​Essential Styles Guide: Best Types of Kitchen Drawers

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Last updated: July 24, 2023

Between 2019 and 2028, the kitchen cabinetry industry will reach 78 billion dollars in value. After all, the kitchen area is a popular choice for a kitchen renovation. The same source emphasizes how innovative construction on drawer slides turned them into durable storage space for holding heavy items.

This revelation increases the types of kitchen drawers available on the market. It also increases the number of companies carrying kitchen drawer designs. Some industry standard cabinet manufacturers are IKEA, Kraftsmaid, Canyon Creek Cabinet Company, and JPD Cabinet Depot.

Furthermore, custom cabinetry is leading the pack over stock cabinets. However, painted doors are the types of cabinet doors residents over wood and glass doors. The newfound information combined with your preferences should lead you to new kitchen drawers that suit your lifestyle.

My job is to answer the most common questions about the best types of kitchen drawers so you can buy drawers with confidence. There are five types of drawers (and a rarely used type), four ways to select drawers, and two routes to discover the number of drawers you need in the kitchen. I discuss the best size and three drawer styles: traditional, standard, and shaker.

After reading this piece, I know the new drawers you select will provide better use of space in the kitchen than the previous ones. Your chosen cabinet makers will have excellent craftsmanship on stock and custom cabinets. That’s because you would have done the research before hiring.

Table of Contents

Types of kitchen drawers

I always noticed there were small and large drawers. Two or three small shelves are always on top of the deep, expansive one at the bottom of the cabinet. Nevertheless, I had no clue there were different types of cabinets, and I believe the advanced craftsmanship mentioned in the intro is responsible for this revelation.

Cooking utensil drawersStore utensils and kitchen gadgets. There are at least three dividers to generate better organization. Diagonal separators make the storage of larger utensils effortless.
Silverware drawerAn alternative to a cooking utensil drawer. I would use one divider for spoons, one for forks, and one for knives. A second alternative is a small drawer dedicated to napkins, napkin rings, table runners, placemats, and tablecloths.
Pots and pans drawerAre large, deep drawers that store cookware. The drawer contains generous space to hold pans with handles and lids and enough stability to withstand their heavy load. The drawer is a great way to keep cluttered cookware accessible and organized.
Dish organizer drawers Are the same size as pot and pan drawers but with tall, wooden pegs inside. The pegs adjust to hold bowls and plates of various sizes, shapes, and materials. Inserting and removing dinnerware is more manageable from the drawer than reaching high cabinet shelves.
Corner cabinet drawerLook like two drawers, but it’s one large drawer upon opening it. They nail the hard-to-reach corner dilemma with a style similar to corner kitchen cabinets. The difference between the two is corner cabinetry can add a lazy susan inside; corner drawers can add rollout shelves or mimic standard drawers.
Food warmer drawersKeep hot foods warm so the food doesn’t cool quickly. A food warmer is handy for guests and family members arriving and eating at different times. Most food warmers are near the cooking range or oven.
Furniture drawersAre less common in the kitchen. Should you see those drawers, they are in the kitchen’s nook area. The durable shelves can hold cans of food and other heavy items.

How to pick kitchen cabinet drawers

I noticed there are plenty of cabinets available for purchase. How do you eliminate the choices to the best solution for your space? These four ways should make an overwhelming choice easier to manage.

High-quality cabinets

There are two parts to a quality drawer: durability and construction. Durability is the time the drawer lasts with frequent use. Construction is the materials and craftsmanship used to make the drawer.

Lasting durability comes from good construction. One box construction type is dovetail joints, and another is frameless cabinets. Familiar materials to make drawers are wood, particleboard, and medium-density fiberboard.

Luxury modern white kitchen interior with open doors and drawers

Type of drawer slide

The features I found out about are push-to-open drawers, hidden hardware, locks, concealed sides, and self-closing drawers. You can add pegs, dividers, and spice racks to organize items inside the drawer for easy access. Soft close drawers absorb shock when it slams against the cabinet frame.

The drawer base should glide across the roller slides to open and close without interrupting your day. Therefore, the glide system increases a drawer’s ease of use.

Types of glide systems on the market are undermount, ball bearing, center mount, bottom mount, and side mount. Materials used to move a kitchen drawer back and forth are metal or stainless steel combined with wood or wood-like material. Other materials to make drawers are wire and plastic.

Cabinet door styles and design

The drawer boxes channel a distinct style matching the design and style of the kitchen because of the variety of fronts. The arrangement you choose must complement the kitchen, not be a distraction. Drawers mesh with the kitchen, not be the center of attention.


The detent feature holds drawers open, closed, or somewhere in between. That is great if you need the drawer ajar for a few moments to do some tasks. Other names for it are hold-in and hold-out.

standard kitchen drawer size - soft close kitchen drawer part of large kitchen island

What is a standard kitchen drawer

A standard kitchen drawer’s location is the base cabinets on the kitchen island, peninsula, or lower wall cabinets below the countertop. It’s possible, yet unlikely, to see drawers above the countertop because it won’t be an easy reach. A standard kitchen drawer starts with two or three top drawers for smaller items and a large drawer for large items.

According to experts, the exact measurements for standard kitchen drawers are 22 to 24 inches deep and 34.5 inches long. Most experts don’t have a set number for the drawer width. The reason is to make room for the drawer cabinet boxes and drawer glides to move the boxes back and forth.

What is the best size for kitchen drawers

Sadly, there’s no definite answer to this question. It depends on the contents stored inside the drawer. It also depends on the dimensions.

A good start would be to measure existing drawer sizes to see if the height, width, and depth are suitable. Use these measurements to decide if deeper or wider drawers are necessary to hold kitchen items. To help you, I can tell you about the sizes available today.

Drawer depth is between 24 and 36 inches, and drawer height is between four and 10 inches. The base unit width comes in proportions between six and 48 inches. The drawer size flexibility simplifies drawer customization, making it easier to mold custom or stock cabinetry to your liking.

A silverware or cutlery drawer is between 15 and 24 inches wide and uses the standard drawer size in depth and length. Drawers between 6 and 15 inches are good storage for filler items like keys, screwdrivers, thumbtacks, and tape.

A pot and pan drawer should be 10 inches long and 30 inches wide. Depth varies by cabinet height, but it should be at least 24 inches deep. The exact measurements fit dishes and cups too.

While you can install drawers wider than 30 inches, there are concerns. A wide drawer becomes too hard to open and close because you must use more force to open and close it. Wide drawers also encourage disorganization and clutter, making them frustrating to manage the contents inside.

standard kitchen drawer size spices and groceries organized in modern kitchen drawer

How many drawers should a kitchen have

The best kitchen design mixes various types of cabinets. Upper cabinets, lower cabinets, open shelving, and a pantry make a kitchen space versatile and fascinating. Including drawers in the mix offer the most flexible storage because they can adjust to your kitchen’s unique needs.

While I could not find the exact amount essential to a kitchen, I found two ways to answer this question. You can use a roundabout estimate or answer questions to determine your needs in the kitchen.

One roundabout estimate said to add a stack of drawers for every double door cabinet. For example, if there are three double doors, there should be three stacks of drawers. Signs of a double door cabinet include hardware near each other and the doors opening like a French door.

Another estimate said you should include 120 inches of drawer space for kitchens 150 square feet or fewer (including floor space). It goes up to 165 inches of space for larger kitchens. A third estimate mentioned there should be 4 to 12 drawers in a 10-by-10 L-shaped kitchen, but the exact number depends on the large appliances’ location.

If you prefer the other method, answer these questions.

1Is the size of th​e kitchen small or large?
2How many people will occupy the kitchen?
3The kitchen is in use how often?
4How many kitchen items do you have (small appliances, dishes, silverware, cookware, bakeware, etc.)? Remove duplicate things or items you can do without.
5How much space in the kitchen is already in use?

A small kitchen with four or more people using the area often will need more drawers installed. The same is true if said kitchen has so much stuff that storage is about to run out. If neither sentence applies to you, then less is more.

standard kitchen drawer size closeup of clean dishes in open kitchen drawer

What is the best use for deep kitchen drawers

I see four ways to approach deep drawers with plenty of cabinet space. You could store tall boxes, bottles, or containers inside the drawer so it’s easier to grab. You could convert the entire drawer into pot and pan storage, dish organizer, or drinkware/glassware drawer.

The first one is straightforward. However, a peg system is essential to convert a drawer into a dish organizer for the second suggestion. The others are straightforward.

The third way is storing bakeware or storing utensils and silverware upright. That requires a deep drawer organizer for bakeware or utensils/silverware. The last suggestion is adding stackable drawers within a drawer.

That needs a stackable drawer organizer that fits the drawer’s width, length, and depth. Most stackable drawer cabinets have two drawers inside. For example, the first stack may have utensil trays, and the second stack contains large prep bowls or food containers.

To reach items inside the drawer, look at the first stack. Push the drawer section back to access the second stack if the first stack doesn’t contain the item you’re searching for. I would put rarely used items at the bottom to avoid unwanted movement.

What is a traditional drawer

Drawers in the traditional style have a solid wood face carved with elegant curves and lines. The decorative details stand apart from slab doors or drawer frames, hence the raised appearance. A drawer in modern designs swaps out raised panel cabinet doors and drawer fronts for recessed panel decorations.

Do not focus on the cabinet drawer boxes to separate traditional drawers from other styles. It is the same structure as standard drawers. Instead, look at the front of the cabinet drawer for decorative carvings and textured layers.

I would also examine the door overlay. A door overlay refers to how much of the cabinet face frame is visible when the entire door or drawer is closed. There are full, partial, and inset overlays.

The traditional style uses a half or partial overlay. The overlay exposes at least a half-inch gap between doors. For cabinet space gaps one inch or higher, adding door hinges to fill the outside gap is a great option.

What is a shaker drawer

A drawer in the shaker style is simple and minimalistic. The boxy appearance looks like a large rectangle on the outside and a smaller rectangle on the inside. I would visualize a picture frame with a portrait, but instead of a photo, place a recessed center panel there.

The result is straight, clean lines with a beveled edge and an inset door. Drawers can be partial, inset, or full overlay cabinet styles. The versatile design suits traditional, transitional, modern, and contemporary designs.

To know if you have a shaker drawer, look at the face. A shaker design is plain and basic and fits the description in this section. A traditional design has interesting lines and curves.

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