How to add drawers to your kitchen

Written by shirl snyder
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How to add drawers to your kitchen
Add drawers to maximise usable space in your kitchen (Kitchen image by armanxo from

Kitchens drawers make access to everything in the space easier to reach. Adding drawers to an existing kitchen is a popular and inexpensive alternative to a complete redo of the lower cabinets. Custom drawers specifically designed to fit each lower cabinet, can be installed by a professional carpenter but inexpensive alternatives are available from home improvement centres.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Metal measuring tape
  • Paper and Pencil
  • Pull-out drawers
  • Dresser
  • Filing Cabinet
  • Jewellery armoire
  • Counter top material

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  1. 1

    Measure the opening of the lower cabinets where drawers would be handy. Install drawers only inside the lower cabinets of the kitchen, both on the base of the cabinet and to full-depth shelves. Include in the measurements all obstacles that would impede a drawer from opening, such as doors that do not open completely, or a face frame with a centre divider between two doors. Sketch the cabinets on paper and write all the measurements on the sketch.

    How to add drawers to your kitchen
    (measure image by Alex White from
  2. 2

    Choose pre-finished and pre-assembled drawers, chrome slide-out holders, or plastic and wire basket slides. Determine the best choice for your use. Select drawers and hardware appropriate to the particular use of the drawer. Use full-extension, ball bearing slides for drawers with anticipated use as pots and pan storage, dish racks, or food cans. Install lighter drawer slides for towels or bread drawers.

    How to add drawers to your kitchen
    Wire or chrome drawer racks allow good air circulation inside the drawer. (chrome holes image by jbattx from
  3. 3

    Purchase slide-out drawers, drawer glides and hardware. Standard width cabinet pull-out drawers are available in 2 inch increments, from 6 to 30 inches wide, with depths of either 20 or 22 inches. Buy drawers sized to the next lowest measurement. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations about sizing and installing the cabinet inserts. Attach the new drawers to the existing shelving and the base of the cabinet using the hardware provided by the drawer manufacturer. Secure new roll-out drawers square to the opening of the cabinet to insure smooth and even rolling of the drawer slides.

    How to add drawers to your kitchen
    Buy drawers smaller than the opening of the cabinet. (measuring a wooden board image by sanyal from
  1. 1

    Install drawers and rolling shelves in food pantry storage areas to maximise space in tall cabinets. Utilise drawers and pull-out shelves in full-height cabinets for use as food a pantry. Install the drawers and rolling shelves to a height of 50 inches from the floor, and fixed shelves above that. Use full extension ball bearing roller hardware on all drawers or shelves in pantry storage areas to allow for optimum use, and to accommodate the weight of food containers. Organise the pantry with full drawers on the lower section, and sliding shelves or low-sided drawers on the upper section.

    How to add drawers to your kitchen
    Food storage is convenient with pull out drawers and shelves installed. (jars of plum, summer fruits,& cidered apple butter image by L. Shat from
  2. 2

    Check out the speciality pull-out racks and organisers available. Install undersink pull-outs around the plumbing and garbage disposal system, or a lazy Susan inside the hard-to-reach corner cabinet. Customise the available interior space in the kitchen cabinets with inserts, pullouts, and special racks and storage systems designed to make kitchens more efficient.

    How to add drawers to your kitchen
    (Wine bottles image by MAXFX from
  3. 3

    Add drawers with furniture pieces customised for your kitchen. Purchase or reuse a dresser, file cabinet, or jewellery armoire with small drawers as additional storage space in the kitchen. Customise the cabinets as free-standing islands in the centre of the kitchen or utilise available wall space to place the furniture. Paint the cabinet to match or contrast the kitchen decor Secure a butcher block top, granite or marble slab, or add decorative tile the cabinet. Add wheels, change the handles, add a towel bar or two, add artwork, stencils, magnetic message boards, or use wallpaper to give the piece a custom furniture look beyond its practical use.

    How to add drawers to your kitchen
    Unusual cabinets in your kitchen add personality and drawer space (archives_4 image by Ilya Malov from

Tips and warnings

  • Remove the doors to the cabinets completely to create a contemporary and efficient kitchen.

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