Drawers or Doors

socomMarch 27, 2014

My thought was it was better to have more drawers than doors for kitchen cabinets. What are the pros and cons of having more drawers than doors?

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There are no cons.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 3:15PM
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Drawers are easy to access. Today drawers usually have full-extension glides, so you can see and reach what's way in the back.

Doors either have fixed shelves or pull-outs. Fixed shelving gives you the most storage space, but things in the back can get lost, or you have to get down on your hands and knees to reach to the back. Shelves can also be adjustable.

Pullouts may be adjustable, and provide easier access to things in the back, but are less convenient than drawers. There are at least 4 steps: open the door completely (possibly 2 doors), pull out the shelf, push in the shelf, close the door(s). A drawer has 2 steps, in the same amount of space.

The disadvantage to drawers is that they are not adjustable, but if you measure the items going in the drawers, you may be able to get adequate height for what you need. My cabs were custom, so I could specify exactly the drawer heights I wanted.

My cabinet maker charges the same for drawers and pullouts. Shelves are less expensive.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 3:17PM
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Nice summary annkh.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that the preference for drawers over the alternatives is the least controversial decision in modern kitchen design.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 4:01PM
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We just finished our remodel earlier this year and the only doors we have are under the sink - and we have roll-outs under there to make it easier to access things.

I have absolutely no regrets that we have all drawers, we love it. I brought my big items like stock pots and toaster ovens, etc to our cabinet maker and made sure that they all had a home. We have 2 very wide and deep drawers for the big items. You'll be amazed at what you can fit in a drawer.

I even put our dishes in a drawer - right across from the dishwasher in the island. It's so convenient! Love, love, love it. Just be sure to plan for the things you usually keep under a cabinet and you'll be all set.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 4:17PM
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AjinNH: do you have pictures of your kitchen? I'd love to see one with all drawers.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 5:02PM
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Socom, I'll have some pictures soon. I looked back and don't really have any good ones yet. The backsplash is being installed today, so by tomorrow I should have some pictures that I can attach. I really love our new kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 5:29PM
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socom - You may be new to this board, but I think you'll be hard pressed to find much of anyone here who believes that doors are to be preferred over drawers. That said, I do have a few doors in my kitchen - a corner LeMans unit, where my KA mixer is on a lift, under the sink (it has a rollout). Uppers are doors, of course. The "talls" (oven, small appliance "garage", the broom closet, and the pantry are doors. Pantry has rollouts in it. Small appliance garage has a rollout as well.

For drawers to work best for you though, you need to do some planning. You need to take measurements and make certain that you have your place laid out properly to have the right depth for your drawers. You can't have all shallow OR all deep drawers, you'll need a mix.

One other possible "drawback" with all/almost all drawers is that it will tend be be a bit more expense (unless you also planned on having rollouts for all the ones that had doors) than doors that have shelves behind them.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 5:38PM
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I saved the link to this thread from 4 years ago because it has some good info and a few pictures re: drawers vs. doors.

Here is a link that might be useful: Drawers vs pull out shelves

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 6:27PM
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We are doing all drawers in my new house. It is A LOT of drawers and my husband even questioned if it was too many! LOL! I decided to change one of my sinks to a cabinet underneath instead of the drawers. I was able to tell my cabinet maker exactly what sizes, depths, etc that I wanted incorporated. We even added two drawers together for my large canning pots.

Good luck with your decision!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 8:04PM
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I would have preferred drawers but my budget wouldn't allow for it. So I got some drawers and some doors. Because of a mixup on another part of the job, I ended up getting complimentary roll outs in all my remaining bottom cabinets. Thinking I was going to have stationary shelves, I am really enjoying the roll out trays.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 9:01AM
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I had pull-outs on my first kitchen redo, and although they were helpful, sometimes things would stick out over the edges or fall off (there were low side rails that didn't go down to the bottom of the pull-out). I don't even know if drawers were available then, but I only had semi-custom. Anyway, nobody had any in brochures, etc.

This time (finished a few months ago), semi-custom again, different company, I have several stacks of drawers, including one 36" wide. I got a standard set-up as was shown in the kitchen showroom, but I did take in my tallest pots to make sure. There is one shallower drawer at the top, and two deep drawers below, both the same. I do have one pull-out sort of drawer behind doors for baking sheets and pans, etc. So far, all is working out fine.

I may have been lucky, but I have room for most everything without having obsessively planned. My SIL who planned her own kitchen for IKEA cabinets did figure out everything, though. I happened to have some photos of the inside of the drawers so I added a few for you.

......... 36" stack of drawers ............... silverware & "stuff" drawer;
...................................................... deep enough for 2 layers of stuff

dishes; drawer lined w/cork ....... pots, pans, etc., in bottom drawer

pull-out for baking sheets, pans, etc.
-- pulled out

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 9:35PM
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I have all drawers, even 2 deep drawers under my sink and I'm a BIG fan of them. I did measure my stuff to make sure it fit but yes, drawers!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 9:53PM
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I guess I drank the Koolaid here and our new kitchen will have all drawers. We have a lot of pullouts now, and I have always really liked them (of course before that, had just shelves, but then I was young enough not to complain about getting down on my knees and rummaging...) I just hope I have not over-reacted.

What I like about the pullouts is the low sides. I often don't open them all the way, just open the doors and pull them out "enough." If I need something in the back, I pull them out more. I have never been bothered by the extra few seconds it takes to open the doors and pull out the shelves. Honestly, I have time to take 4 seconds instead of 2! My hesitation is that with drawers, I'll have to open them farther to reach straight down to get things out, if you know what I mean. I'm sure I'll get used to it, though! The new kitchen will have about 20 drawers, ranging in size up to 36"

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 10:14PM
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I'm in the process of installing the IKEA cabinets and I have to say I LOVE their soft-close Blum drawers and hardware. I never really knew what drawers could be like to use...it's a game changer. And the interior organizers really make a huge difference in how you can use the space. I've never been good at organizing cupboards...but I can see this will be much easier for me because I can *see* the contents of every drawer easily.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 12:41AM
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Yes, drawers are great. We had quite a few in our previous kitchen, and have about 18 in the new kitchen that we are just moving back into. That being said, we specifically chose to include some cabinets as part of the remodel as well.

We have a 24 inch pantry stack, which has our microwave in the middle, on top of a five inch drawer. Then, there are 3 rollouts in a cabinet below and one roll out plus two fixed shelves in a cabinet above. Our architect had suggested using drawers in the bottom, but I tried it out in the drawers in our old kitchen, and just didn't like how hidden the labels on the shorter items, like cans, were.

We also have a relatively shallow (about 13.5 inches interior depth), 45 inch wide lower cabinet that we plan to use for additional pantry type storage. Again, we had a cabinet this depth in our previous kitchen, and it was perfect for pantry storage.

The final lower cabinets are the sink cabinet, an odd shaped angled cabinet that we had no choice but to do as a cabinet, a shallow cabinet that is the lower part of a built in hutch, and 3 rollouts in a 30 inch wide cabinet (under a charging drawer). This unit actually started out as a 4 drawer stack but we ended up changing it to the drawer plus cabinet for what seemed like good reasons (having to do with electrical) at the time, but which escape me know. In any event, I'm fine having that cabinet be roll outs instead of drawers -- we plan to store items that we don't use that frequently in there, such as nice platters, so I don't expect to use it on a daily basis. And, I also like the flexibility to change the height. No matter how much you measure for your current items, that doesn't ensure that things won't change over time, and you might want to rearrange things.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 12:52AM
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"There are no cons."

Only if money is no object. Drawers are significantly more expensive, and if you can't afford it, you can't afford it.

However, if that's the case, I would seriously look at what I could cut in order to get drawers. Maybe put off the backsplash and just paint it for now. Make end panels applied instead of integrated. Keep the old dishwasher for now. Bare light bulbs instead of fancy fixtures. Lots of things to cut or put off until later.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 9:41AM
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Lori - i had lots of pullouts in my old kitchen & liked them. Also had a few with adjustable shelves. I have all drawers now except for my sink base (pullout bottom drawer), a vertical storage narrow cabinet & some shelves on the back of my island that didn't have enough depth for drawers.
I LOVE the drawers. You won't reget it. I find I am much more organized. There was a lot of "stuff" crammed into the back of my adjustable shelves that hadn't seen the light of day in years. I got rid of most of it.
I've gotton many great ideas on GW. As many drawers as possible, the best. Thanks GW!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 12:03PM
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Definitely drawers

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 2:07PM
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I'm with the majority: I also say drawers, the only drawback being the extra cost.

Having said that, I am going to have a few doors -- my kitchen will be about 15% drawers:

- One drawer planned for a pop up to hold my frequently-used Kitchen Aid mixer. Drawers can't do a pop up.
- One skinny door in a space that must hold an 8" cabinet. It isn't that I particularly want a door there . . . It's that I must have a skinny cabinet there and drawers won't do in such a tight spot. I'm thinking one door there'll be good for cookie sheets and cooling grids.
- Finally, I'm going with simple doors under the sink. I don't think the fancy cut-away drawers (necessary to avoid the plumbing and garbage disposal) are worthwhile under the sink. This is a financial decision.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 3:11PM
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I had pull-outs in my last kitchen, too, and they were great, but not compared to drawers. It's not the time it takes to do 4 motions vs. 2, it's the "ease of operation".

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 3:37PM
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Mrs Pete - I don't have all drawers either. I have a condiment pull-out, trash pullout, regular sink cabinet and skinny "filler" cabinet like yours. But. I do have drawers everywhere that I might otherwise have had cabinets in the past.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 4:27PM
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Love my drawers. One thing to remember is maximum weight includes the weight of the drawer. Surf a2gemini recipe for disaster for my KD and my boo boo.
All is fine now.
Also- you can see lots of pictures of drawer insides surfing a2gemini final reveal.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 8:57PM
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