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How do you turn cupboards into drawers?

Kitchen.jpegReplacing kitchen cupboards with drawers can offer a more practical storage solution and better use of space. We have a standard project home with basic kitchen cabinetry. I've been cursing and grumbling about the lack of storage and, more importantly, the dysfunction of under-bench cupboards with their limited accessibility. So, I bit the bullet and converted a couple of cupboards to drawers.


Being non-standard sizes, I couldn't just replace them and fit the carcasses with off-the-shelf drawers, so had to build made-to-measure. I don't get good accuracy with hand tools (I prefer to do that in the yard where gaps are less important or can be hidden) but fortunately I have a table saw to help me out.


I built the drawer bodies out of white melamine chipboard and faced them with coloured melamine – my wife wasn't initially fussed on the colour but thought it fitted in well once she saw it installed. I think it matches well with the black glass double door fridge. I used heavy duty soft-close drawer slides and added some nice handles.


Updating cupboards under the bench and breakfast bar would be great but stymied by the doors under the sink and cutlery drawers, although I could reface those. Getting everything in and out is so much easier and makes better use of the available space. More importantly, drawers are a lot more practical. - ​​pete_brig


Someone in the house must have the skill and knowledge to build the drawers that good and make them fit perfectly. Another option is to place pull out drawer baskets, there are quite a few out there in the market and you can go from cheap to solid stainless steel basket drawers with soft close runners. Placing one on each level will give you that drawer functionality. without having to change doors.


A further option is to have a handyman build the drawers for you, but you will have to source the drawer fronts for your new drawers. - redracer01


It would be helpful to do a few practise holes in a scrap of timber before you get started. Always remember to measure twice and drill once. However, you can always fill a hole in the wrong place, so it's not the end of the world.


You should find this step-by-step guide useful: How To Install Drawer Runners. - MitchellMc


You will probably find the cupboard size is non-standard - the benefit (it can be made to fit anywhere) and downside (nothing standard will fit it) of custom cabinetry. You may be able to get a home handyman service to build or install drawers. Or you may be able to go to a custom cabinet maker to make the drawers and get a handyman service to install. Measurements will be key if the cabinet isn't square - unlikely but possible.


The other downside to doors is if they can't open back far enough it will hinder the drawer. One option is to make the drawer narrower to fit or get rid of doors and use drawers with a face. Another alternative to custom drawers is to use off the shelf ones if they're slightly smaller and pack either side to fit the cabinet carcass but that means wasted space to save dollars. - pete_brig

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