Picking the perfect cabinets for a project is hard enough, but the effort it takes to research, test and finally decide on the best piece of outward-facing cabinet hardware calls for even further inspection. While the main material for the cabinet door heavily contributes to a kitchen’s character, its hardware serves to accentuate that character further still. A key detail within one of the most important spaces of a residence, cabinet hardware sits squarely at the intersection of form and function, and making the right choice here can elevate the design of the entire kitchen.
In my opinion, going to a specialty showroom and paying the extra expense is worth it, because you’ll find choices outside the mainstream and you can get expert help there. These come from the selection at The Plumbery, a kitchen and bath fixture store in Northern California. Here you can see glass knobs, swirly knobs, modern knobs — all just a tad pricier than conventional choices at a hardware store. But look at the workmanship and style, even the heft. Though the average kitchen has 20 to 40 knobs, you might want to splurge for something unique.
I love to see your work in progress! And I agree that the wood valance over the window looks so much better painted white, you almost don’t see it now. Funny story, I had a similar valance in my last house and as part of my kitchen refresh, I had the contractor knock that out and oh what a difference it made! I had only 1 tiny window in the kitchen and that stinking valance blocked so much light. Your home is much more open and bright with all the white now, thanks for sharing! You’re in the home stretch now!!
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!
3. Know when to use knobs over pulls. In traditional and country kitchens, putting a knob on a cabinet is not uncommon. In fact, with many cabinets, knobs may a better option than pulls. How do you know the difference? When kitchen cabinets are ornate or finely detailed, go with a knob rather than a pull. A knob is smaller and simpler and doesn’t take attention away from the design of the cabinets.
Mid-century modern design grew in popularity from the 1940s to the 1970s. During this time period, there was increased interest in nuclear physics, molecular chemistry, and science fiction which inspired the unique shapes seen in everything from furniture and lighting to homes and office buildings. Mid-century modern style combines vintage elements with sleek and timeless … Continued
Cabinet hardware is a great way to show off your personality and refresh your home. Use classy drawer pulls or colorful cabinet knobs to add style to your bedroom, kitchen or bathroom, or any room in the house. Choose from modern, farmhouse, classic and contemporary styles. Although knobs and pulls can be used interchangeably, knobs are usually used on doors and pulls on drawers.
Dreamer, thinker, + lemon squeezer; you'll usually find me clutching a mug of coffee, glue gun, fandeck of paint colors, and a child at any given time. This mom of two (and wife to one) loves to share freshly squeezed ideas for home and family. Join the adventure as we learn most lemons can indeed become lemonade-- with generous amounts of sweetness, perspective, and love.
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.
My home was built in 1940 and the kitchen cabinet hinges and pulls are the hammered black ones. I want to replace same pulls with chrome or polished chrome but cannot find the offset hinges or pulls to fit the holes. I really do not want to have to fill the holes to get another kind. Where can I find these? Have seen them in the past but now I cannot find them. Where should I look?
Shake a can of rust-inhibiting metal spray primer for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer. Position the can the recommended distance away from the hinges -- it varies among manufacturers. Spray a light coat of primer on the hinges and screw heads using steady, even sweeps. Make sure you spray the sides and edges. Shake the can frequently while you spray. Allow the primer to dry for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer. Apply a second coat of primer and allow it to dry completely.
but wouldn’t the holes from the original overlay hinges show? I have stained maple cabinets and would love to get rid of the overly hinges but I have two problems. the holes will show, and also, the doors are smaller than what is typical for hidden hinges. All the kitchen cabinetry that I have seen with hidden hinges have cabinet doors that literally touch. inotherwords, they completely cover the cabinet. any suggestions? should I replace the doors? would I save money doing that?
What if you can’t decide on kitchen hardware? It’s OK to mix and match! Pick patterns and finishes that complement each other and install them in a repeating pattern for a look that is custom to your style. It’s easy to switch up this look as you please. However, this might not impress a potential homebuyer if you choose to sell in the future. Consider updating to more traditional cabinet hardware when it comes time to sell.
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.
It can be tempting to stick with hardware that “matches” the style of your kitchen cabinets. But what if you don’t like the style of your kitchen cabinets? Lead with your own style first, and you’ll move the kitchen more into the direction you want it to go. I swapped the more traditional hardware in this San Francisco kitchen above with two patterned, shapely styles.
Hi Diane….Glad to see you again and happy to see the progress on your lake home. I was a subscriber and then suddenly lost you about the time you started working on your staircase! I was afraid it had driven you away from your blog!! You showed up on another blog yesterday and now I plan to catch up on all I have missed. Thank you for accepting me again!!
This was a great project! I did something similar but much lazier. After installing beautiful brushed-nickel handles to dozens of drawers & cupboards, I noticed that the 30 year old hinges were dark brown and ornate (against white cabinets). Yuck ... So I opened each cabinet & used painter's tape to block off a rectangular area around each hinge. They weren't dirty, so I just painted inside the whole rectangle with silver paint. The result is sleeker and more modern, and nobody would ever notice unless they were really close. Love it!

Cliffside is one company that works exclusively with high-quality producers who make sturdy, kiln-fired glass. This glass comes in many different colors to suit your palette, as well as different shapes and sizes. Because the glass is strong, it can stand up to the rigors of dropped kitchen items, quick yanks and more. This durability also means it can be used for more than just knobs — there are glass handles available as well.
While it is important to stay true to your personal style, you don’t want a lantern that is half the height of your door or an oversized mailbox beside a tiny cottage. So, take into account what you are working with as you choose the style that is most you! “I suggest they get painter’s tape and put it on the house in the dimensions of the fixture to get a sense of the size. You want it to be the correct proportion,” says Brandino Brass team member Megan Brasher, adding, “To get the feel for how it will affect your home’s curb appeal, not only do you need to look at it right next to the front door, but you also need to take a step back and get a view from the street.”
The style of cabinet hardware you pick will depend a great deal on the style of your kitchen, and also on the kind of cabinets you choose. Traditionally styled cabinets with more intricate face profiles call for traditional hardware: Cabinets with more simply styled or completely flat faces look best with minimal, streamlined knobs and pulls. Some very modern cabinets don’t require hardware at all: Instead, they have grooves on the edges of the door, or open by push latches.
​If you want to use warm metal like matte brass or gold or copper in your house, but are hesitant because you’re afraid it might go out of style in the next few years, adding warm metal cabinet hardware is a great way to go.  If brass, gold and copper do go out of style in the next few years, most cabinet hardware is pretty simple to replace all by yourself.  If, however,  you decide on a warm metal faucets, door hinges or lighting fixtures,  many of us would have to hire a professional or handyman to replace those items.  But cabinet hardware can easily be switch out by almost anyone.  Just make sure you use standard sized hardware.
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. 
When it comes to finishes, let the rest of the components in the home be your guide. If you are selecting an oil-rubbed bronze artisan faucet, select the matching hardware. Interested in mixing finishes? In today’s home, anything goes. Mixing brass with black iron might be over the top, but pairing brushed nickel with polished chrome can offer a dynamic and attractive contrast.
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.
At this point, you will have narrowed down your hardware choices to a specific style, type, size and finish. Next thing to incorporate is your budget. A good starting point is to count how many knobs and pulls you will need for your cabinetry and determine a price range that is comfortable for you. Many hardware manufacturers have multiple lines of varying quality and price, so be sure to find a manufacturer that uses high-quality materials. Buying cheap can seem like a good idea in the short run, but cheaper metals will degrade faster down the road and face a much higher risk of breaking or bending. Stainless steel hardware, for example, should be solid (not hollow) with a durable but even finish.
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.
Are your cabinets in good condition but old, worn out and dated looking (kind of like me!)? With just a few tweaks you can bring them into this century and get another 10 to 15 years of life out of them. It seems like back in the 70s and 80s kitchen cabinets were built on site and built to last! That’s the case with the kitchen I’m currently dealing with, the entire kitchen was site built, they made one long face frame for an 8’ bank of cabinets – picture all the face frames of your cabinets connected together and installed as one piece, that’s how this kitchen is. Anyway, I was happy with the layout, it’s pretty basic, so to save some money I decided to work with the existing cabinets by removing the valance, replacing the exposed hinges with concealed hinges and adding glass inserts to the upper, upper cabinets – you’ll see what I mean in a minute. If you have ever thought of updating your dated kitchen cabinets, you’ll definitely want to check out this article in all its splendor.
If you think about it, you open your cabinet doors multiple times a day. Over a few years, that can take a toll on those hinges holding your doors in place. Replacing them with hinges that are made from a quality material like solid brass will not only help your cabinet doors function better, but it will make them look better, too! Choose a hinge color that matches the other hardware in your kitchen for a unified look and feel. For easy installation, look for hinges that are adjustable so you can use the same hinges to fit multiple sized doors and cabinets. This small change will make your cabinets look updated and keep them functioning properly for years to come.
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. 

Want sleek form? Want functionality at its finest? Say hello to handles. Handles for white cabinets allow a firm and full grip to easily pull open or push close any cabinet door. Handles come in a cornucopia of shapes and sizes to male for a match with your kitchen style. Handles offer installation flexibility, with vertical and horizontal options, which allows for additional detailing for your white cabinets.


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.

There are a few options for hanging drawer hardware. Usually drawer pulls (or knobs or cup pulls) are centered on the face of the drawer. In a more modern kitchen, you may choose to hang them closer to the top of the face. For Shaker-style drawers, you can hang knobs or pulls either in the center of the drawer OR centered on the top stile. Which look should you go with? Whatever you like the best in your kitchen. Just make sure that you’re consistent across all the drawers. Drawers longer than two feet may look better with two knobs or pulls.
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).

Most knobs and pulls are only a few dollars apiece but when you consider the sheer number that you’ll need, those costs add up fast. For each standard lower cabinet with two doors and one drawer, you’ll need three pieces of hardware — and two more knobs or pulls for the matching upper cabinet doors. With that in mind, here are a couple of factors to consider:

If you have a removable island or a butcher block in your kitchen, an easy way to make that extra piece look cohesive with the rest of your kitchen décor is by adding coordinating cup and cabinet pulls to drawers and doors. This addition will make your island look purposeful and blend it with the rest of your kitchen cabinets — even if the finish or countertop is different.
Standard hardware is a breeze to install. All you need is a Phillips-Head screwdriver. Simply replace standard screws into the pre-cut holes.If the holes are pre-drilled on your cabinet drawers and you now want to place a single hole, measure the distance between the two holes and center. If your cabinet doesn’t currently have holes or hardware, knowing where to place the different size knobs on each cabinet can be tricky. If there are no holes, and you’re on your own when drilling into the corner of the cabinet door give yourself 2 1/2 to 3″ of space in the corner before you drill in a hole.
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