aeinfeld

Lower Drawers vs Lower Cabinets in kitchen

aeinfeld
2 years ago

My husband and I are at the planning stages of a kitchen remodel. I am convinced that lower drawers are more efficient than lower cabinets--even for things like plates & cups. My husband is not. What's your take? Do you like your lower drawers? Are lower cabinets better in some instances?

Comments (40)

  • Anne Duke
    2 years ago
    I still use the upper cabs for glassware and dishes, but for pots/pans and appliances drawers can’t be beat. Regardless of age or ability, convenience and ease in the kitchen are paramount.
    aeinfeld thanked Anne Duke
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  • Linda Hankins Ransom
    2 years ago
    Drawers for sure.
    aeinfeld thanked Linda Hankins Ransom
  • spiritflower
    2 years ago

    We only have lower drawers and they are the best thing ever. You pull the drawers out and you see everything that's there. No more down on knees trying to get to the back of the cupboard. We store everything, plates, cutlery, glasses, cups, bowls, pots, pans,..... Everything seems to store better. We didn't get any fancy dividers for things like glass's or mugs. I just use non-skid drawer liners and a few movable drawer dividers from Bed Bath and Beyond. The advantage of those is that after a month in my new kitchen I moved some things around from drawer to drawer and it wasn't any fuss. If the dividers had been built in I would have been stuck.


    The only lower cupboard we have is a skinny one beside the range for cookie sheets/cooling racks and cutting boards.

    aeinfeld thanked spiritflower
  • Silverlined
    2 years ago

    Plenty of people are using base drawers and still keeping their plates and cups in the wall cabinets. The trend is even toward doing deeper wall cabinets up to 16" deep (and also possibly mounting a little higher, like 21" high) to hold more of the plates and cups that are deeper than the traditional 12" wall cabinets could hold. The fact that so many drawer accessories exist to organize plates and cups in base drawers doesn't mean that's the best place to put those things. With all the movement in the drawers, the stable wall cabinets are actually a more logical place for breakables.

    aeinfeld thanked Silverlined
  • CLC
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Lower drawers for sure! Our last house had all drawers with the exception of one lower cabinet for my mixer (which I did use and appreciate having). Our new house has all cabinets and at least half of the lower cabinet space sits empty because they simply aren’t that functional. I miss having lower drawers sooooo much! I am counting down the days until we can re-do the kitchen. Which realistically won’t be for another 5 years, but I can dream about drawers in the meantime, lol. I still love upper cabinets for plates and glasses, though. Drawers on the lower for sure. My husband was skeptical, but even he admits how much better it was to have drawers!

  • rantontoo
    2 years ago

    I have dish drawers which hold plates, bowls, mugs...LOVE them. Pot drawers are not the only use for drawers.

  • K R
    2 years ago
    Only drawers! Exception would be under the sink. Trust us! You will love them!
  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn
    2 years ago

    Make sure you know the heights of what you are putting in the drawers... nothing worse than doing all drawers and not having a home for some things. Also make sure you are using a company that had quality drawer glides. You put a crock pot and some larger pots in a drawer that is going to be heavy!

    I had a customer once who had all Le Creuset cast iron cookware. He was very concerned about the weight so we did a cabinet with full height doors and inside we put 4 rollout trays. It gave us room to spread the pieces out and you don't have the cross rail of the cabinet taking away from storage space.

    If it fits your budget, then do drawers and rollouts - you 'll love them!

  • PRO
    Edmond Kitchen & Bath LLC
    2 years ago

    Ditto Debbie above. Drawers for most things but if you have something unique, adjustable pull outs work too. That's what we did here:


    The Social Kitchen · More Info


  • AnnKH
    2 years ago

    I don't see the advantage of pullouts at all in a new kitchen. I retrofit some in my Mom's apartment, but I had to work with existing base cabinets.

    How often do we change out our cookware? If the answer is "hardly ever", I can't see needing adjustable pullouts. In a pantry, perhaps, where storage needs could change over time, but certainly not in a drawer for pots and pans (as shown in the photo above). Imagine having to open 2 doors all the way, then pulling out the drawer inside, pushing the drawer in and closing both doors - compared to simply opening a drawer. One would got old real fast!

    As for the OP - drawers all the way! The only non-drawers in my kitchen are under the sink, and one 9" cabinet for cookie sheets and cutting boards. My kitchen isn't very big, so I don't have enough drawers for plates and glasses.

    The most efficient and effective storage solution in any kitchen depends on what is going to be stored where. As you begin this process, make sure you take inventory of your kitchen "stuff", and decide what is going where. Put things near their point of use: knives, cutting boards, colanders in the prep area; pots, pans, spices, potholders, cooking utensils near the stove; dishes near the dishwasher.

    When I remodeled my kitchen, one of my goals was to get stuff off the counters. So I have a knife drawer instead of a block on the counter; I have outlets for a charging station in a cabinet. Now that I actually have a designated spot (in a super susan) for the toaster, it actually gets put away after use!

    Good luck with your project.

  • suzanne_sl
    2 years ago

    Imagine it's time to unload the DW. Wouldn't you like to move the dishes the least distance possible and not have to lift stacks of plates or bowls above your head? Also handy for the grandchildren to get out their own plates/bowls.

    When you need that one pot – you know the one – would you rather get down on your hands and knees and start unloading a cabinet shelf to find it or

    When you need to use a mixing bowl or find glass storage containers for leftovers, where do you want to go – a cabinet over your head or crawling around on the floor to find it somewhere on a cabinet shelf?

    I do not miss the days of crawling around. I have one lower cabinet to store the large mixer. That cabinet has a mixer lift to bring it up to counter level - that sucker's heavy!

    There are lots of things that are better up


    (Most of the herbs and spices are in the drawer below this upper. The ones on the 2nd shelf here are extras or rarely used. The red box is birthday candles and sprinkles. The bottom shelf has mostly oils, vinegars, and sauces.)

    The best way to convince DH that drawers are an excellent idea is to be busy with dinner prep and ask him to find something you need that you know is buried. After he completes a couple of archaeology digs, he'll get it.

  • cluedin
    2 years ago
    I have all drawers except for sink, garbage pull out, pantry, over fridge, and one small open upper cupboard in coffee area. They are amazing. Even the back of my island is 9 - 24" wide drawers, but only 12" deep. Amazing for organizing measuring cups, pie plates, bowls, food storage, etc.

    Drawers for sure.
  • Joy Wills
    2 years ago

    My dad is the same way (not thinking that drawers offer better/ more efficient storage). There was no convincing him otherwise. I finally convinced him that dishes in the drawers were a good idea by making him mimic my mom's range of motion after her rotator cuff surgery, he couldn't reach anything but silverware unless it was in the dishwasher. We compromised in the new kitchen -I got my all lower drawers (with only 2 exceptions -Corner Super Susan and the second baking pan cabinet) and he got to add in additional wall cabinets where I had open space. He is of the firm belief that he "will find something to put there."


    Whatever combo you go with, make sure you make a storage plan so you know what size (depth and width) you need to store what you have/will have, and where it will go in relation to your zones. Eg: dishes near dishwasher and eating areas, pans/prep items near the stove, glasses near where the fridge, etc.

    Know how tall that stack of plates is, and how big those serving platters are. I spent the best part of 3 weeks (off and on) mocking up the interior size of our drawers to make sure our things would fit where I planed. This is especially helpful if you are specing both traditional and Euro/frameless cabs, and lets you see the difference in storage.

  • Buehl
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    There are a lot of threads on the Kitchens Forum that discuss drawers vs roll out tray shelves (ROTS). That's what I suspect you're really asking -- I don't think anyone except production builders do lower cabinets with stationary shelves anymore.

    Drawers, drawers, drawers!!!

    Opening/Closing...

    • Drawers require one movement to open/close
      -- Open: pull open
      -- Close: push closed.
    • ROTS, on the other hand, require 2 or 3 motions plus waiting...
      -- Open: move out of the way of the doors, open 1 or 2 doors, pull out ROTS
      -- Close: push in ROTS, wait for it to close fully (so you don't ding the doors), close 1 or 2 doors

    Storage/sides...

    • Drawers have sides the height of the drawer opening. This prevents things from falling off the sides, either onto the floor or into the interior of the cabinet (on the sides). This means you can stack things w/o worrying about things falling as the sides will catch them. It also keeps things from extending out past the walls of the drawer so they don't get caught on the cabinet frame when opening the drawer (Note: Getting caught on the frame is not an issue w/frameless cabinets, just framed...which includes overlay & inset.)
    • ROTS have shallow sides, thus allowing things to fall off the sides and allowing things to hang over the sides of the shelf and get caught on the cabinet frame (which can result in nicks in your frame - experience speaking here!).

    Adjustability...

    • Drawers are not adjustable to different heights inside the cabinet. OK, this is the one place where ROTS have the advantage. However, with planning and/or organizers you can do almost anything with them and store almost anything in them (dishes, glasses, etc.)
    • ROTS have the advantage here in most cases. Most ROTS are adjustable..but not all are, so check w/your cabinetmaker.

    Cost...

    Drawers, in my case were less expensive than ROTS. I have a 27" 3-drawer base and a 27" ROTS base cabinet (the only ROTS cab I have and that I regret) and the ROTS cab cost $140 more than the drawer base.

    .

    Regardless of your decision on drawers vs ROTS, get full-extension...it's a must b/c it allows you full access to your drawers or ROTS!

    Soft-close is also nice, but it's a "nice to have" not a "must" (although, soft-close does come standard in some cabinet lines like Omega Pinnacle & Omega Dynasty/Embassy.

    Actually, I don't recommend soft-close for ROTS b/c the slight delay in closing (as the drawer/tray is gently closed) means having to wait to close the door(s). [Experience speaking here again!]

    Here are some threads that might be of interest to you (and others)...

    Thread: [https://www.houzz.com/discussions/cabinet-drawer-vs-door-dsvw-vd~2699850[(https://www.houzz.com/discussions/cabinet-drawer-vs-door-dsvw-vd~2699850)

    Thread: Drawers or cabinet under cooktop?

    Thread: Drawers over pull outs in Cabinets

    Thread: Kitchen drawers versus pull-out shelves?

    Thread: Which pull out drawers are must haves? [Some discussion of drawers vs ROTS contained inside the thread]

  • Lyndee Lee
    2 years ago
    Drawer mechanisms can eat up quite a bit of available space, both in width and depth. If you choose drawers, don't go too narrow because the storage is so limited. Be careful with the small appliances because you will find that often only one larger item will fit into a drawer. I prefer pantry shelf space for small appliances.

    In my previous house, I had original cabinets which held so much more than modern cabinets. Even though my utensil drawer is 36 wide, it doesn't hold any more than the much narrower drawer in my old kitchen. The top drawer is too shallow for my ladle which ends up stored across the room. Modern drawers are shallow boxes with taller fronts while my old drawers were full height of the opening.
  • Buehl
    2 years ago

    "Drawer mechanisms can eat up quite a bit of available space, both in width and depth. If you choose drawers, don't go too narrow because the storage is so limited. "

    That is the same for ROTS...no difference.

  • mabeldingeldine
    2 years ago

    I just put all drawers in my new kitchen. The only cabinets I have are the pantry cabinet (with pullouts) above the wall oven, and a shallow glass doored bar cabinet. I LOVE the drawers. I have a few open shelves, but the majority of my dishes are in the drawer.

  • Sue 430
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Personally not a fan of all drawers. Don’t lke the idea of dishes and glasses rolling around in drawers. I also know my husband would cram things in there willy nilly and they would always be a mess. I prefer my pullouts

  • PRO
    Anglophilia
    2 years ago

    Drawers all the way! I do not have room in my kitchen for all my dishes in drawers (I have a LOT of dishes and a LOT of cooking stuff!), so my dishes and glassware are in my uppers, but I would have considered putting them in drawers if I'd had the room.

    Drawers keep things far cleaner than doors on lower cabinets. I have two very hairy little dogs who stay in the kitchen when I'm out and the difference is dramatic. NO hair in the drawers at all; constant cleaning of bottom cabinets with doors. No, their hair does not float up high enough to be a problem in my uppers.

    You can see how I used drawers in my lower cabinets in my "new kitchen reveal" in 3 parts:

    <https://www.gardenweb.com/discussions/4779243/finally-my-kitchen-reveal-work-completed-in-aug-2016>;

    <https://www.gardenweb.com/discussions/4779258/kitchen-reveal-continued>;

    <https://www.gardenweb.com/discussions/4779267/kitchen-reveal-continued-part-3>;

    Two and one-half years later, I'm as much in love with it as the day I wrote my reveal!

  • jmm1837
    2 years ago

    I'm kind of bemused by some of the comments. First, I'd have thought drawers were a more efficient use of space than roll-outs which have to fit within the cabinet instead of being part of it. And if you don't like glasses rolling around in drawers, put them in the uppers. The point is that drawers are much, much superior to cabinets for pots, pans, mixing bowls, colanders, muffin tins, tupperware etc etc. I keep a handful of really big things in my pantry, but the rice cooker, slow cooker, dutch oven, etc, are all in drawers.

  • Oliviag/ bring back Sophie
    2 years ago
    seriously, edmond kitchen and bath, I would hate doors and rollouts under my cooktop. way too many stepasides and movements.
    i have two deep drawers under my cooktop. pots and pans and olive oul, salt and pepper have homes. easy to get to.
  • Oliviag/ bring back Sophie
    2 years ago
    but, i guess it's all about how you cook
  • PRO
    BeverlyFLADeziner
    2 years ago

    Lower drawers for everything.!!


    However I do have a tall cabinet with pull outs for unusual tall items like a KitchenAid mixer. Glasses in an upper cabinet

  • Fun2BHere
    2 years ago

    I have pull-outs and they are such an amazing improvement over stationary cabinet shelves. I can imagine that drawers would be even better.

  • chispa
    2 years ago

    Just in case your husband isn't convinced yet ... drawers all the way.

    Also be sure to measure the actual drawer heights and decide between 2, 3 or 4-drawer stacks. My new drawers were slightly different height than my old ones, so I had to adjust the storage of a few things. Look up some old threads talking about drawer stacks, how people used them and how they decided which to order. I have mostly 3-drawer stacks with a few 4-drawer.


  • lisadlu16
    2 years ago

    Drawers!

  • wildchild2x2
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I prefer a pull out for pots and pans and drawers for just about everything else. Plus I prefer a heavy duty metal pull-outs over wood for those pots and pans. My pots and pan get heavy use and I don't want to have to worry about getting every drop of moisture off before putting them away. Thus the heavy duty wire Rev A Shelves are my favorite type of roll out for them.

    As for dishes, I don't care about proximity to the dishwasher for unloading. I care about having dishes readily available where I use them. I want them in an upper cabinet them next to the range where I can reach up and grab them as I need them. 99% of our food is plated at the stove. I have the plates stored in racks on edge so I can reach up and over and easily grab a plate with two fingers even when a bit foody or greasy without leaving soil behind.

  • Martha Foss
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Doors are much more user-friendly. When I have under counter cabinets I always help pull out shelves, which is actually the same thing as a drawer but costing more money. In my new kitchen, I did almost all big drawers. I’m moving in now and love it

  • mindshift
    2 years ago

    When I redo my cabinets the base units will have drawers. Consider having to get down on your knees to retrieve something from the back of a bottom shelf when you are 60+ years with bad knees.

  • Rawketgrl
    2 years ago

    I have had them all, drawers, pull outs, cabinets with a shelf. Drawers by far are a more inclusive design and are easier to use.


  • Snaggy
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Drawers ..I had them when I redid my Kitchen ..love them ..all mine have metal bases I only have 2 lower cupboards one door under the sink ..the other is a narrow one for the baking sheets etc .

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    2 years ago

    Drawers but not behind doors just drawers. Also true pullout pantries again not pullouts behind doors. I see no point in having to open a door to pullout a drawer. Btw there are also sink cabinets with drawers now too.

  • nhbaskets
    2 years ago

    Another vote for drawers. In our previous kitchen remodel, we had mostly drawers, but went with doors and pullouts for pots and pans under the cooktop. That was my one regret in that kitchen. So when we built a new home using the same KD, I insisted on drawers. One action is more efficient than two.

    Someone above mentioned they didn't like dishes and glasses rolling around in drawers. Many people here don't think that a peg system is necessary for this purpose. I've found it solves the problem of DH not knowing where to place dishes when unloading the DW.

  • kim k
    2 years ago
    We did all drawers and it’s great. I worried it’d be a pain for my tall husband to be bending down to get dishes but it’s not a problem at all. The only thing we keep in our uppers are glasses. Unloading the DW directly into drawers is way easier than lifting them Into uppers like we did before the remodel. I love not having to get on the floor to dig out pots and pans. It’s also SO nice that all four of our kids (ages 4-10) can reach everything themselves (i leave a few glasses in one drawer for the little two - no more stretching to reach or climbing onto counters).

    We have two lower cabinets with doors in our coffee bar cabinets and they house my instant pot, KitchenAid mixer and the kids snow cone machine. Really i don’t think you can have too many drawers you’ll be amazed at how much more they store and how organized they are. They’ve practically eliminated our need for upper cabinets.
  • PRO
    The Cook's Kitchen
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Here’s a copy of something I wrote in another post, so not all maybe 100% to your situation. :-)

    _______

    As a Kitchen Designer who is also a Certified Aging in Place Specialist, I can assure you that drawers are more ergonomic for people of all ages and abilities, which is why many feel called to recommend them with evangelical zeal.

    I have many many hours of study on ergonomics, work flow theory, and calculating storage ability of different options. I don’t usually explain all of that when working in person with a client, because part of the reason that they work with me is my training, background, and certifications. So, they trust my recommendations. :-)

    Drawers beat roll outs, hands down. Especially since most roll outs (not all) do not use the same high quality glides that drawers do. They take less grasping ability to activate, and there is no risk of damaging cabinet doors by having the pullouts move when the doors are not quite open. They are a single motion, that brings the contents to you, instead of a double motion. Standard door cabinets are WAY down the list for ergonomic storage.

    The one exception to drawers working better than pull outs is when you have an odd sized appliance or pot that gets used frequently enough to deserve in kitchen space, rather than pantry or adjacent storage space. It may need the versatility of an adjustable height roll out. (Bear in mind that many cabinet lines roll outs are NOT adjustable.)

    For instance, my bread maker gets a workout with winter soups, but the crab pot only gets used maybe twice a year. The bread maker is in the blind corner, and the crab pot is in the garage shelving.

    The key to a well designed kitchen is an activity assessment, and a tools assessment both. Learn from mis en place restaurant production techniques and create storage zones around planned usage stations. That may mean buying an extra set of measuring spoons for the baking area, stored with your baking pans, as well a set for the general tools drawer. Or it may mean splitting your cookware set into different storage areas. Or the donation of some items that rarely get used.

    A well designed kitchen, especially one with Universal Design considerations, will have a preponderance of drawer stack storage. But that is only a part of the whole. There is much more to that.

    If anyanyone wants to read some accessible to the average person kitchen design theory, find copies of Don Silvers,Kitchen Design With Cooking in Mind. Or Kelly Morriseau’s, Kelly’s Kitchen Synch. Both will be immensely helpful. But, so will working with a good Kitchen Designer. Especially if you are on a deadline!

  • kazmom
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Drawers!! We recently redid our kitchen and it is all drawers except for trash, tray storage and the pantry (which is pull out shelves). The trash and tray storage would almost count as a drawer as the pull out is attached to the door so still one movement. We had cabinets with pull outs for pots and pans before the remodel and I HATED them! The handles would get caught on the door frame and it was a PIA to get them in and out without scraping up the inside of the cabinet. The drawers are SO nice, I can even store all my pots with their lids on them!

    We have our dishes in drawers, right across from the dishwasher. Love it! younger kids and older adults have easier access than in an upper cupboard (not to mention shorter people), my son could really empty the dishwasher by himself for the first time after the Remodel (he isn’t as thrilled by this development!). Dishes don’t “roll around”, the weight of them keeps them pretty stable. Our glasses are still in uppers, but only because I ran out of drawer space!

    I would second the recommendations to measure your items and measure the drawer space in the cabinet line. We have varied drawers sizes to best utilize the space for us - two large 3 drawer stacks for pots and pans, dish towels and cooking utensils, two good size 4 drawer stacks for regular dishes, serving pieces, cat and dog bowls, sandwich bags, foil, wax paper, silverware, charging drawer ( the 4 drawer stacks are my favorites. So efficient with no wasted air space!). One 2 drawer stack, taller items and crock pot in the bottom and food storage containers with lids in the top. The top has a drawer in a drawer to give more storage room since I didn’t need two extra tall drawers.


    At some point in the future i will move again and it will kill me to buy a house that isn’t all drawers. In 6 short months since the remodel was done I am totally hooked!

  • kazmom
    2 years ago

    “There are a lot of threads on the Kitchens Forum that discuss drawers vs roll out tray shelves (ROTS). That's what I suspect you're really asking -- I don't think anyone except production builders do lower cabinets with stationary shelves anymore.”


    Buehl you would be shocked at how many people are remodeling their kitchens and putting in plain lower cabinets! I know several. I even know someone who recently chose to do plain lower cabinets over drawers or roll outs in custom cabinets.

  • Hansen
    2 years ago
    For those who can't afford the drawers and pull-outs, you can use plastic boxes and bins to pull out. It's not the best but it helps. I also use plastic shoe boxes in my upper cupboards that are too deep.
  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn
    2 years ago

    I do agree with everyone about the drawer situation. But for those going through the process, make sure to find out what size drawers are available in the cabinet line you are looking at. Most mid level and up lines will have 2,3,4 drawer bases in sizes from 15" wide - 36" . If you are shopping a simpler line you might only have the options of 3 or 4 drawer bases in a few sizes. Quite often rollouts are offered in more dimensions or can be outsources and field installed if need be.

    If you need to be budget conscious, then try to get at least one large drawer base in there!