Pull Out Cabinet: Turn a Filler Panel into Storage

A pull-out cabinet is a great solution to utilize wasted space in the kitchen. Although our kitchen is a beautiful space, it isn’t overly functional; I knew we could do more to maximize the limited storage. The light bulb went off one day when I was surfing the net and found a base filler cabinet roll out.

Utilizing Wasted Space to Add Storage

If you have filler strips in your kitchen, you can reclaim that wasted space and build a pull out cabinet into the space the filler occupies – with a gap as little as 3” as illustrated below. The inspiration shot below shows a pre-made unit used to store spices. With a little DIY magic, the sky is the limit with what you can do!

In our case, here’s how the gap beside our sink looked before – you can see the 6 1/2” filler space on the left side of the sink cabinet:

I was hopeful that, with a little careful measuring, we would be able to gain some valuable real estate in this small area to store a few things.

Pull Out Shelves for Kitchen Cabinets

Many of the ready made pull out cabinets I saw online had adjustable shelves, but we decided it would be simpler and faster to determine what we wanted to store and just build fixed shelves to the height we needed – the beauty of DIY’ing is customizing the size to your needs! We decided to store plastic containers on the top shelf (so we could stack them) and cooking oils on the bottom so went with only two shelves.

I’ve illustrated our dimensions below as a guide to help you find your own. Everyone’s situation will be different so I’ll walk you through some of the considerations we had keep in mind when Hubs built this. You will essentially be building a box with shelves mounted in between at whatever height you determine is best for the things you want to store.

Prep Work and Steps

1. Decide on what slider hardware you will be using. We purchased hardware that could be mounted on the top and bottom of our pull out cabinet. That way we wouldn’t lose any space on the sides. Since the height of the pullout box needs to fit the height of the space, you’ll need something to attach the drawer glides to on the top and bottom.

Hubs built a frame of sorts with a top and bottom to mount the drawer glides to. He then added in a filler strip under the counter top so we wouldn’t have an ugly gap. Our filler is 3 ½ inches long and wide enough to fit in between the sink cabinet and wall. There is wood along the underside of the filler strip to mount the top glide to.

3-1/2″ filler strip under counter

Determine the type of gliding hardware you want before you start to build the pull out cabinet because you’ll need to know what clearance you’re dealing with. Knowing that will determine the finished size of your box.

We didn’t want hardware onto the front to draw attention to the cabinet. So we purchased the type of hardware that you can simply push on to click it open and closed.

Filler Panel

2. Remove the filler strip you currently have in place. Once the filler strip is removed, Hubs could measure the width and height of the gap to determine the size of the box for the pullout. Sorry for the blurry picture; we did this project long before I started blogging so it was never properly documented!

Hopefully this illustration will help show how Hubs added a new filler strip in the top portion of the gap:

I wasn’t sure how we were going to create the door front and match the paint colour. The original filler piece was badly painted and toast by the time Hubs pried it off. As luck would have it, I was able to buy a flat panel drawer front to match our kitchen cabinets from the manufacturer.

Using a drawer front vertically as our front door panel meant no painting, no muss, no fuss! It was almost the exact size we needed (6 ¼” x 29 1/2”)! We simply had to cut about 1/4” off the bottom to match the height of the door beside it. We actually never got around to doing and is hardly noticeable unless you stare at it!.

Assemble Pull Out Cabinet

3. Cut your pieces of wood and dowel for the rails and assemble box. We chose to use maple for the box to match the rest of our cabinets, but you could probably use MDF and paint it or even veneered plywood if you finish the edges with veneer tape. Once our pieces were cut and assembled, Hubs sprayed a water-based lacquer onto the wood to seal it and protect it from spills and water (especially since it’s near the sink).

Construction was pretty simply. Cut your outside pieces and shelves to size, construct the box by fitting the shelves in between and screwing it all together. Hubs squared up the box, added a little glue to the edges and screwed it all together by countersinking the screw holes. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a picture of the box before installation. But you’ll get the idea with the picture below.

Keeping Your Stuff on the Shelves

We also had to come up with a solution to keep our stuff from falling off the shelves; the inspiration shot had nice metal railings. Hubs’ solution? Fibreglass rods he had left over from his kite building days!

We actually placed some of our items on the shelves before drilling out the holes for the rods and to determine both the best height and width for our items. Our rails are 2 5/8” above the bottom of the top shelf to restrain our plastic containers and 4” above the bottom of the lower shelf to keep our glass bottles from tipping out when the cabinet is opened.

The holes for the rods should be a snug fit. Drill a few sample holes in some scrap wood to test it out before drilling the cabinet itself. You don’t want o drill them too loosely and have them flopping around. Hubs simply drilled a hole through the back of the cabinet (which you don’t see once the cabinet is in). He then drilled another hole to line up at the front that was slightly countersunk into the wood (not all the way through) to hold the rod in place. The rods are threaded through the back before the box is mounted into the cabinet.

I think an easier way to do it might be to drill the hole in the front (which gets covered by the door) and then countersink the holes in the back of the cabinet. But either way you choose to do it will work. You could probably find small wooden rods at your local big box store that would work just as well as the fiberglass rods we upcycled.


An important factor is the spacing between the rods. Since we knew we wanted to store plastic containers, we dry fitted them in place so we could see what the best width for the rods would be. Our rods are spaced 5” on centre – any smaller and we wouldn’t have been able to fit our containers between the rods on the shelf!

Drawer Guides for Pull Out Cabinet

4. Attach sliding mechanism. Once the box is complete, add your sliding drawer hardware. We weren’t exactly sure how to line up and mount the hardware, but we did it with not too much trial and error. Test it out to make sure it glides in and out properly before mounting the door front.

Attaching the Door Front of Pull Out Cabinet

5. Mount door front. The last step is to screw on the door front. Screw the door on from the back of the cabinet into the back of the door.  Double check to make sure that your screws are short enough, it will be a ‘doh’ moment if your screw is too long and comes right through the front of the door!

Make a template of the door out of cardboard first. Line it up on the box and then tape it securely. Pre-drill through both the cardboard and the box along the top and bottom, all the way through.

Trace the shape of the box onto the back of the cardboard with pencil and add an up arrow. By transferring all the marks and location of the screwholes to the back of the door, we could be sure that we wouldn’t accidentally place it upside down onto the box.

You can drill a tiny divot where you marked the screw holes (or use an awl) – or you can just transfer the pencil marks onto the back of the door; we did both. Holding the door tightly against the front of the box, insert the screws through the hole in the box to meet up with the door and screw it on tightly. By pre-drilling a divot, it will help you set the point of the screw and find the screw placement.

All stocked up and ready to use!

I’d love to hear about YOUR kitchen storage projects, so leave a comment. What creative ways have you come up with to eek out more storage space?

Pin for Later

If you enjoyed this post on how to build a pull out cabinet, please pin and share.

Be sure to check out our next post on this Ikea Stenstorp Kitchen Cart Hack. It shows how we managed to squeeze even more storage space into our small kitchen! We customized an Ikea rolling cart with a removable drawer unit to use beside our pantry. Here’s a sneak peek at that project:

For more home improvement and DIY ideas, check out the home page for a listing of projects. You’ll find the tutorials pictured below on how to take down a wall (as we did in our dining room), install a new countertop and tile a backsplash (part of our laundry room makeover) and build a one-of-a-kind medicine cabinet (part of our powder room remodel).

You might also be interested in my new craft blog where I just posted a tutorial and video for this remote control holder I made Hubs for his mancave.

At Birdz of a Feather ~ Craft Rehab, I’ve also created this duct tape portrait of Elvis. If you’re interested in the how-to, watch the video on my Youtube channel and subscribe. I’ll post instructions to Birdz of a Feather ~ Craft Rehab as soon as I have 50 new subscribers.

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17 thoughts on “Pull Out Cabinet: Turn a Filler Panel into Storage

  1. Pingback: Ikea Stenstorp Kitchen Cart Hack | Birdz of a Feather Home

  2. Organized 31 – Hi, I'm Susan. You can find me at Organized 31 - Tips from A Military Mom. I believe life is better when organized. Maybe I feel this way because I've moved into and organized 25+ houses in 12 states and 3 foreign countries. My active duty husband, 3 children, dog and leopard gecko are always up for another move and another adventure. http://organized31.com
    Organized 31 on said:

    Absolutely brilliant solution!! Pinning now. I’d love it if you’d share at the #ThisIsHowWeRoll Link Party on Organized 31. It opens at 5am EST on Thursdays.

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    • The tight space makes it tricky; I believe we used an extra long drill bit to reach to the back of the cabinet opening (under the filler strip and at the base). The long bit also allows for some leverage while drilling and placing the screws. Once the top and bottom slides are attached to the cabinet opening, the counterparts are placed onto the cabinet itself and the whole thing slides into place. I hope that helps 🙂

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