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.

As a matter of fact, we were in the middle of another project (this chipped floor tile fix) when we dropped everything to pull the filler panel to inspect the space. You can see the 6 1/2” space on the left side of the sink cabinet.

Filler panel removed in middle of fixing chips on ceramic tile

Cabinet Pull Out Shelf

If you have filler strips in your kitchen too, 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”. With some DIY magic, the sky is the limit with what you can do!

Because of the snowball effect, gaining some valuable real estate in this small area to store a few things was the start of even more kitchen storage improvements! In our case, here’s how the filler strip beside our sink looked before pulling the panel.

before pull out cabinet is installed into filler panel

Flat filler panel to left of sink

By the way, if you’re curious to see what our kitchen looked like before renovating and replacing the cabinets, check out kitchen renovation to sell a home. Spoiler alert: we didn’t end up moving :).

Pull Out Cabinet

Many of the ready made pull out cabinets online have adjustable shelves. But we decided it would be simpler and faster to determine what we wanted to store and just build fixed shelves to suit our needs. Indeed, the beauty of DIY’ing is customizing the size! 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.

Ilustrated below is our dimensions as a guide to help you find your own. Everyone’s situation will be different so we’ll walk you through some of the considerations we had to keep in mind during the build. 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.

pull out cabinet illustration with cut list measurements

DIY Pull Out Shelf

Prep Work and Steps

1. Decide on slider hardware. Because you’ll need to know what clearance you’re dealing with, determine the type of drawer slides you want before you start to build the pull out cabinet. Knowing that will determine the finished size of your box. 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.

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 of pull out cabinet

3-1/2″ filler strip under counter

Also consider the functionality and look of your new pull out shelf. We didn’t want to draw attention to the cabinet by mounting hardware on the front; it would just look weird. So we purchased the type of hardware that you can simply push on to click it open and closed.

pull out shelf Filler Panel

2. Remove the filler strip. Once the filler strip is removed, measure the width and height of the gap to determine the size of the box for the pullout. We did this project long before we started blogging so step-by-steps were not documented! However, this illustration will help show how to add a new filler strip in the top portion of the gap (just cut down the old one).

I wasn’t sure how we were going to create the door front. The original filler piece was badly painted and toast by the time we pried it off (save for the gap filler). As luck would have it, we were able to source a flat panel drawer front from the manufacturer to match our kitchen cabinets exactly!

It turned out to be a smart upcycle. By using a drawer front vertically as our front door panel, it meant no painting, no muss, no fuss! And 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. Truth be told; we actually never got around to cutting it down and it’s not even noticeable unless you stare at it!

If you can’t source something that matches your cabinets exactly, you’ll have to cut a piece of wood. Then take a drawer front to your local paint store to have them colour match the paint.

Pull Out Cabinet Assembly

3. Cut pieces and assemble box. We chose to use maple for the interior shelf 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.

Construction of the box is pretty simply. Cut outside pieces and shelves to size. Then fit the shelves in between, squaring up the box. Pre-drill countersink holes. Add a little glue to the edges and screw it all together by countersinking the screws. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a picture of the box before installation. But you’ll get the idea with pictures that follow below.

Once assembled, Hubs sprayed a water-based lacquer onto all sides of the wood interior to seal it and protect it from spills and water (especially since it’s near the sink).

Containing Stuff on Pull out Shelf

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

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 to drill them too loosely and have them flopping around. Hubs simply drilled a hole through the back of the cabinet (which you won’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 kite rods, or dowels, are threaded through the back before mounting the box into the cabinet.

Pull Out Cabinet Rod Spacing

Be sure to determine both the best width and height for the items you want to store.

An important factor is the spacing between the rods. Since we knew we wanted to store plastic containers, we actually placed some of our items on the shelves before drilling out the holes for the rods. 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!

Also, our rods 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. They don’t have to be the same!

Drawer Glides 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.

Again, the great thing about this particular hardware is that no pull handle is necessary. You just push it in with your hand or knee and the pull out cabinet opens right up. I guess that makes it more of a ‘pop-out’ than a pull out shelf!

Door Front of Pull Out Cabinet

5. Mount door front. The last step is to screw the door front onto the pull out. 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! We also mark the drill bit with a piece of painters tape so we don’t drill too deep into the door.

Fitting on the Door

First, we make a template of the door out of cardboard. Sure, you could fuss around with the door itself and skip this step. But the cardboard allows you to move things around until you get the perfect placement. Line it up on the box and then tape it securely. Pre-drill through both the cardboard and the wood along the top and bottom of the box, all the way through.

Before removing the cardboard, 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.

Onto the back of the door itself, place the cardboard template and use an awl to mark the hole placement. Then pre-drill a pilot hole for the screw. Holding the door tightly against the front of the box, insert the screws through the hole in the box to meet up with the divots in the door. Now you can clamp the door onto the box and screw it in permanently.

Back of front panel on pull out cabinet

Ready for action!

pull out cabinet shown with bottle and plastic containers store on pull out shelf

All stocked up and ready to use!

Now, you’d never know there’s additional storage beside the sink!

Pull out cabinet reveal

What creative ways have you come up with to eek out more storage space? If you’re ready to reclaim more space in your kitchen, be sure to

Pin Pull Out Shelf

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

Pinnable image for pull out shelf

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

Follow Birdz of a Feather right here (or the link in the footer). You can also follow us on PinterestFacebookYouTube and Instagram.

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28 thoughts on “Pull Out Cabinet – Turn a Filler Panel into Storage

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

  2. 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.

  3. Kathy – thanks for the shout-out! Would you please add a ‘z’ to the spelling of my blog (Birdz of a Feather)?

  4. Where did you get your drawer glides? This is exactly the type I’m looking for and having a hard time getting the terminology right. Thanks!

  5. How did u attach draw slides if cabinet counter was already in

    • The tight space makes it tricky; 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 🙂

  6. Hi, Thank you very much for this post. This was just what I was looking for. Rev-A-Shelf wants $100 for the closest thing to what I need & it’s still not quite the right size. I need something custom.
    I know you said you got your drawer slides from leevalley (when I looked for “glides” it was stuff to go on the feet of furniture), but which ones did you get? I’m going through the list & trying to figure out which ones match your pictures. Looks like center mount and they pop out when pushed? Are you able to post direct links to the product? Or at least say which one it is? I’m hoping they have them in the right size.
    I’m seeing several center mount but don’t see anything about the mechanism where it pushes in to pop the drawer open (or was that a separate mechanism not on the glides?)

  7. What a really cool idea, great thinking Batman. lol

  8. This turned out perfect. My wheels are spinning to try and see where I could do this in our farmhouse. Thank you for sharing!

    • We have such a small house that every little bit helps!

  9. OMG I want one and we have the perfect spot almost exactly in the same space as yours. Guess what the hubby will be doing next weekend 😀 I just hope our hardware store stocks that slidey bit.

    • The slide is what make it so successful! Hope you have success finding it 🙂

    • Thank you Kippi. Like they say, necessity if the mother of invention!

  10. What a wonderful way to make the most of the space you have, Sara. Great job!

    • Thanks Ann! We’re so happy with how it turned out; it corrals all our plastic containers perfectly.

    • Thank you Maria! I love that it’s not only custom but a reno that has stood the test of time!

  11. Brilliant! We converted a narrow gap between a corner cabinet and our stove into a narrow cupboard for baking sheets, cutting boards, etc. But dang, would it be handy if it was a pull out like yours. This is definitely being added to our To Do List and thank you Sara, for sharing your clever storage solution!

    • That’s awesome; we still don’t have a proper home for baking sheets – probably why I don’t bake much lol! Gotta get creative again. It would be great if you could convert it – the pull out is SO handy!

  12. I did something like this for next to my refrigerator. In an apartment, so not permenant, but great for my canned goods. Yours is so much nicer.

    • Thanks Rosemary! Found space like this is perfect for cans!

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