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.
For Shaker-style cabinets, look for hardware like small round knobs or hardware that feels organic to the craftsman style. I like the idea of brushed nickel or brass for this style of cabinetry. With modern fronts, choose hardware with a sleek and simple design, think matte black or stainless steel, or don’t be afraid to ignore hardware all together and have a custom groove built-in. When planning for a more traditional approach, push the boundaries in your hardware and look for more ornate knobs.
It's something you could DIY if you wanted to invest the time and energy into it, but I know my strengths and weaknesses. ;-). This sweet, retired woodworker, is charging $300-$400 to drill the holes in the cabinets, provide the hinges, and rehang them (all 23 of them), so I'm feeling like it's a pretty good deal, and the homeowner agrees! I'm really excited to see the finished look!
Kitchen cabinet knobs can really change the look of your cabinets. The best knobs and handles not only suit the cabinet style, but also add to the theme or mood of your kitchen. For example, the warm appeal of hammered copper cupboard handles blends well with rustic kitchens, while the cool sparkle of crystal knobs looks elegant against dark wood cabinets.
Wow! I finally figured out what to ask for, THANKS. Old hickory cabinets still look great, and the wife loves them, but hates the sound of them closing. Want soft closing hinges, a nice project. They are face-frame cabinets, with semi-inset doors with about 1/4″ overlay.and inset about 3/8″. What hinges do I need? Plan on doing this just as soon as the soft closing drawer slides are all installed.
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… 🙂
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
Dreamer, thinker, + lemon squeezer; you'll usually find me clutching a mug of coffee, glue gun, fandeck of paint colors, and a child at any given time. This mom of two (and wife to one) loves to share freshly squeezed ideas for home and family. Join the adventure as we learn most lemons can indeed become lemonade-- with generous amounts of sweetness, perspective, and love.
While it is important to stay true to your personal style, you don’t want a lantern that is half the height of your door or an oversized mailbox beside a tiny cottage. So, take into account what you are working with as you choose the style that is most you! “I suggest they get painter’s tape and put it on the house in the dimensions of the fixture to get a sense of the size. You want it to be the correct proportion,” says Brandino Brass team member Megan Brasher, adding, “To get the feel for how it will affect your home’s curb appeal, not only do you need to look at it right next to the front door, but you also need to take a step back and get a view from the street.”
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.

Rest easy, friends, you can do this, too.  And then, since it looks much better and you are thrilled and at peace with it, you can move on to dreaming about that full kitchen reno you are still working towards… one day.  Or, maybe you will be so happy with the small changes you made that you can cross that idea right off the list and move on to dreaming about making other areas of your home just right.


Some styles of kitchen cabinets are designed to open at the side of the door, so they don’t have outer knobs. When re-facing cupboard doors as part of a remodeling project, new knobs can still be added to these self-opening styles. Consider adding knobs or handles that create visual interest. Careful planning is needed as holes will need to be drilled in the cabinet doors to add the new knobs.
Finally, another popular way of opening cabinets without the use of traditional pulls or knobs is through cut-outs in the cabinetry. These are frequently found on custom cabinets where a minimalist look is desired, or where the budget is tight and saving on hardware is desirable. Cut-outs can come in a range of shapes, and are often designed to facilitate ease of opening. 
I mentioned to my super-smart carpenter brother, Mike, that I was wanting to update my hinges but was afraid of ruining my doors in the process.  I watched a YouTube video of DIYer who tried to install hidden hinges, and I’ll be polite and just say that the outcome was not a good one. Thus my fear. The place I ordered my new cabinets from couldn’t order replacement doors, so this was a one-shot deal.

The other option for changing kitchen cabinet knobs is to purchase new ones. The two main types of cabinet fixtures for kitchens are circular pulls and metal bars. The round pulls tend to be old-fashioned, while the metal bar handles are often more contemporary. Cabinet pulls can be made more modern by painting them metallic silver. Metal bar cabinet door handles are usually silver-colored and narrow; this style is often seen with darker wood toned cabinets.
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.
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.
If you’re going to paint or re-stain your cabinets now would be a good time to do that. I’m a painted wood kind of gal, so these cabinets got painted, plus it’s a lot quicker and easier to paint them than to sand and re-stain. After the doors and frames have been painted it’s time to install the hinges and the glass. Since my upper, upper cabinets will rarely get used I secured the glass with silicone, if your glass cabinets will get daily use then you might want to use silicone and glazing points. I also put removable frosted film on my glass because after we added puck lights to the upper, uppers I realized how ugly the inside of the cabinets looked.
Robyn and Sam’s home in Toronto is an all-white, minimal lover’s dream. Intentionally kept simple and streamlined, it has just the essentials. Their kitchen is a great example of a minimal and modern space done right. It’s also a great blank canvas to play with to show you more examples of how just making one small change to your kitchen can make a huge difference!!
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. :(
White cabinets really help bring out the light and area available in a room. My kitchen is currently really dark and doesn't let much light in. I feel if I were to add windows and make the room a lighter color it would appear a lot happier and feel like I have more room. Thanks for the inspiration I am going to start looking for pieces to make my kitchen lighter like yours!
For pulls on a flat front cabinet, the bottom corner of the pull should be equidistant from both sides of the cabinet. For Shaker-style cabinets, the same rules apply as with knobs: center the pull on the vertical stile, with the bottom of the pull even with the top of the horizontal stile (or the top even with the bottom of the horizontal stile, for a lower cabinet). These aren’t hard and fast rules—you may want to adjust them depending on what looks best for your cabinets and hardware—but they’re a good place to start.
If you think about it, you open your cabinet doors multiple times a day. Over a few years, that can take a toll on those hinges holding your doors in place. Replacing them with hinges that are made from a quality material like solid brass will not only help your cabinet doors function better, but it will make them look better, too! Choose a hinge color that matches the other hardware in your kitchen for a unified look and feel. For easy installation, look for hinges that are adjustable so you can use the same hinges to fit multiple sized doors and cabinets. This small change will make your cabinets look updated and keep them functioning properly for years to come.
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.
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.
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.
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