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.

Decide whether to install door catches. These will secure your doors while they are closed. Magnetic door catches are most often used. When your door closes, a small metal plate on the back of the door attaches itself to a magnet on the cabinet frame. You will hear a slight clicking sound as they make contact. Two additional styles that provide a smooth operation are spring-roller catches and friction catches. These catches are silent when they latch.
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.
It may take some time for you to consider what effect you would like to create with your hardware on your kitchen cabinets. In fact, some styles, patterns, and finishes are so beautiful or unique, that they become the focal point in the kitchen and a topic of conversation. Many of the ceramic and glass styles are so cleverly finished that they look too pretty to simply be part of a kitchen cabinet.
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!
Hi Diane….Glad to see you again and happy to see the progress on your lake home. I was a subscriber and then suddenly lost you about the time you started working on your staircase! I was afraid it had driven you away from your blog!! You showed up on another blog yesterday and now I plan to catch up on all I have missed. Thank you for accepting me again!!
Personal preference is very important when deciding whether you want a knob or pull. Your hardware should be in keeping with the style of your kitchen, but it must be comfortable to use, too. Carefully check out the knobs or pulls you are thinking of buying. Place them against cabinetry, then see how they fit your hand. Are they the right size and shape for you?
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. 
The choice between kitchen cabinet knobs and cabinet pulls and handles may seem unimportant, but knobs and handles have different features that can alter the overall look of your kitchen. Because kitchen cabinet knobs are round, they often give a kitchen a welcoming, home-style look that works especially well in country-themed kitchens. Kitchen cabinet handles and kitchen cabinet pulls, on the other hand, can give a kitchen a more sophisticated or elegant look. These distinctions are fairly loose though, and you can find plenty of rustic kitchen cabinet handles as well as sophisticated kitchen cabinet knobs, if that’s what you want.

Cabinet hardware is composed a variety of materials -- most of which are metal alloys. Brass hardware typically has a lacquer or plating applied to its surface that makes it very durable in a kitchen. It is antimicrobial and helps to reduce the spread of germs. Bronze hardware is also antimicrobial, offers a substantial look and feel, and works well for cabinets made of thicker woods. Stainless steel is another option because it is so durable. Pewter and nickel are popular choices, too. Or, you can choose knobs made from glass or crystal for a vintage look. 
Order samples, and get a few different types of styles and sizes to decide what will work best for your cabinet doors. It’s helpful to shop with a sample of your cabinet door. Ask yourself: Does my hand keeps sliding on the grip? Is it difficult to pull or get a grasp on it? Does it get greasy from my fingertips? Would I rather have a pull near the fridge but a knob near the stove? You will use this item a ton of times everyday, and you want to feel comfortable with your choice. There’s nothing worse than a cute knob that’s hard to pull open everyday.
Traditional style cabinetry typically has elaborate detailing, embellishments and moldings. Decorative, ornate hardware is in keeping with this style. Often, interior designers choose drop handles for traditional style doors with coordinating knobs on the drawers. Want a vintage look? Try a handle with a porcelain overlay for a sophisticated farmhouse feel. 
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.

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.

Remodeling and customizing your kitchen can be a big project. After planning and designing on the large scale it might be tempting to coast through choosing the cabinet hardware, but high-traffic rooms such as kitchens deserve detailed attention. Choosing the right hardware size requires a balance of style and function. Sacrifice one for the other, and you probably won’t be happy. You’ll be frustrated every time you try to pull open a drawer, or you’ll be disappointed every time you walk into the room.


Excellent post! I already knew about the different options, but it’s so nice to see it all compiled in one place. 🙂 Very handy! I love the look (or rather, lack of) of concealed hinges… but roughly $10 a pair makes me cringe. If I’ve got about 20 doors, I’m looking at $200–for HINGES! The visible hinges run about $3, for $60 total. 🙁 Hmm… debating.
I’m Jenny, a wife of 23 years, mother of three, and a corporate drop-out. I’m a creative minded blogger, business owner and DIYer, and love transforming furniture, cabinets and rooms in my home. I’m a card carrying paint geek, and am always amazed at the power of paint in making budget-friendly updates to your home. I’m a serial house-stalker, and never tire of a great home tour or a before and after renovation. I’m a firm believer in restyling, refreshing and renewing things in your home to make it your own - without breaking the budget. I’ll show you how!

Do you dream of a whole-kitchen remodel straight out of a magazine photo spread? Kitchens begin to look dated more quickly than any other room in your home. Replacing cabinets and countertops is an expensive proposition, but what if you could update them just a bit at little cost? Replacing or adding new cabinet hardware is a great way to update your look with the latest finishes and styles, without breaking open the piggy bank.
Traditional style cabinetry typically has elaborate detailing, embellishments and moldings. Decorative, ornate hardware is in keeping with this style. Often, interior designers choose drop handles for traditional style doors with coordinating knobs on the drawers. Want a vintage look? Try a handle with a porcelain overlay for a sophisticated farmhouse feel. 

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.


Once you’ve worked out which types of hardware are comfortable to use, it’ll be time to start thinking about shapes in relation to the shape of your cabinetry. In general, knob and pull styles should be matched to kitchen cabinet styles. What this means is if you have selected a plain cabinet style, for example, shaker or flat, ultra-modern doors, then you’ll want square, plain hardware to match — perhaps something like Emtek’s brass bar knob or a similar style. Recessed panel doors or doors with curving and intricate trim will often do well with more ornate hardware styles.


Even if you have multiple light fixtures in your kitchen, don’t worry about finding new fixtures that match exactly. By varying the design slightly, each light fixture will stand out and create visual interest in your kitchen. However, when choosing one-off pieces, just be sure to stick with a theme for your lighting so it looks purposeful. In other words, if you’ve picked a rustic metal chandelier for over your dining table, choose something that is also rustic inspired to hang over your kitchen sink, like a simple pendant light, and keep that theme going with other lighting choices as well.
But If you don’t think of your hardware as decorative (but as purely functional) and just want your pulls and knobs to blend into the background, instead of standing out, you can choose hardware that is more subtle.  Choose dark hardware for darker cabinets or silver or clear hardware for white or light cabinets.   Alternatively, you can forgo cabinet pulls and knobs all together, which will give a much more contemporary  look.
When it comes to designing a kitchen inevitably you have to pick out hardware, and these seemingly small details can literally keep you up at night, going back and forth between brass knobs or stainless steel bars. But thankfully, we’re here to help you get a “handle” on the process. Here are the factors you should consider when choosing kitchen cabinet hardware.
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