Shaker cabinets offer a simple and traditional design. Versatility is a large part of what makes them so timeless. Ultimately, you achieve the vibe you’re going for through the finishing touches, one of those being the hardware you choose. We’ve selected some of the top hardware styles for shaker cabinets, and what looks they will bring to your kitchen.

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!


Kitchen knobs, pulls, and hinges have come a long way from the traditional styles that have been available over the years. No longer are homeowners limited to plain, simple, and functional. Instead, functional and pretty can now go hand in hand. Today’s styles include finishes in antique copper, iron, nickel, polished chrome, aged bronze, polished brass, glass, stainless steel, and antique brass. Additionally, a variety of knobs, handles, and pulls are available in ceramic styles.

Mid-century modern design grew in popularity from the 1940s to the 1970s. During this time period, there was increased interest in nuclear physics, molecular chemistry, and science fiction which inspired the unique shapes seen in everything from furniture and lighting to homes and office buildings. Mid-century modern style combines vintage elements with sleek and timeless … Continued
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.
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.
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.
Hidden hinges, or European (Euro) hinges as they’re called, aren’t difficult to install, and were part of my mini kitchen update. My kitchen is small, and in order to gain storage space, I switched the 30″ upper cabinets to 42″ ones, but kept some of the existing base cabinets. The very shiny, visible hinges on the base cabinets were a dead giveaway as to which cabinets were the moldy oldies. Here are the originals.
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.
Diane, this is so exciting! I can relate as I had a makeover much like yours ( from 70’s brown cabinets to white painted, but pulls are also painted….black.) that was 5 years ago and we are now in the process of making over a back bedroom into a walk-in closet and part of a bathroom/vanity area. I feel as though I should have taken pictures of the progress and posted blogs! I cannot wait for the finished product. I KNOW you must be feeling the same way about the beautiful kitchen you are creating…
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Although kitchen cabinet knobs are small objects, keep in mind that one on each cupboard door creates an overall design impact. Further impact can be created by choosing cabinet knobs that contrast in color and texture with the cabinets. If less impact is desired, cabinet knobs may be made of the same material and in the same color as the kitchen cabinets. The most important thing to remember when choosing cabinet knobs to coordinate with cabinets is to keep the kitchen’s overall tone in mind, whether it’s country, elegant, whimsical or traditional.
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.
You don’t need to match your cabinet hardware finish to the rest of your kitchen. This is one area you can add a little bling. For example, we always recommend chrome faucets because chrome is the most durable (and in our experience, although popular, brushed nickel looks dingy and fingerprints are hard to remove), but consider brushed nickel or champagne gold for your cabinet hardware for a nice juxtaposition of metals in your kitchen 

You probably noticed from the after photo that I didn’t just replace the hinges and add glass, oh no, I went big with this transformation. I replaced the hinges, added glass to the upper, upper cabinets, removed the wood valances, closed in a window and added open shelving (super simple), added upper and under cabinet lighting, new counter tops, new back splash and new appliances.  But I did all that with the original cabinets and they no longer look tired, worn out or dated. Now if I could just find something to renovate my tired, worn out, dated self…
And starting to play with my new HVLP turbine spray system.  (Whenever I say HVLP turbine, I think of the movie “A Christmas Story” and how Ralphie describes his Red Ryder BB gun – “an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle.”  I think I’m equally enamored with my new gun, even if it doesn’t have a compass and a stock. 😉
Ceramic knobs bring such charm to your kitchen. They’re reminiscent of a sweet country cottage, or an old world farm house. It’s not hard to imagine the scent of a freshly baked pie or loaf of bread cooling in the window. Ceramic knobs pair quite nicely with natural wood finishes and glass hutch cabinets. Wether you choose plain white or a funky pattern, ceramic knobs give your kitchen a homey flair.
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 🙂
Prior to making the purchase of your new cabinet hardware, take some careful measurements of the existing hardware. Write down sizes, as well as the spacing of the screws. This should eliminate the need to drill new holes. Accurate measurements are essential to avoid additional work or the need to return and exchange your hardware purchase. In fact, it is a good idea to bring some of your old hardware with you for size comparison purposes, unless you are shopping online for your hardware. In that case, simply have the hardware next to you.
In line with our new content direction, Architizer is highlighting a different building-product and how to specify it. This week’s topic is Kitchen Cabinetry. If you’re looking for the perfect kitchen cabinetry for your next project, search for it on Architizer’s new network marketplace for building-products. Click here to see if you qualify. It’s free for architects.
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.
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.

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.
For easy access to below-counter drawers and cabinets with minimal aesthetic impact, hidden pulls can be a great option. They’re usually attached to the top edge of each door and designed as small slivers of metal that jut out of the flush portion. They are designed to be largely concealed by the work surface above, forming a subtle lip that does not deter from the material and design of the cabinetry itself.
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. :(
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