Based on the size of the room, consider how much leeway you have to mix different finishes and materials. Mixing finishes can add a classic agelessness to a room, but the smaller the room is, the more carefully one must tread when doing so. If there are too many different finishes in one small space, you run the risk of having your hardware look random and noncommital. However, if you select each piece carefully, it can add warmth and a sense of human touch — subconsciously giving the impression that the collection was acquired over time.
Do you dream of a whole-kitchen remodel straight out of a magazine photo spread? Kitchens begin to look dated more quickly than any other room in your home. Replacing cabinets and countertops is an expensive proposition, but what if you could update them just a bit at little cost? Replacing or adding new cabinet hardware is a great way to update your look with the latest finishes and styles, without breaking open the piggy bank.
For knobs on a cabinet with a stile, like Shaker-style cabinets, allow the stile to be a guide for hanging the knob. If the knob is too large to comfortably fit in the corner where the two stiles meet, then hang the knob centered on the vertical stile, with the bottom edge of the knob aligned with the top of the intersecting horizontal stile. (Or the top of the knob aligned with the bottom of the stile, for lower cabinets). The knobs in this kitchen from Ivory Lane are a good example.
Often, the hardest part in updating your kitchen hardware is deciding what will look best in your kitchen. The installation can be a simple DIY that will likely take less than two hours. However, if your kitchen cabinet hardware requires more than just a few screws but rather new fittings on your cabinets or drawers, contact a pro to ensure all of your new hardware fits perfectly.
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.
Finally, one of the more technical parts of cabinet hardware are the ball-bearing slides or tracks and latches that are used to open and close drawers and cabinets. Sliding tracks are what allow drawers to open and close smoothly, and using drawer slides that have soft-close ball bearings allow them to close slowly so that they don’t make much noise or rattle everything inside. Drawer slides are available in side-mount, center-mount, and undermount versions, depending on the amount of space you have between the drawer and the cabinet opening.
Knobs, which are attached with a single screw, are most frequently used on cabinets, and are available with a built-in screw, known as a one-piece knob, or with a separate top and fastener, known as a two-piece design. Modern drawer knobs are made in a variety of materials including brass, zinc, stainless steel (sometimes found in kitchens), bronze, glass, crystal, plastic, wood, and other natural and man-made materials.
Another type of door hardware for opening cabinets are pulls or handles, which are attached to cabinet door fronts with two or more screws. You may have had experiences where you were trying to swap out old cabinet pulls for new ones, say, for example modern glass cabinet hardware, only to realize that the pulls had two screws that were a different distance apart from the new ones that you purchased. Don’t worry—you’re not alone! This happens often because the distance between two screws varies depending on pull type, manufacturer, and other factors.
If you don’t want to match to your faucet, then think about some of the other components in your kitchen. For example, if you have a black stone countertop, then antiqued metal or even satin black knobs could help tie the room together. Alternatively, base your color and finish choice on the cabinets themselves: Dark hardware to match dark wood or light hardware as a contrast. Choose more rustic finishes like antiqued or hammered metal to go with traditional cabinetry or go with sleek brushed metal for a more modern look.
Knobs only: The benefit of cabinet knobs is that they are typically less expensive than bar and T-pulls, and they only require one hole to be drilled into your cabinetry. A single cabinet knob can be installed on cabinet doors, but you may want to consider placing two knobs on larger drawers. Cabinet drawers are heavier than doors, therefore you may need that extra knob for ease of use. The minimalistic style of using knobs only for your cabinetry can give a very appealing look to your new kitchen.
Now comes the fun part, place the point of the forstner bit in the center hole you marked earlier and start drilling, drill the holes ½” deep, that’s the thickness of the bit. The instructions on the back of the kit say “do not drill completely through the door,” Ummm, OK… You’ll want to do this twice on every door, 36” or 42” doors may need 3 hinges each. Let’s backtrack a little here, when you remove the doors mark them and the cabinet box so you’ll know where they go back. Now, do that over and over and over again until all your doors are finished.
By adding hardware you like, you’re literally installing your style into the room — and this will make any accessories you want to add in feel like a part of the kitchen’s design, and not out of place. Of course, not every cabinet + hardware combo is going to work, but see how far you can take it when it comes to choosing hardware outside the traditional style of the cabinets.
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.
Your kitchen is coming along really well, and all that lovely light will be an absolute joy! Sadly, I have just a word of warning about the handles though. We had these in our kitchen, and they proved quite annoying. They’d catch on your clothing, especially blouses/shirts. That end of the front of button-through blouses, where the seam folds back would always get hooked onto the end of the handles! And pockets, too would get caught. This invariably ended up with torn clothing, as you continued to move away, not realising you’d been ‘caught’. We also live near the sea, and ours rusted over a few years, although that may be just an inferior brand. I lived with ours for about 4 years, then changed them all. We had them in our bathrooms, too, and they’ve all been changed as they were such a pain! I can see you love them, so don’t want to burst your bubble, but just thought I’d let you know. :(
Once you’ve worked out which types of hardware are comfortable to use, it’ll be time to start thinking about shapes in relation to the shape of your cabinetry. In general, knob and pull styles should be matched to kitchen cabinet styles. What this means is if you have selected a plain cabinet style, for example, shaker or flat, ultra-modern doors, then you’ll want square, plain hardware to match — perhaps something like Emtek’s brass bar knob or a similar style. Recessed panel doors or doors with curving and intricate trim will often do well with more ornate hardware styles.
One of the first reccomendations I give on choosing hardware, is on wide drawers. Go with a single larger handle especially in the kitchen. The kitchen is a busy area and users find themselves with something in their hand when they go to open a drawer with the free hand. If there are 2 pulls on a drawer, just using one will end up tweaking the drawer in the long run. When I begin to look for a hardware collection always look at the range of sizes in that collection. I like the rule of the larger the drawer the larger the handle... or the more weight the drawer will hold the wider the stance should be that the handle provides.
Swapping these items out is often easy, and Los Angeles-based designer Betsy Burnham says her clients are frequently surprised at the visual impact of something as simple as carefully chosen hardware. Last summer, she added door pulls made of rope tied in small nautical knots to the built-in cabinets at a California beach house, inexpensively adding a dash of personality to the space.
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
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?
One of the last things considered when shopping for kitchen cabinets is the hardware. But kitchen cabinet hardware can make a big impact on the look and feel of not just your kitchen cabinets, but the entire room. The shape of and finish on your pulls, knobs and handles can put the final touch on your kitchen design. The very same cabinet might have a vintage feel with porcelain knobs, or a contemporary look with brushed nickel pulls. You can give your kitchen a very personalized treatment with something custom, like artistic glass knobs, or handworked metal in oil-rubbed bronze. Think of the hardware like jewelry for your cabinets. Let it speak for your style - be that contemporary, modern, vintage or traditional. Here are some of our favorite examples of great kitchen cabinet hardware from around the web.