How to Measure for Drawers

Measuring for drawers is essential in any home renovation or furniture building project. Drawers are integral to cabinets and dressers, providing storage and organization.

Therefore, measuring accurately is crucial to ensure that your drawers fit perfectly into the designated space. In this guide, we will discuss how to measure for drawers correctly.

How to Measure for Drawers

If you’re a DIY enthusiast or a professional carpenter, these tips will help you achieve precise measurements and avoid costly mistakes.

Understanding Drawer Components

Before we begin measuring, it’s essential to understand the different components of a drawer.

A typical drawer consists of three main parts: the front panel, side panels or “sides,” and back panel. The front panel is what you see when looking at a closed drawer.

The sides are attached to the front panel and support it, while the back panel connects the sides and provides stability. Some drawers may also have a bottom panel that sits inside the drawer frame.

Tools and Materials You Will Need to Measure for Drawers:

  1. Measuring tape or ruler
  2. Pencil
  3. Paper and notepad (or smartphone)
  4. Calculator (optional)

Step-by-step Guidelines on How to Measure for Drawers

Step 1: Measure the Cabinet or Dresser Opening

The opening where you plan to install the drawer needs to be measured accurately. Use a measuring tape or ruler to measure the opening’s width, depth, and height.

Make sure to note these measurements on your notepad or phone for future reference. This step is crucial as it will determine the overall size of your drawer.

Step 2: Determine the Drawer Front Panel Size

The front panel of a drawer should be slightly smaller than the opening to allow for smooth movement and clearance.

To find the perfect size, subtract around 1 inch from the opening’s width and depth measurements. For example, if your opening measures 20 inches in width and depth, the front panel should be around 19 inches.

Step 3: Measure for Drawer Side Panels

To determine the length of the side panels, measure from the bottom of the front panel to the back of the opening.

Side Panels Can Be Slightly Shorter

Make sure to account for any hardware or slides that may affect your measurements. Repeat this step for both sides of the drawer.

While it’s essential to have accurate length measurements, the width of the side panels can be slightly shorter than the depth measurement of your opening.

Step 4: Measure for Drawer Back Panel

Similar to the side panels, measure from the bottom of the front panel to the back of the opening. Take note of this measurement, as it will determine how long your back panel should be.

If your drawer has a bottom panel, it should be measured like the back panel. This step is crucial in ensuring stability and a proper fit for your drawer.

Step 5: Calculate the Drawer Bottom Panel (If Applicable)

If your drawer has a bottom panel, you will need to determine its size. To do this, subtract the width and depth measurements of the opening from the side panel measurements.

This calculation will give you. The correct size for your bottom panel. This step is crucial as it provides additional support and stability for your drawer.

Following these step-by-step guidelines will help you measure drawers accurately. Be sure to double-check your measurements before starting any construction or ordering pre-made drawers.

Accurate measurements are essential in creating a functional and visually appealing drawer that fits perfectly into the designated space.

With these techniques, you can confidently tackle any drawer project with precision and confidence.

Remember, “measure twice, cut once” to avoid costly mistakes and ensure a successful outcome for your drawer project.

Additional Tips and Tricks to Measure for Drawers

 Important to Label Each Measurement

1. If you are measuring for multiple drawers, it is important to label each measurement with a corresponding number or letter. This will make it easier to match the measurements with the correct drawer during installation.

2. When taking measurements, always measure from the inside of the cabinet box, not from any trim or molding on the outside.

3. Measure the depth and width of the drawer using a level and a straight edge to ensure accurate measurements.

4. If you are replacing an existing drawer, it is best to measure the old drawer instead of relying on previous measurements. This will account for any wear and tear on the old drawer.

5. When measuring for a pull-out or roll-out drawer, make sure to factor in the space needed for hardware such as slides or glides.

6. If you are unsure about a measurement, double-checking it is always better than making assumptions. This will save you time and effort in the long run.

7. It is important to take note of any obstructions, such as pipes or wiring, that may affect the installation of the drawer. Make sure to measure around these obstacles and adjust your measurements accordingly.

8. When measuring for a drawer front, factor in the thickness of the drawer box and any hardware that may affect the size of the front.

9. If you are dealing with an irregular or non-standard size cabinet, it is always best to consult a professional for accurate measurements and installation.

10. Lastly, always measure at least twice to ensure accuracy. This is especially important if you are working with expensive materials or custom-made drawers.

Following these additional tips and tricks will help ensure that your measurements are accurate and result in a smooth installation process for your drawers.

Ensure That Your Measurements Are Accurate

Remember to measure multiple times, label your measurements, and account for any obstructions or hardware. You can avoid costly mistakes and have perfectly fitting drawers in no time by taking the time to properly measure. Happy measuring! 

Things You Should Consider to Measure for Drawers

1. The first thing you should consider when measuring for drawers is the overall height of the drawer. This measurement will determine how much space the drawer has to work with and how many items can be stored inside.

2. Another important measurement is the width of the drawer. This will determine the maximum size of items that can fit inside the drawer.

3. The depth or length of the drawer should also be measured to ensure that it can accommodate larger items without any hassle.

4. Consider the clearance needed for opening and closing the drawers, especially if they will be in a tight space or next to other furniture.

5. If your drawers have handles or knobs, make sure to measure the distance between them and take into account any protrusions that may affect the placement of items inside.

6. In addition to physical measurements, it is also important to consider the weight capacity of the drawer slides or runners. This will determine how much weight the drawer can hold without causing damage or malfunction.

7. When measuring for drawers that will be installed in built-in units or cabinets, consider any obstructions such as pipes, electrical outlets, or baseboards.

8. It is also important to consider the type of material used for the drawer sides and back, as this can affect the drawer’s overall dimensions and weight capacity.

9. If you plan on adding dividers or organizers to the drawer, leave enough space for them when measuring.

10. Lastly, remember to double-check all measurements and account for any irregularities in the space where the drawers will be installed.

It’s better to catch any discrepancies before purchasing or building the drawers.

Drawers Fit Your Space

Following these considerations will ensure that your drawers fit your space and needs perfectly. Remember to always measure twice and cut once when building or installing drawers.

With proper measurements, you can create organized and functional storage solutions in any room of your home. Keep these tips in mind for a successful drawer installation project.

So, make sure to take the time to accurately measure and plan before starting any drawer project. Happy measuring!

Common  Mistakes to Avoid for Measuring for Drawers

1. Not Taking Accurate Measurements:

One of the biggest mistakes people make when measuring for drawers is inaccurate measurements. This can result in improper fitting and wasted time, money, and effort.

If your measurements are off by even a small fraction, it can cause major problems when installing the drawers. To avoid this mistake, make sure to use a reliable measuring tool and take multiple measurements to ensure accuracy.

2. Not Considering the Drawer Slides:

Another common mistake is not considering the drawer slides when taking measurements. The size and type of drawer slides you choose will impact the overall dimensions of your drawers.

For example, heavy-duty drawer slides may require more space between the drawer and cabinet than standard or soft-close slides. It’s important to factor in the type of slide you want to use when measuring for drawers.

3. Not Accounting for Hardware:

Many people forget to account for hardware when measuring for drawers. This includes handles, knobs, and pulls that will be attached to the front of the drawer.

 Include Hardware in Your Measurements

If you don’t account for this extra width, your drawers may end up being too large or small once the hardware is attached.

Make sure to include hardware in your measurements so that your drawers fit properly and have enough clearance for easy opening and closing.

4. Ignoring the Surrounding Space:

When measuring for drawers, it’s important to consider the surrounding space as well. This includes any adjacent cabinets or countertops that may impact the size and placement of your drawers.

If you don’t take into account these factors, you may end up with drawers that are too big or small for the available space. Measure not just the drawer itself but also the space around it to ensure a proper fit.

5. Not Communicating with Contractors:

If you’re hiring a contractor or cabinet maker to build and install your drawers, it’s crucial to communicate clearly and effectively about your measurements.

This includes providing detailed diagrams or drawings of the desired layout and dimensions. Any confusion or miscommunication about the measurements can lead to costly mistakes and delays in your project. Make sure to communicate clearly and double-check all measurements with your contractor before any work begins.

6. Rushing through the Measuring Process:

Measuring for drawers may seem like a simple task, but rushing through this crucial step can lead to major mistakes.

It’s important to take your time and double-check all measurements before moving forward with your project. If you’re unsure about any measurements, it’s always better to remeasure and ensure everything is correct rather than risking an ill-fitting drawer.

By avoiding these common mistakes and taking accurate measurements, you can ensure that your drawers will fit perfectly and function as intended. Always double-check all measurements and communicate clearly with contractors to avoid costly errors.

You can have beautiful and functional drawers in your home or workspace with proper measuring techniques.  So take your time, use reliable tools, and don’t be afraid to remeasure to ensure a successful project.  Happy measuring!

Precautions Need to Be Followed for Measuring for Drawers

1. First and foremost, ensure you have the right tools for measuring drawers. A tape measure is the most commonly used tool, but depending on the type of drawer and your personal preference, you may also need a leveler and a square ruler.

2. Always measure twice to ensure accuracy. Mistakes in measurements can result in ill-fitting drawers, which can be difficult to fix later on.

3. Take note of the placement of the drawer within the furniture piece. This will affect the size and dimensions of the drawer.

4. Consider any obstructions or fixtures that may affect the placement or size of the drawer, such as hinges, handles, or other adjacent furniture pieces.

5. Use a straight edge when measuring for drawers to ensure precise and straight lines. This will help with the drawer’s overall aesthetics and functionality.

6. When measuring for width, measure from the inside of the cabinet or furniture piece where the drawer will be placed. This will prevent any measurement errors due to the walls’ thickness.

7. Similarly, when measuring for height, take into account any protruding features such as trim, molding, or baseboards. This will ensure that the drawer can open and close smoothly without any hindrances.

8. For accurate depth measurements, take into consideration any hardware that may be installed on the inside or back of the furniture piece where the drawer will be placed.

9. it is always best to measure the space where the drawer will fit rather than relying on manual or specifications sheet measurements.

By following these precautions and taking accurate measurements, you can ensure that your drawers will fit perfectly and function smoothly within your furniture pieces. These steps may seem tedious, but they are crucial in creating a well-functioning and visually pleasing final product. So take your time, double-check your measurements, and create drawers that will not only look great but also last for years to come. Happy measuring!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Measure for Drawers?

Measuring drawers is an important step in any home improvement or renovation project. It ensures that your new drawers will fit properly and function as intended. Here are some frequently asked questions about measuring drawers.

How Do I Measure the Width and Depth of a Drawer?

Use a Tape Measure

To measure a drawer’s width, use a tape measure and measure from the inside edge of one side to the inside edge of the other side. For the depth, measure from the back inside wall to the front inside wall of the drawer. You can also remove an existing drawer and take measurements from the outside.

How Do I Measure for Drawer Slides?

To measure for drawer slides, start by measuring the width of the drawer box. Then, subtract 1/2 inch from that measurement and mark it on each side of the drawer box. This is where you will install the slides. Next, measure the depth of the drawer and add 3/4 inch to that measurement. This is the length of the slides you will need.

What Tools Do I Need to Measure Drawers?

To measure drawers, you will need a tape measure, pencil, and preferably a level or square tool to ensure accurate measurements. You should also have a calculator on hand to help with any necessary calculations.

Are There Any Common Mistakes When Measuring Drawers?

One common mistake when measuring drawers is not considering the thickness of the drawer slides. It’s important to add this measurement when determining the length of the slides needed. Another mistake is not measuring all sides of the drawer box, which can result in an uneven or ill-fitting drawer.


Now you know how to measure for drawers and avoid common mistakes. Remember to always double-check your measurements and use the proper tools for accurate results. Proper measurement is crucial for a successful and functional drawer installation. Happy measuring! 

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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