Convert Messy Kitchen Cabinets Into Useful Drawers - A How To Guide

10 Materials
8 Hours

My wife and I loved the other project we did ( This one) that I decided to expend it to other parts of the kitchen!
We all Have this... A terrible messy lower cabinet that seems to just fill to the brim with everything! What a mess. We can fix this.

In this project we will be replacing existing lower cabinets with drawers.

Start by taking off the doors and the divider. The 2 1/2inch divider was simply held together with pocket screws, two on the top and bottom each. I simply had to break the paint seal and they came off without any issue.
We will need 4 drawers, so I start with cutting all the sides and the bottoms.
Time to assemble each of the boxes.
Basic but joints held together with glue and some screws.
A bottom finishes the box. Now we make 3 more for a total of 4.
The face frame on the sides leaves you with a gap.... so to fill the gap and provide a solid mounting surface, I simply added a 3/4 inch piece of plywood. This also helps transfer the weight of the drawers down the plywood to the base and not depend on the thin cabinet walls.

I mounted the full extension drawer glides to the wood first, then simply brad nailed them in place. On a few I had to shim them out slightly to make them flush with the face frame. I ripped a thin piece of hardwood to do the shimming.

The glides are rated for 100 lbs each, so I am confident they will hold up well.

We start adding the drawers in...
All the drawers are in... I even made a "secret pull out drawer within a drawer" to put silver ware and other items.
Here they are all pulled out... Some shelf liners are added as well to the bottoms.
Now you COULD simply add the doors back on and call this project done, but you would then have to open both doors every time you want to pull open a drawer. It is up to you.... I decided to build some drawer faces.

Because I went with drawer faces... I added a cross bar in the middle to provide a faceframe in the middle. A small piece of hardwood wood between the drawers to give a place for the faces to close over using pocket holes on the back.

For the drawer faces...
 I took a two 6 foot poplar hard wood boards 3/4 inch think... They were 11 1/4 inch wide... I cut them to length and height... then routed the edges to make them match the rest of the kitchen cabinets.

I pre-drilled with drawer pull holes. These holes will help us mount them. You can see here I put some screws in those holes to make them perfectly aligned.
After I secure them form the inside... I then drill through to add the drawer pull handles.
Final with the knobs on and all the drawer faces in place.

We found that e LOVE drawers. So much more efficient than the cabinets stuffed with everything.
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 26 questions
  • I also turned all my lower cabs into drawers and love it! The worse cabinet is the blind one I couldn't do anything about, who can up with this on your knees design?
    • Fran Valente Lowell
      on Dec 15, 2018

      I love the drawer idea & have a PERFECT cabinet for it. But, I love my lazy Susan cabinet too. All I do is turn to get to anything in there!!

  • Cgo8733693
    on Aug 3, 2017

    How did you remove the strip of wood where the 2 doors met ?( 1st photo)
    • David McIntosh
      on Aug 3, 2017

      It was just held together with pocket screws, two on the top and bottom each. I simply had to break the paint seal and they came off without any issue.
  • Margie Hood
    on Feb 1, 2018

    i so want to do this but i want to keep the cabinets over the drawers...i would just have to buy a wider cabinet for that fix ..yes??
    • David McIntosh
      on Feb 1, 2018

      Not sure what you are asking... regarding the cabinet. Give me some more details and I would be glad to assist.

Join the conversation

2 of 168 comments
  • Bernice H
    on Oct 31, 2018

    Again as with your other post..wide drawers are the best! I did not know that until after the fact! Happy happy...our island also has wide and deep drawers. The former owners had modified their cabinets with pullout shelves,but they were so narrow,almost useless. However..they work GREAT in the garage for hubs stuff!👏

  • Beatrice Tangeman
    on Nov 29, 2018

    Perfect! Thanks for posting (:

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