With the trend towards eliminating upper cabinetry in kitchen design, the functionality of base cabinets becomes even more important.

A standard base cabinet with an upper drawer and an adjustable shelf will not cut it.

As a Professional Kitchen Designer, you can show your clients multiple options to increase the functionality of the base cabinets you specify.

Here are my top 10 base cabinet accessories & solutions you should consider for your next design

1. Rollout Shelves

Rollout shelves are a standard solution to add functionality to base cabinets.

Add two rollout shelves in a door drawer cabinet and 3 in a full height door cabinet.

Think about placement of the rollout shelves especially when including them in a full height door cabinet. If your client has an over height item to store, measure the height of it for the bottom rollout and raise the top two up to accommodate it.

There is no rule that says all the rollouts must be equal distance from each other. Customize their locations to meet the needs of your client.

2. Root Baskets

Healthy eating is top of mind with many consumers so look to include specific storage for non-refrigerated fruits and vegetables.

The key to this type of storage is to choose materials that allow the produce to “breathe”.

There are a variety of basket options to choose from including those produced from plastic and wicker.

They can be installed behind closed doors or in an open base cabinets for easy access.

3. Condiment Pullouts

Every kitchen design can benefit from good condiment storage solutions. In a previous blog I present multiple options beyond base cabinetry you can check out here.

For base cabinetry there are prefabricated units manufactured to fit cabinets from 9” to 18” wide. They come in both wood and metal models.

There are also units available to fit behind 3” and 6” wide fillers, making these typically voided areas functional.

Narrow condiment pullouts with decorative fronts are a great addition on either side of a cooktop or range.

4. Specialized Pullouts

With the number of items that people store in their kitchens more than doubling in the last few decades, Kitchen Designers need to look for specialized storage solutions.

Many manufactures have introduced specialized accessories to store many of these items.

Look to include some of these base cabinet accessories:

  • Tea towel pullout
  • Tray divider pullout
  • Utensil pullout
  • Knife block pullout

By conducting a needs assessment survey with your client, you will be able to narrow down the best specialized pullouts to include in their design.

5. Commercial Styled Racks

Commercial kitchens are great for inspiration when designing residential kitchens.

Stainless steel pullout racks offer a commercial look and are exceptionally durable.

Installed in an open area under a cooktop they are perfect for showcasing cookware.

You can also accommodate homeowners that bake a lot by specifying a row of stainless-steel racks for cooling baking sheets fresh out of the oven.

6. Tray Dividers

Narrow base cabinets are the perfect place to include vertical tray dividers.

Since the depth of a base cabinet can accommodate most narrow items in a kitchen, consider doubling up on the dividers.

By adding two sets of dividers your clients will be able to store everything from cake pans to cutting boards in this cabinet.

7. Appliance Lift-Up Shelf

Many homeowners complain that they do not use their stand mixers as much as they would like because it is an awkward item to store.

An appliance lift-up shelf allows the unit to permanently sit on the shelf and pop into place so that it is always at the ready.

To increase the functionality of this cabinet, include a rollout at the bottom to house the stand mixer accessories.

This accessory will also accommodate other small appliances that your homeowner uses regularly but do not want to store on the countertop.

8. Trash Can with Lid

Every kitchen produces garbage and a pullout trash can with a retractable lid is a great cabinet accessory for dealing with it.

There are multiple sizes of trash cans with lids on the market allowing the kitchen designer to specify one to optimize the space available.

Plan to include one near the prep zone or clean-up zone.

9. Recycle Bins

To complement the pullout trash can, include a recycling center in your design.

As with trash cans there are a variety of sizes available for recycling bins to choose from.

In most cases you will want to include more than one bin to allow for separating of recycling at the source.

10. Custom Solutions

Utilizing base cabinetry for custom solutions will individualize your kitchen design for your client.

Even though there are multiple base cabinet accessories on the market, you may need to design a one-of-a-kind solution for your client.

You may also look to modify an existing accessory to make it function more efficiently for you client’s individual needs.

As you can see there are multiple ways to increase the functionality of base cabinets in today’s kitchens.

A great strategy is to include these accessories in your Kitchen Showroom if you are a cabinet dealer or produce a presentation showing options you can present to your client during the initial design stages.

You will find if you produce designs that add so much function to your designs you will not disappoint your client.

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Jan Rutgers B.Sc. H.Ec.

Jan Rutgers is a Professional Kitchen Designer with more than 25 years experience. During her career she has designed over 1000 kitchens learning valuable skills with each one! She is the founder of VESTABUL SCHOOL OF DESIGN where she educates and mentors people passionate about the Kitchen Design Industry.

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