Picking the perfect cabinets for a project is hard enough, but the effort it takes to research, test and finally decide on the best piece of outward-facing cabinet hardware calls for even further inspection. While the main material for the cabinet door heavily contributes to a kitchen’s character, its hardware serves to accentuate that character further still. A key detail within one of the most important spaces of a residence, cabinet hardware sits squarely at the intersection of form and function, and making the right choice here can elevate the design of the entire kitchen.
Pre-drilled holes: replacing the handles on cabinets comes with a few more limitations than selecting completely new cabinetry – namely that the holes might be pre-drilled. You must make sure the center measurements of the existing holes match the spacing of the new pieces. Standard hole center measurements for pulls are 96 mm, 128 mm, 160 mm, 192 mm. When choosing the size of the hardware, keep in mind the scale in relation to the size of your cabinets. Regarding door handles, there is a good chance you may need to increase the size of the bore hole in your door as well. The old standard size was 2-1/8” diameter, and the new standard size is 2-3/8” or 2-3/4”. Tutorials The Quick Door Hanger can help you learn how to do this with a boring bit.
This was a great project! I did something similar but much lazier. After installing beautiful brushed-nickel handles to dozens of drawers & cupboards, I noticed that the 30 year old hinges were dark brown and ornate (against white cabinets). Yuck ... So I opened each cabinet & used painter's tape to block off a rectangular area around each hinge. They weren't dirty, so I just painted inside the whole rectangle with silver paint. The result is sleeker and more modern, and nobody would ever notice unless they were really close. Love it!
Your kitchen is looking beautiful. White paint is a miracle worker…so are you. I have an old 1970’s GE oven that looks just like yours. It’s a great oven and still works perfectly. I had the door, which was originally light brown, re-enameled years ago when I painted my kitchen white. It’s held up beautifully. I just wish I had two ovens like yours. Sure would come in handy for holiday cooking.

2) I also note that it does not take long before doors start to sag & the gaps become irregular. Not hard to fix just lie on your back, take all doors off, then tighten everything & replace – then take a cold shower you will need it! It seems the cup sections remain well fixed but the fixing plates on the inside of the cupboard sides just work loose. This ought not to happen but it does & with all the concealed overlay hinges I have seen. Is there an answer? I suspect the hinges are under rated, 2 hinges for doors that typically are nearly 10Lbs may be the reason. Can you please comment.
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.
Okay, I haven’t even finished reading this post, but I just have to comment. First of all, I think you are awesome. I have been wanting all kinds of things done to my house, and my husband is pretty capable, but very busy, and far less interested in house things than I am. I just look at the things you do, and I think how I can certainly learn to tackle more of the things that I want to. Second, a post like this is so helpful. I know it takes time to write and I just appreciate the education so much. So, thank you so much for being awesome, and also giving awesome-ness lessons… 🙂
Thanks, Marty! You have a joyous looking kitchen/dining room – so beautiful! LOVE it! Not at all stiff and cookie-cutter, but with real individual style! An inspiration today. Your timing is perfect. We have our IKEA kitchen done, except for countertops and backsplash tiling. (We’ve been using Masonite board for a makeshift countertop. Not too bad.) The whole look of our open kitchen/dining room is pleasant, at this point, but bland. Pale minty-grass green walls, blonde (birch) cabinets, warm medium oak floors. Now for putting in some details! YAY! The scary part: Now what? Yikes!! Marty to the rescue with a reassuring article. THANKS! Here we go……
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.
Installing new Knobs and Pulls are a super easy way to update your kitchen cabinets without spending a fortune. Our kitchen cabinets didn’t even have knobs and pulls installed so I was happy to finally add new hardware. If you’re looking for an easy update for your kitchen by getting new kitchen hardware, you will like my favorite new go-to place for hardware, D. Lawless Hardware.

If you’re like me and love hardware (I think of it as jewelry for the house) and want your pulls and knobs to make a statement, instead of blend into background, you’ll want to choose hardware that contrasts with your cabinets, drawers and doors.  Consider using darker finishes like black or oil rubbed bronze on white or light colored cabinets and doors.  
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. 
Once you’ve worked out which types of hardware are comfortable to use, it’ll be time to start thinking about shapes in relation to the shape of your cabinetry. In general, knob and pull styles should be matched to kitchen cabinet styles. What this means is if you have selected a plain cabinet style, for example, shaker or flat, ultra-modern doors, then you’ll want square, plain hardware to match — perhaps something like Emtek’s brass bar knob or a similar style. Recessed panel doors or doors with curving and intricate trim will often do well with more ornate hardware styles.
If your old fridge still runs like a champ on the inside but it’s starting to look like a but run-down and haggard on the outside, spruce it up with a DIY custom cover! Appliance covers are fastened directly to the outside of your appliance, masking their appearance on the outside and making them blend in with your kitchen cabinetry. You can take materials like bead board paneling, wallpaper, wood from old pallets or even mismatched wood scraps from barns to create an interesting look for your old appliance.
And why shouldn’t we love them? Not only are they sturdy and virtually maintenance-free, but each stone tells a story that is uniquely independent of humankind. That stone making up your cabinet knob was formed in the hot belly of our planet, hardened to a crust on its exterior and then one day miraculously plucked up by a passing human and turned into a part of your daily life.

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.


If you’re going for wood paneling, the process is pretty simple. Fasten the pieces together and cut to the size of your appliance. Then, remove the handles from your appliance and glue the panels onto the front using a hot glue gun. You can either paint the wood and the sides of your appliance to match your cabinets, or you can leave it as is for a natural unfinished feel. Complete the look by adding new appliance pulls to match the rest of your kitchen hardware. Appliance covers can be added to just about any kitchen appliance that has a door like a refrigerator and dishwasher.
I had already chosen polished nickel hardware (which I will share more about soon), so my hinges needed to coordinate.  I decided to use Rub n Buff to give them a much-needed update.  If you don’t know, Rub n Buff is a fantastic metallic paste used to give almost anything a metal finish.  I chose it because it is so easy to use and gives a lasting finish.
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.
What if you can’t decide on kitchen hardware? It’s OK to mix and match! Pick patterns and finishes that complement each other and install them in a repeating pattern for a look that is custom to your style. It’s easy to switch up this look as you please. However, this might not impress a potential homebuyer if you choose to sell in the future. Consider updating to more traditional cabinet hardware when it comes time to sell.
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.
This step will work best with raised panel or recessed panel cabinets, my cabinets are raised panel. OK, so I have a little confession to make, I outsourced this step, my routering skills are not top notch and I wanted the kitchen to look good, not like something put together by Dr. Frankenstein. The good news is it was very inexpensive and I was able to get 10 little doors done for less than the cost of a new upper cabinet. If you’re an ace with the router then you know exactly what to do, so have at it!

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.


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.

If you’re looking for a more contemporary approach, tubular bars seem to be a favorite of the future. The current design couples beautifully with darker finishes and larger tiles. Tubular bars can also be used horizontally or vertically, and can be as long or short as you like. Go with a shorter bar for a more modest appeal, or make a statement with longer ones.
3. Know when to use knobs over pulls. In traditional and country kitchens, putting a knob on a cabinet is not uncommon. In fact, with many cabinets, knobs may a better option than pulls. How do you know the difference? When kitchen cabinets are ornate or finely detailed, go with a knob rather than a pull. A knob is smaller and simpler and doesn’t take attention away from the design of the cabinets.
I'm shocked on how little power they want in the kitchen. One outlet on the island? Wait until the kids want to plug a phone or lap top in or they are stinging an extension cord across it to use a blender on the other end. The Refridge/stove/freezer wall sounds a bit scary also. Stove next to a fridge is almost always a no no. You need countertop on both sides of the stove, period.
Order samples, and get a few different types of styles and sizes to decide what will work best for your cabinet doors. It’s helpful to shop with a sample of your cabinet door. Ask yourself: Does my hand keeps sliding on the grip? Is it difficult to pull or get a grasp on it? Does it get greasy from my fingertips? Would I rather have a pull near the fridge but a knob near the stove? You will use this item a ton of times everyday, and you want to feel comfortable with your choice. There’s nothing worse than a cute knob that’s hard to pull open everyday.
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