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Best drawer size?

Posted by MrsPete (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 3, 12 at 16:05

Everyone here seems to be in agreement on one subject: Drawers are the best kitchen cabinet option. I'm completely sold on the concept, but I could use some specifics:

Question 1:

What is the best drawer size? I'm sure that small drawers aren't as efficient, what with a greater proportion of the materials being used up in sides and between-drawer wood. And I worry that it'd be easy to overload (and then break) an extra-large drawer. So, my question is, Where's the sweet spot? The drawer that's just the perfect size?

I'm thinking I'll have the following:

One stack of 24" drawers
Three stacks of 30" drawers
One stack of 36" drawers
One 12" traditional cabinet, for cookie sheets and drying racks

So, I'll have an abundance of 30" drawers -- if I leave my plans as they stand now. I like the layout, so I'm hoping that 30" is an effective size.

Question 2:

What depth of drawer is best? I'm thinking that -- for looks -- the stacks should all be the same. I'm thinking that I want the bottom drawer to be good and deep; that way, in the island it could hold large pots, and next to the stove it'd be tall enough for bottles of cooking oils. And I'm thinking that the top drawer should be more shallow because it'll hold cooking utensils, etc. Am I on the right track here?

Question 3:

What are the magic words I want to speak when ordering drawers? I know that full-extension is in there, and possibly soft-close. And I know that i need to specify I want drawers that reach allll the way to the back of the cabinet rather than wasting space. I absolutely want to know that I'm getting good quality hardware that'll last.

Thanks in advance.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Best drawer size?

Can you post a picture of your layout? It is easier to visualize and give suggestions that way.

I also have 24 inch and 30 inch drawers in my plan, but am thinking of making the 30 inch more like 33 inch. It depends what you are going to store in them as to the depth. If you are planning on putting large pots in the drawer, measure the height of the pot and add a couple of inches for drawer construction and clearance when shut.

I would think your cooking oils could be kept in an upper cabinet near the stove. You could also have a pull out pantry type in the lowers for things of that nature. However, one person who has one said she is forever bending over to see what is on the lower shelves of the pull out, so don't know if that is good or bad.
Here are some inspiration pictures!


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RE: Best drawer size?

We have the pictured two sets of drawers next to the stove - they measure 28 each. We also have a 33" set of 3 next to the dishwasher for dishes, and a 18" set of 4 drawers for silverware. Love them both, but I wish I had gone with the 2 drawer set next to the stove for the pans so that they'd be deeper.


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RE: Best drawer size?

Best for what? Measure your stuff, like your biggest pan, biggest pot, plates, etc. Realize that bulky things like dish towels or pot holders take up a lot of space, and that you might want a deeper drawer for them. Find out what your options are for the sides of the cabinet boxes - MDF or plywood or other - and what weight the drawer glides can handle, being sure to include the weight of the drawers in the calculation! Just ask a2gemini

We have 27", 30", 33," and 48" drawers. The top drawers are shallow and the lower drawers in the three-drawer bank are pretty deep. Just because a drawer is deep (or tall, if you want to put it that way, doesn't mean that everything in it has to take up the entire vertical measurement.

We did make two 30" drawers be deeper than the others - they're on an island so I doubt anyone would notice. We wanted to be able to stand a regular spice jar on end, which we ended up not doing, but it's a great place to store some of our bigger tools like the lemon squeezer thing.

We were guided in part by the kitchen in the house we rented, and by pictures of my mother's fabulous and well-organized kitchen. The rental kitchen consisted mostly of four-drawer stacks with three shallow drawers and a deep one at the bottom. VERY LITTLE could fit into those shallow drawers, we're talking a flatware try and boxes of foil, plastic wrap, etc.

ANYWAY, tell us what your stuff is like and how much available cabinet space there is to use!


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RE: Best drawer size?

Honestly...IMO...in a real kitchen, the best drawer size is not a uniform sized drawer, it's the drawer that is sized to hold the "stuff" in your kitchen and that is NEVER uniform.

I have drawers that are 4" deep (toe kick) which are just as useful as the 24" drawers. A range of sizes is the "best" size IMO.


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RE: Best drawer size?

"bulky things like dish towels or pot holders take up a lot of space"

this is true. Things like a potato masher or soup ladle do also.

It does depend on your needs - they are different for different people. Think of things like how much silverware you have, how many (and what) cooking utensils, things like measuring cups (dry), a strainer, a steamer - things that need more height than the silverware but less than the pots/pans. How many pots/pans do you have, how many lids - I have 2 pots (4 qt), 2 skillets, 1 very small saucepan and 2 lids. I need much less space than those who have many more of them.


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RE: Best drawer size?

I agree with the above. Measure your stuff and figure out what location in the kitchen it will all go. My mistake ... I want to put my skillets etc on edge in the drawer. The interior of my drawer is not tall enough for my 3 biggest ones. So, what to do with them ... Do I put them flat in the bottom of this deep drawer that is near the stove ? That will take up very valuable real estate in a deep drawer and then maybe all my pots/pans may not fit. I don't want to put them flat in the top drawer where I store the utensils I use for cooking. I wish I had one extra shallow drawer there. Just deep enough for the big pans to sit flat in.


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RE: Best drawer size?

I recently revamped an island to drawers versus cabinets. I do not have an extensive kitchen like many here. I put 2 stacks of wider drawers in my island with a run of 3 narrower, shallow ones across the top. I had considered putting in stacks of 3 under those narrow after talking to a few designer type folks - very glad I did not.

My openings are 10 inches high, drawers are 8 inches and leaves about 9 inches of storage height. I can keep all my cooking stuff in my island so long as it is stacked. Do measure all dimensions of your stuff. I taped out an area and set what I was going to store in it and then measured the height as well to make sure I could fit what I wanted to.


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RE: Best drawer size?

I have 22, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36, and 48 in drawers. I shallow drawers for cutlery and deeper drawers for pots and pans. I even have a drawer that holds all my oils and vinegars (possibly my favorite drawer). I didn't plan to have so many different sizes, but I wanted to maximize my storage in the kitchen, and those sizes ended up being the best use of space overall.

My general strategy was to make the drawers as wide as possible in each application. To me, it was better to have one 48 in. drawer rather than two 24 in drawers. I think it really depends on your specific layout and habits.

30 inches seems like a generally good size, and you're unlikely to feel like any drawer is too big to easily open.

You seem to know the magic words about soft close and full extension. Good luck.


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RE: Best drawer size?

If it's helpful to you, I have drawers with the actual drawer measurements being:

* 1 17 in. stack of 4 evenly sized drawers next to dishwasher (which is for silverware, knives, etc.)

* 3 stacks of three 32-33 in. drawers around the cooktop - top drawer is smaller and holds utensils, potholders, plastic wrap, etc. Bottom drawers are 10" deep and hold: pots, pans, lids, mixing bowls, blender, tupperware, crockpot. These all make me perfectly happy. If I wanted things to be sideways in these drawers, I would have done stacks of 2. However, I don't have enough pots/pans/etc. to necessitate that.

* 1 stack of three 18 in. drawers. Top drawer is smaller and holds cutting boards. The middle drawer is for rags and wash clothes. The bottom drawer holds our panini maker. :)

* 1 solo, narrow 30 in. drawer below double ovens is our junk drawer

I really like the 33 in drawers. There is a lot of flexibility with what I can fit in them. They would be even better at 36 inches, but they would still be useful at 30 inches.


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RE: Best drawer size?

You know, I've actually decided to give up a drawer stack in my kitchen for a pullout pot and pan holder... for the simple reason that I can't get a big enough drawer stack next to the stove to hold my big cast iron skillets, without stacking them which I don't want to do. The vertical slot in the drawer idea is neat but my handles will stick out on a few of them, unless I give up the top drawer which I need for potholders, blah blah.

So, just saying, drawers are good and I'm having them but they aren't always the ultimate answer for every situation.

Having said that, I'm really looking forward to my 36" wide drawer base that will be 30" deep with full depth drawers in it. And another regular depth 36" DB and a 24". All frameless for max space usage.

Here is a link that might be useful: pots and pans pull out


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