Got enough storage in your kitchen? Neither did we. We thought about “growing” our kitchen by drafting the driveway or enlisting the dining room. Those solutions, however, were expensive. We chose a middle ground in the war on kitchen clutter: drafting our base cabinets into storing more junk better.
To improve our old deep-shelf cabinets, which were known to swallow blenders and what-all, we built six big drawers, plus one for the garbage can. That allows us to group stuff in logical categories—and use the full depth of the cabinet. Result? No more cascades of pots, pans, and plastic plunging from the cavernous depths of our cabinets.
Step 1: Make Some Decisions
Big drawers are a good thing, but they take work. I've suggested several shortcuts and mass-production techniques; but if you don't want to build the drawers, cabinet shops, including some represented on the Internet, will build them for you. If you do order drawers, one caution: Make accurate measurements. Otherwise, you'll get drawers that are exactly the wrong size!
In any case, kitchens look best when the drawers are equally wide in each vertical stack. Good thing, because they are also easier to build: You'll work faster, and make fewer mistakes, when cranking out same-size pieces.
Drawer height depends on what you want to store. To store pots, pans, and plastic containers, we opted for 8" and 9" depth. Big drawers look and work better near the floor, so we put the 9" drawers on the bottom row.
Use the Existing Kitchen Face: Less Work, but Less Freedom
To build drawers without replacing the cabinet face, you have two options:
Leave the existing doors on their hinges and place the drawers behind them. This is easier to build, but you'll need to open the door every time you pull out a drawer.
Saw the doors horizontally to make drawer fronts, and screw them to the new drawers.