Many modern kitchen drawers will have drawer faces that are slightly larger than the drawer boxes so that the faces appear flush with each other, while the drawer boxes are narrow enough for a divider all in between them, to which they are often attached with slides.

I have seen a lot of pictures of older kitchen drawers with visible dividers between the drawers. Here are some examples:

enter image description here

enter image description here

I am trying to figure out if these drawers also have narrower boxes than faces, which would make them quite narrow indeed, or are the boxes the same size as the faces? Are these things on sliders, or are these just boxes in boxes?

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. But, if you can't tell, then we certainly can't. Jun 10, 2019 at 1:20

2 Answers 2


This style of cabinet is called a "face frame". Its typically an American style cabinet that is a little easier to install but you lose access to some space since the opening for the door is smaller than the carcase of the cabinet. Typically there isn't a smaller box inside its just a frame around the door. Contrast this with European style cabinets where the doors and drawers cover the full front of the cabinet box.


I can't speak particularly about 60s cabinet design, but I have lived in several apartments older than that.

In my experience, I would expect that the drawer boxes are just slightly smaller than the front. (For example, in my current kitchen, about 1/4 inch or 1 cm on all edges.) As I understand it, the purpose of this lip, like the lip around the edge of cabinet doors, is so that the edge of the hole in the cabinet is hidden, hiding any misalignments between the drawer/cabinet and the frame.

It is plausible that the boxes are wood sliding on wood (and so there is no width taken up by drawer slide mechanisms). There may or may not be features to prevent the drawer from sliding out completely, depending on how refined the construction is.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.