6 Creative Upcycled Drawer Ideas for Vintage Charm

Old drawers are actually one of the most versatile upcycling projects out there, so get ready to use them in every room.

Published November 29, 2023
Woman woodworking

Sometimes, an old drawer is just too pretty and full of potential to toss out, and that's when it's time to give it a whole new purpose in life (they can do way more than store your socks, after all). We've got some awesome projects for upcycled drawers and ideas to use them in a totally new and completely functional way.

Upcycled File Drawer Remote Holder

Decorative Antique File Drawer Refurbished

If you're old enough to remember the card catalog in the school library that had tiny drawers, you know how cute old wooden file drawers can be. While my kids tell me they've never seen a card catalog, organizing index cards isn't the only way to use these little drawers. They're also the perfect solution to an age-old problem: how to keep track of the TV remote.

You'll need a small wooden file drawer, some cleaning supplies, some craft felt and scissors, and a can of spray adhesive.

  1. Start by cleaning up the drawer. Dust it and use a gentle wood polish to bring out its shine.
  2. Cut a piece of felt to the size of the bottom of the drawer.
  3. Spray one side of the felt with the adhesive and press the sticky side down on the bottom of the drawer. Now you have a remote holder, and your remotes won't rattle around inside it.

Elevated Drawer Display

Repurposed Vintage Country Drawer

Taller things tend to get more attention, and you can elevate your favorite objects to art status with this upcycled drawer idea. You just need a drawer, some screw-on furniture feet from the home store, a few tools, and some paint. You can make this cool display in an afternoon.

  1. Drill holes in the bottom of the drawer frame to match the size of the screws on the screw-on feet.
  2. Lightly sand the drawer and remove any dust. Take off the hardware.
  3. Screw on the furniture feet.
  4. Use spray primer to prime the drawer. Then paint it in the color of your choice.
  5. When the paint is dry, put the hardware back on and use the drawer to show off your favorite decorations.

Repurposed Drawer Book Holder

Vintage Red Painted Wood Drawer with Knob Farmhouse Primitive Display Antique Decor

If you have a few special books and want to show them off on your desk or a table, bookends aren't your only option. You can use an old drawer to keep a few books standing tall and allow for easy access.

Just choose a drawer that's about the same size as the deepest book. Then clean up the drawer and repaint it if you're feeling crafty. Put the books inside, and you're all set.

Quick Tip

We love this idea for keeping a few books handy in a kid's room or baby's nursery. Put the drawer by their bed or by a chair where you like to read together and swap out the books from time to time.

Upcycled Drawer Diorama

Assemblage of Miniatures

Showing off a collection of little things isn't always easy. It can feel cluttered to display them on a surface (and if you have cats, that's just a recipe for disaster). The answer is a drawer diorama.

Basically, you choose an old drawer and upcycle it by adding hanging hardware to the back (just a couple of eye hooks and some wire will work). Then glue paper or flat items to the back of the drawer and stand 3-D objects like figurines on the ledge.

Quick Tip

This makes a great gift for newlyweds if you have some things from the wedding. Pressed flowers, little decorations, the invitation, and any other items are easy to arrange into a pretty display. They can hang it on their wall as a reminder of their special day.

Print Drawer Jewelry Organizer

Reinvented, Upcycled Drawer as Jewelry Display

You know those print trays that people used to keep letters in when newspapers were printed with hand-set type? They're awesome for a lot of upcycling projects, but one of the best ways to use them is to display your jewelry. Because they have sections in different sizes, they're perfect for showing off your special pieces.

You'll need a drill, small eye hooks and open hooks, wire, and some cleaning supplies.

  1. Start by cleaning up the drawer. These things can be a little dirty with ink and dust. A gentle wood soap is perfect.
  2. Install two small eye hooks on each side of the back of the drawer and string some wire between them. This is how you'll hang it on the wall.
  3. Then start attaching hooks for hanging your jewelry. Use two eye hooks for dangly earrings or a single open hook for a necklace or bracelet. Put at least one hook in each section of the drawer.
  4. When it's done, hang it on the wall and show off your jewelry collection.

Drawer Turned Into a Planter

Vintage Oak Wood and Galvanized Metal Drawer

An old drawer makes a character-filled and super cute planter. This is a fun way to display a couple of plants together (just put both pots inside a longer drawer), or you can use a drawer to show off a single large plant.

To do this, make sure the drawer isn't the only thing between your plant's dirt and your table. Line the drawer with a plastic container or flowerpot. Arrange the plants in the drawer so you can't see much space between them. It's coolest if they look like they're growing out of it.

Tips for Choosing a Drawer to Upcycle

Not every drawer is upcycling material, so keep these tips in mind when you're choosing one:

  • Shop size first. If you have a project in mind, look for a drawer that's the right size for your needs.
  • Check to make sure it's sturdy. Some drawers are kind of rickety and won't hold up to an upcycling project.
  • Look for pretty hardware and details. One of the best things about upcycling drawers is you can show off the old hardware or other decorations.
  • Decide whether you need the original finish. If you find a drawer you like but don't like its color or condition, remember you can repaint it.

Try Lots of Upcycled Drawer Ideas

Long after the piece of furniture they came from has served its purpose, old drawers can have a whole new life as everything from jewelry display pieces to book holders. Try out lots of upcycled drawer ideas to give your space a feeling of vintage charm that's totally unique and useful.

Trending on LoveToKnow
6 Creative Upcycled Drawer Ideas for Vintage Charm