Kitchen drawers versus pull-out shelves?

diane4570April 25, 2009

We're ready to remodel our kitchen - so exciting! Am wondering about what you store on the pull-out shelving of lower cabinets and what you put in deep, regular pull-out drawers. I have read post about keeping plates/cups/dishes, etc in bottom drawers, but then wonder what you're storing in the upper cabinets?

I have the usual assortment of casserole dishes, large pots/pans, stand mixer, slow cooker, toaster, lots of Tupperware, pie plates, cake pans, etc., Drawers or pull-out shelves???

Just trying to figure out what will be most effective use of the space. Thanks.

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With pullouts, you have to open a door, or usually 2, all the way, in order to then pullout the shelf. With a drawer, it's one action taking less clearance room. I hated pullout shelves...Things always fell off the sides. I love the drawers as an alternative.

We have our plates and bowls in drawers and cups and glasses in the uppers. Some people don't have any uppers, or reduce them in favor of more lower storage and more windows or openness.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 6:32PM
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My cabinet maker is doing all drawer bases. I'm very happy about that. He explained it's one of those "aging in place" designs. I'm 50, lol, so that's perfect. When I'm 70 I won't be on my knees, on ceramic tile, digging for that seldom used pan.
You have more options this way too. You can put your glasses and dishes in the uppers, or put them in the drawers. Without the drawer bases, you basically have no choice but to put them all in uppers. Just make sure you get full extension drawers. I know I'm getting that, but I have to see what the price will be for soft close before I make that decision.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 6:52PM
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I have 34 base drawers and LOVE them! Only 3 are soft close and they contain my plates, glassware and silverware. Would've liked to have more but they were more $$. Full-extension is a must!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 8:19PM
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I completely agree about full-extension...An absolute must. I'd actually do without cabinet doors as long as I had to to have them...But I decided against soft-close. Even with 8 kids, I just don't notice a problem with slamming, and, truthfully, I'm impatient and the soft-close mechanisms close too slowly.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 8:29PM
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Thanks for the feedback. I have to say I wasn't too keen on the soft close, for the reason that you have to "wait" for them. But I hadn't fully considered the benefits of the full extension. Thanks.

I'm trying to imagine what I'd put in the upper where my plates and glasses are now!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 9:21PM
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My last kitchen had mostly deep drawers, full extension. I wouldn't even consider anything else for the new house.

My goal was to store everything at the point of use. So I stored glasses and the mugs we use for ice cream in the upper cabinet next to the fridge. The top drawer under that held a second set of cutlery (for making sandwiches, snacks), the rest of the drawers held the toaster, bread, muffins, paper plates, etc.

At the baking area, utensils were in the upper drawer, staples in Tupperware square canisters were in one drawer, mixing bowls on the corner susan, spices etc. in the uppers.

All dishes were in the drawer perpendicular to the dishwasher, so things went from one to the other with no wasted effort.

I found drawers to be the perfect answer. Full extension was a must, and after long thought, I chose not to use soft-close. I find them mildly annoying. I had one cupboard with pullouts in the last kitchen, and put two in this one, mainly to break up the all-drawers look. They're in a serving piece, though, which I won't use daily. Drawers are just easier.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 9:49PM
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You know what, I'm thinking I'll likely also find soft close annoying, especially for the large drawers.
I'm always more bothered by the slamming doors than drawers. I thought the soft close doors were way cooler than the drawers when I tried them.
I've gotten accustomed to closing everything properly in order to avoid the slam. It's cool, but not really necessary. I should get my GC's quote next week and I'm so nervous about that, I am already scaling back my plans!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 11:21PM
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my gf had all drawers in her base cabinets 2 yrs ago and loves it that way. My sister put mostly drawers in her new kitchen. she mostly has the doors on the kitchen side of the bar/island area. (she has 2 islands). otherwise it mostly drawers.
I'm going with them for easy access to 'stuff'. 3 banks of drawers, the LZ cab and sink cab (that's it - all I have room for). I do have a pantry tho for canned goods and small appliances. I'll probably keep my dishes (set for 4) on an upper shelf (can only reach bottom shelf anyway). will keep my alternate dishes in a drawer (paper & plastic!)

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 11:48PM
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I have mostly drawers (all bases except sink bases, 2 spice pullouts, and Pet Center) and love them! Tray storage is above the ovens so no need for it in a base cabinet.

I have both full-extension & soft-close (both came standard with my cabinets) and I really like both! As to "waiting" for the drawers to close...I don't stand around watching them close, I just give them a gentle shove and go about my business... I don't feel they need me to watch them! With the soft-close, there's no accidentally slamming a drawer shut nor is there any shifting of the items in the especially annoying occurrence w/my flatware insert in my old was always sliding toward the back of the drawer. The inserts in my new kitchen rarely slide (knife insert, flatware insert/divider, plus utensil inserts/dividers in my baking tools/utensils drawer and my serving utensils drawer).

My DH loves the soft-close drawers so much that he installed soft-close dampers on the doors as well! (There's something about soft-close that men seem to be fascinated with!)

If I have anything to say about it, I will never have a kitchen w/o all drawers with both full-extension & soft-close. (This should be our "forever" home, so I should be good to go on this!)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 1:48AM
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We have mostly drawers in our base cabinets and I love it! Sized the drawers to my needs -- from really deep to hold tall pot to narrow for utensils and several sizes in between. I tried to think about what would go in each and measured stuff a jillion times, gave it to my cabinet maker and he sized drawers accordingly.

Love the full extension and wouldn't have that any other way. We, too, decided against soft close. With three boys it would have just been on more thing for them to "test" and eventually break. I don't mind a slamming drawer and in fact find it a bit comforting -- sounds solid, complete.

I have one cabinet with pull-outs where I store glass casserole dishes and I like it. This works for this particular item but I would not want more than one, the drawers are so much more versatile and functional, I think.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 6:34AM
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Another vote for drawer bases here. Besides my sink cabinet and garbage pullout, I only have one base cabinet for trays. We really love our drawers. I have very few wall cabinets. I store my dishes in the drawers and my glasses in a glass fronted upper. I use my other deep drawers for pots and pans, glass storage containers, large utensils like strainers, and frequently used serving bowls. Like southernsticher, at 51 I like them because I don't have to get on my knees to get things. My 6 ft. 5, 70 YO husband loves them too!! In the previous kitchen here he never looked in the bottom cabinets.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 6:48AM
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When we were designing our cabinets, we wanted ALL drawers as well, but we just couldn't afford the extra cost, so our island has 4 sets of 3 drawers and the main cabinet wall has two cupboards with pull outs. I do believe cost is a consideration if you're on a limited budget.

We also have soft close on everything - the cabinets are being installed on May 7th, so I guess time will tell if we like it or not - but I also tend to be "impatient" in the kitchen whereas DH is a little more mellow so he'll likely love the soft close more than me!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 7:57AM
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For us the soft-close would've been almost 3 times as much expense...Not worth it to me. Funny, though, that some of you have made comments about your husbands liking/wanting them...My dh was so sad to cross them off the list, even though he works in the kitchen only to make his own oatmeal. :-)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 8:49AM
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Rhome410, my husband only works in the kitchen to make his own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He too will be sad about it if we get none. 3x as much! Wow, that does sound like a lot. I'll report back next week what the difference will be on mine as he's giving me quotes with and without.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 9:20AM
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Southernstitcher, I should have clarified that the cost would have multiplied just for the drawer slides themselves, since we did ours DIY and were pricing out each element. --And I think that I remembered incorrectly and it was really only a bit over twice as much. (That's what I get for trying to write a post at 5:49 in the morning) But still, when I was to the point where I felt we needed to cut costs, and we needed quite a few of them, it was a fairly painless place to compromise and save.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 9:28AM
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Regarding cost of rollout trays (ROTS)/pullout shelves vs drawers...for us, it turned out the drawers were less expensive than a 3-drawer drawer base. So, don't assume the ROTS are less expensive than drawers.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 10:52AM
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I have 29 drawers in my base cabinets. The only place I have doors in under the sink bases and also for the pull-out trash. Otherwise.....all drawers. I love the look and the functionality of it. Pull out shelves take two actions....opening the door and then pulling out the shelf. I'd rather one motion....pulling out a drawer. The top cabinets I use for less-often used items.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 11:59AM
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This is our forever house and I wanted to design as much flexibility into our kitchen as possible (with the exception that we closed in our cd fridge--hope that doesn't come back to bite me.) When I think back to my needs 20 years ago they were way different from my needs now. I imagine 20 years from now the same will hold true. Drawers are the easiest storage to use but the least flexible. Shelving and many pull outs can be height adjusted. I LOVE our drawers but I also love having several cabinets that allow changes down the road. I would have felt safer with all drawers if I had a walk-in pantry with adjustable shelving to accomodate odd-sized items.

Also, I'm a fan of mismatched dishes so I prefer having my dishes on an upper cabinet shelf so that I can see what's in the stack rather than just what's on top of the stack.

Drawers: I keep pots and pans and fry pans, glass baking/storage dishes, lids, spices and the typical small stuff.

Pull outs: pantry items, stacks of differnt pie plates, some small electricals, stock pots, large colanders, flour sifter, extra bags of flour and sugar, flour and sugar canisters and baking supplies (a counter height pull out), + 3 pull outs in our pantry cabinet. The disadvantage is that once in a while (not very often at all) an items will fall off (if unlike items are stacked--nothing well nested falls off) when I pull the shelf out vigorously but the advantage of seeing all the items at once instead of just looking down on the top layer outweighs the disadvantage for me in certain cases. Grabbing a stock pot and pulling it off a fairly open shelf is easier than dealing with the cofines of a drawer.

Fixed shelves: large mixing bowls, less used electricals (behind the large mixing bowls), corning ware, stuff that is too long to fit in a drawer (grilling skewers), smaller colanders, loaf and cake pans, and slotted fixed shelves for baking pans, cookie sheets, muffin tins, cutting boards + 2 fixed shelves in our pantry cabinet.

Upper cabinets: dishes, mugs, glasses, extra coffee carafe, ice cream maker, liquid measuring cups, ramekins, custard cups, lemon juicer, jars of rice and legumes, ceramic mixing bowls, vases, covered casseroles, oils and vinegars, pitchers, stemware.

I LOVE our drawers but I also like the few pull outs and fixed shelves we have. If needed, the pull outs can be removed down the road and fixed shelves could be put in if the additional space is needed or 1 or 3 pull outs can be put in the space that now holds 2. I've been aware of the all-drawer concept for more than 20 years (some friends and DH's aunt put them in that long ago) but decided the "everything in moderation" route was better for us.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 12:42PM
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Drawers, definitely. We use doors on lower cabinets only in exceptional circumstances. For more information on kitchen organizing principles, follow the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Basic kitchen organizing principals

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 2:50PM
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Almost all of my base cabinets are drawers, for the reasons people have already mentioned.

I did choose doors for the two big cupboards on my island, though, because I have a few odd storage needs that I want flexibility for. One drawback of drawers is that the height is fixed. This way, I can customize these two cupboards whenever I need to. I plan on mounting one shelf about five inches from the top, for example, to store our extra large griddle and wok. I also buy my wheat berries in bulk, and this way I can fit a tall storage container on a pullout underneath the shelf. The pullouts can be installed to be adjustable, too.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 7:03PM
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