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.

You know I have read so many blogs, articles, and posts about this. I have even emailed some hardware companies like Rockler. I have a hinge that I can’t figure them out, I wanted to upgrade them to something more readily available as 5/8 partial inset hinges are hard to find. Rockler suggested replacing the cabinet doors. I spent over seven months working on redoing my kitchen cabinets.


Knobs, handles and hinges may seem like insignificant details, but they can have a major impact on your decor. Give your cabinets a quick facelift by replacing outdated hardware. Stylish hardware can give older cabinets a new look while providing the finishing touch on new cabinets. Choose the perfect hardware for your decor by considering a few important elements.

There are a couple of ways to go about choosing the right color and finish. One school of thought advises you to choose based on the color and finish of the kitchen’s faucet. Given that most faucets are either silver or brass in color, this advice can be limiting, especially if you have your eye on stone knobs or another finish that is not common in faucet design.
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.

The next step was to decide whether to go with pulls, knobs, or a combination of the two– and also the size. THIS WILL SEND YOU TO THE MADHOUSE if you’re not careful. To make my decision easier, I perused my kitchen ideas board on Pinterest and realized the look I was going for was modern and symmetrical– and many of the modern kitchen used only pulls, not knobs. Hmmmm, this was interesting. Maybe it wasn’t so hard to choose?

Thank you so much for helping me understand more about the process to choose new kitchen cabinet hardware. We have been really into rustic looking kitchens lately, and I think that some antique decorative nails could really change the way it looks. Just as you mentioned, you can always change the look of your kitchen again if you do not like the way it looks after a couple of years. Thanks for posting!


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!)

Hi Diane, I am so darned impressed with the work you are doing on your kitchen cabinets. We have high end oak cabinets painted in a washed white finish and they need a refresher too. I am going to follow your lead and try and do them myself. I am a novice at this but, you give such excellent instructions that I feel I can do it, starting in January. I want our island to be a dark, almost blue/black finish and the other cupboards done in white. Love yours. I am going to do the counter tops with the paint (Carrara Marble) if I can find it in Canada. I think Home Depot will sell it. I have one big problem. When we originally had our kitchen done back in 1987, they put corrian edging around the edges and I want it taken off. Do you have any suggestions on what to put there to replace it? A friend suggested putting a wood molding there and just painting it too. I just don’t know if it would stand up. Help! Love your great ideas. Thanks so much, Peggy

Shaker style cabinets. The most common style of cabinet offers flexibility in design, and they work well with knobs or cup or bin pulls. Shakers are known for their simplicity and clean lines, so simple hardware is often used, such as round knobs.Traditional nickel or steel knobs or pulls are common, as well as vintage glass or ceramic knobs. Vintage pulls with exposed screws provide a classic touch or industrial feel to a new kitchen with shaker cabinets. Tubular bar pulls — which can be short or long and dramatic — modernize a traditional kitchen with shaker cabinets. Flat bar pulls offer a contemporary edge, while wire pulls keep your décor traditional. Arched and footed bar pulls offer a classic look on shaker style cabinets.

It’s easy to find interesting kitchen cabinet knobs for theme kitchens due to the wide selection available today. For example, there are colorful fish shaped ceramic knobs for tropical or beach themed kitchens and animal shaped cupboard pulls for a country kitchen theme. Gold colored cabinet knobs work in some kitchens although silver colored handles coordinate better with stainless steel sinks and appliances.


“We find it refreshing for people to purchase what they like and what feels good to them, not caring what the ‘Joneses’ have,” says Renee. The Brandino Brass team regularly works with professionals who have their own signature styles. “One architect in town may use the same small knob all over the house all in the same finish for continuity. Another one will use different styles and finishes in each individual room,” says Jessie Isom, Brandino Brass team member. “There is no right or wrong if you like it.”
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.
​If you want to use warm metal like matte brass or gold or copper in your house, but are hesitant because you’re afraid it might go out of style in the next few years, adding warm metal cabinet hardware is a great way to go.  If brass, gold and copper do go out of style in the next few years, most cabinet hardware is pretty simple to replace all by yourself.  If, however,  you decide on a warm metal faucets, door hinges or lighting fixtures,  many of us would have to hire a professional or handyman to replace those items.  But cabinet hardware can easily be switch out by almost anyone.  Just make sure you use standard sized hardware.
Thanks so much. Isn’t it crazy how expensive hardware can be. Concealed hinges generally have the advantage of more adjustability. That is more important with inset doors and overlay doors that meet in the center of the cabinet with no center style. If you have a simple 1/2″ overlay and a center style, they are so forgiving and don’t require precise fiddle factor installation! LOL There’s no need for the more expensive hinges.
You’ll also want to think about how visible your hinges will be—do you want them to be a major design feature and mounted directly to both the outside of the frame and the outside of the cabinet, known as a surface-mounted hinge? Or take a more minimalist design approach and have them virtually invisible from the outside when the cabinets are closed, known as a concealed hinge? Are you worried about the noise of cabinet doors closing, and think that soft-closing hinges are important? 
Love the drawer pulls and glass knobs. I love the look of glass knobs too! I am so impressed that you spray painted the oven doors? They look great. As for that wooden valance over the sink – I would 86 that in a heartbeat! Nothing says out of date faster than that thing. Wondering if you could cut the ornate part off and maybe paper or paint with your pop color? What about under counter task lighting. I have halogen which are nice but also get very hot. I have seen others with flush mount hardwired fluorescent lighting which work just fine and a lot less expensive.
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.
Love the drawer pulls and glass knobs. I love the look of glass knobs too! I am so impressed that you spray painted the oven doors? They look great. As for that wooden valance over the sink – I would 86 that in a heartbeat! Nothing says out of date faster than that thing. Wondering if you could cut the ornate part off and maybe paper or paint with your pop color? What about under counter task lighting. I have halogen which are nice but also get very hot. I have seen others with flush mount hardwired fluorescent lighting which work just fine and a lot less expensive.
The other option for changing kitchen cabinet knobs is to purchase new ones. The two main types of cabinet fixtures for kitchens are circular pulls and metal bars. The round pulls tend to be old-fashioned, while the metal bar handles are often more contemporary. Cabinet pulls can be made more modern by painting them metallic silver. Metal bar cabinet door handles are usually silver-colored and narrow; this style is often seen with darker wood toned cabinets.
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I love your site and your super helpful advice. We’re installing full overlay cabinets in our kitchen and we’re trying to select hinges for the upper cabinets — particularly the cupboard doors on the end which when closed is perpendicular to a wall. Since the door aren’t inset, I’m concerned we won’t be able to open the cupboard a full 90 degrees. Basically, the issue is how to solve the problem of the door swing? Are there any hinges that could solve this problem? I can send elevations if that helps. Thanks so much in advance!
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!!
While it is important to stay true to your personal style, you don’t want a lantern that is half the height of your door or an oversized mailbox beside a tiny cottage. So, take into account what you are working with as you choose the style that is most you! “I suggest they get painter’s tape and put it on the house in the dimensions of the fixture to get a sense of the size. You want it to be the correct proportion,” says Brandino Brass team member Megan Brasher, adding, “To get the feel for how it will affect your home’s curb appeal, not only do you need to look at it right next to the front door, but you also need to take a step back and get a view from the street.”
Swapping these items out is often easy, and Los Angeles-based designer Betsy Burnham says her clients are frequently surprised at the visual impact of something as simple as carefully chosen hardware. Last summer, she added door pulls made of rope tied in small nautical knots to the built-in cabinets at a California beach house, inexpensively adding a dash of personality to the space.
Since most kitchen cabinets are not sold with hardware, it’s up to homeowners to decide which knobs and pulls to pair with their selection. This is not always the easiest decision, since there are so many unique styles and finishes to choose from. To help you on your search for the perfect hardware for your kitchen cabinets, here are some tips to follow.
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!
I'm a wax girl. Wax always seems to work best for me and I'm ok with reapplying every 6 months or so. With that said, I cleaned them really good krud cutter. It's a great degreaser. Then sanded them first with 120 grit, then 180 grit, and finally 220 grit. Then cleaned them again with the vinegar/water mixture. I always have a spray bottle with the mix handy. Once dried, I primed and painted followed by waxing.
I did a little google search to see what color my oven (and sink and cooktop and bathroom) used to be. It was called Mexican sand. I also once had olive green washer, dryer, freezer and refrigerator. Oh my, we thought we were really stylin’ back in the good old 70’s. I cringe when I see a photo of myself in the fashion of the day too. I miss my youthful look, but not the styles.
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