Installing ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinet drawers can seem daunting, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be a straightforward process. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to properly install RTA cabinet drawers to get your kitchen or bathroom organized.

Gather the Necessary Materials

Before starting the installation, ensure you have all the required materials:

  • RTA cabinet and drawers
  • Cabinet installation hardware – screws, cam locks, shelf pins, etc.
  • Power drill with drill bits
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Cabinet organizer – drawer liners, dividers (optional)

Make sure to check the cabinet instructions for the exact hardware and tools required. Organize all the parts and hardware beforehand so they are easily accessible during installation.

Prepare the Cabinet Box

Before adding the drawers, the cabinet carcass or box needs to be securely installed and leveled against the wall.

  • Place the cabinet in the desired location and use a level to ensure it is plumb and level.
  • Mark pilot holes for the cabinet attachment screws and drill them. Use wall anchors if needed.
  • Securely fasten the cabinet to the wall through the backpanel.

Add Drawer Slides

Cabinet drawers operate on slides or rails that allow them to smoothly glide in and out.

  • Identify the drawer slides, usually ball-bearing or soft-close glide rails. Follow manufacturer instructions for proper orientation and placement.
  • Attach one slide piece to the interior side of the cabinet and the other to the drawer box.
  • Ensure they align properly to avoid issues with drawer movement. Use a level to keep them straight.

Install Drawer Boxes

With the slides in place, you can now add the drawer boxes.

  • Place the assembled drawer box on the extended slides inside the cabinet.
  • Push the drawer box in gently until the slides are fully inside the cabinet.
  • Open and close the drawer to ensure it glides smoothly without rubbing or bumping. Make any necessary adjustments.
  • Repeat for all drawer boxes.

Attach Drawer Fronts

Drawer fronts give a seamless, built-in look to your cabinet drawers.

  • Place the drawer front against the drawer box, keeping even gaps on both sides.
  • From inside the drawer, drill pilot holes through the pre-drilled holes on the drawer front.
  • Attach the fronts with the provided screws. Be careful not to overtighten.
  • Repeat for all drawers fronts for a uniform look.

Add Finishing Touches

Apply any final touches for full functionality and aesthetic appeal.

  • Install knobs or pulls on each drawer front.
  • Add drawer liners or organizers as needed. Soft, rubberized liners prevent sliding.
  • Divide deep drawers with cut-to-fit dividers to hold utensils, etc.
  • Ensure all drawers open and close smoothly. Adjust slides or tighten screws as needed.

With that, your RTA cabinet drawers should be successfully installed and functioning flawlessly. The drawers will smoothly glide in and out, providing organized storage space. Enjoy your DIY cabinet makeover!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you attach a drawer front to the drawer box?

Attach drawer fronts by drilling pilot holes from inside the drawer box through the pre-drilled screw holes on the drawer front. Secure the fronts with screws provided, being careful not to overtighten.

What is the best way to adjust cabinet drawers that rub?

If drawers are rubbing, first check that drawer slides are properly aligned and mounted level. Also make sure drawer boxes are straight inside the cabinet. Adjust slides or shim boxes as needed. Lubricating slides with silicone spray can also help.

Should RTA cabinet drawers be soft-closing?

Yes, opting for soft-close slides and hinges is highly recommended for RTA cabinets. The soft-closing mechanism prevents drawers and doors from slamming shut, reducing wear and tear over time.

How do you remove RTA cabinet drawers?

To remove drawers, fully extend them, lift up slightly and outward. This releases the drawer from the slide rails. Detach any screws securing drawer fronts. Remove drawer boxes carefully to not damage slides or cabinet interior.

What is the standard height for kitchen cabinet drawers?

Standard kitchen cabinet drawer heights are 3-5 inches for top drawers, 5-7 inches for mid drawers, and 7-9 inches for bottom drawers. However, drawer height can vary based on kitchen design and personal preference.


Installing RTA cabinet drawers is a straightforward DIY project with the right preparation and materials. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the drawer slides, boxes, and fronts. Take your time to ensure proper alignment, and make any necessary adjustments to the slides or drawer boxes. Add drawer organizers, liners, and hardware for full functionality. Your newly installed drawers will now effortlessly glide open to provide accessible storage space. With a few basic tools and these tips, you can achieve a professional built-in look with RTA cabinet drawers.