Pull-out shelf basics
The beauty of pull-out shelves is that you’ll bring the contents of the cabinet out into the light of day with one easy tug—a boon for anyone with limited mobility. Most pull-out shelves feature a shallow lip around the edge so that items don’t tumble off as the shelf glides in and out.
Pull-out shelves typically come with full-extension gliding hardware that supports up to 100 pounds. However, most manufacturers recommend keeping the load to 75 to 80 pounds maximum.
Retrofitting existing cabinets with pull-outs is usually easy—most cabinets have adjustable shelves that are easily removed. If your shelving is fixed in place, however, you’ll have to consult a woodworker to see if the shelves can be taken out.
Sizes and styles
Pull-out shelves come in standard or adjustable sizes to fit various cabinet interiors. They are available in three basic materials:
- solid wood (usually the most expensive and well-made).
- plywood sides combined with medium density fiber (MDF) bottoms.
- metal wire that’s lightweight and easy to install, but also the least substantial.
You’ll also find a variety of specialty options such as pull-out shelves with slots for storing trays, baking pans, or lids. Other options include bins that hold waste baskets and units that swing out from corner cabinets. Look for pull-out shelves at home centers, discount stores, and online.
Costs and caveats
Prices for individual shelves start at about $13 for a low-end wire or plywood and MDF unit, up to $745 for a solid wood specialty unit for a corner cabinet.
If you purchase the shelves yourself and hire out the installation, expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $600 for a full day’s labor. At about $20 each, for example, 24 shelves would cost about $730 to $1,200, installed.
If top-quality work is important to you, custom cabinetmakers will build and install pull-out shelves. Typical costs are $135 to $210 per shelf, installed. In an average-sized kitchen with 12 base cabinets and 24 shelves, expect to pay $3,240 to $5,040 for custom-made pull-out shelves.
Keep in mind that some cabinets aren’t as well-suited to pull-out shelves. Narrow shelves, for example, may require a pull-out that glides on hardware installed on an existing shelf. The pull-out will likely work best for spices or small items.