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Drawers vs Doors In A Kitchen – Pros, Cons & Expert Advice

Welcome to the kitchen design showdown of the century: Drawers vs Doors in a kitchen! In the bustling hub of our homes, the question begs to be asked: which storage superstar is your kitchen MVP? Are you team drawer or team door?

In this post, I’ll explore the pros and cons of each as well as the various factors you need to consider when deciding on drawers vs doors in a kitchen, so you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs.

Let’s get into it!

Is It Better To Have Drawers Or Doors In A Kitchen?

Honestly? Probably drawers. 😂

As a kitchen designer for the past decade, I’m personally a big fan of drawers! If you can make it a drawer, you probably should. I find them a far more practical type of storage. That being said, there’s always a time and place for a cabinet and door.

And in reality, this answer depends on your specific needs, preferences, and budget, so let’s dive into the pros and cons of each to help you make an informed decision.

The Advantages Of Drawers

I’m always going on about the advantages of having drawers in your kitchen. So let’s look at some of the reasons why that is.

Improved Accessibility

One of the most significant benefits of drawers is their superior accessibility. Drawers allow you to see and reach all items stored within, making it easier to find what you’re looking for—especially when you’re in a hurry. In contrast, doors can require more effort to access items, particularly those stored at the back or in a corner.

Enhanced Organization

Drawers tend to promote better organization, as each drawer can be designated for specific items or categories. With everything neatly arranged and visible at a glance, your kitchen will be more efficient and enjoyable to use. While doors can also be organized using adjustable shelves or organizers, drawers often provide a more streamlined and intuitive organization system.

kitchen drawers organisation

Ergonomic Advantages

Drawers can be more ergonomic and comfortable to use compared to doors. Since they slide out at waist height, you won’t need to bend down or reach into the back of the cabinet, reducing strain on your back and knees. This can be particularly beneficial for those with mobility issues or chronic pain.

Space Optimization

Drawers can help optimize the use of space in your kitchen, especially in small or awkwardly-shaped areas. By installing drawers in spaces that might otherwise be wasted, such as under your sink or in toe-kick areas, you can maximize your available storage.

A Modern Look and Streamlined Design

Drawers offer a sleek and modern look, making them perfect for contemporary kitchens. They create a clean, minimalist appearance, as there are no visible hinges or handles (depending on the design). With a variety of styles and finishes available, you can find drawers to match any kitchen aesthetic.

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The Advantages Of Doors

Although I do love a drawer, there’s definitely a time and place for a good-sized cupboard door. Here are some of the advantages of having cabinets with doors in your kitchen.

Cost-Effectiveness

Doors are often more budget-friendly than drawers. Standard door cabinet options are typically more affordable, making them an attractive choice for those with budget constraints. While custom cabinets can be expensive, they still often come in at a lower price point than custom drawer systems.

Traditional Aesthetic

Doors have a more classic, traditional look that appeals to many homeowners. Their timeless design can easily fit into a wide range of kitchen styles, from farmhouse to contemporary. If you prefer a more conventional kitchen aesthetic, doors might be the better option for you.

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Versatility and Adaptability

Doors offer a high degree of versatility when it comes to storage. With adjustable shelves, you can create a variety of configurations to accommodate items of different sizes and shapes. This flexibility allows you to store everything from dishes and glassware to small appliances (such as mixers) and bulky cookware.

Greater Storage Capacity

Doors generally provide more storage capacity than drawers, particularly in terms of vertical space. If you have a large number of items to store and need a storage solution that maximizes the available space in your kitchen, doors may be the better choice.

Drawers vs Doors: The Hybrid Approach

In reality, a kitchen isn’t going to only have drawers or doors. Or at least it really shouldn’t. Certainly not only doors! The best solution will be to have a combination of the two where it suits best your layout, needs and personal preference.

Combining both storage solutions can give you the best of both worlds, allowing you to take advantage of the benefits each option has to offer.

For example, you could install drawers for utensils and pots and pans near your cooking area, while using doors for storing taller items and small appliances. This approach offers a balance between accessibility, organization, and storage capacity, ensuring your kitchen is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Things to Consider When Choosing Between Drawers and Doors

When deciding between drawers and doors for your kitchen base cabinets (lower cabinets), consider the following factors:

  1. Budget: Determine your budget before making a decision. Drawers tend to be more expensive than doors, so if cost is a primary concern, you might want to lean towards doors.

  2. Storage needs: Evaluate your storage needs and cooking habits. If you prioritize organization and easy access, drawers might be the better choice for you. On the other hand, if you have a lot of items to store and need more vertical space, doors may be the way to go.

  3. Kitchen layout and size: Take into account the layout and size of your kitchen. Drawers can help maximize storage in smaller spaces, while doors might be better suited for larger kitchens with more wall space.
  1. Aesthetic preferences: Consider your personal style and the overall look you want to achieve in your kitchen. If you prefer a classic, traditional look, doors might be more suitable. If you’re after a modern, streamlined aesthetic, drawers could be the better choice.

  2. Ergonomics: Think about the ease of use and comfort when accessing your kitchen storage. Drawers can be easier on your back and knees, as they eliminate the need to bend down or reach in to access items. Doors, on the other hand, may require more physical effort to retrieve items, especially those stored in a corner.

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Are kitchen drawers more expensive than Doors?

When it comes to the cost of kitchen cabinets, drawers tend to be more expensive than doors. There are a few reasons for this price difference.

Firstly, drawers typically require more complex construction and sturdier materials to support their sliding mechanisms and the weight of items stored inside. This added complexity and the use of higher-quality materials can increase the cost of drawers compared to doors, which often have a simpler construction and can often be made with less expensive materials.

Secondly, the hardware used for drawers, such as runners, glides and slides, is usually more expensive than the hinges used for doors. Additionally, the installation process for drawers can be more involved, potentially leading to higher labour costs.

Lastly, custom drawer systems, such as those with specialized dividers, pull outs, inserts, or full-extension slides, can be particularly pricey. While custom door cabinets can also be expensive, they generally still come in at a lower price point than custom drawers.

Despite the higher cost of drawers, it’s important to consider the long-term benefits they can offer, such as improved organization, accessibility, and ergonomics. Many times, I believe the advantages of drawers may outweigh their higher initial costs.

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How many drawers should a kitchen have

As many as you can! 😄

There is no definitive answer to how many drawers a kitchen should have, as it depends on various factors, including kitchen size, layout, storage needs, and personal preferences. However, here are some guidelines to help you determine the right number of drawers for your kitchen remodel:

  1. Assess your storage needs: Evaluate the items you need to store in your kitchen, such as cookware, utensils, dishes, and pantry items. Consider how many drawers would be required to accommodate these items comfortably, and prioritize the items you use most frequently.

  2. Consider your kitchen layout: The size and layout of your kitchen will also play a significant role in determining the appropriate number of drawers. Smaller kitchens may benefit from more drawers to maximize storage space, while larger kitchens may have room for a mix of drawers and doors.

  3. Balance with cabinets: Ensure that you strike a balance between drawers and cabinetry with doors in your kitchen. While drawers can be great for organization and accessibility, doors are often more cost-effective and better suited for storing larger items or utilizing vertical space.

  4. Zone your kitchen: Divide your kitchen into functional zones, such as a cooking area, cleaning area, and pantry area. Within each zone, determine how many drawers would be beneficial for organizing and accessing the items specific to that zone.

  5. Personal preferences: Ultimately, the number of drawers in your kitchen should align with your preferences and how you use your kitchen. If you find drawers more convenient and functional, you may choose to incorporate more drawers into your design.

As a general rule of thumb, you could aim for at least three to six cabinet drawers for a small kitchen, six to nine drawers for a medium-sized kitchen, and nine or more drawers for a large kitchen. However, keep in mind that these numbers are flexible and should be adapted to suit your specific needs and kitchen layout.

kitchen drawers storage

What are deep kitchen drawers used for?

Deep kitchen drawers are an excellent addition to any kitchen, providing versatile and convenient storage for a variety of items. Often referred to as pan drawers, these spacious drawers offer numerous advantages over traditional shallow drawers, allowing homeowners to make the most of their kitchen storage space.

In the UK, a standard ‘top drawer’ front height is usually 175mm. Pan drawers are typically considered to be 280mm – 355mm high with the latter being a larger drawer option. These heights will vary depending on the make and model of your kitchen cabinets.

Here are some popular uses for deep kitchen drawers:

Pots and Pans

One of the primary uses for deep kitchen drawers is to store pots, pans, and their respective lids. These bulky items can be challenging to store efficiently in cabinets, but deep drawers provide an ideal easy storage solution. By placing pots and pans in deep drawers, you can easily access them without having to stack or shuffle through other items, making your kitchen more organized and efficient.

Baking Sheets and Trays

Deep drawers can also accommodate baking sheets, trays, and cutting boards, keeping them neatly stored and easily accessible. By using dividers or custom inserts, you can separate these items and prevent them from sliding around or becoming disorganized.

Small Appliances

Many small kitchen appliances, such as blenders, food processors, or slow cookers, can be stored in deep kitchen drawers. This approach keeps your countertops clutter-free and ensures that your appliances are easily accessible when you need them.

Dishes and Platters

Deep drawers can even be used to store dishes and serving platters. By incorporating pegboard systems or adjustable dividers, you can create a custom storage solution that keeps your plates and bowls secure and well-organized.

Bulk Items and Dry Goods

Another use for deep kitchen drawers is the storage of bulk items and dry goods, such as bags of flour, sugar, or rice. By using bins or containers within the drawers, you can keep your pantry items organized and easy to access.

Miscellaneous Kitchen Items

Finally, deep drawers can also be used to store various kitchen items, such as mixing bowls, colanders, or even plastic containers, their lids and accessories. By dedicating a deep drawer to these miscellaneous items, you can keep your kitchen organized and clutter-free. We’ve all got that ‘junk’ drawer!

Final Thoughts…

When it comes to choosing between drawers and doors in a kitchen, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Each option has its benefits and drawbacks, and the right choice for you will depend on your preferences, storage needs, design aesthetic, and budget.

Ultimately, the best approach may be to mix and match drawers and doors in your kitchen design, combining the best of both worlds to create a space that is both functional and visually appealing. So, take your time, consider your options, and create a kitchen that works perfectly for you and your lifestyle.

Remember, a well-designed kitchen can make a world of difference in terms of functionality, aesthetics, and overall enjoyment of your home.

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Author

Michael from Kitchinsider.com

Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.