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Come File Away

When Kerry started his Masters this fall, he wanted needed some bigger desk space.  We were still using his small, old college desk from IKEA.  He wanted something big, dark, and bulky with a file cabinet and I wanted something big, light, and simple.  We searched and searched but couldn't come to an agreement on anything.

Then I found this DIY desk:

And this one:

He was as equally excited for this idea as I was. So, we did some research and came up with an idea for the desk.  His dad would help us to build the top and a shelf for one end and we would purchase an IKEA VIKA ALEXA drawer unit in white and a VIKA CURRY leg in white.

So Kerry and his dad went to Lowe's and got a big panel of wood.  His dad used all his sweet saws to cut it down to 24 inches by 72 inches.  He added a 1/2 inch trim to it and stained it a nice, dark brown.  He used the left over wood to build a small bookshelf to support one of the ends.  I painted the shelf white.  Here is the final product:

We share the desk, sometimes at the same time.  I'll use the Mac and Kerry will hook up his work laptop to the monitor. He's working and studying, I'm Pinteresting and checking up on my favorite blogs, all while rocking out to Styx - or something like that ;)

Anyway, back to the filing drawer part.  Kerry wanted some quick access to filing drawers as part of his requirements for a desk.  The VIKA ALEX didn't have that, but we had a plan to fix that.  First, when Kerry put the drawer together (back in November) he left out the bottom of the fourth drawer.  We had plans to combine the bottom two to make one big filing drawer.  For the filing part, we were thinking of buying some sort of filing insert for the drawer, but couldn't find any.  So, I used my work desk as an inspiration and went to Lowe's in search of some hardware for my idea.

Tools Needed:
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
Materials Needed:
  • 4 Stanley Corner 3/4 " x 1/2" braces (screws included) 
  • 1 steel rod that was 3 feet long and the diameter of  3/16" (Lowe's workers were kind enough to hack saw it for me to the right length of the width of the drawers, which is 11 1/2 inches).
  • Mending Braces size 2" x 1/2" (screws included- but I needed to find shorter screws as to not go through the drawer.

Filing System:
Step 1: Drill a hole to start the screw.  Make sure to measure where the brace will go, that will allow the file folders to move.  
Step 2: Screw in the first Corner Brace. Be careful not to split the wood near the edge.
Step 3: 2 people are needed for this step to hold the rod and other brace.  Put in the rod, then drill and screw in the second brace. 
Step 4: Start over from Step 1 to complete the other side.  

Combining Drawers:
Step 1: Take one mending brace and measure/place/mark where it needs to go.
Step 2: Drill smalls hole for the screws.
Step 3: Screw in the screws with the mending brace.
Step 4: Repeat for other side. 

Now both drawers are connected when we pull it out. So excited for our new filing drawer !  It's the little things...

How do you store your files? In a cute basket? Drawers? Accordion folder?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too !



  1. thanks for sharing this! we just got a used computer armoire not too long ago and it has NO hanging file system. i have seen lots of super cute file storage ottomans, but dont want to dish out more money. so i needed a way to convert our existing ottoman. your tute is great!!


  2. Just did this, really happy with the results! Thanks a bunch!

  3. That file drawer trick is genius! Definitely going to do this to my Alex drawers now :)

  4. I bought the Alex with the file drawer. I can not find a file or a folder that will fit that 11.5 width! Before I use your hack (which is a GREAT idea) I was wondering if you know where to find file folders @ 11.25" ? Seems to be non-existent. Is that why you went with lengthwise rather than widthwise?

    1. I'm not sure they exist (and hence the reason for lengthwise hangers) and even if they did it would be a tight squeeze to get paper in there. We actually like the lengthwise better since when we are sitting at the desk, the folders are facing us. Good luck with your hack!

    2. cousins6... I did the same thing with the Alex with the file drawer, and I'm not sure if you have done the hack yet, or if you figured out the fact that the drawer rail has holes in it and the Alex came with two bars. Insert the bars into the holes on the rail and there you have it. Literally I did not figure this out until just now and I have been searching for answers as well... so silly.

  5. Literally have been searching far and wide to find hanging folders that fit the Thank you for this post

  6. What was the width of the older alex drawer with drop file storage? They went out of stock and Ikea brought them back just like a week or so ago under a new article #. The new ALEX units are 14 1/8" wide. This sounds wider, and like it might work with the standard hanging file folders.

    1. on second thought maybe it's not wider. wonder if the hanging files are supposed to sit to the side instead of facing forward in the drawer maybe? trying to ask Ikea on facebook but they wont' specifically answer the question....

    2. The folders are not facing forward, they are to the side. Hope that helps ! Check the last photo.

  7. i bought both verison of the Alex drawer one with five drawers and the other on with the file drawer on the bototm. it did come with the metal rods and the grey side holders so the files do face length wise front face. I also bought their 89.00 file cabinet an its to wide for standard file holders? not sure why they would not say that the files will only work with their files.

  8. Great article. Thanks for sharing. Learn here more making file folders. Thanks

  9. I really want to replace my cheap plastic file drawer unit with the tall Alex unit and do this file drawer hack but I'm concerned whether the drawers pull out far enough. I have a different Alex drawer unit and the drawers only pull out about half way. Did you run into that problem when making this? Did you do something so that the drawers could pull out further?


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