One of the biggest enemies of a clean kitchen lies in careless cabinet hardware selection. Apart from choosing a gaudy color or ill-fitting shape, the one detail that can make or break the look of a cabinet door actually is the humble piece of hardware that is chosen to open and close it. From round knobs to long pulls and magnetic mechanisms, there’s a world of choices to make when it comes to honing in on the perfect hardware for kitchen cabinets. Some can stick out like a sore thumb, while others can be completely invisible.


I can totally appreciate that.  You’ll notice that these cabinets are also flush with the cabinet frames, which makes the hinges a little less noticeable.  But sometimes, the hinge effect just isn’t quite as charming, and can be more distracting than anything.  A lot depends on what kind of cabinet overlay you’re dealing with and the aesthetic that you’re looking for in this sort of project. 
Thanks, Marty! You have a joyous looking kitchen/dining room – so beautiful! LOVE it! Not at all stiff and cookie-cutter, but with real individual style! An inspiration today. Your timing is perfect. We have our IKEA kitchen done, except for countertops and backsplash tiling. (We’ve been using Masonite board for a makeshift countertop. Not too bad.) The whole look of our open kitchen/dining room is pleasant, at this point, but bland. Pale minty-grass green walls, blonde (birch) cabinets, warm medium oak floors. Now for putting in some details! YAY! The scary part: Now what? Yikes!! Marty to the rescue with a reassuring article. THANKS! Here we go……

Consult with a contractor or a knowledgeable salesperson about which hinges will work with your doors. If your doors are flush with the cabinets, butt hinges can be used. They are lower in price than others but do not self-close. European hinges are installed on full overlay, frameless or inset doors. They are widely used because of their ease of installation and ability to be adjusted once in place. These hinges self-close. Partial wraparound hardware will support larger doors, but it does not self-close. Several other types hinges are available. The construction of your door, ease of installation and price will need to be considered. .

What color will your appliances be? What about your lighting? Your faucet? For some people, matching hardware to appliances may not be particularly important—we’ve seen plenty of kitchens with brass pulls and stainless appliances. But if you like everything to coordinate, consider the whole kitchen when you pick the color of your pulls. (If your appliances are stainless and you don’t particularly like the look of silver pulls, black hardware makes for a harmonious look that isn’t too matchy-matchy).
Recessed Pulls mimic the utilitarian style of traditional office cabinetry. They’re built into the cabinet door and can be crafted from the same material to blend in or a contrasting material to highlight their presence. They’re also great for high-traffic kitchens because they don’t protrude from the doors, meaning there is little risk of them snagging on clothing.
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.
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.

A good price for pulls begins at around $12.00 a piece because anything less looks cheap and the quality will be sub-par. Look for cabinet hardware at plumbing or cabinet showrooms. They will have a larger variety and better quality. Look through the displays or catalogs and order several samples in different styles and finishes to compare to the rest of the finishes in your 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.
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On the very last warm-ish day of the year, I laid out all the drawers and doors and got my painting on with my paint sprayer. That thing is the bomb! I had them all primed with Zinsser oil based primer within 15 minutes. Then I waited a couple of hours before painting the final coats. I used Sherwin Williams oil based ProEnamel in Alabaster for the upper cabinets and Sherwin Williams contractor grade oil based paint color matched to Benjamin Moore’s Huntington Green.

Getting the right finish for your kitchen cabinets can make the difference between a good and a great space. The right finish offsets other design choices in your kitchen. For example, you can match your appliances to your hardware finish to create a sophisticated, coordinated look. Alternatively, you can use your kitchen cabinet hardware finishes to show off your fun-loving personality, choosing a bright metal or unique design.
Knobs are installed with a single screw through one focused entry point on a door or drawer. Pulls are installed with two screws through two points of contact on a door or drawer. Before any holes are drilled, make sure you give detailed instructions to your homebuilder or remodeling professional so that they know the correct type of handle to install on each cabinet door or drawer. You will also need to specify the position of the knob or pull so that they are installed in a consistent manner throughout the kitchen.
Hi Lonnice – I am so happy you found me again. :-) Did you subscribe and then stop getting my posts in your email? I would like to understand what happened if this is the case. Did you need to subscribe again? I did make a few tweaks about 6 months ago to my subscriber list and would like to pinpoint the problem to why you stopped getting the emails in the first place. Thanks for reading :-)
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!
2) I also note that it does not take long before doors start to sag & the gaps become irregular. Not hard to fix just lie on your back, take all doors off, then tighten everything & replace – then take a cold shower you will need it! It seems the cup sections remain well fixed but the fixing plates on the inside of the cupboard sides just work loose. This ought not to happen but it does & with all the concealed overlay hinges I have seen. Is there an answer? I suspect the hinges are under rated, 2 hinges for doors that typically are nearly 10Lbs may be the reason. Can you please comment.
There are a couple of ways to go about choosing the right color and finish. One school of thought advises you to choose based on the color and finish of the kitchen’s faucet. Given that most faucets are either silver or brass in color, this advice can be limiting, especially if you have your eye on stone knobs or another finish that is not common in faucet design.

Kitchen knobs, pulls, and hinges have come a long way from the traditional styles that have been available over the years. No longer are homeowners limited to plain, simple, and functional. Instead, functional and pretty can now go hand in hand. Today’s styles include finishes in antique copper, iron, nickel, polished chrome, aged bronze, polished brass, glass, stainless steel, and antique brass. Additionally, a variety of knobs, handles, and pulls are available in ceramic styles.
Eight staircases?!?Nothing says 'stupid' quite as much as that!Not being critical of the crew, but between the 'historical society' that dictates what you can and can't do (but happily send you the bill) and over the top designs that will prove to be idiotic just makes me shake my head in disbelief.This certainly won't be a house where you can 'age in place'.
Furthermore, hardware attracts the eye like a bright light. Functionality aside, it is the ultimate accent piece — it provides a pop to cabinets and drawers that can make or break the décor of a room. It also keeps the wood of our cabinets and drawers looking fresh by taking the brunt of the natural oils in our hands, which we leave behind every time we reach for the cabinet to grab something.

The importance of selecting quality hardware is impossible to overstate. As with many parts of our home, hardware is an investment. We have all seen cabinet knobs that loosen too easily and hinges that wear out. Because hardware is going to receive the bulk of a cabinet’s wear and tear, investing more in it is ultimately investing more in the life of your cabinets.


Contemporary kitchens have sleek lines, very little ornamentation and minimalistic colors. So, for a contemporary style kitchen, it is wise to choose hardware that is simple and streamlined. Linear bar handles with straight lines or curved barrel handles are the perfect choice. Since stainless steel appliances are a hallmark of a contemporary kitchen, you can also select handles for your cabinetry in a similar style and finish as your appliance handles. 
New cabinet door hinges are costly, and you can save a substantial amount of money by repainting old hinges yourself. The preparation work will be the most time-consuming part of the process, but skipping this step could cause you more work later. Don't waste time using all-purpose primer; use a rust-inhibiting metal primer to ensure that the paint adheres. A top-quality paint will give the hinges a professional-looking finish.
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.
Linda, great questions! I have only had my rub n buffed hinges in use for a few weeks so far so I can’t say much for long term use yet. I can say that I haven’t had a problem with it rubbing off, but I did have to be really careful hanging my cabinet doors because I noticed that it did rub off on the white paint if I wasn’t careful. (The few spots where that happened, I just touched up the white paint.) I also didn’t have a problem getting it to shine – but I was going for a brushed nickel look which isn’t super shiny. I don’t know that you could get it shiny enough to be a chrome looking finish. Overall I have been really happy with it but I will be sure to share an update after more time passes.

Thanks Mary. That is a good question. There is another similar product from DecoArt called Metallic Lustre but I am not sure if it is available in Europe either. (Also, I haven’t used it so I can’t say for sure if I would recommend it.) Also, it isn’t exactly the same but silver spray paint can also work. After cleaning the hinges, spray them with spray primer and then follow up with a spray paint in the metallic finish you want.
I'm glad that you talk about the different hardware options, such as how you can choose something more decorative or if you are more focused on the functionality you want pulls and knobs that are subtle, like silver or clear colored. Knowing what you want would be useful so you can then easily search the various door hardware options online. If you search online, it could help you get more options and you could find stores that focus more on the type of knobs, pulls, and anything else that you're looking for.

Oh how true this is for me right now. Oh how true. Luckily I’m here :-). By the way, I can’t handle your kitchen, it’s too perfect. I’ve never seen anything like it and it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen. I’m doing a modern eclectic boho kitchen, predominately white, some wood accents, maybe darker lower cabinets, maybe gold hardware (that’s where I’m stuck), and then pops of beautiful colour like you have here. I’m excited!

If you’re going for wood paneling, the process is pretty simple. Fasten the pieces together and cut to the size of your appliance. Then, remove the handles from your appliance and glue the panels onto the front using a hot glue gun. You can either paint the wood and the sides of your appliance to match your cabinets, or you can leave it as is for a natural unfinished feel. Complete the look by adding new appliance pulls to match the rest of your kitchen hardware. Appliance covers can be added to just about any kitchen appliance that has a door like a refrigerator and dishwasher.
Thank you so much for helping me understand more about the process to choose new kitchen cabinet hardware. We have been really into rustic looking kitchens lately, and I think that some antique decorative nails could really change the way it looks. Just as you mentioned, you can always change the look of your kitchen again if you do not like the way it looks after a couple of years. Thanks for posting!
Thanks, Marty! You have a joyous looking kitchen/dining room – so beautiful! LOVE it! Not at all stiff and cookie-cutter, but with real individual style! An inspiration today. Your timing is perfect. We have our IKEA kitchen done, except for countertops and backsplash tiling. (We’ve been using Masonite board for a makeshift countertop. Not too bad.) The whole look of our open kitchen/dining room is pleasant, at this point, but bland. Pale minty-grass green walls, blonde (birch) cabinets, warm medium oak floors. Now for putting in some details! YAY! The scary part: Now what? Yikes!! Marty to the rescue with a reassuring article. THANKS! Here we go……

For easy access to below-counter drawers and cabinets with minimal aesthetic impact, hidden pulls can be a great option. They’re usually attached to the top edge of each door and designed as small slivers of metal that jut out of the flush portion. They are designed to be largely concealed by the work surface above, forming a subtle lip that does not deter from the material and design of the cabinetry itself.
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.

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:


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.
The size of your cabinets will influence the size of your knobs. If your cabinets are smaller in scale you’ll want to opt for hardware that is likewise, such as minimal-scale circular knobs. Longer hardware is necessary when you have extra long cabinet doors—or can be used if you want to make a more of dramatic statement. Most cabinet doors are 24”, so you want a knob about 2”-3” size knob. For a larger cabinet door you can size up to 3½” or 4”. For a cabinet door under 20”, source hardware that’s closer to 1” to 2” size in diameter or length.
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