How to plan Cupboards and Drawers


Moving into a new home or remodelling your kitchen can be both exciting and a little distressing. Will you have enough room for everything? What if all your kitchen items take up too much space and there’s no room for food?

Never fear, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn how you can better organise your cupboards and drawers so there’s always room for expansion and change.

The planning process

Before you widen any cabinets or even pick out drawer handles, take a step back and do some serious planning. If you’re working with a contractor, it’s best to sit down with him or her at this point as well since you’re going to need to inform them of your needs anyway.

As you get started planning, first consider three things:

  • The amount of storage space you currently have
  • How easy it is to access that space
  • How your cabinets and drawers affect the look of the kitchen

Setting these up as your starting point will give you a better idea of what you and your contractor will need. For instance, if you already have a lot of storage space, but have problems getting to the spaces, then you’ll have a completely different plan than if you were to go for more storage space.

As all three factors relate closely to one another, it’s easy to get swept up in one and ignore the rest, so make sure you share these with your contractor. As a professional, he or she will be able to provide the necessary insights as to what you need and how to go about giving it to you.

As with any renovation, make sure that you are fully committed in your plan before you begin.

Current storage space vs. what is needed

It’s hard to judge what is really enough space. Be sure to consider whether your family is likely to grow or shrink in the coming years. If you are newlyweds, you may consider a larger kitchen to complement your larger family. However, if you have older children, you would likely consider downsizing. It’s all about where you are now and where you think you’ll be in at least ten years.


A suggestion that most contractors give for homes with one or two people is usually 2.7m for a base cabinet and 2.4m for overhead cabinets. For homes with three of four people living in them, base cabinets should be about 2.7m and wall cabinets should be roughly 3.3m. Of course, this all depends on how many kitchen utensils and appliances you have accumulated, so adjust accordingly.

Don’t forget about bigger kitchen appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers and microwaves. If you’re planning on fitting them into your cabinets and cupboards, then you’ll need to make adjustments for them, such as ventilation. You don’t want an appliance overheating and catching fire. Pick out which appliances you want first as different models need different amounts of ventilation space. You’ll need to know how wide or deep the appliances are before you get going.

Easy, breezy accessibility

Accessibility is essential for a kitchen. You should be able to get into all of your cabinets without having too many problems. Everything should be easy to find, grab and put back.


When installing shelves into cabinets, try not to do more than one shelf. You’ll be limiting yourself in terms of space, and if you’re shelves are too small, nothing will be able to fit into your new cabinets. For all floor-level cabinets at least, keep it simple with just one shelf.

Most homeowners like to take advantage of installing deep cabinets, but they do come with a price. In order to get to the items in the back, you have to bend down on your hands and knees and dig through everything in the front to finally make it to the one item you wanted at the very back. Save yourself the hassle and install a lazy susan, extendable shelf or a set of drawers. You’ll keep the amount of storage space and still be able to reach the items in the back.

As you go about planning for access, think about which items would be best stored in different places. You probably don’t want cutlery and crockery on the bottom shelves where no one can get to them. You’ll want the cutlery in a drawer near plates and cups so everyone can grab a dish and a fork and go. Dishwashers and sinks should be near one another so you can connect them to the same pipes and water supply.

Your cupboards should be shallow and not too high. If the cupboard is too deep, you’ll be standing on your tip toes feeling around, and you run the risk of dropping glasses. The same goes for cupboards up too high.

Matching, well-designed cupboards and drawers

When choosing the look and style of your newly designed cabinets and cupboards, go with something that matches and will be in style for a long time. The style should coincide with the look and feel of your house, especially if you have an open concept kitchen. You want all the areas of the big room to seamlessly fit together.

If you haven’t already, consider adding a kickboard to the bottoms of your cabinets. Some options, like stainless steel colours, can add a streamlined or polished look to a kitchen. Kitchens without kickboards usually look more spacious, but they can be more difficult to clean.

You may not have the space or the money to widen your kitchen to your liking, but by choosing lighter colours and options with subtle features for your cabinets, your guests will never know the difference.

All of these factors can work together to help you visualise your dream kitchen. With a little help from your contractors (or the handy person in your family), you can create the perfect kitchen to serve any meal you could possibly dream.