I am taking on more and more cabinet refresh projects (for hire), and still never tire of the transformations. My latest project is an oak, galley style kitchen, and I’m digging deeper into ideas to make these older kitchens look more modern. Paint is obviously a big hitter in terms of updating a kitchen, but let’s talk about something else that is equally powerful – cabinet hinges.
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.
Here are the three different kinds of kitchen cabinet doors that demonstrate the different overlays and hinge options. The first is similar to what I’m working on now – a framed cabinet with an overlay on the cabinet frame. The second is a framed cabinet where the doors are inset, flush with the cabinet frame. And the third is a frameless cabinet where hidden hinges are utilized.
For Shaker-style cabinets, look for hardware like small round knobs or hardware that feels organic to the craftsman style. I like the idea of brushed nickel or brass for this style of cabinetry. With modern fronts, choose hardware with a sleek and simple design, think matte black or stainless steel, or don’t be afraid to ignore hardware all together and have a custom groove built-in. When planning for a more traditional approach, push the boundaries in your hardware and look for more ornate knobs.
Modern cabinet door hinges are a critical part to any cabinet, and are also quite complex; there are about a dozen (if not more) different types of hinges, depending on whether you have face-frame cabinets or frameless cabinets. Face-frame cabinets include a frame made of 1-½" to 2" wide solid wood that attaches to the front edges of the cabinets. This type of cabinet construction is common in American-made cabinets, and hinges will then mount directly to this frame. However, if you have frameless cabinets—which are typically made in Europe, like IKEA cabinets—your cabinets are basically just a four-sided box with no frame around the front edges. In this case, the hinges will mount directly to the interior of the cabinet.
Hi Angie, I think that over time the rub n buff would rub off of the hardware from repeated touching. My hinges still look good two years later, but I can still see places where the finish is starting to rub off and the hinges are almost never touched. I do think that you could update your hardware with a good spray paint though. Just be sure to clean them thoroughly and use a spray primer followed by spray paint. I have update furniture hardware this way that is still going strong almost 10 years later. Good luck!
Concealed hinges can be mounted on the surface of the door or a pressed into a “cup” that is drilled into the door. These are often called “cup hinges”. The cup diameter is generally 35mm but that can vary as can the drill depth required to accept the hinge. Most concealed hinges have built in adjustability so you can slightly change the position of the door without relocating the hinge.
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.
Hopefully you drilled for the hinges in the same location on every door, if so, then this should be simple. You really just need to measure for the top hinge. I installed my top hinge 4” down from the top of the door, so I measured 3 ½” down from the inside top of the face frame (3 ½” + ½” overlay = 4”). This step is a team effort, one person to hold the door and another person to attach the hinge to the face frame.
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.
Robyn and Sam’s home in Toronto is an all-white, minimal lover’s dream. Intentionally kept simple and streamlined, it has just the essentials. Their kitchen is a great example of a minimal and modern space done right. It’s also a great blank canvas to play with to show you more examples of how just making one small change to your kitchen can make a huge difference!!
Finally, one of the more technical parts of cabinet hardware are the ball-bearing slides or tracks and latches that are used to open and close drawers and cabinets. Sliding tracks are what allow drawers to open and close smoothly, and using drawer slides that have soft-close ball bearings allow them to close slowly so that they don’t make much noise or rattle everything inside. Drawer slides are available in side-mount, center-mount, and undermount versions, depending on the amount of space you have between the drawer and the cabinet opening.
Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.
At one point I considered trying to update the cabinets with more modern hidden hinges, but after some research I realized that isn’t possible for all cabinet styles and can also be pretty costly. So instead, I started making a plan to update the older-style hinges we already had. They started out an aged brass finish. And not a beautiful antique brass, but more like brass that had been soaking up kitchen grease for 40 years. Not exactly what I wanted to use on my ‘new’ white cabinets.
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.
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.
Hardware can have a huge impact on the look and feel of your kitchen, which is why we often recommend replacing hardware as a quick upgrade for rental kitchens, or when you aren’t able to remodel. So when you’re planning a new kitchen, or a re-design, don’t let your hardware be an afterthought. Here are a few guidelines to help you select the right hardware for your kitchen.
When choosing your new cabinet color, the options are limitless! White is a popular choice for cabinet colors because it goes with just about everything and will lighten up your kitchen. If the idea of having a kitchen that stands out is your thing, however, then pastels like sage green and light robin’s egg blue will give your kitchen a rustic feel with a subtle pop of color. Additionally, modern colors like bright red and deep gray are bold choices that will certainly have your kitchen making a statement in your home.
The cons are a few: 1. MDF is heavy in relation to wood or plywood. 2. MDF does not accept screws very well. You must use coarse thread screws and always pre-drill. Apply the hinge screws by using a hand-held screwdriver instead of a screw gun. If you don't, they can strip the hole quickly. 3. Over time the screws will come lose just from opening and closing the doors (just go around every so often and tighten the screws). 4. If water gets into the doors, they will swell and they will need to be replaced so seal them well.
With each pass of the roller and swipe of my paint brush I am making my way around the kitchen. Going back to standard time has slowed me down since it gets dark around 5 o’clock now. I like to paint in daylight, using electrical lights casts too many shadows and I miss spots. It is also getting colder outside. I was painting in the garage, but the temps have to be above 50 to paint, so I brought my painting set-up inside.