Design Secret Weapon: 7 Ways to Use Architectural Flat Files at Home

updated May 3, 2019
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If you’ve ever worked in an architecture firm, you’ll never forget the weirdly satisfying sound that architectural flat files make when they’re opened and closed. Unfortunately for luddites like myself, these beautiful dinosaurs are going the way of the card catalog, as hand drafting becomes increasingly obsolete and storing sets of drawings flat in a drawer is abandoned in favor of rolling them up and leaning them in awkward piles at your desk. But that’s good news for everyone else, because it means that lots of vintage flat files have found their way onto the secondhand market, and you can repurpose them (and add a little bit of architectural charm) in your own home.

Above: An architectural flat file makes a lovely coffee table in this living room from Gin Designs Group.

(Image credit: Annie Annie Vintage)

Another flat file coffee table, this one conveniently outfitted with wheels, from Annie Annie Vintage.

(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

A vintage flat file is the perfect complement to the other vintage furnishings at the Adored Vintage showroom in Los Angeles.

(Image credit: Marie Claire Maison)

From Marie Claire Maison, a particularly innovative use of a flat file—as a kitchen island.

(Image credit: Fugitive Glue)

This clever DIY storage daybed, from Fugitive Glue via Public Displays of Affection, incorporates an architectural flat file.

(Image credit: My Scandinavian Home)

Flat files grace a dining room from My Scandinavian Home.

(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)
(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

In the bedroom of Nick’s Los Angeles home, a flat file doubles as nightstand and art display.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

A flat file bed? Believe it. Greg and Grey created one for their Los Angeles loft.