Drawer organizer 101: Different drawers for different needs

Modern home design is all about making the most of the space you have and letting your personal tastes show throughout the house, not just in your furniture and fabrics. Custom drawers are a great way to do both, while also adding to the eventual resale value of your home. Built-in drawers are replacing freestanding chests and cabinets, adding storage and style to both.

Custom drawers are an investment, but consider them well-crafted furniture instead of something you can pick up at the local big-box store. Here, quality counts. 

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What makes a quality drawer?

Joinery

Wood drawers are higher quality than pieces, and certainly light years better than plastic bins or rolling carts. For one thing, wood drawers are better for your clothing than plastic--wood's an organic material that stays consistent with the temperature in your home, while plastic seals tight and doesn't let your clothes breathe.

Custom drawers go even beyond stock pieces in terms of quality and durability. They are typically made from a wood composite, and the construction features stable and durable joints. Butt joints, when two pieces of wood are connected on the ends, using nails, screws, or adhesive to attach the pieces. This construction is common in drawers that don't get a lot of everyday use. Dovetail joints rely on interlocking notches in the wood to hold the pieces together, without glue or nails. This kind of joint is almost impossible to pull apart.

Slides

The slides are what make the drawers roll smoothly in and out of the frame, and are mounted on the sides or under the center of the drawer.

Center-mount slides have a couple of advantages over side mounts. The gliding mechanism is hidden underneath, and the bottom mount allows for more width. These are the better options for shallow kitchens, bathrooms, or office drawers. Side-mounted slides can carry more weight, so these are found on file drawers in the office, and the pots and pans drawers in the kitchen.

Soft close drawers basically close themselves, in a consistent and smooth motion. They're a hallmark of high-end kitchen drawers, but can certainly be used in any room.

Choosing your drawers

Once you make the decision to build custom drawers, you have lots of decisions to make. What style of drawer face do you want, do you want stained or painted wood, and what will you use the drawers for?

For a bedroom closet, you'll want a variety of drawer types. For folding garments, like jeans and t-shirts, a standard full extension drawer is the best option. You can use smaller, more shallow drawers for things like socks and lingerie, and pull-out shelves for accessories and jewelry. You can even have your jewelry drawers lined with velvet for that jewelry-store look at home.

One of the biggest challenges for a mudroom is storage, but when you install drawers under a bench, you've solved two problems--enough room to stow shoes and boots, gloves, hats, and other outdoor gear in the drawers, and a place to sit while you put on or take off your shoes.

Home offices offer lots of opportunities for a range of drawer styles. You can finally organize your files in deep file drawers, and keep your odds and ends in the right place with shallow drawers that have dividers and inserts. You can also create a craft space within an office, playroom, or living room with some creative drawer placement.

Modern kitchen design opts for drawers instead of cabinets. Home chefs find that a series of drawers make it easier to keep pots, pans, mixing bowls, baking dishes, and small appliances organized. Deep drawers are big enough to hold most cookware and keep many countertop appliances out of sight when they're not in use.

Style choices for your custom drawers

When you really want your home to speak to your personal esthetic, custom drawers really let your style shine through. Tailored Living offers a full palette of tasteful neutrals in both a wood stain or painted color. There's not a more elegant look than a home office finished in natural wood grain and a classic raised panel drawer front. An antique white finish on a smooth face adds sophistication to a playroom/office combo. The right hardware, in brushed or polished metal tones, gives your drawers a final touch of sophistication.

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Drawers help you stay organized

Okay, you're thinking, drawers are all well and good, and will certainly cut down on clutter all over the house, but my problem is keeping the drawers themselves organized. Not to worry--you can install several drawer accessories that will keep your scarves and nail scissors separated and handy.

Dividers

Are a great way to keep your gloves, scarves, clutches, and other small furnishings organized. They can go in a full drawer or attach to a pull-out shelf.

Ironing

Reduce the amount of time using the laundry room or the family room as your ironing environment and instead have an island installed in your closet, with a fold-away ironing board hiding behind a drop-down drawer.

Compartments

Individual compartments in accessory drawers keep all your accessories--jewelry, watches, sunglasses, ties, or what have you--organized and separated in their own little section of the drawer.

It's hard to decide which aspect of custom drawers is the best, but the ability to tailor your drawers to your specific needs is surely in the top three. You can opt for basic, standard width drawers for your clothing, but design drawers with special finishes for your most treasured possessions. If you love your jewelry and want to see it all laid out, untangled, and organized, you can create drawers that are lined, with dividers that are sized to hold different things--necklaces, rings, and bracelets are certainly not the same size. Individual sections let you make the most of your jewelry drawer without any wasted space.

If you're interested in learning more about how custom drawers can change your life, or at least your home, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.