handles you chose!

    . If you want to go OCD with your files (I’m sure Sherry does) you can color code them like I did with category tabs in the center, sub categories on the right, and specific folder tabs on the left.

  • Lux says:

    I think I freaked out your comments because I included a link in my comment. It was a well meaning link, and I actually had written a legitimate comment with it, I swear. Sorry.

  • Chris Ripley says:

    FYI – I recently bought identical pulls from Hobby Lobby, except they were clear glass. I attached them to a dresser, no problem, but then when I pulled on the drawer, the silver discs on the end broke right off! I wound up going to Restoration Hardware to buy the same pull, although theirs had the screw inside the actual glass, so there’s much less strain on the pull and less chance of your pull breaking off. Figured you might want to know for future reference. Of course, the Restoration Hardware glass pulls were twice the price, but at least they’re still attached to my dresser!

  • Rachael says:

    Well, at last there’s ONE thing about your house I’m not envious about!!! :D

  • Dana says:

    Hi J&S,

    If you are ever in the Winston Salem area of NC, we have a great resource for handles. It’s called Salvage Building Materials, on Liberty Street downtown. Most handles are $2 and they literally have thousands to choose from : )


  • Myra Neuford says:

    The hardware looks great. Details are what makes for distinction, and the addition of this detail carefully selected by you adds just enough contrast to still maintain the clean design while adding interest and taking away the utilitarian appearance. Great choice.

    I commend you for being inventive in creating you own guide for aligning them. The variation in size is a common problem, and I’m sure you’ll be checking for this if you have another similar situation. It’s a great look!

  • Carly says:

    Your Sue the Napkin reference made me think of something I saw on TV last night.
    Cottonelle roll cover?? Well the green one immediately made me think of your beloved napkin… is that wierd? :)

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