How We Built Our Broom Cupboard!

Use the slider to open the broom cupboard!

Our broom cupboard pullout is something we are most asked about. Before we made ours, I found that plenty of people had the same idea (like this one, and this one), but I had not (and still have not) seen one as integrated, thin and finished as I was looking for. IKEA has a ”cleaning” pull out, a metal basket situation that can be installed in one of their tall storage kitchen cabinets, but it requires a 15” wide cabinet at minimum, and we clearly did not have the space. The space we have is 6″ at the top and 7″ at the bottom because of how the wall tapers. I quickly realized this would have to be totally custom designed and built by us.

April 2019, before we installed the broom cupboard & various trims. You can see the 6″-7″ gap at the end of the fridge.
June 2019, after we finished the broom cupboard pullout trims. Everything filled in nicely!

I often visualize an artwork, graphic, or space that I’m working on right before I fall asleep for the night. Earlier one evening Tyler and I had been labeling each drawer and cupboard in our kitchen design, and that night I was in a state of deep visualization. I suddenly sat straight up in bed, realizing a potential problem in our design; OHMIGOD where was I going to put our mop and broom in my beautiful new kitchen?! ”Maybe I could hang them in the pantry?” I thought, but I really didn’t want the visual clutter there. At the same time, I worried about making sure we could open up our fridge door without it hitting the adjacent doorway. I realized I could solve both issues by committing that corner space to some sort of pullout cleaning cupboard.

OHMIGOD where was I going to put our broom & mop in my beautiful new kitchen?!

The broom cupboard cleverly uses up a 6″ space between a wall and our fridge for easy access cleaning supplies.

At first, we thought we would be able to just do drawer slides, but if you have seen our instagram highlight then you know that was a Big Fat Fail. Through a lot of trial and error, we utilized casters to help support the base of the pullout. In hindsight I can’t figure out why we didn’t think of this in the first place! We were approaching it more like a drawer on its side, but the final solution with casters and gliders worked much better.

Here you can see that the pullout was not well supported with just the drawer slides. Many followers suggested we use casters here and, so that was what we went with! It solved our support problem.
Here is the back of the broom cupboard; you can see how we had to route out part of the back to fit the two gliders. The casters are on the bottom here.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of advice regarding the side panels and what to affix the broom cupboard pull out into, as every kitchen or utility space is different. However, if you watch our highlight you can see a bit more of the contraption that Tyler built to house the pullout, and create the small cupboard above the broom cupboard (we store various baking sheets in there).

We swapped out the MDF for a more solid Pine board, as MDF is more prone to sagging in long lengths
Here Tyler is engineering the frame for the broom cupboard. The sides are 3/4″ thick.

One major benefit to creating this cabinet is now we have more hidden shallow storage, which I prefer because it makes it much easier to find what you’re looking for and not overbuy. In this case, it also means I’m less likely to let my cleaning supplies clutter on my counter before putting them away under our sink, and also I won’t lose anything in the back of a cupboard; everything is clearly labeled and easy to see. I get what I consider to be a strange question every time our broom cupboard makes the rounds on the internet; “but how do you tell the bottles apart?!”. Maybe these people have never heard of a label maker??? I used my handy dymo label maker and have labeled everything accordingly.

I have a few reasons I prefer to use my own bottles;

  • The uniform sizes allow me to utilize maximum storage
  • I buy many of my standard cleaning supplies in bulk, so I have the larger bottles to fill these smaller bottles under my kitchen sink
  • I also make some of my own mixtures, so I need bottles
  • I find packaging to be extremely loud on a visual level. The loud part about packaging is meant to get your attention on a store shelf filled with similar products, so once you’ve brought it home, its loudness is unnecessary (but still SO SO LOUD). To put it more bluntly–do you want to be advertised to in your own house with products you already purchased?! When you put a lot of visually loud & busy products near each other sometimes they all just drown each other out and you can’t find what you’re looking for! Most products I have memorized the instructions on how to use, so I no longer need the instructions. By using my own uniform bottles, I cut down on this visual clutter significantly, even when I have a bottle out on my counter while cleaning. This is why Nate Berkus rips labels off his shampoo bottles. Marie Kondo also makes note of how removing labels decreases visual clutter and increases peace in the home.

I like to look back at this project as an excellent example of commiting to an idea, and persevering until you have achieved the goal. It’s also a good example of something that feels overwhelming to create, but when you break it down it feels more achievable!


I am sharing our exact dimensions because I have been frequently asked to do so. However, if you are attempting to get a similar look, it is not quite as simple as copying our dimensions. If you are looking to build one for yourself, there are some important things to keep in mind;

  • The height of our broom cupboard from the floor is based on the height of our refrigerator (72″), so that the top panel above each lines up nicely.
  • The space we have between our wall and fridge (7″ at the bottom, tapering to 6″ at the top) is not likely to be exactly the same a different space. So this makes 2 measurements that should be replaced with specific measurements from your space.
  • The depth, however, is pretty standard, as cabinets are typically about 24″ deep.
  • The width is also flexible. The width we have (4 3/8″ outer, leaving 3 5/8″ inner) results in what I think is the narrowest usable space you can use, as we can just fit in bottles and such. My dream would have been to make it wide enough to fit in a roll of paper towels!

And, for this reason, I need to make this request of you all; please do not send me messages asking me to re-calculate dimensions for your specific space. The true dimensions for your space should be determined on site. There is enough information here for anyone to figure out what size they need to build for their space. What I have shared are just the dimensions specific to our kitchen. If you are looking to have a contractor build something similar, your contractor should be able to take this information and use it to make something that will fit your space.

A quick animation of various views of the cupboard

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Our IKEA Kitchen Layout

To see in full detail, click this image to view in full size.
Our final Double-L kitchen cabinet configuration.

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Some of the most common questions I receive (beside “paint color?!” It’s Narragansett Green, I’ll just get that out of the way) are in regard to our kitchen layout. “How big is your kitchen? “, or “What cabinets make up your countertop hutch? “. This article will answer the most frequently asked questions, and hopefully more!

However, in order to understand why our kitchen layout is the way it is, it is important to understand where we began, and the choices we made to adjust the existing layout to utilize the space in the way we felt was most beautiful and efficient!

Use the slider to illustrate the small but impactful changes we made to best utilize the space our kitchen had to offer!

When we moved in, our kitchen had not been updated much since our house was built in 1964. It had the original appliances and cabinets, although I suspect that the counters MAY have been replaced at some point (I’m not 100% sure of that, because the sink was still the original mustard color that matched the stove top and range hood, and it is questionable that they would have kept the sink but replaced the counters? But perhaps they did). Someone had taken down the cabinets that floated over the peninsula and hung them in the garage at some point, and installed the brick veneer, faux arch (which was definitely cute, but also falling apart) and a dishwasher. Other than that, I think the contact paper in the cabinets may have even dated back to the 60s. In regards to the layout, mostly we liked it (In general, we really like the layout of this house). The double-L shape felt friendly and comfortable, and there wasn’t much we could do to change the basic shape without totally reconfiguring our house (which we didn’t want or need to do).

However, the fridge placement was very problematic, the corner cabinets were almost useless, and the pantry was too narrow and deep. The fridge doors opened into the stove top, and blocked drawers from opening fully. We also didn’t enjoy walking into our kitchen and BAM! Giant hunk of stainless steel in yo face. We also felt like there was a lot of underutilized space in the laundry room and the dining area.

It was quite the everyday annoyance to need to open the fridge if someone was at the stove…
… This drawer could not open all the way! The corner cabinet underneath was also pretty unusable.
The large stainless steel side by side fridge was the first thing you saw when you turned into the kitchen.

So, final layout of our new kitchen came together quickly; we’d stick with the double-L layout, with the sink and the stove close to their original positions, but we’d solve the problem of the fridge location, while providing significantly more counter space and usable cabinet space by extending the range wall, and adding cabinets to the dining space and laundry room, all without increasing the square-footage of the kitchen.