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.
Since most kitchen cabinets are not sold with hardware, it’s up to homeowners to decide which knobs and pulls to pair with their selection. This is not always the easiest decision, since there are so many unique styles and finishes to choose from. To help you on your search for the perfect hardware for your kitchen cabinets, here are some tips to follow.
Are your cabinets in good condition but old, worn out and dated looking (kind of like me!)? With just a few tweaks you can bring them into this century and get another 10 to 15 years of life out of them. It seems like back in the 70s and 80s kitchen cabinets were built on site and built to last! That’s the case with the kitchen I’m currently dealing with, the entire kitchen was site built, they made one long face frame for an 8’ bank of cabinets – picture all the face frames of your cabinets connected together and installed as one piece, that’s how this kitchen is. Anyway, I was happy with the layout, it’s pretty basic, so to save some money I decided to work with the existing cabinets by removing the valance, replacing the exposed hinges with concealed hinges and adding glass inserts to the upper, upper cabinets – you’ll see what I mean in a minute. If you have ever thought of updating your dated kitchen cabinets, you’ll definitely want to check out this article in all its splendor.
There’s no hard and fast rule on how long bar pulls should be, so go with personal preference. However, most designers keep them at two-thirds to three-quarters the width of the drawer. Notice they’re even longer in this kitchen, yet the length works. A good idea is to purchase a few knobs and pulls, bring them home and try them out before replacing your entire kitchen’s hardware.
Chrome, nickel and stainless steel finishes will never go out of style, but warm metallics offer a fresh, modern look. For a quick update, consider replacing your lighting, faucet or cabinet hardware with products in gleaming brass or bronze like the ones in this chic space. “The updated satin brass cabinet hardware is really striking against the simple shaker cabinets,” says designer Elizabeth Lawson.
When exploring kitchen cabinet hardware ideas, your first task should be to decide how closely aligned in terms of style you want your hardware and the cabinets themselves. For example, a traditional Shaker style cabinet can be complemented with simple, understated brushed metal hardware—or it can provide a blank canvas for all manner of creative approaches to door handles and drawer pulls. The choice is yours, and while it's true that sticking with a one-to-one approach with cabinets and hardware may save you time and simplify the design process, exploring other options may allow you to express more of your own design aesthetic in the kitchen.
At this point, you will have narrowed down your hardware choices to a specific style, type, size and finish. Next thing to incorporate is your budget. A good starting point is to count how many knobs and pulls you will need for your cabinetry and determine a price range that is comfortable for you. Many hardware manufacturers have multiple lines of varying quality and price, so be sure to find a manufacturer that uses high-quality materials. Buying cheap can seem like a good idea in the short run, but cheaper metals will degrade faster down the road and face a much higher risk of breaking or bending. Stainless steel hardware, for example, should be solid (not hollow) with a durable but even finish.
Hardware makes an enormous difference in the bones of the cabinetry and the style of the room.  If I was facing down an oak kitchen that I wanted to live with, in harmony, for a bit of time, here’s what I would do in one weekend:  Paint it a great color.  Clear the counters.  Lay down a great, eye-catching rug.  Change out the hardware.  Add some color (probably a big framed print and a huge plant in a nice planter).  That’s it. 
The clean, industrial look of silver produces a calm ambiance, which pairs perfectly with your white cabinets. Silver is also bright enough, where it also stands out on your cabinets and gives your kitchen that shiny and sterile feel. The majority of today’s appliances are stainless steel, so your stainless steel hardware will share that uniform look.

Try to establish some sense of visual symmetry. If you are going to mix styles, the secret to having it look great is to counterbalance the mixing and matching with a semblance of symmetry. For instance, make sure all your drawers have the same number and configuration of knobs. Perhaps all drawers of the same size should share the same knob, and smaller drawers can display a different type.
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.

Once you’ve selected your new handles and pulls, it’s time to remove all the old ones. Using a drill or screwdriver, slowly back the screws out, then gently pull the old hardware away from the door or drawer front, so as not to damage the finish. Keep the old screws and pulls/knobs together in a plastic baggy so it’s easy to donate or toss them depending on their condition. If you’re going to repaint your cabinet doors, do it now.

So here’s how this works. On the new cabinets I ordered, the center of the hinges were 4 1/2″ from the bottoms and the tops of the doors, so that’s the measurement I used for drilling on my old doors. The original hinges on the old cabinets were placed at about 3″ from the ends, so I didn’t have to worry about the old holes interfering with my new ones.


If you have a removable island or a butcher block in your kitchen, an easy way to make that extra piece look cohesive with the rest of your kitchen décor is by adding coordinating cup and cabinet pulls to drawers and doors. This addition will make your island look purposeful and blend it with the rest of your kitchen cabinets — even if the finish or countertop is different.
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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.


I have the exact hinge you mentioned under the caption “Then there are Overlay Hinges where you can see part of the hinge as well.” My problem is that on the 3 sets of doors we have that have no center stile, the doors are pushed too far toward center, therefore not enough space to close properly. Any suggestions other than taking down the doors and planing them? Hate that option on already completely finished doors. Great informative post.
Hidden hinges also come in a soft-close style if you’re one of those people who want the latest and greatest. (Is it really that bad to hear a door close?) My new cabinets came with soft close hinges that I personally could take or leave.  I still find myself trying to shut them all the way instead of letting them do their thing. You might not want soft-close hinges if you’re the type who likes to slam things when irritated. (Just a thought.)
Consider proportion, balance, aesthetics and function when deciding upon the size of a knob or pull for your kitchen cabinetry. A large cabinet door or drawer needs a larger piece of hardware, or maybe two, for proper functionality, but a smaller size knob or pull is appropriate for a smaller door or drawer. A good rule of thumb for traditional or transitional style pulls is that they should be about one-third of the length of the cabinet drawer. Drawers larger than eighteen inches wide may require more than one pull or knob. However, more contemporary designs call for longer pulls that are at least two-thirds of the length of the drawer or cabinet door. 
First, you’ll want to do a thorough count of all your doors and drawers to make sure you know exactly how many new pulls and knobs you’ll need. To streamline the project, match your new hardware’s spread to the distance between the existing screw holes (you may need a tape measure). Or you can just take one of the old pulls with you to the store to shop.

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.
Once you’ve selected your new handles and pulls, it’s time to remove all the old ones. Using a drill or screwdriver, slowly back the screws out, then gently pull the old hardware away from the door or drawer front, so as not to damage the finish. Keep the old screws and pulls/knobs together in a plastic baggy so it’s easy to donate or toss them depending on their condition. If you’re going to repaint your cabinet doors, do it now.
Though not as common as stainless steel or brass, pewter is a very traditional western metal to use in a kitchen. It has a long history dating back around a thousand years — the “Worshipful Company of Pewterers” was even formed in 14th-century England to regulate pewter quality. By the time it began making its way onto furniture in the 1700s, it was a centuries-old art.
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.
Sandra, I’m so glad that I came across your blog! You’ve given so much great information that I can use every day in my job doing kitchen cabinet sales. And then there’s the whole DIY part for me personally! I’m really hoping that you can answer my question, though. I have a customer who is refacing her cabinets. She has frameless cabinets and used to have exposed hinges. She wanted concealed hinges so we had the hinge holes drilled 1″ (center) from the edge. She has her new doors but when she hangs them, there’s a 1/4″ gap between the door and center stile, even after adjusting them. We were using full overlay hinges. Can you advise which type of overlay hinge to use and how to rectify the gap? Thanks so much!
Once you’ve selected your new handles and pulls, it’s time to remove all the old ones. Using a drill or screwdriver, slowly back the screws out, then gently pull the old hardware away from the door or drawer front, so as not to damage the finish. Keep the old screws and pulls/knobs together in a plastic baggy so it’s easy to donate or toss them depending on their condition. If you’re going to repaint your cabinet doors, do it now.
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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