They say that design is in the details, and when it comes to the hardware on drawers, cabinets, and other storage millwork, we’d have to agree. You may have noticed how swapping out the knobs on a piece of old, tired furniture with modern brushed nickel pulls, for example, can give it a whole new look, or how using concealed hinge on a cabinet door can transform a kitchen. It can be difficult to get a handle (pun intended) on all the different modern kitchen cabinet hardware ideas out there—especially when some are hidden—so read on as we delve into the different types of cabinet hardware for kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas of the home.
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.
Latches for cabinets aren’t quite as common as they were about a 100 years ago because of improved hinge technology, but you can still find a variety of latches and catches for keeping cabinets closed. A latch is mounted to the outside of a cabinet, and typically features two pieces: a mechanism with a turn or a lever on one side that controls the "tongue" of the latch, and a "shell" with a cavity to house the tongue on the other side. On the other hand, cabinet catches are usually installed on the inside of a cabinet, making them invisible from the exterior, and can consist of a magnet, a clip, or a ball that holds the door closed unless a certain amount of force is applied to open it.
Chrome, nickel and stainless steel finishes will never go out of style, but warm metallics offer a fresh, modern look. For a quick update, consider replacing your lighting, faucet or cabinet hardware with products in gleaming brass or bronze like the ones in this chic space. “The updated satin brass cabinet hardware is really striking against the simple shaker cabinets,” says designer Elizabeth Lawson.
Once you’ve selected your new handles and pulls, it’s time to remove all the old ones. Using a drill or screwdriver, slowly back the screws out, then gently pull the old hardware away from the door or drawer front, so as not to damage the finish. Keep the old screws and pulls/knobs together in a plastic baggy so it’s easy to donate or toss them depending on their condition. If you’re going to repaint your cabinet doors, do it now.
When it comes to designing a kitchen inevitably you have to pick out hardware, and these seemingly small details can literally keep you up at night, going back and forth between brass knobs or stainless steel bars. But thankfully, we’re here to help you get a “handle” on the process. Here are the factors you should consider when choosing kitchen cabinet hardware.
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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.
Generally speaking, I like to see a combination of knobs and handles/pulls. Knobs or handles for the doors and handles or pulls for the drawers. If you are painting your kitchen, the extra holes can be filled, sanded, and smoothed prior to painting so you can start with a clean slate and choose any hardware for your update. I say “generally speaking” because lately I’m drawn to kitchens that have all handles like this “before” photo of a kitchen we recently updated.