Getting the right finish for your kitchen cabinets can make the difference between a good and a great space. The right finish offsets other design choices in your kitchen. For example, you can match your appliances to your hardware finish to create a sophisticated, coordinated look. Alternatively, you can use your kitchen cabinet hardware finishes to show off your fun-loving personality, choosing a bright metal or unique design.
5. Be aware of the appliances and fixtures in the kitchen. Pulls and knobs are not the only hardware in your kitchen. Take into account the finish on appliances, light fixtures, and your sink and faucet. While mixing metal finishes is trendy right now in kitchen design, be sure not to overdo it. If the colors clash, it could disrupt the cohesiveness of your kitchen and take away from the beauty of your new cabinets.
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.
Once you know whether you want cabinet handles or cabinet knobs and which sort of design you want, you’ll want to choose a material and finish. Cabinet pulls and handles come in a variety of materials, from inexpensive plastic to high-end polished brass. As a general rule, nickel or stainless steel cabinet handles usually give a more modern, sophisticated look to a kitchen, whereas bronze and brass handles often project an antique or rustic look. Most materials come in different finishes, from glossy polishes to dark antique finishes, so you’re sure to be able to find something that matches your kitchen decor.
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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.
For those considering putting their home on the market soon, it’s likely your looking at what parts of your home to freshen up to impress potential buyers. Changing your cabinet hardware to a traditional option can make a huge difference. Small, ridged handles in a dark finish or square knobs is a cabinet hardware pick that will stand the test of time.
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.
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.
Sometimes brass finishes can be difficult to match since there are so many types (unlacquered, satin, antique, polished, etc.). Generally, you just have to order samples to see everything together. However, I will say that you should stay away from polished brass - it gives a very 80s vibe! Unlacquered brass starts shiny, but has a richer tone that gives a beautiful patina over time. For a more modern brass look, stick with the satin finishes!
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.