Dish drawer - 2 6" or 1 12" or ???

andreak100August 21, 2013

I'm placing my plates in a 36" drawer. I had been planning on one deep drawer, but I'm wondering if it would be smarter for me to plan on them being in two shallower drawers?

I've seen a good number of photos here with people who used a single deep drawer, but wonder if anyone has used shallow ones instead?

BTW, I keep 8 plate settings, if that makes any difference in people's opinions.

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What do you perceive as the advantage to two shallow drawers (I'm not a fan of shallow drawers in general, plus you lose space, one 12" does not equal two 6")?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 1:35PM
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Well, I perceive the advantages as being:
1.) Overall less weight in each drawer. This means:
a.) easier to open and close
b.) less strain on the glides
c.) less chance of bowing in the drawer due to weight
d.) probably not an issue for me because we have plywood sides, but I can't help but remember that a2gemini had a rather GW famous "blow out" with her deep & wide dish drawer due to the weight

2.) Since a stack of 8 plates isn't likely to fill a deep drawer up to it's full height, I will have "wasted space" where I would either want to stack stuff on top of it and then have to move it to get to the other stuff or just live with the wasted space.

I'm aware that I don't get the full depth that I would have with a single 12" when I have two 6" shallow drawers...but I DO gain surface area. And I think that surface area is more needed for dish drawers than height. But, being as I haven't had a dish drawer before, perhaps I am wrong.

Right now, with my plates in an upper cabinet, I placed one of those metal things in that divided my shelf area so I had two levels to stack things...I can't do that in a dish I'm thinking that it might be more efficient use of space overall having them as shallow drawers.

And personally, I love a mixture of shallow and deep drawers - it's all about what you need to place in them. I have mostly mapped out what is going where in the kitchen renovation and found that I have a good amount of kitchen "gadgets" that will fit beautifully in shallow drawers. And I have a lot less things that need deep drawers, but I will have a fair number of deep drawers in the kitchen as well.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 1:54PM
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Anyone have a shallow-ish dish drawer? Or have a deep one that they think could have been better as two shallow? I'm trying to get an answer to my cabinet maker on the drawers and need to decide if this is a 3 or 4 drawer cabinet.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 6:47PM
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Why don't you mock it up and see how it works? Lay out some board the length and width of your 36" drawer. Then stack your dishes how you would ideally like them. Check the height of the stacks. allow a little extra room in case you want to add place settings or get new dinnerware someday that is a diferent depth. See if the extra surface area matters. It would matter to me but everyone is different. I have found that since my renovation last fall, I have added things like separate dessert plates, pasta bowls and other odds and ends that i didnt have before which take up additional lateral space.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 7:11PM
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I definitely have a lot of wasted space in my large dish drawer. But I only had the choice of small with 2 equal large drawers, or 3 equal small with one large. If I could have had four equal drawers, or small with 3 medium drawers, I would have done that instead!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 8:30PM
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Regarding the strength issue:

I got heavy duty glides, which cost about $25 more per drawer. In my case, I had to get heavy duty anyway, since my drawers are 27" front to back, and Blum only makes HD for lengths over the standard 21". I cannot remember, but I think they are good for 125 pounds.

The box maker used 1/4" nominal plywood bottoms, really more like 3/16". WAY too thin for these larger drawers. He should have used 1/2" (7/16"), which has less than 1/12th the deflection under load. I routed the front edge of the box, and added oak 1x6 (3/4 x 5-1/2) from front to back, under the center of each drawer. Somewhat overkill, but now the bottoms don't bow more than about 1/32" with a load. I only did this on the 6 larger lower drawers -- no need in the shallow uppers.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 9:57PM
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This'll sound crazy, stack up your plates and measure them. Add about two inches to safely get them into and out of a full drawer.

Be aware that different sets of china need different amounts of room - so leave a little to accommodate the future (unless you have really big dishes today).

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 11:02PM
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nycbluedevil - I did mock it up before I ever asked the's actually WHY I asked. And it seems like two shallow drawers would work better. I just worry that I'm missing something because everyone here that I've seen doing dish drawer has done a deep one.

williamsem - thank you - that wasted head space is why I was asking about it. I just loathe the idea of wasting space and it's not practical to stack unlike objects in the drawer - so dinner plates are a stack, salad plates are a separate stack, etc. It seems that in this case, more surface area would be a plus rather than depth. I've got lots of other deep storage areas elsewhere.

attofarad - we had the option of the 1/4" or 3/8" bottoms for our drawers. We are going with 3/8. Our cabinet maker also mentioned about putting the reinforcement like you mentioned in our deep drawers. Are you heavy duty glides also soft close? That is an important feature to us and I thought that I read somewhere that the heavy duty glides weren't soft close.

bmorepanic - it sounds no more crazy than me actually having done that already. ;-) I measured what we have currently and I took the stuff out that I got in anticipation of the new kitchen and the new stuff is definitely taking up more space...but it will still work to have shallower drawers, I think.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 11:55PM
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I have the famous blow out and still waiting for the final fix.
We will keep the original drawer front but have a shallower drawer inside. So basically what you are describing but the front will look like a 3 bank drawer but functionally 4 drawers. The top inside pull out will be slightly less tall than the main drawer.
I hope to have the drawers soon - the original ones were the wrong size.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 4:29AM
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I don't find heavy drawers to be a problem. They slide right out. Also, just make sure you have the heavy duty glides as you know.
However, my drawer is not 36" (for my dishes) nor is it super deep. It is 29 x 8.5". I have 8 dishes, 8 cereal bowls, and 8 salad plates. Also I have room for some of my kid's plastic bowls/plates.

I keep my pasta bowls in the same size drawer below that one.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 8:55AM
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I keep my dishes in a 36'' wide drawer. It is the center drawer of a 3 drawer stack. My 3 drawer faces measure 6.75, 11.00 and 12.00. I have framed cabinets so that 11 inch drawer ends up with an inside depth of 7.75 inches. I have a peg system in there (which isn't really needed BTW) and that reduces the depth to 7.00''.

My dishes are not bulky and my stack of 10 plates has 2.75 inches of space above it. On checking these measurements I did notice that my 8 cereal bowls stack higher than my 10 plates but there is still 1.5 inches of space above them.

All of this is to say that depending on the thickness of your dishes a 6 inch deep drawer should give you enough depth. Just be sure that that is the actual interior depth of the drawer.

I have soft close drawer glides. My drawer still slides in and out smoothly and easily after almost 2 years of use. When fully extended the drawer does not
tilt down at all. I do not know rating for the glides I have.

Here is my 36" drawer with all my place settings in it.

This post was edited by badgergal on Thu, Aug 22, 13 at 10:11

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 8:57AM
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I think dividing the dishes between two drawers is a great idea. Mine are in one -- wasted air space above -- and the drawer is sluggish. Always having the a2gemini disaster in the back of my mind, I decided to put the dinner plates nearer the stove (convenient for plating dinner), and the drawer glides much more jauntily now. I think your observation that with two drawers you increase surface area is spot on. Of course, you could do one drawer inside the other also, if the drawer fronts would look better that way.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 12:36PM
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One thing I can think of that would make two drawers better than one for stacking dishes (by the way, fishies, I used to have those dishes!). We found that because the dishes were piled high (and we never had a problem with the weight), we tended to just use the top half of the stack -- use them, wash them, put them back, use them again. If the dishes were in two separate stacks, we would have rotated.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 12:45PM
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