Okay, I haven’t even finished reading this post, but I just have to comment. First of all, I think you are awesome. I have been wanting all kinds of things done to my house, and my husband is pretty capable, but very busy, and far less interested in house things than I am. I just look at the things you do, and I think how I can certainly learn to tackle more of the things that I want to. Second, a post like this is so helpful. I know it takes time to write and I just appreciate the education so much. So, thank you so much for being awesome, and also giving awesome-ness lessons… 🙂
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.
I am taking on more and more cabinet refresh projects (for hire), and still never tire of the transformations. My latest project is an oak, galley style kitchen, and I’m digging deeper into ideas to make these older kitchens look more modern. Paint is obviously a big hitter in terms of updating a kitchen, but let’s talk about something else that is equally powerful – cabinet hinges.
And then there’s appliance hardware. Appliance pulls are not just hardware pulls that have a higher price point. It is a more durable hardware that look identical in style to your standard pulls, but are designed for the larger items in your kitchen like refrigerators, dishwashers, pantries, and oversized drawers. They come in a range of sizes from 6” to 36” and are constructed to hold a heavier weight, typically necessitating longer screws and a backplate for installation. The screws can be shortened to the needed size, but its best to follow the instructions and have these pieces installed by a professional to avoid hiccups.
Ultimately, you should choose your hardware according to your personal preferences, kitchen style and goals for functionality. If you’re concerned about resale value, recognize that the most popular hardware finishes are satin, nickel and bronze. There are no hard-set rules to follow when it comes to adding the final details to your kitchen, and many people choose a combination of knobs and pulls. If you’re unsure of which to choose for your kitchen cabinets or drawers, it’s wise to examine the pros and cons of both.
At a home renovation in Connecticut, cabinet fabricator Michael Madore experimented with what he calls an "aggressive" metal-sanding process to pull out the grain from the whitewashed oak plywood. For the hardware-free cabinets, Julie Salles Schaffer looked to a drawer pull detail derived from Giò Ponti’s work—though she admits the radial edging is an effect entirely her own.
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.