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    How to Install Cabinet Pull-Out Drawers—the Key to More Kitchen Storage

    Glow Decor/Getty Images

    If you’re sick of stooping and rooting around the backs of your kitchen cabinets, I have recently come across a solution: cabinet pull-out drawers.

    Also called roll-out drawers or cabinet pull-outs, these drawers are essentially installed inside cabinets. Just open your cabinet door, pull the drawer, and all of the cabinet’s contents are instantly in sight, and in reach.

    Why would a cabinet need a drawer? The benefits of this setup are numerous:

    • Pull-outs can save your back and knees from bending over or squatting to search for what you need.
    • They can give your more storage in the kitchen.
    • They can help save you time when prepping for a meal, since you no longer have to excavate the backs of your cabinets for foodstuffs.
    • They can even save you money because you’ll stop buying doubles of things you can’t find hiding in your cabinets’ depths.

    Kitchen pull-out drawers are so life-changing—we’re serious!— we’ve decided to highlight them as the debut project in our new series, “Monday Makeovers,” on easy DIY projects to make your house feel more organized, comfortable, and chic. Read on for everything you need to know about cabinet pull-outs, from the various types you can buy to how to install them (I even tried it myself).

    What kinds of cabinet pull-out drawers are there?

    There are two major kinds of cabinet pull-out drawers: more traditional wood drawers and wire basket kits.

    1. Traditional roll-outs

    If you’re looking for a more custom, classic look, you might want to consider installing wood drawers. For these, start by getting some drawer boxes. You can get drawer boxes with a variety of high or low edges. Your choice should depend on what you plan to fit in this drawer. Cereal boxes? High edges are probably good. Spices? You’ll probably want low sides. Combo of high and low? Go for sloped edges that are high on one end and low on the other.

    The simple drawer box below is from Target but you can get them almost anywhere.

    drawer box
    This simple drawer box can make your kitchen feel much more organized.


    In order to turn a drawer box into a drawer, you’ll need slides to install on the sides. You have two options when it comes to slides: roller slides and ball-bearing slides.

    Roller slides glide on plastic wheels, carry a good amount of weight (usually 35 to 100 pounds), and are inexpensive. I found one set of roller slides at Home Depot that can hold 75 pounds for $6.69. The only big downside to roller slides is that they don’t extend fully, stopping at about three-quarters length. That can be tricky when it comes to reaching stuff in the very back of your drawers.

    roller slides
    This set of roller slides can be found at Home Depot for a little less than $7.

    Home Depot

    Meanwhile, ball-bearing slides extend fully. They’re sturdier than roller slides and can usually carry a lot more weight. I found one set of ball-bearing slides at Home Depot that can carry 500 pounds, priced at about $80.

    ball-bearing slides
    This set of ball-bearing slides is priced at $80 a pair at Home Depot.

    Home Depot

    If you’re nervous about the extra step of attaching the slides to the drawer boxes, lots of drawer boxes actually already come with the slides attached, like this 16-inch drawer box with ball-bearing slides below.

    Hampton Bay’s 16-inch pull-out drawer for 21-inch base cabinet

    Home Depot

    Helpful hint: Not sure which of your cabinets needs a drawer? Bottom cabinets are a good place to start. Most people store their heavy pots and pans in the bottom kitchen cabinets, which are a pain to dig out. Save your back, and start installing roll-outs here first, where it’ll really count.

    Beyond that, small roll-out drawers with short edges (like the one below) are popular for middle and top shelves in pantries. They’re especially great for spices.

    This drawer with slides attached is $35.

    Home Depot

    2. Wire cabinet pull-out drawer kits

    While traditional wood roll-out drawers can be easy to install, the wire drawers you get from a kit are even easier; they come with instructions, and everything is included. They’re perfect for people with little experience with handiwork as well as renters, since they’re easy to remove.

    The only drawbacks to wire shelves are that they usually don’t look as clean and finished as the traditional wood drawers, and there’s a big range here in terms of durability and quality of materials. You can spend as little as $30 on a roll-out basket, or over a hundred dollars.

    pull-out drawers
    These dual-level drawers are listed for $128 at Home Depot.

    Home Depot

    When shopping for these, check to see if they include roller slides or ball-bearing slides, and check how much weight the shelves can carry. If you’re going to use your drawers for heavy pots and pans, the more expensive option, with ball-bearing slides and a hefty weight limit, is probably your best bet.

    Helpful hint: No matter the kind of roll-out you choose, keep in mind that protruding cabinet door hinges can get in the way of an otherwise perfectly sized drawer. So, it’s safer to err on the side of selecting a drawer that’s a bit smaller than the cabinet, rather than one that fits snugly within but that won’t roll out!

    Putting it all together

    I’m a renter, so I decided I wanted a temporary set of pull-outs. I chose the ClosetMaid 11-inch Dual-Slide Cabinet Organizer, which cost about $50. I like that these are easy to install and remove, and the wire basket doesn’t block my view of what’s inside.

    Installing these shelves took about an hour. Screws should be included in the box, but know that you’ll need a power drill with a screwdriver head to get the shelves attached to the floor of your cabinet.

    rollout shelves
    The model I chose has roller slides, so the drawers reach only about three-quarters’ length when fully extended.

    Jillian Pretzel

    Helpful hint: Before installing, I organized what I wanted to go on the shelves while they were still on the kitchen floor. That way I could see how my kitchenware would fit from every angle.

    In just a few quick steps, I had my pull-out drawer installed and ready to go! As far as makeovers go, I’d say it’s a well-spent $50 that helps my small kitchen feel like it has a surplus of storage.

    Here I am making sure everything will fit on the shelves before installing this pull-out.

    Jillian Pretzel

    The post How to Install Cabinet Pull-Out Drawers—the Key to More Kitchen Storage appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.

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