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  • Writer's pictureTri City Furniture, Auburn

Furniture Drawer Designs

Drawer Design…what makes it durable? Drawers might come in an accent cabinet, or an end table, but usually we think of drawers in the bedroom furniture, like a dresser or a chest. These drawers are large drawers, normally deep and get a lot more uses than others within the home.

It comes down to where it is made! Remember that import furniture pieces are all about cutting costs, so drawers in bedroom furniture are an easy place to cut! They can make the front of the drawer larger, but the actual drawer space may be cut down in size. It may be shallower, and not as deep as it appears to be. It is very sneaky and something to watch for. Often these types of tricks are made with overlay drawers, where the drawer lip comes over the front edge of the cabinet, instead of flush or inset drawers, where you see the crack between the cabinet and the drawer. When you consider saving 4-5” per case piece times 5 to 8 drawers, that can add up to eliminating 3-4 ft of board not used…and many times even more that that! You loose space and often purchase another piece of furniture to make up for the missing space. Therefore you end up spending more money.

Structurally, how are better drawer made compared to the others?

Lower cost construction can be done a couple ways…to cut costs! One way is using a wood that is like a particle board, and have it covered in a contact paper that looks like wood! This is often the cause of what makes a chest of drawers so light in weight today, vs the very heavy ones our grandparents had. If the manufactures remove the wood from the inside structure and just have a solid top on the dresser, the cabinet is now very tippable and needs to be secured to the wall for safety reasons.

American made manufactures have to comply with laws to make our furniture safer for your family. They take extra steps to make sure their product is safer. These products will most likely cost a little more than an import, because they are better made. Imported furniture does not have to comply with these laws. Both are available for you to buy. It is up to you what you choose. If something happens within your home, it is not the manufactures fault. Choose wisely.

In the United States, a child visits the ER every 60 minutes as a result of falling furniture, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. On average, two to three children nationally die every month as a result of falling televisions, furniture or appliances, the commission estimates.

Another area to look at is drawer construction. The corners of the drawers are just stapled together and with the paper over top in cheaper and imported models. It looks pretty good, right? The problem is, that if drawers are filled really full, the staples will not hold it together!

Have you looked inside your families drawers lately? Is everything folded nicely? Does your teenager have space in their drawers? These are things to think about when you are purchasing furniture for kids. Even if they are only 4 years old. Think what their room will be like when they are 14 or 24. Well made furniture can last a lifetime. It is an investment. A gift you can give your kids for their whole life if you buy something that will last vs paper and glue junk.

Solid wood furniture has components such as dove tailed corner design that hold together much, much better than staples or pegs. This feature is similar to fingers that interlock…so their structure is very strong. Dove tailing can be done in all 4 corners and then the front of the drawer is attached to the box!

What about the opening and closing systems that are used?

In older furniture construction, the best was always considered to be a wood on wood glide. Typically it was heavy duty, and in the center of the drawer, down under!

But today, we seem to like the drawers to open and close more easily, so the roller bearing glide is popular…..much like kitchen cabinets. Most of the time they are on the sides of the drawer box, but sometimes placed on the bottom for a cleaner look when drawers are pulled out! The steel glides can take a lot of weight, and slide easily. These can even have self closing feature where the drawer will pull itself in and close once it reaches a certain point of closing.

The other thing that we like about these glides as compared to the wood glides is that the drawers work well using just one hand, as compared to the wood glides which worked better if you pushed evenly on both sides!  

In the old days, wood furniture was wood, and we didn’t use much metal…..even drawer handles were wood, so that has become a big change!

Some companies have stuck with that system! And today, smaller

Pieces that have a small drawer would still use wood due to the fact the there isn’t room for the metal style glides. Wood still works! Usually those parts are down under and not seen, so maybe not thought about when looking at these storage items!

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