Once considered a luxury, closet organizer systems with drawers have become mainstream. Partially driven by modern open floor plans with limited opportunities for storage, and partially driven by a need to maximize space in a tight rental and resale market, closets with built-in drawers continue to rise in popularity. Closets featuring these well-designed storage systems are a highly sought-after feature in all types of homes and are a required amenity in some real estate markets.
The benefits of owning closet organizer systems with drawers include increased storage inside the closet and a decreased need for other furniture with drawers in the bedroom or throughout the rest of the home. Drawers inside the closet are perfect for handling the storage of small items that are best kept folded rather than hung from a clothes rod.
Facts About Drawers for Closets:
- Types of Closet Drawers:
There are different types of drawers for closets. Options range from built-in made-to-order drawers specifically created for your closet, pre-made freestanding drawer units, and basket-like pull-out accessory drawers with soft cloth fabric exterior.
- Built-In: Closet drawers can be designed and built into a custom closet system. This is a very permanent method for adding drawers to a closet. It is a semi-custom to custom solution for maximizing storage in the closet and requires some light carpentry skills for a smooth, professional looking installation. It is also the most expensive option. However, this type of closet drawer returns the most money at resale, netting back the entire cost of the unit or more when the home is sold.
- Freestanding: Adding a bank of freestanding to your closet is similar to slipping a dresser with drawers into the closet. Very popular with renters, the closet drawers are basically a separate piece of furniture and can be moved easily to a new location. This type of removable drawer can add convenience and storage while in use, but will not add value to the home.
- Pull-out Accessory Drawers: Accessory drawers are somewhat of a compromise between built-in drawers and freestanding units. They are an attractive storage solution that is mounted and attached to a closet system after it is built, similar to slide-out pantry baskets. They require a standard sized closet organizer system for installation and are screwed into the vertical panels of the closet. Because they are attached to the closet, they are considered to be a type of built-in, but are easier to move or rearrange than a standard built-in closet drawer. They come pre-made in a variety of color choices. Sizes are limited to fit standard closet organizer system section dimensions. You can expect to find 5 inch or 7-inch-high drawers in 18-inch, 24-inch and 30-inch widths with a 14-inch depth. People who own this type of drawer swear by them, claiming the soft sides allow the drawers to hold more than a similarly sized wood drawer box.
- Closet Drawer Construction: All closet drawer systems are not the same and there are differences in quality between manufacturers. Built in closet drawers can be made from either plastic or wood. The wood drawers are considered to be higher quality. Plywood made from Russian Baltic birch is most commonly used to make the basic wooden drawer box. The drawer box consists of four sides and a bottom. The sides can be joined in several ways, but dovetail joints will make the strongest and most durable drawer. Dovetail is the preferred method for building a drawer box. A plywood bottom is then set into the box using tongue-in-grove construction with screws for added stability. A drawer front is then attached to the box. This drawer front is what creates the differing styles of closet drawer. Raised panel fronts make for a more traditional look, while flat fronts are associated with a more contemporary aesthetic. The most popular drawer fronts are the Shaker styles — a transitional type that is simple and honest in design with just enough detail to make them interesting.
- Closet Drawer Installation: Drawer installation technique centers on the type of drawer slide used. The slide, or runner, is the mechanism that guides the drawers as they move in and out. There are different types on the market.
A note on drawer slides: At Closet Works, full-extension, under mount, ball bearing slides with soft close are standard for our drawers. Drawers are rated to hold 75 pounds.
- Center Mount Slides: Center mount drawer slides involve a wood or metal track that mounts under the center of the drawer. The drawer then glides on either rollers that are aligned with the center track, or with the more traditional piece of wood that nestles into the track and keeps the drawer aligned as it slips in and out. This type of drawer slide is relatively smooth, easy to install, and economical because it only involves one slide per drawer. However, it has the disadvantage of allowing the drawer box to accidentally come out of the drawer opening if you try to open the drawer too far.
- Euro/Epoxy Slides: Euro slides are inexpensive and easy to install, with a good medium load rating. These slides require installing two slides per drawer and include two parts per slide. The epoxy painted metal runners mount directly to each side of the bottom of the drawer, and also to the inside of the closet/cabinet space. The male and female metal pieces fit together and guide the drawer box movement using rollers (usually made of nylon).
- Side Mount Ball Bearing: Side mount ball bearing slides are a sturdy and reliable method for opening and closing the closet drawer. With this type of slide, one two-piece metal slide is installed on either side of the drawer box and against the side wall of the drawer box opening, for a total of two slides per drawer. A drawer with this type of slide rolls smoothly and reliably on stainless steel ball bearings. The slide can be either full extension or 3/4 extension depending on brand. Full extension slides allow for a more complete use of the drawer because you can access items all the way in the back. Heavy duty versions are available to hold a lot of weight. The disadvantage is that the overall drawer box width must be about an inch narrower in order to allow room for the slides that will be mounted to either side of the drawer, slightly decreasing storage capacity.
- Under Mount Ball Bearing: Under mount drawer slides are considered by most wood workers to be the most desirable kind of drawer slide. This type of slide is almost completely invisible even when the drawer is open. It also allows for full extension and maximum drawer width since the slides are located under the drawer rather than along the sides. As a ball bearing slide, operation is smooth and reliable with a possibility for heavy duty applications. This type of slide is also available with soft close technology.
- Soft Close: Soft close is a hydraulic technology that allows drawers to consistently self-close in a smooth and gentle manner. It is often found in elaborate kitchens and other high-end applications.
- Closet Drawer Sizes: Built-in closet drawers are usually custom and can be made to any size needed. However, certain sizes are standard and there is usually some cost savings if you stick to these standard dimensions.
Pull-out accessory drawers/soft cloth drawers also come in these same standard widths, as they are made to be used in conjunction with a standard closet system.
- Width: Drawers need to install between closet panels; therefore, standard drawer widths will be the same as standard closet shelf sizes. Standard closet organizer sections allow for widths of 18-inches, 24-inches, and 30-inches.
- Depth: Standard depths are 14-inches, 16-inches and 20-inches.
- Height: The height of the drawer refers to the height of the drawer face. The actual height of the box is usually less. Standard heights are 5-inches, 7.5-inches, 10-inches and 12-inches.
- Closet Drawer Organizers: Closet drawer organizers are designed to increase and organize the storage potential of built-in closet drawers. Geared towards items commonly kept in closet drawers, these organizers will straighten out a collection of eye glasses, jewelry, belts, ties, lingerie, or other small wardrobe accessories. They are available in acrylic as an arrangement of adjustable cubes that get inserted into the drawer, or as wooden drawer dividers that run from front to back in the drawer, or as velvet lined compartmentalized trays that are perfect for watches and other items that scratch easily.
- Closet Drawer Security: Closet drawers can have locks installed in them to deter theft. The same drawer locks commonly used on desk drawers work equally well on closet drawers. Available with traditional key and tumblers or as a hidden programable lock, this type of security is a deterrent to theft only, making is more difficult and inconvenient to steal the contents of the drawer. They are not intended to replace your safe deposit box at the bank.
- Closet with Drawers Pricing: There's no beating around the bush — drawers definitely add to the cost of a custom closet. Budget conscious homeowners will often choose to install additional shelves so that they can use decorative baskets and boxes for similar organization rather than closet drawers. However, nothing beats the resale value of a closet system with drawers. It may even be the differentiating factor that causes buyers to choose one house over another. One thing is certain. Homebuyers prefer organized closet system with drawers and are willing to pay extra to get them. Even better than a kitchen remodel, a master closet that features a closet organizer with drawers will usually return 100% or more at the time of resale. You can't ask for a better return than that.
Adding Closet Drawers to Your Home Organization Strategy
Closets with drawers are a worthwhile investment that will not only grow in value but provide an enhanced living experience for the homeowner by providing additional storage within a small space. Having drawers in your closet allows you forego traditional clothes dressers and other storage furniture, creating a more open feel to your rooms and a modern, minimalist aesthetic. Less furniture can also save you money and make small rooms look larger. Built-in drawers are best installed at the same time as the closet organization system itself, but it is sometimes possible to retro-fit a drawer as long as your closet uses standard size panels and shelves. If you are planning to add a draw to your closet system, it is best to use the same closet company that installed the rest of the closet in order to get an appropriate match in colors and finishes. The drawer can replace an adjustable shelf in the closet, since they are the same width and depth.
Similarly, accessory drawers can be added to a closet at a later date providing there is an appropriate size space available to install them. Accessory drawers are an easier retro-fit than built-ins, which may require the help of a carpenter.