Paint the File Cabinet
Clean the outside of the cabinet and remove the hardware.
Prime the cabinet. Use a primer made for metal. Let it dry thoroughly then paint the cabinet; use a spray paint for even coverage. Add a second coat if the paint color is not vibrant or dark enough for your taste.
Replace the old hardware with new hardware that goes with your new design.
Cover the File Cabinet
Remove the cabinet's hardware, then prime the cabinet with a metal primer. Let dry thoroughly.
Cover the metal primer with a wall primer. Skip the primer if you are going to cover the file cabinet with contact paper.
Measure each section of the cabinet, then cut paper about one inch wider than the measurements. Apply the wallpaper or contact paper to the cabinet.
Trim the paper to fit with a straight-edge blade. Remove the cabinet drawers to apply paper to the fronts of the drawers, then replace the drawers.
Replace the old cabinet hardware or use new hardware that matches the pattern of the wallpaper or contact paper.
Hide the File Cabinet
Measure the height and width of the file cabinet. Purchase enough fabric to completely cover it.
Cover the top and sides of the cabinet with the fabric and adhere it with Velcro. Fasten the Velcro along the top edges of the file cabinet to give it definition and hold the fabric in place. Leave the front open.
Cut a length of fabric to fit the front and attach it with Velcro tape to the front. Pull the fabric off to use the file cabinet drawers.
Attach a length of ribbon or lace to the edges of the fabric to make it more decorative. Use fabric or hot glue if you don't want to sew. Another decorative option is to add buttons down one side of the front panel of fabric.