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.

Now comes the fun part, place the point of the forstner bit in the center hole you marked earlier and start drilling, drill the holes ½” deep, that’s the thickness of the bit. The instructions on the back of the kit say “do not drill completely through the door,” Ummm, OK… You’ll want to do this twice on every door, 36” or 42” doors may need 3 hinges each. Let’s backtrack a little here, when you remove the doors mark them and the cabinet box so you’ll know where they go back. Now, do that over and over and over again until all your doors are finished.

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.
Sandra, thank you so much for this awesome post! I’m remodeling my 40 yr old kitchen, and wanted to get rid of the visible old fashioned hinges that show! I had absolutely no clue as to what type of cabinets I have until I read your post! I completely understand now, and will be purchasing the “concealed surface mount overlay hinges for face frame cabinets” I know the 3 holes on the outside will be visible when I change out the hinges, so I’ll just fill them in with wood filler and sand before repainting. You’re so smart, informative and detail oriented just like me! Thank you again so much for this wonderful lesson on cabinets and hinges! I’m subscribing to your website or blog or whatever you have!
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.
Mona Culberson began working on the assembly line at a large manufacturing company in 1983, where she worked her way up into several positions of business responsibility. In 2005, she began a career in roofing, interior design and remodeling. She works daily as a professional painter/home remodeler/handywoman while lending her husband's roofing business a helping hand in her spare time.
Hello Mr. TretheweyMy name is terry cotto, when we built our beautiful home 16 years ago, in Sierra Madre Ca I had my claw tub installed,( my child hood remembrance) It appears, that the claw legs of the tub were not installed properly, and one leg fell off , tub was slightly tipping to the right. I had a handyman come over and reinstall the claw legs, tighten so this would not happen again. The other day, while I was bathing I noticed the seal of the drain on the outside rubber was not laying properly, plus it was leaking, ( I think this was due to the leg falling off and unbalancing the ring. Well, now I really don't know what to do about that. I believe the thing to do is remove the cover off the top drain , ok, but than what do I have to move the claw tub, impossible. How do I replace the rubber of the outside of the top drain pipe, it appears to be brittle. (Not good)Please answer my questions, and I will hire the handy man again to help me. Thank you. I have learned so much from T.O.H weekly shows, I am a loyal fan at 75. I tell my 80 year old husband, you need to watch these shows with me, and we can do it ourselves, the right way. God Bless you all for the great job your doing, I need to know how to do it right, so it doesn't happen again. a picture would be good, I can see exactly how its done?
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.
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.

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!
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.
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!
Handles are sold by the center to center measurement(1). Center to center can be spelled out or the universally known “C/C” could be used. Knobs are sold by the diameter(4) of the knob.The measurement could be in inches or millimeters (MM) CabinetParts has both measurements listed for your convenience. (Tip: to convert millimeters to inches use this formula: MM ÷ 25.4)Here is a diagram showing how these are measured:The overall length(2) and the projection(3) are offered when they are available from the manufacturer.Choosing a finish is going to be entirely up to you. Maybe your cabinets need a satin nickel look for a more modern look or maybe you are in the mood for flat black finished hardware for a more southwestern feel, or maybe weathered copper is your fancy. There are many, many choices for finish to make your kitchen look like a million bucks.The type of handle or knob will depend on what you like or maybe the motif of the rest of the room or house. There are modern, eclectic, or traditional looks and more.Most collections will have a pull and a knob that “match” so you can have the same finish throughout the room. You do not always have to choose pieces from the same collection, just remember to always choose the finish from the same manufacturer. Even though different manufacturers may have finishes that have the same name, they will often vary in the color and shade.These choices will be among the most important of the entire project. A knob and pull will put the finishing touch on the project and be one of the first things people will notice.Sometimes the hardware is noticed before the color or type of cabinet or door.Here is a listing of all of the manufacturers CabinetParts.com offers: Top Konbs, Amerock, Schaub and Co, Atlas Homewares, Notting Hill, Berenson, Jeffrey Alexander, Century Hardware, Hickory Hardware, Laurey Hardware, Liberty Hardware, Elements, Stone Mill Hardware, Hafele, R. Christensen, MNG Hardware, Acorn Mfg.Some of the companies listed above also offer Bath Hardware and Decorative Home Accents that may help complete a project.
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.
My home was built in 1940 and the kitchen cabinet hinges and pulls are the hammered black ones. I want to replace same pulls with chrome or polished chrome but cannot find the offset hinges or pulls to fit the holes. I really do not want to have to fill the holes to get another kind. Where can I find these? Have seen them in the past but now I cannot find them. Where should I look?
Most knobs and pulls are only a few dollars apiece but when you consider the sheer number that you’ll need, those costs add up fast. For each standard lower cabinet with two doors and one drawer, you’ll need three pieces of hardware — and two more knobs or pulls for the matching upper cabinet doors. With that in mind, here are a couple of factors to consider:

What is the existing decor of your kitchen or bathroom? For instance, if your kitchen has a white, Scandinavian minimalist aesthetic, you should try matching your hardware with it — in that case, perhaps something slender, jet-black and low-profile. Mismatching styles can look “off” and can create a confused sense of the room’s personality. However, it can also be done well. We’ll go into more depth on this below.

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.

What is the existing decor of your kitchen or bathroom? For instance, if your kitchen has a white, Scandinavian minimalist aesthetic, you should try matching your hardware with it — in that case, perhaps something slender, jet-black and low-profile. Mismatching styles can look “off” and can create a confused sense of the room’s personality. However, it can also be done well. We’ll go into more depth on this below.
Most of your pulls and knobs, though, will go on standard sized cabinetry, which will be 3 feet wide or less.   The most common pull sizes for standard cabinetry are 3”,  4”, or 96mm and 128mm, again measured from the center of one screw hole to the center of the other. But many of today’s pulls tend to be on even larger than 4 inches.  Standard knob sizes are less than 1.5 inches in diameter.

Fantastic, right?  Now, think about how much busier the cabinets would look if they still had the exposed hinges.  Granted, with polished chrome hardware, it would minimize the hinge effect, but suppose you like oil rubbed bronze hardware?  Exposed hinges of that variety would really stand out against the clean white cabinets.  Having hidden hinges gives you the freedom to change hardware on a whim.

“People come in and say they have a ‘standard’ door,” says Renee Genereux of the Brandino Brass team. “But there is no such thing as standard. You need to know your door thickness, how does it swing, what’s the width, what kind of holes do you have.” Avoid multiple visits to the hardware store because you don’t have all of the information and measurements you need. “We give them all of the questions to answer and then they come back with all of it.” Call Brandino Brass ahead of time to ask what you need to know for your visit or check out the sheet below as handy guideline for getting to know your doors and cabinets better.


Once you choose the style of hardware you want, it becomes easier to choose the right finish. There is a wide variety of cabinet hardware finishes: tarnished, polished, brushed, burnished, oil-rubbed, satin, antique or matte -- just to name a few. Stainless steel handles in a highly polished finish look great in a contemporary kitchen. Pewter and brass look more at home in a traditional setting. Bronze will patina over time, mature in appearance, and will make a bold statement in a kitchen. A black finish is dramatic on a light colored cabinet. Whatever you choose, just make sure the finish on your cabinet hardware complements the overall decor of your kitchen.
My go-to shop for all of my hardware needs is D.Lawless Hardware – I’ve been using hardware from there for a while now and it’s always the best quality at the lowest prices. They sell so many other awesome products too. Everything from knobs and pulls, drawer slides and systems, to wood appliques, trim, DIY, craft supplies, outlet covers, and so much more! 
For knobs on a cabinet with a stile, like Shaker-style cabinets, allow the stile to be a guide for hanging the knob. If the knob is too large to comfortably fit in the corner where the two stiles meet, then hang the knob centered on the vertical stile, with the bottom edge of the knob aligned with the top of the intersecting horizontal stile. (Or the top of the knob aligned with the bottom of the stile, for lower cabinets). The knobs in this kitchen from Ivory Lane are a good example.
These industrial-feeling pulls are a blend of colonial and Arts and Crafts, and come in a wide variety of finishes. While these black ones are a good choice with the black appliances and lighting, don’t feel your knobs must match all the finishes in your kitchen; it’s OK to mix things up. Just don’t mix the knobs and hinges on the same door; those definitely should be coordinated so one doesn’t detract from the other.
We also did that. Our handles are those stainless steel round bars. Loved the look with our white slab door/drawer fronts! Turned out there was big problem with sides of the horizontal drawer pulls snagging pants pockets. So, replaced those with centered flush type steel rectangular pulls that we mounted on the drawers after using router to make mortise holes No more snagging pockets!
Also, experiment with different shapes. Things like knobs, handles, toilet paper holders, towel racks and hinges have a lot of expressive power. Beyond color, though, you should take advantage of their different shapes to accentuate certain features in a room. Pay attention to details like the width of drawers and the height of cabinet doors, and experiment with different shapes to complement them.
There are also a couple of overlay sizes, most commonly  1 1/4″ and 1/2″. Overlay refers to the distance your door overlaps your opening. Mine didn’t measure 1 1/4″ or 1/2″, and this project still worked with my doors. If you’re looking for information on how to measure your overlay, this is not the post for you because I haven’t the faintest idea. Back to Google you go! (Sorry!)
Below and above the sink can be two different color schemes. Don’t worry, you can mix and match more than you might think and still obey the laws of symmetry. It can provide a sunny, uplifting splash to have a lighter color above the level of the countertops, such as a warm brass or gold. Particularly with items like faucets and sconces, a lighter color around eye level will create a happy glow.
Look to the other elements of your kitchen to help you determine the right style for your kitchen hardware. You’ll notice that your cabinets, countertop edges, and lighting fixtures have either square or curved lines. Choose hardware that matches those lines. Curved hardware tends to be more traditional, while square hardware styles are often more contemporary.
Based on this, you can then figure out the relationship between your cabinet doors and the frame or exposed edge of the cabinet—do the doors cover part of the frame or edge, or are they inset so that you can see that frame? Depending on whether it’s a single cabinet door or a double cabinet door, the frame or edge might be covered by one or two cabinet doors. 
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.
If you think about it, you open your cabinet doors multiple times a day. Over a few years, that can take a toll on those hinges holding your doors in place. Replacing them with hinges that are made from a quality material like solid brass will not only help your cabinet doors function better, but it will make them look better, too! Choose a hinge color that matches the other hardware in your kitchen for a unified look and feel. For easy installation, look for hinges that are adjustable so you can use the same hinges to fit multiple sized doors and cabinets. This small change will make your cabinets look updated and keep them functioning properly for years to come.
Hi Lonnice – I am so happy you found me again. :-) Did you subscribe and then stop getting my posts in your email? I would like to understand what happened if this is the case. Did you need to subscribe again? I did make a few tweaks about 6 months ago to my subscriber list and would like to pinpoint the problem to why you stopped getting the emails in the first place. Thanks for reading :-)
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