It's something you could DIY if you wanted to invest the time and energy into it, but I know my strengths and weaknesses. ;-). This sweet, retired woodworker, is charging $300-$400 to drill the holes in the cabinets, provide the hinges, and rehang them (all 23 of them), so I'm feeling like it's a pretty good deal, and the homeowner agrees! I'm really excited to see the finished look!
Pre-drilled holes: replacing the handles on cabinets comes with a few more limitations than selecting completely new cabinetry – namely that the holes might be pre-drilled. You must make sure the center measurements of the existing holes match the spacing of the new pieces. Standard hole center measurements for pulls are 96 mm, 128 mm, 160 mm, 192 mm. When choosing the size of the hardware, keep in mind the scale in relation to the size of your cabinets. Regarding door handles, there is a good chance you may need to increase the size of the bore hole in your door as well. The old standard size was 2-1/8” diameter, and the new standard size is 2-3/8” or 2-3/4”. Tutorials The Quick Door Hanger can help you learn how to do this with a boring bit.
A common choice is to use knobs for all drawers and pulls for all doors (or vice versa). The problem with knobs is they are harder to grip and fingernails tend to mar the cabinet door. It is much more comfortable to open a drawer using a pull, which allows the whole hand to grab instead of only your fingertips. We generally use pulls (no nobs whatsoever) in our kitchen designs.  

Wow, love the progress you’ve made ! Thank you so much for these posts , your ideas are wonderful and I love your style. The drawer pulls are lovely, just what I had in mind, but the glass knobs ? What a lovely idea, I have glass knobs on my interior doors, but hadn’t thought of using them on kitchen cabinets . LOVE it . Can’t wait to see the finished kitchen, what an amazing difference .
I'm a wax girl. Wax always seems to work best for me and I'm ok with reapplying every 6 months or so. With that said, I cleaned them really good krud cutter. It's a great degreaser. Then sanded them first with 120 grit, then 180 grit, and finally 220 grit. Then cleaned them again with the vinegar/water mixture. I always have a spray bottle with the mix handy. Once dried, I primed and painted followed by waxing.
Nickel and chrome have about the same level of durability, but chrome is sometimes a bit more expensive.  Brushed or matte finishes hide fingerprints and watermarks better than shiny finishes.  You’ll generally find a lot more hardware options in brushed nickel than in chrome or stainless steel. Poor quality nickel and chrome finishes can peel and flake over time.  Stainless steel, which is usually matte, is the most durable of the silver finishes and as such, is usually the most expensive.  True stainless steel hardware is typically made from a full thickness metal alloy and it’s not just plated on the surface like nickel and chrome are. 
Ceramic knobs bring such charm to your kitchen. They’re reminiscent of a sweet country cottage, or an old world farm house. It’s not hard to imagine the scent of a freshly baked pie or loaf of bread cooling in the window. Ceramic knobs pair quite nicely with natural wood finishes and glass hutch cabinets. Wether you choose plain white or a funky pattern, ceramic knobs give your kitchen a homey flair.
Although kitchen cabinet knobs are small objects, keep in mind that one on each cupboard door creates an overall design impact. Further impact can be created by choosing cabinet knobs that contrast in color and texture with the cabinets. If less impact is desired, cabinet knobs may be made of the same material and in the same color as the kitchen cabinets. The most important thing to remember when choosing cabinet knobs to coordinate with cabinets is to keep the kitchen’s overall tone in mind, whether it’s country, elegant, whimsical or traditional.
You might think that after making dozens of tough decisions during your kitchen remodel, something like choosing handles for your cabinets would be easy. Yeah, so not the case. You’ll soon find out that there are more cabinet knob options than there are stars in the sky. But don’t panic. And by all means, don’t make a knee-jerk decision just to get it over with. When I used to make up design and swatch boards, I would remind clients that the hardware matters as much as the big stuff. Remember, you’ll be looking at and touching your kitchen cabinet knobs every single day. So you want to make the right choice. And after all, this is a micro design element that can have macro impact.
For those considering putting their home on the market soon, it’s likely your looking at what parts of your home to freshen up to impress potential buyers. Changing your cabinet hardware to a traditional option can make a huge difference. Small, ridged handles in a dark finish or square knobs is a cabinet hardware pick that will stand the test of time.

Hanging knobs on a flat-front cabinet is pretty straightforward: You’ll want to position the knob in the bottom corner (for upper cabinets) or top corner (for lower cabinets) of the door. Knobs should be placed equidistant from both sides of the cabinet. A guide like this one can help you to get the measurements right. The exact distance will depend on the look you want and the size of your knobs: Test one or two before you drill a whole kitchen’s worth of holes.


Installing new hinges can be easy, but only when choosing the correct cabinet hinge upgrade. The door style, door thickness, and hinge type, all play a role. Once this information is obtained, you should be able to find a soft-close hinge that is a direct retrofit to the existing hinge, or choose one of the many independent dampers and keep your current hinges.

There are also a couple of overlay sizes, most commonly  1 1/4″ and 1/2″. Overlay refers to the distance your door overlaps your opening. Mine didn’t measure 1 1/4″ or 1/2″, and this project still worked with my doors. If you’re looking for information on how to measure your overlay, this is not the post for you because I haven’t the faintest idea. Back to Google you go! (Sorry!)
Wow, its looking great and really coming together. Did you use stick on tiles for the kitchen? I too have ugly hinges and have to tackle them. Do I just contact the hardware company and describe what I have? The cabinets in my home appear to be handmade by the original owner but the hinges are the black iron wrought look that was so popular back in the day. Love the glass cabinet knobs too!
The choice between cabinet pulls and knobs isn’t easy — both come with positives and negatives. Keep in mind that you’ll be using your knobs or pulls every day. Whatever you choose should feel natural in your hand and flow with the décor of the room. You should consider your kitchen’s décor and style, the look you want to achieve, your budget, ease of cleaning, ease of use, the weight of your drawers and more.
2. Keep finishes cohesive. You’ll find hardware in a range of finishes from brushed nickel to brass. While mixing and matching the hardware around your kitchen is fine, you should try to maintain the same finish and keep colors as close as possible. Sometimes you’re forced to buy hardware from more than one retailer, but when doing so make sure you keep finishes cohesive.
Disclaimer: Although it is my intention to provide accurate plans and clear instructions, not all plans have been tried and tested. Using plans or information found on SawdustGirl.com indicates that you agree with the Terms of Use policy and will accept full responsibility for the process and outcome of any project you attempt. All plans are for private use only. Plans and information published on SawdustGirl.com may not be reproduced, republished or distributed in any manner without written permission from Sandra Powell, Sawdust Girl. Actual projects built using Sawdust Girl plans may be published on your own site without instructions or "tutorial" as long as you provide a link to my original post with full post title or "SawdustGirl.com" as link title.
Hi Diane, I am so darned impressed with the work you are doing on your kitchen cabinets. We have high end oak cabinets painted in a washed white finish and they need a refresher too. I am going to follow your lead and try and do them myself. I am a novice at this but, you give such excellent instructions that I feel I can do it, starting in January. I want our island to be a dark, almost blue/black finish and the other cupboards done in white. Love yours. I am going to do the counter tops with the paint (Carrara Marble) if I can find it in Canada. I think Home Depot will sell it. I have one big problem. When we originally had our kitchen done back in 1987, they put corrian edging around the edges and I want it taken off. Do you have any suggestions on what to put there to replace it? A friend suggested putting a wood molding there and just painting it too. I just don’t know if it would stand up. Help! Love your great ideas. Thanks so much, Peggy

It may take some time for you to consider what effect you would like to create with your hardware on your kitchen cabinets. In fact, some styles, patterns, and finishes are so beautiful or unique, that they become the focal point in the kitchen and a topic of conversation. Many of the ceramic and glass styles are so cleverly finished that they look too pretty to simply be part of a kitchen cabinet.
Fantastic, right?  Now, think about how much busier the cabinets would look if they still had the exposed hinges.  Granted, with polished chrome hardware, it would minimize the hinge effect, but suppose you like oil rubbed bronze hardware?  Exposed hinges of that variety would really stand out against the clean white cabinets.  Having hidden hinges gives you the freedom to change hardware on a whim.

Excellent post! I already knew about the different options, but it’s so nice to see it all compiled in one place. 🙂 Very handy! I love the look (or rather, lack of) of concealed hinges… but roughly $10 a pair makes me cringe. If I’ve got about 20 doors, I’m looking at $200–for HINGES! The visible hinges run about $3, for $60 total. 🙁 Hmm… debating.

Look to the other elements of your kitchen to help you determine the right style for your kitchen hardware. You’ll notice that your cabinets, countertop edges, and lighting fixtures have either square or curved lines. Choose hardware that matches those lines. Curved hardware tends to be more traditional, while square hardware styles are often more contemporary.

Okay, I haven’t even finished reading this post, but I just have to comment. First of all, I think you are awesome. I have been wanting all kinds of things done to my house, and my husband is pretty capable, but very busy, and far less interested in house things than I am. I just look at the things you do, and I think how I can certainly learn to tackle more of the things that I want to. Second, a post like this is so helpful. I know it takes time to write and I just appreciate the education so much. So, thank you so much for being awesome, and also giving awesome-ness lessons… 🙂
Apparently I would use MP(?) kind of boards (I forget what the man at HD called it) and it costs about $25 for an 8x4 sheet. I would just measure my cupboard doors, then go in and tell them the measurements, and they would do all the cutting. Then I would just prime the boards, then paint them, then pre-drill the holes for the new hinges, then put them up.

Modern cabinet door hinges are a critical part to any cabinet, and are also quite complex; there are about a dozen (if not more) different types of hinges, depending on whether you have face-frame cabinets or frameless cabinets. Face-frame cabinets include a frame made of 1-½" to 2" wide solid wood that attaches to the front edges of the cabinets. This type of cabinet construction is common in American-made cabinets, and hinges will then mount directly to this frame. However, if you have frameless cabinets—which are typically made in Europe, like IKEA cabinets—your cabinets are basically just a four-sided box with no frame around the front edges. In this case, the hinges will mount directly to the interior of the cabinet. 
Under-cabinet lighting serves not only a fashionable purpose by creating visual depth in your kitchen, but it serves a functional purpose as well. The added lighting will make everything from chopping veggies to reading recipes to measuring ingredients easier to see as your countertops will be under direct light from above. And as far as style goes, the right lighting can make all the difference!

Sandra, thank you so much for this awesome post! I’m remodeling my 40 yr old kitchen, and wanted to get rid of the visible old fashioned hinges that show! I had absolutely no clue as to what type of cabinets I have until I read your post! I completely understand now, and will be purchasing the “concealed surface mount overlay hinges for face frame cabinets” I know the 3 holes on the outside will be visible when I change out the hinges, so I’ll just fill them in with wood filler and sand before repainting. You’re so smart, informative and detail oriented just like me! Thank you again so much for this wonderful lesson on cabinets and hinges! I’m subscribing to your website or blog or whatever you have!
Sandra, I’m so glad that I came across your blog! You’ve given so much great information that I can use every day in my job doing kitchen cabinet sales. And then there’s the whole DIY part for me personally! I’m really hoping that you can answer my question, though. I have a customer who is refacing her cabinets. She has frameless cabinets and used to have exposed hinges. She wanted concealed hinges so we had the hinge holes drilled 1″ (center) from the edge. She has her new doors but when she hangs them, there’s a 1/4″ gap between the door and center stile, even after adjusting them. We were using full overlay hinges. Can you advise which type of overlay hinge to use and how to rectify the gap? Thanks so much!
What they are: Art objects as much as pulls, these knobs draw attention. Placed in the center, they draw your eye to the detailing of the worn wood here. Search salvage yards for antique ones and don’t be afraid to spring for the few knobs you’ll need. If you can’t find this sort of door detailing, you can create a similar effect by placing a medallion behind each knob in the center of your doors. Look for antitwist pins to keep the knob from spinning (in fact, do this with any round knob).

We also painted our kitchen cabinets white, and I love the crispness of white cabinets. We used latex paint since we ended up doing most of the work while I was pregnant/nursing a newborn and I didn’t want to deal with the oil-based chemicals and odors. It’s definitely not ideal–the hard, oil-based finish is much more practical for kitchens and cabinets. I’m not a perfectionist so it doesn’t bother me (too much!), but I would definitely recommend taking the time to do oil like you did–yours should last forever 🙂
The type of knob that works best in a kitchen will range in size and style depending on the color and type of cabinetry you have (which is also why so many people go with simple white cabinets in their kitchens!). Knobs also come in a range of shapes and sizes, but are often designed for comfort and ergonomics, so there are rarely sharp edges that could potentially hurt someone pulling on it.
Though not as common as stainless steel or brass, pewter is a very traditional western metal to use in a kitchen. It has a long history dating back around a thousand years — the “Worshipful Company of Pewterers” was even formed in 14th-century England to regulate pewter quality. By the time it began making its way onto furniture in the 1700s, it was a centuries-old art.
From round and oval to square and rectangle, cabinet knobs come in all types of shapes and sizes. Show off your personal flair for design with novelty cabinet knobs. If you’re going for a coastal look, we have novelty cabinet knobs shaped like sea shells, starfish and sea horses. If you have a child who plays sports, we’ve got you covered with soccer, baseball and basketball shaped cabinet knobs. We also carry antique cabinet knobs for history lovers.
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