Accessorizing is the most important part of any outfit. A little glimmer, a little glam or maybe something unexpected and modern can make an ensemble. Well, I think that accessorizing happens to be just as important when decorating your home, which is why we’re exploring the “jewelry options” for the kitchen: hardware! Often overlooked, but capable of extreme 'wow' factor, the pulls on our cupboards can easily be swapped out to drastically change the style of your space.
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. 
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. 
Consider proportion, balance, aesthetics and function when deciding upon the size of a knob or pull for your kitchen cabinetry. A large cabinet door or drawer needs a larger piece of hardware, or maybe two, for proper functionality, but a smaller size knob or pull is appropriate for a smaller door or drawer. A good rule of thumb for traditional or transitional style pulls is that they should be about one-third of the length of the cabinet drawer. Drawers larger than eighteen inches wide may require more than one pull or knob. However, more contemporary designs call for longer pulls that are at least two-thirds of the length of the drawer or cabinet door. 
The cons are a few: 1. MDF is heavy in relation to wood or plywood. 2. MDF does not accept screws very well. You must use coarse thread screws and always pre-drill. Apply the hinge screws by using a hand-held screwdriver instead of a screw gun. If you don't, they can strip the hole quickly. 3. Over time the screws will come lose just from opening and closing the doors (just go around every so often and tighten the screws). 4. If water gets into the doors, they will swell and they will need to be replaced so seal them well.

If you’re like me and love hardware (I think of it as jewelry for the house) and want your pulls and knobs to make a statement, instead of blend into background, you’ll want to choose hardware that contrasts with your cabinets, drawers and doors.  Consider using darker finishes like black or oil rubbed bronze on white or light colored cabinets and doors.  


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
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.
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!
“People come in and say they have a ‘standard’ door,” says Renee Genereux of the Brandino Brass team. “But there is no such thing as standard. You need to know your door thickness, how does it swing, what’s the width, what kind of holes do you have.” Avoid multiple visits to the hardware store because you don’t have all of the information and measurements you need. “We give them all of the questions to answer and then they come back with all of it.” Call Brandino Brass ahead of time to ask what you need to know for your visit or check out the sheet below as handy guideline for getting to know your doors and cabinets better.
“What is your overall style? Traditional, contemporary, arts and crafts, eclectic, cottage, French, Mediterranean, Western, Art Deco or coastal,” asks Brandino Brass co-owner Eric Brandino. He encourages clients to think about the style of their home or the style they would like to incorporate. “Is there a consistent style throughout or does it vary from room to room? Transitional style has been one of the most popular looks recently,” he says of what’s trending in hardware. “Clean lines with just a touch of traditional features and finishes, such as an unlacquered brass or bronze.”
The first thing you need to consider when looking for new cabinet hardware is the overall look you would like for your kitchen. There are literally thousands of drawer pulls and cabinet knobs to choose from, so you need a starting point. Many cabinet styles are easily adaptable to any style of knobs — modern, traditional or even funky. Spend some time gathering pictures of kitchens you like from home magazines to help you choose a style that suits your tastes.
Most of your pulls and knobs, though, will go on standard sized cabinetry, which will be 3 feet wide or less.   The most common pull sizes for standard cabinetry are 3”,  4”, or 96mm and 128mm, again measured from the center of one screw hole to the center of the other. But many of today’s pulls tend to be on even larger than 4 inches.  Standard knob sizes are less than 1.5 inches in diameter.

Hardware makes an enormous difference in the bones of the cabinetry and the style of the room.  If I was facing down an oak kitchen that I wanted to live with, in harmony, for a bit of time, here’s what I would do in one weekend:  Paint it a great color.  Clear the counters.  Lay down a great, eye-catching rug.  Change out the hardware.  Add some color (probably a big framed print and a huge plant in a nice planter).  That’s it. 
These industrial-feeling pulls are a blend of colonial and Arts and Crafts, and come in a wide variety of finishes. While these black ones are a good choice with the black appliances and lighting, don’t feel your knobs must match all the finishes in your kitchen; it’s OK to mix things up. Just don’t mix the knobs and hinges on the same door; those definitely should be coordinated so one doesn’t detract from the other.

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.
Flat-panel cabinets.Most often seen in modern or contemporary kitchens, flat-panel cabinets embrace minimal embellishment to focus on natural materials. Subtle hardware choices are best, such as stainless steel bar pulls. You often see long, extended versions placed on the door or drawer.If you prefer square edges, you can choose a flat bar pull. Recessed pulls offer a functional option that work especially well for high-traffic kitchens. If you’re aiming for a minimalist look to your kitchen, you might consider discreet tab pulls for your flat-style cabinets.
Updating the hardware on your kitchen windows can take them from standard to standout in seconds! Typically, window sash locks and lift pulls blend in with your window color, but switching these traditional styles up with an elegant bronze or a satin nickel finish will add interest and pizzazz to your windows. You can also choose a finish that matches the rest of your kitchen hardware for a pulled together style.
Try putting different types of handles on different types of cabinets and drawers. Again, you should adhere to a color scheme and symmetry, but using a mixture of metal and glass knobs, bars and handles can add lots of character to the space. Just be sure to step back and make sure there is some rhyme and reason to it all. For instance, perhaps the two drawers straddling the kitchen sink should share the same handles to create a pleasing sense of symmetry.
The cons are a few: 1. MDF is heavy in relation to wood or plywood. 2. MDF does not accept screws very well. You must use coarse thread screws and always pre-drill. Apply the hinge screws by using a hand-held screwdriver instead of a screw gun. If you don't, they can strip the hole quickly. 3. Over time the screws will come lose just from opening and closing the doors (just go around every so often and tighten the screws). 4. If water gets into the doors, they will swell and they will need to be replaced so seal them well.
In line with our new content direction, Architizer is highlighting a different building-product and how to specify it. This week’s topic is Kitchen Cabinetry. If you’re looking for the perfect kitchen cabinetry for your next project, search for it on Architizer’s new network marketplace for building-products. Click here to see if you qualify. It’s free for architects.
You’ll also want to think about how visible your hinges will be—do you want them to be a major design feature and mounted directly to both the outside of the frame and the outside of the cabinet, known as a surface-mounted hinge? Or take a more minimalist design approach and have them virtually invisible from the outside when the cabinets are closed, known as a concealed hinge? Are you worried about the noise of cabinet doors closing, and think that soft-closing hinges are important? 
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. 
Let’s talk first about metals. As a general rule, I like to keep the different metals in a kitchen to no more than two. If you have stainless steel appliances, that counts as one metal. So that leaves one other metal you can bring into a kitchen. If you’ve got brass light fixtures, that’s your one other metal. Your new hardware should be nickel or brass.
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