Drawers vs Cabinets & Rollouts

Samantha111August 1, 2011

I have a very small kitchen. The main working area between the sink and range is 39 inches. What would you find more useful on the base cabinets and why. There is other storage and a closet for oversized pots/pans etc. But this is prime storage near the main working counter.

Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

15" 4 drawer unit. 3 standard, 1 deep drawer.

24" double door with 1 drawer above and 2 rollouts below.


15" door cabinet with drawer above.

24" 3 drawer unit. 1 standard and 2 deep drawers.

Also, does a 24" cabinet need two pulls or is one nice wide pull or handle sufficient and easy to open and close.

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all drawers except on the sink base.

drawers are easier into and out of... you don't have to bend or lean down to see what's in them or to reach anything in them - or put anything away in them.

rollouts take more moves - open the door (or 2) and pull out the 'drawer'. door(s) need to be fully open - and can't be closed until the ROT is ALL of the way back in. That's a PIA.

depending on what drawers I had else where, I'd probably have the skinny drawers on top and 2 deeper ones below.

or maybe a 5" drawer and 3 @ 8". if that isn't taking up too much space - vertically. I might have glass cooking dishes in one of the shallower drawers - and my pots/pans. I'd use the bottom one for things not often used since I can't bend without pain - and have trouble straightening back up.

I'd use the middle drawer(s) for things most used. the top skinny drawer for cooking utensils etc.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 2:46AM
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I agree with the drawers. Love them We got drawer over cabinet and sorry we did so.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 3:42AM
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Totally agree with Steph. Our cabinet builder tried to talk us into all drawers and I wish we had - everything except the sink base.

I don't know about the number of handles needed on a 24" drawer. Our deep drawers are 34" and I have two handles on them, mainly so they will line up with the two regular drawers on top.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 10:57AM
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Thanks! It sure sounds like everyone just loves drawers over cabinets. I have been wondering about the rollouts. Even with one wide door on the 24" (not sure about the looks there but I guess it would look like a paneled dishwasher) it's still a two step move and seems a bit cumbersome. I imagine that hardware could wear over time also so they don't slide quite as well as when new making it more of a hassle to use.

There will cabinets afterall. The sink base, a 39" above the counter, and the small ones over the sink and range. I also have a shallow cabinet on the other side which is a tough bend actually.

So all drawers are sounding very encouraging. Originally I had wanted the big wide ones which I love but wondered if it was not right (too big or cumbersome) as one's main daily access items and located right beneath the main prep area. I will have to look at a complete bank of drawers to see what it looks like.

I would love to see pictures of your drawer configurations if they are already handy for posting.

Thanks so much for the input!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 12:09PM
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btw - I think 1 good sized pull is enough on a 24" drawer. I like at least a 5" one with a 1.25" projection. easier on the hands.

here's a pic of my sister's wider drawers. pots/pans in one of the deeper drawers - the middle drawer. don't know what's in the bottom one - maybe seldom used pots/pans. BIL is 6'5" and I'm sure he doesn't want to be in/out of that drawer too often. He's the cook now - sister 'retired' from cooking!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 12:27PM
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So I guess that would look something like this. The two large drawers don't align with the left bank. Hopefully it doesn't get thrown off so that you can't do a 4 beside a 3. I believe the KD's drawing that I chopped up is partial overlay whereas the cabinets I'm now decided on are full. Maybe the full overlays will align properly.

Do you think this looks alright? I think the KD said if I had a bunch of drawers it would get confusing which was what so he put a cabinet on the one side.

That's a pullout next to the range.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 12:29PM
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Thanks for the photo. I love the look of drawers. Is there another bank on the left of the range? Very handy!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 12:31PM
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Here is the KD"s layout with the two door:

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 12:53PM
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It won't matter if there are 3 drawers next to 4. They'll be separate units most likely. And as far as getting confused, once you get used to it, you'll automatically grab the right drawer just like your fingers automatically find keys on the keyboard. I have 6 top drawers in a row and I very rarely open the wrong drawer.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 3:45PM
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I agree with the all drawers and not let the three and four mixture bother me. It is more important to have great use of your kitchen verses looks. And I think the three and four look just fine next to each other.

A cabinet with drawer over the top of it makes it hard to get into the shelves below the cabinet. Also there tends to be a style between the doors and that narrows what you can get in and out of that cabinet. Ask me how I know??? I made that mistake. :^((((

The slide out things for cabinets are nice but then do tend to waste space. I am all about using every inch.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 4:07PM
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yes, she has drawers to the left of the stove also -

here's an idea for the skinny 'door' to the right of your stove - maybe make it 2 pullouts like this for cookie sheets, cake pans, cutting boards etc:

many here have drawers stack next to drawer stack next to drawer stack - looks fine. will see if I have any saved.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 11:08PM
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wow, thanks! Drawers are the best aren't they. So much more useful. I was looking into the dark abyss of that 12" lower cabinet yesterday and it breaks the back. I'm glad to see the smaller 4 drawer next to the wide 3 door looks great. That's where I'm headed. Sure would be nice to have all that storage and not have to sweat it so much but I'm lucky to have what I have!

I'm so glad I stopped around to ask and hadn't purchased anything yet. I visited the KD yesterday and things have come full circle. I'm able to get the big drawers like I'd originally dreamed of. It will be so much better and I love the way they look.

Thanks for all the additional information and help. It's so great to have forums around. You do a great job helping people sort this stuff out! Finally, my kitchen plans are feeling right. What a relief!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 8:47AM
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Looking at hardware for the drawers, I've always liked the drop handles. Now getting to a purchase, I'm thinking it could be cumbersome. Maybe the fixed pulls are easier and also wouldn't mar the finish from use (fingernails and the dropping back of the handle against the drawer). What are your thoughts on pulls?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 9:24AM
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I like the look of drop handles too, but fixed pulls are really better in the kitchen IMO. Think how many times you open a drawer with one finger because you're holding something else.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 12:30PM
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I had drop handles yrs ago, now I don't know how I survived them... now I want big pulls with a deep projection - easier on the hands and easier to grab ahold of them. I'm getting very, very plain ones - easier to keep clean that way. If they have a lot of grooves or design they have more areas that will catch dust, food particles and other gunk.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 5:17AM
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ha, yes I was just looking at a trellis patterned pull. I am always wiping/rinsing my hands before touching things though. That's a good point. The lovely French twist hardware I admire would be a real project to clean out. I noticed in the HD yesterday that they had a one cabinet display with the drop. Sure enough the finish was chipping where the handle drops back to the cabinet.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 12:42PM
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Oh yes, good point about the grooves. My kitchen pulls are decorative and they are a pain to clean, especially the ones under the baking area.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 7:32PM
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On drawer depth. Reading around, I'm wondering if the 4-5 drawer units are more useful generally than the 3-4 drawer units that have the two deep drawers on the bottom. This is of course when you don't have oodles of cabinets so your choice for a primary storage unit can really have an impact. I see so many pictures of the double deep drawers and love them. Roomy and beautiful. Someone was talking about wasted space in them and doing only one deep on the bottom. I think one of the KDs viewd them that way.

I have to go back and measure but seems they offer about 4" of depth for items?

What is your experience? Mine is limited. More bang from the shallow drawers or the deeps are more useful and versatile when space is terribly prime? I'm thinking maybe the cabinets above are sufficient for the taller or bulkier items. I was looking through drawers at friends/relatives and it seems even the shallower drawers have quite a bit of lost space.

Here is a link that might be useful: 5 drawer unit

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 9:51PM
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I really liked the four drawer. Three shallow over the deep drawer. We had three banks of them at the last house and it worked out really well for me. If I had my way to do a kitchen all over again I would go totally drawers. Even here I have bought heavy duty dish pans to sit on the lower cabinet shelves. I use them as drawers. AND also I use those plastic serving trays as flat pull outs on the lower shelves. Just have to be sure not to pull them too far out. LOL Not pretty when you do.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 3:30PM
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"Even here I have bought heavy duty dish pans to sit on the lower cabinet shelves. I use them as drawers. AND also I use those plastic serving trays as flat pull outs on the lower shelves."

me too Shades! i picked up 2 trays at the GW and bought a plastic dish pan at W to try out in the bathroom 'linen' closet. it'll work fine. I'll pick up a few more. the shelves over my head and at the bottom I'll put stuff not used that often in the bins. No climbing up and digging behind things to find something.

I also have a stack of those plastic slide out drawers (my sister gave me) they drive me nuts cause 1 drawer or another is always dropping down and won't close. So, I'm taking them apart and using one (or in the case of the real shallow ones maybe 2) on the reachable shelves. a drawer for wash clothes, a drawer for hand towels and a drawer for dog stuff. I plan to slip a strip of wood under them on each side front to back so there's no place for the drawer to drop down to.

I think the drawer sizes (depth) depends on what you'll use them for. you could use a shallow one for glass cookware - most of those are shallow. or if you're me and only have a set of dishes for 4 you can use a shallow one for your dishes. the deeper ones will work for plastic ware, colander, strainer, salad spinner and the like.

I think back when I figured it to be 2 shallow and 2 deeper ones. the deeper ones don't need to be more than about 8" for me. I measured my pots - of which I have 2 - and my skillets (2) - lol! I'd keep stuff not used as often in the bottom one so I wouldn't have to stoop to get into it as often.

and I figured you can always not fill a drawer to the top but if something is too close to the top it can get stuck or be just that 1/2" too tall to fit in it.

I do remember my old (new when I moved in) drop handles scraped away the finish on the drawer fronts.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 1:29AM
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That's a good point about dishes fitting in the shallower ones if you don't have a big set.

Shades, what did you store in your wide shallow drawers?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 1:16PM
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In the house which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, I really loved the 36" wide cabinet which had two doors, and then it had two 36" wide rollouts. I kept my mixing bowls in that, and lots of other bulky items which it would be hard to put into a drawer. Each rollout would be great to let me look down on my choices, see the entire contents at a glance. Then I had one of those wire roll out pantries which had a small drawer above it, and that is where I put stuff like extra cleaning supplies. Quite safe for those who have small children, and I did not, but I considered all the chemicals most folks keep beneath a sink.

I like the look of the plans shown above, nearly every one of them. And the KD's design with two doors next to the range, I'd be sure to put the rollouts behind those doors.

In regards to how many handles on a 24" cabinet drawer, I for sure think ONE HANDLE. It keeps the drawer balanced as it opens, and if you have good hardware for the glides, such as the Blum hardware, it will be full extension (very important), and you might get a handle wide enough to hang your kitchen towels upon. I really like that look. And you can use the drawer handles in a vertical position, perhaps, for the door handles as well.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 2:09PM
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That's a good point about the drawer being balanced when opening. I was asking the KD at the big box just that. I'd probably be pulling on only one side of a two handled drawer. He didn't seem to think it mattered but I'm not so sure about that.

Here's my other thread. I'm looking for input on the backsplash and cabinet heights. I'm not sure if there's a problem there or not.

Here is a link that might be useful: Backsplash & cabinet heights

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 8:41PM
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Samantha, I used one for my cook books as I thinned them down to what would fit in a deep drawer.Now they are in a dish pan in lower cabinet shelf.I only have a few.

In the shallow drawers I now have in one bank of them. Top,hand can opener ,spatulas and a few odd kitchen tools. The next one down is large cooking and serving spoons, ladle. Next one down is baking things. Rolling pin,pastry mixing thing and two biscuit cutters and the one cookie cutter I kept oh and the candy thermometer. The bottom drawer only has two glass bread/meat loaf pans.

Now I have shallow drawers around above the cabinets and not liking them as much as in banks. I keep all my canning tools in one and so on. I was careful to sort each activity into it's own drawer.

I am over tired of having kitchen crap just to have it. I purged through it many times to get rid of the things I did not use on a regular basis. I was brutal. I am so much happier not to have all that stuff around just getting in the way, It was amazing how much of it I had collected over the years I never used. If I did not use it why keep it in my way. Now cooking and storage is so much easier.

One other thing not asked but I will tell you how I do it. I keep my flatware in three long plastic baskets that fit left to right in one shallow drawer. Spoons front then forks then table knives. This works so much better for me than the molded flatware holders.I bought the baskets at the dollar store.

Like ML I do not like appliances on the counter. I only have a small microwave and the coffee maker out.I do not even own a stand mixer. Hand one is fine for me.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 11:27AM
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Thanks for the storage ideas for the wide shallows. That's a great way to organize things. I wish I had that much cabinet space to keep things so zoned. I think I'll be able to keep that kind of stuff in the small drawers to the right of the range as I don't have a ton of it. Then again there's probably more around than I realize! A miscellaneous bin in the closet for the less used tools would work for me, I think. As long as I label it to remember it's there. I wish there were a ROTS for one of the deeps so that mid-sized items could go there without wasting the upper portion. Possibly a retro-fit will turn up down the road. I like the idea of baskets for flatware and such. I had one of the trays which didn't work all that great either. I will also enjoy the look and feel of baskets much more! Using the bakeware is another great storage idea. I probably never would have thought of that. Except by accident maybe stuffing some things away quickly to get them out of the way.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 1:26PM
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