It can be tempting to stick with hardware that “matches” the style of your kitchen cabinets. But what if you don’t like the style of your kitchen cabinets? Lead with your own style first, and you’ll move the kitchen more into the direction you want it to go. I swapped the more traditional hardware in this San Francisco kitchen above with two patterned, shapely styles.


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.
Installing new hinges can be easy, but only when choosing the correct cabinet hinge upgrade. The door style, door thickness, and hinge type, all play a role. Once this information is obtained, you should be able to find a soft-close hinge that is a direct retrofit to the existing hinge, or choose one of the many independent dampers and keep your current hinges.

My go-to shop for all of my hardware needs is D.Lawless Hardware – I’ve been using hardware from there for a while now and it’s always the best quality at the lowest prices. They sell so many other awesome products too. Everything from knobs and pulls, drawer slides and systems, to wood appliques, trim, DIY, craft supplies, outlet covers, and so much more! 

Knikki Grantham is a Trend Manager with over 20 years in the Furniture and in the Furniture and Design Industry. She grew up in the furniture industry with early memories of sawdust and hand tied springs. After working in various phases of furniture production and development she moved into Design Sales for a Luxury high-end retailer, attaining an Associate ASID as well as other accreditations from various furniture manufacturers.

Budget is, of course, a key factor in any part of your kitchen remodeling decisions. While you’ll want to pay as little as possible right now, remember that quality matters in the long run. Your local kitchen cabinet showrooms will offer you the largest variety, with people who can help you choose high-quality hardware within your budget. Remember that the price is based on the finish, as well as the design and size. Knobs are less expensive than pulls.


A common choice is to use knobs for all drawers and pulls for all doors (or vice versa). The problem with knobs is they are harder to grip and fingernails tend to mar the cabinet door. It is much more comfortable to open a drawer using a pull, which allows the whole hand to grab instead of only your fingertips. We generally use pulls (no nobs whatsoever) in our kitchen designs.  
I thought for sure I’d go with the modern beauty on the upper right (the It Pull), but when I held them both up to the cabinets they whispered to me “go for the Bronte.” Like Shakira’s hips, cabinets don’t lie, so I went with the Bronte. Then we needed to chose the finish. As much as I lurrrrrrve gold hardware, my husband nixed that idea because he does not understand this is not the gold of the 1980’s. 😉 Since he gets very little choice in the rest of the house, I took one for the team (not really, I actually love the dark finish too) and chose the lovely Venetian Bronze finish. While gold would certainly have elevated this kitchen to on-trend status, I went for what works best for our marital harmony.
The chrome and stainless steel can vary some too, but usually not as much, and as often as nickel.  To be safe, get samples from different brands and compare the colors, or get all the hardware that you need for  a single room from one manufacturer.  It’s ok if the nickel in one room doesn’t exactly match the nickel in another room.  It only looks mismatched if the different nickel finishes  are right next to each other in the same room.
My home was built in 1940 and the kitchen cabinet hinges and pulls are the hammered black ones. I want to replace same pulls with chrome or polished chrome but cannot find the offset hinges or pulls to fit the holes. I really do not want to have to fill the holes to get another kind. Where can I find these? Have seen them in the past but now I cannot find them. Where should I look?

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.

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.

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.

Interior Door knobs and levers can range from less than $20 to $200.  You can find cabinet knobs and pulls from less than $2 each to more than $20 each.     Solid knobs and pulls are better quality than hollow hardware.  Although you generally get what you pay for with hardware, if your budget is tighter, you might want to choose less expensive cabinet hardware since it’s relatively easy for homeowners to trade it out for better quality hardware in the future.

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.
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
What kind of new hardware should you install in your updated kitchen? There are so many choices out there it can be overwhelming. Knobs or Pulls? Nickel or Brass? Will you be able to see the holes from the old hardware? Because I am being asked these questions on a daily basis I’ve put together a general guide to updating hardware and have included some of my favorites to share with you.
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