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.
Standard hardware is a breeze to install. All you need is a Phillips-Head screwdriver. Simply replace standard screws into the pre-cut holes.If the holes are pre-drilled on your cabinet drawers and you now want to place a single hole, measure the distance between the two holes and center. If your cabinet doesn’t currently have holes or hardware, knowing where to place the different size knobs on each cabinet can be tricky. If there are no holes, and you’re on your own when drilling into the corner of the cabinet door give yourself 2 1/2 to 3″ of space in the corner before you drill in a hole.
Knobs only: The benefit of cabinet knobs is that they are typically less expensive than bar and T-pulls, and they only require one hole to be drilled into your cabinetry. A single cabinet knob can be installed on cabinet doors, but you may want to consider placing two knobs on larger drawers. Cabinet drawers are heavier than doors, therefore you may need that extra knob for ease of use. The minimalistic style of using knobs only for your cabinetry can give a very appealing look to your new kitchen.
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… 🙂

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.
One of the first reccomendations I give on choosing hardware, is on wide drawers. Go with a single larger handle especially in the kitchen. The kitchen is a busy area and users find themselves with something in their hand when they go to open a drawer with the free hand. If there are 2 pulls on a drawer, just using one will end up tweaking the drawer in the long run. When I begin to look for a hardware collection always look at the range of sizes in that collection. I like the rule of the larger the drawer the larger the handle... or the more weight the drawer will hold the wider the stance should be that the handle provides.

It’s definitely possible to change out the hinges without redoing the cabinets – you would just have to make sure that the holes on the frames where the old hinges were, are able to be filled and touched up so that they’re not obvious. I’m not sure of the cost, but hinges aren’t cheap, and I definitely recommend using a carpenter to do the work. Hinges can be maddening!
New cabinet door hinges are costly, and you can save a substantial amount of money by repainting old hinges yourself. The preparation work will be the most time-consuming part of the process, but skipping this step could cause you more work later. Don't waste time using all-purpose primer; use a rust-inhibiting metal primer to ensure that the paint adheres. A top-quality paint will give the hinges a professional-looking finish.
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.
Some kitchen designs are beginning to display personality through eclectic and artistic approaches to kitchen hardware. Recent trends include nautical-themed rope drawer pulls and door handles, painted designs, numerals, insignias or monograms on drawer pulls. And pulls and handles made from antique buttons, glass or crystal will create a truly unique look that's sure to catch the eye and spark conversation.

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.


Your kitchen is coming along really well, and all that lovely light will be an absolute joy! Sadly, I have just a word of warning about the handles though. We had these in our kitchen, and they proved quite annoying. They’d catch on your clothing, especially blouses/shirts. That end of the front of button-through blouses, where the seam folds back would always get hooked onto the end of the handles! And pockets, too would get caught. This invariably ended up with torn clothing, as you continued to move away, not realising you’d been ‘caught’. We also live near the sea, and ours rusted over a few years, although that may be just an inferior brand. I lived with ours for about 4 years, then changed them all. We had them in our bathrooms, too, and they’ve all been changed as they were such a pain! I can see you love them, so don’t want to burst your bubble, but just thought I’d let you know. :(
Custom kitchen cabinetry doesn’t come cheap, but if you’re planning to stay put in your home for a long while, it’s worth spending to get exactly what you want, including the built-ins that enable you to live clutter-free. At the other end of the spectrum, we show you ways to modify Ikea kitchen components for a custom look (we’ve found almost a dozen new companies that offer doors to pair with Ikea’s cabinets).
It’s important to choose hardware that will complement the rest of your kitchen décor and accentuate its worthy features. Generally, most people want their cabinet and drawer hardware to coordinate with the handles on their appliances. The colors should work well together, and the finishes shouldn’t clash. Drastically different shapes can also make your kitchen feel cluttered. You should use functionality and your personal preference to approach choosing knobs vs. pulls, but there are a few general guidelines to follow that correlate with your style of cabinets.
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!
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.
For customers who have homes near the ocean, Cliffside recommends choosing non-metal items such as marble or wood for your projects. Salt air acts as an abrasive, and quickly erodes the lacquer coating. If you absolutely need (or desire) metal hardware, Cliffside recommends solid stainless steel, or certain solid brass finishes such as Black, Polished Brass, or Polished Chrome. Note that, even in optimum indoor conditions, no Cliffside finish has a lifetime guarantee under any circumstances.
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? 
Cabinetmaker Steve Roca replies: Whether you're hanging new doors, as I'm doing here for a hallway cabinet, or swapping out old hinges, concealed or Euro-style hinges are a dream to install. Unlike the butt or knife hinges often used in kitchen cabinets, they can be adjusted along three axes with the turn of a screwdriver, so you can easily fine-tune the door's fit.
If you’re looking for a style that’s hot right now, look no further than modern cabinet hardware. This look features sleek, straight handles in horizontal lines, usually in a stainless steel or chrome finish. The hardware is skinny and will likely stand out against the color of your cabinetry. Another option is a rounded, long and vertical handle in the same finish.
You may also have seen cabinets that are so modern and minimalist that they have no knobs or pulls whatsoever—and they look like they’re impossible to open! The trick is, in fact, a mechanism with a spring located on the inside of the cabinet. When you push on the corner of a cabinet, you compress and then release the spring, which in turn pops the cabinet open. In order to close the cabinet, you simply push it closed until you hear the little "click" that means the spring is back in its locked position.
The size of your cabinets will influence the size of your knobs. If your cabinets are smaller in scale you’ll want to opt for hardware that is likewise, such as minimal-scale circular knobs. Longer hardware is necessary when you have extra long cabinet doors—or can be used if you want to make a more of dramatic statement. Most cabinet doors are 24”, so you want a knob about 2”-3” size knob. For a larger cabinet door you can size up to 3½” or 4”. For a cabinet door under 20”, source hardware that’s closer to 1” to 2” size in diameter or length.
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