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Bells and Whistles:  Inserts To Make Your Old Kitchen Cabinets More Efficient

Bells and Whistles: Inserts To Make Your Old Kitchen Cabinets More Efficient

If your kitchen is no longer working for you, a major remodeling project may be in your future.  However, there are much less expensive (and less messy!) ways to make your kitchen more efficient and functional.

Kitchen cabinets used to be fairly basic:  a box with a drawer and a door, perhaps with a shelf or two inside.  Today, though, kitchen cabinets come with many bells and whistles that can make your kitchen work even harder for you.

In some kitchens, especially small kitchens, creating an entirely new layout in the space is nearly impossible.  Sometimes, the kitchen you have with your old cabinets is nearly the same kitchen you will have with new cabinets – unless you plan to take on a large addition to your home.  After all, there are only so many places to fit in the stove, refrigerator and sink.

If your cabinets are still in good condition and you are still happy with the style of your kitchen, adding inserts to your cabinets will help to improve the function of your space without requiring you to undertake a large and expensive remodeling project.  And, if you plan to build a new home or remodel your existing kitchen, knowing about some of these great options for your new cabinets will help you choose the best upgrades for your home and lifestyle.

Rev a Shelf pull out shelf

Photo courtesy Rev-a-Shelf

Some of the oldest and simplest kitchen cabinet upgrades are pull-out shelves.  These simple items help you keep track of items in the depths of your cabinets, and allow you to see everything inside.  Not only are basic pull-out shelves the most popular upgrade, but they have also evolved into some new must-have options for any kitchen.  Some of the best cabinet insert systems are made by Rev-a-Shelf; I’ll go through a few of the most useful options here.

A trash and/or recycling cabinet is a very popular cabinet upgrade.  This item allows you to keep your trash bin handy and accessible, but hidden from view.  Thankfully, it can also be a cinch to retrofit into any existing cabinet of the proper size:

Rev a Shelf Trash Pull out

Photo courtesy Rev-a-Shelf


If you have corner cabinets in your kitchen, you know what a pain the old “Lazy Susans” can be – sticking, sagging and not every useful.  While there are still Lazy Susans on the market – and they are much improved over the original versions – there are other options, such as this blind corner pull-out shelf system:

Rev a Shelf Blind corner pull out shelf

Photo courtesy of Rev-a-Shelf


With new options for pull-outs, homeowners can now use every available inch of space in their kitchens.  While a filler pull-out may not be an option for upgrading your existing kitchen, consider these when you plan a full kitchen remodel or if you are building a new home.  With just a few space inches of space, a filler pull-out gives you more usable storage space for food or spices:

Rev a Shelf Filler Pull out

Photo courtesy Rev-a-Shelf


Or, you can use them for cleaning supplies or cooking utensils:

Rev a Shelf Filler Pull out

Photo courtesy Rev-a-Shelf


Tall pantry pull-outs and swing out shelves give you maximum storage in a minimum amount of space:

Rev a Shelf Tall pantry pull out

Photo courtesy Rev-a-Shelf


For hard-to-reach upper cabinets, consider a pull-down shelf to make your life easier:

Rev a Shelf upper cabinet pull down

Photo courtesy Rev-a-Shelf


And, of course, there are a ton of options for organizing your kitchen drawers.  With everything in its place, you won’t have to waste time digging for that item you know must be in there somewhere!

Rev a Shelf Knife drawer

Photo courtesy Rev-a-Shelf


One other very popular cabinet upgrade is the “soft close” drawer glide and hinge systems; Blum makes one of the best.  Their Blumotion system keeps drawers and doors from slamming by gently closing them automatically when they are nearly shut.  A very nice feature for any home.

Blumotion soft close

Photo courtesy Blum


And, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cabinet and drawer upgrades.  From wine bottle racks to file drawer inserts, you can find an option to serve nearly any need you have in your kitchen.  Not only do these items make your kitchen more functional and efficient, but they can also make your kitchen more accessible to someone in your family with mobility problems.  Anytime you can make shelves and drawers easier to access, you will make your kitchen more useful to people of all sizes and abilities.

Before you take on a complete kitchen remodeling project, consider adding inserts to increase the efficiency of your space.  And, if you plan to replace your cabinets or build a new home, be sure to ask your cabinetry consultant about which options are available to you.  While the cost of all these bells and whistles can add up quickly, the increased function can be worth every penny.  Choose just the inserts that are most important to you and your lifestyle for the best function within your budget.

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