How to Install a (sink front) Drop Down Drawer

Upon first inspection it’s a common variety fake drawer front.  And it was.  Until it wasn’t.

I’m not sure why all cabinet makers don’t just make all their fake drawer fronts like this one the type that pulls out so you can put your sponge or rag in it, but they don’t for some reason.

After eating 7 macaroons and an entire bag of Ruffles with dip last night I’m in a particularly foul mood today … so I’m going with “they’re just trying to anger me”.


Brizo Faucet


After a couple of weeks of living with my new kitchen I decided I really needed to convert the fake drawer front underneath my sink into a useable space so I didn’t have to leave my J cloth, scrubbie pad, and plastic pot scraper laying on the counter.

Lee Valley Drop Down Drawer


Most false drawers like this are easy to remove. This Martha Stewart fake front is just attached with clips so you can pop it right off. Others might be attached with screws.

Installing Tip Out Tray

Once you get your front removed all you have to do is install your tray and hinges and you’re well on your way to being the greatest person on your block. You’ll invite friends and neighbours over for the sheer joy of making them jealous. Then you’ll bonk them on the head to induce a little harmless short term memory loss, so you can show them all over again.

Tip Out Tray


To do this DIY all you need are the proper hinges and of course the tray that will hold whatever it is you want to hold in there.

Both things are available online or in store through Lee Valley Hardware.  Or of course, Amazon.

Lee Valley Tip Out Tray 2

You may as well do the easy part first to make you feel like you’re accomplishing something immediately. It’s the whole instant gratification thing.

So centre your tray and screw it in place. Make sure you pay attention to the closing and opening of the drawer so the tray doesn’t interfere with that. The plastic clip you see on the right needs to be removed.  It will be replaced with the specialty hinge.

Lee Valley Tip Out Tray 3

Installing Lee Valley Tip Out Tray

The hinges are marked left and right so there’s no confusion. When you hold up your hands as though you’re framing a picture, the hand that is in the shape of an “L” is your left hand. In case you were unsure. Don’t worry. I won’t judge you for not knowing. I will however judge you if you admit to liking canned cream of mushroom soup. For that I will judge.

Lee Valley Tip Out Tray Hinges

You will be installing the hinges on the edge of your opening.

Installing Lee Valley Tip Out Tray 2

Like so. Notice I am using the “R” hinge on the right side. Because I am clever. And held my hands up.

Installing Lee Valley Hinges

Place the hinge in the centre of your edge and mark your holes with a pencil. Drill your holes.

Tip Out Tray Hinge Installation

Install your screws. Do the same thing on the left side. I can’t believe I had to tell you that.

Now hold your front panel in place, slide under the cabinet and mark where the holes that attach the hinge to the drawer front are.

Here’s an action shot for you.
Installing Lee Valley Tip Out Drawer 3



Pre Screw


From underneath the cabinet (like you were when you were marking the hinge holes with a pencil) screw the hinge into the drawer front.

Lee Valley Tip Out Tray Hinges 2

And the drawer in action.

Lee Valley Tip Out Tray Hinge Installation

And finally me and the tray in action. The both of us. In action.  I’m casually reaching for a plant to pretend to water.  That plant is now dead.

Lee Valley Tip Out Tray Final


That’s all there is to installing a tip down drawer.  No mystery. No real effort.  No real explanation as to why cabinet makers don’t just make them standard.

Which leaves me with my initial explanation.  To anger me.

What’s the best way to cure macaroon and chip anger?  Rhubarb Crisp obviously.
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  1. Kat says:

    I’m dislexic, both hands make an L, lol!
    Luv the drop drawer! 😀

  2. crin claxton says:

    Great article. How stable are those hinges? I’m making a drop down door out of the last step in a flight of stairs (enough space behind to store 2 large packs of toilet rolls. Why would I waste that storage?). I’ve tried different hinges and wonder if I’d need standard butt hinges as well as the drop down hinges. I need my door to open completely (at 90 degrees to the uprights).

  3. Patti says:

    Nice guns!

  4. melanie says:

    I love this hack!! But you must tell me, where did you get those beautiful pulls? I have been on the hunt for them forever and have not been able to get my hands on them!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I didn’t notice the thumb nail or the pink screwdriver but I did notice the turtleneck. I got all hot and sweaty just looking at you (and not in the creepy way, in the “how can she wear a turtleneck in June?” way, since we are into such clarifications :))
    The thyme plant died because you forgot to water it just ONCE, I suspect. Thyme is like that.

  6. finny says:

    Well, shit. I’m just going to go ahead and use this smidge of free time allotted to me by the new hire gods to finally install one of these things. Using your handy quick tutorial, of course. Before it was all hypothetical in my head, which would have meant a mess and extra swears. Now I can use your tutorial and the appropriate number of swears.

    PLUS Ruffles with dip, haphazardly placed rage and rhubarb crisp? Woman – we are some kind of semi-messed up kindred souls.

  7. Barbie says:

    ….That ruler…….I need/want it! lol

  8. mayr says:

    Rhubarbcrisp, rhubarbcrisp!
    All one word.
    Thanks for perfect timing.

  9. Sia says:

    I love you, really I do.

  10. Maria says:

    Re: the holes in the yardstick – could be to draw accurate circles? Stick a pin on the end hole and marker on the size of the circle you want and move the marker around for a circle?

  11. Delta³ says:

    Nice and, as per usual, very precise and useful instructions. I have to agree with Laura. I sure wish I could fit under a sink like you do!

    “Place the hinge in the centre of your edge and mark your holes with a pencil. Drill your holes.”

    I always mark and drill one hole first, then drill the second. That way the second hole is correctly positioned in case the first hole’s location shifted a bit. BTW, if you are installing more than a couple of hinges or other screw fastened items, this is well worth the price if 1 1/2 Iced Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha Grande drinks. And their “Nickel-plated steel construction” will look good with that pink drill!

    Oh, and what is that (and can we see more pictures) “measuring stick” in the sixth photo?

  12. Karen says:

    You are too cool for school! I worked for a large kitchen supplier for years and sold these many times but didn’t think I could ever install one. You make it look easy. So long cabinet installer….Hello me!

  13. Laura Bee says:

    Love your yard stick! What are the holes for besides marking inches!? My Great Aunt Norma gave me hers when she downsized & I use it for sewing mostly, just love it. My Aunt Mary gave our Nana`s to my sister….but I still love her. My sister was the one who asked our Great Aunt if she could take hers for me :)

    My theory on the thumb – you whacked it & lost the nail.

  14. Shauna says:

    This almost makes me want to re-think my desire for an apron front sink.

  15. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I have two of these on the front of my kitchen sink Karen..they came with the house and I never knew they existed until I bought this place..They are very handy and a great use of wasted space!

  16. Nancy says:

    Just because you never know when the trap on your sink might spring a leak… not that it will…I suggest you store your Raid upside down on its cap. Plastic doesn’t rust.

  17. Leslie says:

    Great tip! We have one of these, and it is a fabulous place to store little brushes and sponges. We love it!

  18. jeannie B says:

    Neat idea Karen in utilizing that space behind the dummy drawer.
    Speaking of “Raid” and centipedes. I found a dead one laying, belly-up , on the bathroom mat the other day. It must have been a senior one. It had a zillion legs and was about two inches long. I think that maybe it was killed by my new cat who prowls around the house at night when I’m asleep. Probably “pawed” to death.
    And why did the plant on your windowsill die?So close and yet so far from the faucet.

  19. Nancy says:

    My parents little ranch style house in the middle of Louisiana in the 50s had these in the kitchen and in the (only) bathroom. My mom’s sewing machine cabinet had one also. Every time I look at the blank fakes around me, I curse them. Now instead, I can light a candle. You know … instead of cursing the darkness…

  20. Olga says:

    I like how “unintentionally” your rolled your sleeve on your shirt. You are so effortlessly cool Karen! And everytime I see your cast iron pigs in the photos I always wonder where is their permanent home before they come out for the photoshoot lol
    That is a great idea, and I had thought of doing same thing with my sink cabinet, however I have the same fear that it won’t fit under my sink, because I have sink that fills in the whole base cabinet, and also I have two fake drawers that are screwed together instead of one (I don’t think my sink cabinet is an actual sink cabinet).

  21. Maria says:

    Before the drawer front, I bought a 2″dx6″w plastic box at Karen’s (and mine) fave store ($1 store), and attached it to the inside of the cabinet door with a Command Strip. I now use that little box to hold the dish washing gloves (the hand part goes in the box, the sleeve part folds and hangs outside the box). Neat, clean dry cabinet interior. PLUS, the Command Strip allows for easy removal for washing the box, and re-attaching.

  22. Lynne says:

    I cannot for the life of me figure out why I didn’t do that when my ex and I were building our kitchen 16 years ago. The fact that I have two sinks with no drop down drawers in front of them drives me crazy – especially the sink on the island where I have absolutely NO WHERE to put sponges and scrubbies other than on the surface beside the sink. Maddening.

    This is a very timely post because it is on my list of to-dos in the very near future and I was just pricing the drop down kits from Lee Valley over the weekend.

  23. Ella says:

    You totally outdid Martha! When can we see the whole kitchen??

  24. Rebecca says:

    What kind of camera remote do you have? I imagine that’s what you’re holding in the last photo…

  25. Laura says:

    Here let me help:
    A. Your bicep in the first photo. Also your long graceful neck!
    B. Your perfectly styled hair in photo 3, also your sweater with the high collar that just so gracefully reaches your hairline and doesn’t make it stick out awkwardly.
    C. Arm muscle definition in photo 13
    D. Bonus points for looking this good while installing a drawer and using power tools.

    Your pictures have me wishing I was blonde!

  26. Melissa in North Carolina says:

    Macaroons, chips and Rhubarb Crisp, really and look the way you do? Oh how I love Rhubarb crisp. My Mom used to make Rhubard Crisp and Rhubarb sauce. Thanks for the informative post.

  27. Holly says:

    Everybody’s missing the most important bestest tip in this whole article – “shape of an “L” is your left hand”. Wow! Just Wow! How have I not heard that in all of my 58 years? Sure could have helped me teach the kiddos way back when. Thanks Karen, I never know what I’m gonna learn when I pop in here.

  28. Carla says:

    Hmm. Don’t think the nail is photo shopped because in other photos you can see the Polish starting to chip (just a little). Sorry Karen.

  29. Tigersmom says:

    Oh, and how much do you love your egg shaped (or oval, I suppose) cabinet knobs? When we did our reno, I only did a few cosmetic things in our Jack and Jill bath and one of them was replacing the cabinet knobs with the same knobs (in chrome) but I used them vertically. They feel so wonderful in your hand when you use them. Such a natural fit.

    We also replaced all the doorknobs throughout the house with oval ones oriented vertically. My husband just commented last night on how they feel good in your hand.

  30. Tigersmom says:

    Hmmm. I have a farmhouse sink, so no tip out shelf for me, but I’m ok with it. I just use it as an excuse to put a pretty little tray out to hold my scrubber for the dishes. I have an aversion to sponges. In the master bath, I just had the cabinets made to go all the way up to the countertop under the sinks and put a bank of drawers in between them. I have an issue with false drawer fronts in front of sinks. They’re not fooling anyone and I have issues with fake things. I do thoroughly respect the idea of making a false drawer front useful and thereby no longer false, however. Good on ya.

    I, too, noticed your photo shopped thumbnail and wonder if its not one of those things you said you would start putting in your pics to see if we noticed. And did your pink screwdriver come in a breast cancer awareness tool kit from Target, too? That’s where mine came from and your looks like it.

    And I was just beginning to wonder how you were loving your kitchen reno and if there was anything you’d change. Should have known that you’d be proactive and change it and let us know.

    PS – I’m beginning to be haunted by the fact that I choose to restrain myself from buying those stacked piggies when I had the chance. I think they are gone now : /.

  31. Robin Siegerman says:

    At the risk of sounding like a know-it-all (but I HAVE been designing kitchens for 21 years and DID write a best selling book about it ;-) ), the reason that not all cabinet makers put the drop down drawers in front of the sink is that most clients ask for the biggest honkin’ sink they can stuff into the sink cabinet and there is no room for that cunning little tray. If you try to install it, the tray hits the front of the sink bowl under the counter and the drawer front won’t close. I found this out the hard way when I was a very new designer and also thought those drop down trays should be in Every. Single. Kitchen. Now, I can barely remember the last time I specified one. But I SHUUUUR do specify big honkin’ sinks in Every. Single. Kitchen. I hope you will now stop giving my cabinet maker friends a hard time. They are people too.

  32. Diana says:

    Great idea…!!!

    I wish on my my front would be handles. But no Problem, i`m working in a furniture-store. They will freak out, when i`m telling them about this great and easy way of using hidden space…
    I bought a lifehack for my kitchen a few weeks ago.
    A door-opener. (Ikea)
    because under my sink is the trashcan. and with hands full of potato peel i can dip my knee against the door and
    TADA— it magicaly opens…

  33. I had to scroll back over all the pictures to spot the things in comments: what you’re wearing, your thumbnail etc that I never would see as I read a post. Your readers are so observant (and not slow to remark!).

    But I’m totally in awe that you got a new kitchen, professionally installed, and improved on it! Kitchen designers should pay you!

  34. Claire says:

    Sadly macaroon and chip anger can only be cured by ‘hair of the dog’ *sighs*

  35. Pam'a says:

    I intalled two of these a few years back, and still feel very smug every time I see one of those gorgeous, apron-front farmer’s sinks that can’t have them. Neener.

  36. Cathy says:

    My big ol Kohler Hartland sink is too big for this to work in my kitchen. Since I can’t have a tippy drawer, can I have your toned guns?

    • Karen says:

      Sure. I’ll get to chopping those off immediately. I didn’t think this would fit with my sink either, but I bought it anyway to bring home and try it. And it does fit. Just barely. But it does. So you could always go that route! ~ karen

  37. victoria says:

    You are so clever!!! And pretty!!!! Did you Photoshop your thumb nail? It looks unreal. I don’t blame you if you did, i mean all that work could have totally ruined your manicure. …I would have photoshopped ’cause I’m anal about photos… . So not pointing a finger (or a thumb. .) Just wondering. …

  38. Stephbo says:

    I got too distracted by the pink drill/screwdriver. WANT!!

  39. Jane says:

    A kickout step would be awesome! I pull an old footstool around my kitchen with my foot so I don’t have to bend over…it has sliders on the little legs so it moves easily. Yeah, women could definitely design anything better than men. I always think the inside of cars should be designed by women so we would have lots of places to put our stuff!! And I have those little trays on the inside of my cabinet doors under the sink…that works, too….not as handy as your little drawer tho! I won’t invite my neighbors to come see mine:)

  40. Maria says:

    I’m convinced those companies don’t have one single woman (or married one either :) on their design staff, otherwise, that drawer would be standard. When I had my kitchen redo, I had one put in, without the handles, so it’s a stealth drawer where one can hide, you know, stealthy things, like a pocket gun. No. Really. For now, I’m just storing the same stuff you are Karen.

    Karen, I’ve got a great idea for those of us height challenged. How about a ‘kick-out’ step (spring loaded) in the unused space beneath the cabinet drawers? Ages ago I saw that as a diy, but have not seen anything like that since. And I definitely need one under every kitchen cabinet ::sigh::

    You ROCK!

    • Patti says:

      OH MY GOD MARIA!!! You rock!!!!!! I would LOOOOVE a kick out step!!! I feel faint…yes..yes1 YES!!!
      At 4 foot 10 ..I would KILL for a kick out step!!!

      • Joanne says:

        One of my neighbors has not only a kick-out step under almost every base cabinet (she’s short). She also has one that hold her cat food/water bowls.

        I think my animails would get very peeved and noisy if I closed up their food/water area… but I love the idea of the step.

    • Karen says:

      THat kick out step is a great idea! This Martha Stewart cabinet line comes with a stool that pulls out and is hidden the same way this tip down drawer is, but you still have to pull it out. (there didn’t seem to be anywhere in my kitchen it would fit or I would have had it) ~ karen

  41. Grammy says:

    I know how you feel about the tip-down drawer. Over 20 years ago we had our kitchen remodeled and the cabinet maker hisownself actually just included that feature without mentioning it and you would have thought somebody gave me a bucket of gold.

    I’d never seen anything like it, and neither had any of my friends, and we all spent an inordinate amount of time playing with it, like next time I open this maybe there will be some other magic thing in there and not the scrubby pad and old toothbrush and sponge I put in there.

    If only more men knew what it really takes to please a woman. But since they don’t, I’m glad we’ve got Karen to tell everyone how to please themselves…

  42. Becky says:

    I’ve lived in this house for 13 years, and NOW you tell me its this easy???

    I love the idea of putting one in the bathroom too.

  43. Patti says:

    the hinges have changed in the last 25 years! I don’t remember them being like that in the last kitchen I had redone…BUT!…I must say, it was one of the BEST things I choose for that kitchen! and one of the things I will have for the next reno!! coming soon!(I hope!)

  44. Agnes says:

    A turtle neck in this weather? Really?? By the way, I think there are some pythons loose in your kitchen! Love the drawer!

  45. Laura says:

    You look so great! So muscular and also stylish. I was distracted and barely paid attention to the drawer tutorial and I mean that in the least creepy way possible.

    • Karen says:

      Oh creepy is fine Laura. I’ll take compliments and adoration any way I can get it these days, where the only other place I get it is from my cats and chickens. And frankly they just do it because I feed them. Now I have to go relook at the picture to see what you’re talking about , lol. ~ karen!

  46. Ruth Vallejos says:

    Yep. Cabinet making companies act sometimes like they don’t use their products. And some of them tout lazy susans as if they are new fangled thinkin’. Hah!

  47. calliek says:

    Love it! I think I might have to do one for the bathroom too.

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