When it comes to a quick and easy update that makes a massive difference in the style of your kitchen, hardware ranks right at the top. It can be changed out in just a few hours, yet transforms the entire appearance and feeling of a space. Think of how the perfect necklace tops off a plain dress, or how a precisely kicked field goal can win the Superbowl. When it comes to an easy kitchen update, new hardware can transform a space from ‘blah’ to beautiful!
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You might think that after making dozens of tough decisions during your kitchen remodel, something like choosing handles for your cabinets would be easy. Yeah, so not the case. You’ll soon find out that there are more cabinet knob options than there are stars in the sky. But don’t panic. And by all means, don’t make a knee-jerk decision just to get it over with. When I used to make up design and swatch boards, I would remind clients that the hardware matters as much as the big stuff. Remember, you’ll be looking at and touching your kitchen cabinet knobs every single day. So you want to make the right choice. And after all, this is a micro design element that can have macro impact.
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When it comes to a quick and easy update that makes a massive difference in the style of your kitchen, hardware ranks right at the top. It can be changed out in just a few hours, yet transforms the entire appearance and feeling of a space. Think of how the perfect necklace tops off a plain dress, or how a precisely kicked field goal can win the Superbowl. When it comes to an easy kitchen update, new hardware can transform a space from ‘blah’ to beautiful!
We also painted our kitchen cabinets white, and I love the crispness of white cabinets. We used latex paint since we ended up doing most of the work while I was pregnant/nursing a newborn and I didn’t want to deal with the oil-based chemicals and odors. It’s definitely not ideal–the hard, oil-based finish is much more practical for kitchens and cabinets. I’m not a perfectionist so it doesn’t bother me (too much!), but I would definitely recommend taking the time to do oil like you did–yours should last forever 🙂
The choice between cabinet pulls and knobs isn’t easy — both come with positives and negatives. Keep in mind that you’ll be using your knobs or pulls every day. Whatever you choose should feel natural in your hand and flow with the décor of the room. You should consider your kitchen’s décor and style, the look you want to achieve, your budget, ease of cleaning, ease of use, the weight of your drawers and more.
Some pulls and handles are specifically made for appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, and other appliances where you might have panels installed on the front of the item to match the surrounding cabinetry. Typically, appliance handles and pulls have been designed to higher standards than traditional, mid-century, or modern cabinet drawer pulls because they need to withstand more wear and tear—your fridge door has suction that resists opening, and you probably open the fridge more times than most of the cabinets in your kitchen. As a result, many appliance handles and pulls are larger, wider, or thicker than similar cabinet hardware.

Caring for decorative hardware purchased from Cliffside Industries is easy. Use only a soft cloth dampened with water for cleaning. The most important thing to remember is never to apply any chemicals or abrasive cleaners, including all kinds of soap or detergent. Using these products damages the protective lacquer and may change the appearance of the piece. Any use of chemicals, abrasives or soaps will void your warranty.
Picking the perfect cabinets for a project is hard enough, but the effort it takes to research, test and finally decide on the best piece of outward-facing cabinet hardware calls for even further inspection. While the main material for the cabinet door heavily contributes to a kitchen’s character, its hardware serves to accentuate that character further still. A key detail within one of the most important spaces of a residence, cabinet hardware sits squarely at the intersection of form and function, and making the right choice here can elevate the design of the entire kitchen.
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. .
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.
Cup pulls are a nice complement to Shaker-style cabinets, particularly in a country-style kitchen. Recessed hardware can make for a particularly elegant and modern look, but also tends to be a bit on the pricey side. Slim, modern finger pull type hardware, which mounts to the top of a drawer or the edge of a cabinet, is a nice choice for flat-front cabinets in a modern kitchen.
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.
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.

Here are the three different kinds of kitchen cabinet doors that demonstrate the different overlays and hinge options.  The first is similar to what I’m working on now – a framed cabinet with an overlay on the cabinet frame.  The second is a framed cabinet where the doors are inset, flush with the cabinet frame.  And the third is a frameless cabinet where hidden hinges are utilized.


It’s definitely possible to change out the hinges without redoing the cabinets – you would just have to make sure that the holes on the frames where the old hinges were, are able to be filled and touched up so that they’re not obvious. I’m not sure of the cost, but hinges aren’t cheap, and I definitely recommend using a carpenter to do the work. Hinges can be maddening!

Aside from polishing, the look of stone hardware is largely in the hands of nature. Though your hardware pieces may all share traits if they come from the same slab of rock, each piece is going to be different. This creates a natural variety in appearance that will add zest to your room. Stone is cool to the touch and looks especially lovely in homes with a woodsy touch.
Latches for cabinets aren’t quite as common as they were about a 100 years ago because of improved hinge technology, but you can still find a variety of latches and catches for keeping cabinets closed. A latch is mounted to the outside of a cabinet, and typically features two pieces: a mechanism with a turn or a lever on one side that controls the "tongue" of the latch, and a "shell" with a cavity to house the tongue on the other side. On the other hand, cabinet catches are usually installed on the inside of a cabinet, making them invisible from the exterior, and can consist of a magnet, a clip, or a ball that holds the door closed unless a certain amount of force is applied to open it.
That being said, buying every make and model turned out to be a good idea. I was pretty pumped when I installed my first door…until I shut the door and there was a gap the size of Kansas where the door didn’t cover my opening. I should have taken a picture because it was pretty hilarious-looking. Wrong hinge. So I removed the 1 1/4″ overlay hinge, installed the 1/2″ overlay and was good to go. The holes that need to be drilled in the door will be the same in size, depth and location regardless of your overlay measurement.
Solid brass, bronze and stainless steel knobs are durable and long lasting, even under heavy use. If elegance is your thing, then opt for knobs made of crystal or marble to take your cabinet décor to the next level. These materials look sophisticated and classy. This simple change of replacing cabinet knobs is easy to implement on your own, and it will cost a whole lot less than replacing your cabinets entirely.
1. Stick with the theme. The hardware you choose speaks to your theme in the same way your kitchen cabinets do. Which hardware works best with different themes? Sleek, tubular pulls, like those in our Torino collection, complement the streamlined look in modern and contemporary kitchens. Traditional cabinets tend to have more detail and benefit from simple, smooth knobs, like the Projectionin style from our Drake collection. French country can benefit from hardware with an antique look, like our Windermere collection that comes in gun metal, rubbed bronze and brush pewter.
I love your site and your super helpful advice. We’re installing full overlay cabinets in our kitchen and we’re trying to select hinges for the upper cabinets — particularly the cupboard doors on the end which when closed is perpendicular to a wall. Since the door aren’t inset, I’m concerned we won’t be able to open the cupboard a full 90 degrees. Basically, the issue is how to solve the problem of the door swing? Are there any hinges that could solve this problem? I can send elevations if that helps. Thanks so much in advance!
Sandra, thank you so much for this awesome post! I’m remodeling my 40 yr old kitchen, and wanted to get rid of the visible old fashioned hinges that show! I had absolutely no clue as to what type of cabinets I have until I read your post! I completely understand now, and will be purchasing the “concealed surface mount overlay hinges for face frame cabinets” I know the 3 holes on the outside will be visible when I change out the hinges, so I’ll just fill them in with wood filler and sand before repainting. You’re so smart, informative and detail oriented just like me! Thank you again so much for this wonderful lesson on cabinets and hinges! I’m subscribing to your website or blog or whatever you have!

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!
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.
There are also a couple of overlay sizes, most commonly  1 1/4″ and 1/2″. Overlay refers to the distance your door overlaps your opening. Mine didn’t measure 1 1/4″ or 1/2″, and this project still worked with my doors. If you’re looking for information on how to measure your overlay, this is not the post for you because I haven’t the faintest idea. Back to Google you go! (Sorry!)
If you’re looking for a more contemporary approach, tubular bars seem to be a favorite of the future. The current design couples beautifully with darker finishes and larger tiles. Tubular bars can also be used horizontally or vertically, and can be as long or short as you like. Go with a shorter bar for a more modest appeal, or make a statement with longer ones.
After narrowing down your kitchen cabinets options and finally selecting the style that looks the best for your home, you still have to decide on the right decorative hardware for your cabinets. Choosing kitchen cabinet hardware sounds like an easy process, but with the thousands upon thousands of options available, making your final decision can be a bit overwhelming.
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.
Never underestimate the visual effectiveness of adding just a hint of metallic to a room. These sleek round knobs are a shiny brass, which would glint beautifully in all this kitchen’s natural light. The super-flat front and simple round shape complement the modern design of the other elements. And the brass hue actually echoes the natural wood tone of the stools, warming the room up visually.
Updating certain hardware pieces throughout your kitchen is a simple change that can have a big impact on the overall look of your kitchen. Replacing basic ceramic or plastic knobs on your cabinets with heavy-duty stainless steel or brass knobs can give your kitchen cabinets a whole new refreshed style. Depending on the look you’re trying to achieve in your kitchen, you’ll find metal cabinet knobs that range in aesthetics from simple and contemporary, to ornate and decorative.

but wouldn’t the holes from the original overlay hinges show? I have stained maple cabinets and would love to get rid of the overly hinges but I have two problems. the holes will show, and also, the doors are smaller than what is typical for hidden hinges. All the kitchen cabinetry that I have seen with hidden hinges have cabinet doors that literally touch. inotherwords, they completely cover the cabinet. any suggestions? should I replace the doors? would I save money doing that?
Based on this, you can then figure out the relationship between your cabinet doors and the frame or exposed edge of the cabinet—do the doors cover part of the frame or edge, or are they inset so that you can see that frame? Depending on whether it’s a single cabinet door or a double cabinet door, the frame or edge might be covered by one or two cabinet doors. 
For oversized cabinetry you’ll obviously want to use larger hardware.  Oversized cabinets and drawers are defined as over 3 feet wide. Cookware drawers or built-in appliance cabinetry are usually oversized.  For these large drawers and cabinet doors, consider long pulls which typically come in widths of 6”, 8”, 10” or 12 inches.  Some contemporary pulls are even larger than 12 inches.  That measurement is taken from the center of one screw hole to the center of the second screw hole).  Oversized knobs  are 1-1/2” or larger.
I have a solid oak kitchen from the late 1980s. I would like to update the cabinets by painting them but my hinges are exposed. Is it possible to change any exposed hinge to a hidden hinge, or are there some styles that won't be replaceable? Also, has anyone else painted kitchen cabinets with exposed hinges in such a way that it looks good? Thanks!
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.
When it comes to finishes, let the rest of the components in the home be your guide. If you are selecting an oil-rubbed bronze artisan faucet, select the matching hardware. Interested in mixing finishes? In today’s home, anything goes. Mixing brass with black iron might be over the top, but pairing brushed nickel with polished chrome can offer a dynamic and attractive contrast.
The homeowner has already installed a new tile backsplash, and will also be replacing the floors with new tile and painting the walls once I’m finished with the cabinets.  But the homeowner was concerned about the hinges standing out against a light cabinet color.  A cabinet refresh is going to help tie the updates together, and when we got to talking about the hinges, I did some research, and found a great local woodworker to help change the hinges from exposed to concealed.
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.
However, much like the keys of the grand piano, hardware commands the proceedings in cabinetry. It is generally the only part of a cabinet we touch, and its hinges account for all of its moving parts. As it is our main method of interacting with the cabinet, its feel, sturdiness and functionality are going to play a large role in how we view the functionality of the kitchen.
Knobs, handles and hinges may seem like insignificant details, but they can have a major impact on your decor. Give your cabinets a quick facelift by replacing outdated hardware. Stylish hardware can give older cabinets a new look while providing the finishing touch on new cabinets. Choose the perfect hardware for your decor by considering a few important elements.
For this step you’ll want to clamp your door to the work surface, unless of course you want your door to spin around in circles and possibly punch you in the stomach. Next, measure equal distance from the top and bottom of the door and mark the center hole with the jig, also mark the 2 side holes where you’ll screw the hinge in place (I found that using an awl to mark the holes made it easier to drill). We drilled for our hinges over the same location as the old ones, which were NOT equal distance from the top and bottom, but at least every door was at the same unequal distance.
Standard hardware is a breeze to install. All you need is a Phillips-Head screwdriver. Simply replace standard screws into the pre-cut holes.If the holes are pre-drilled on your cabinet drawers and you now want to place a single hole, measure the distance between the two holes and center. If your cabinet doesn’t currently have holes or hardware, knowing where to place the different size knobs on each cabinet can be tricky. If there are no holes, and you’re on your own when drilling into the corner of the cabinet door give yourself 2 1/2 to 3″ of space in the corner before you drill in a hole.
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