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.
Pulling design from old pharmacies and soda fountains, latch hardware is that without a doubt a nostalgic throwback. Maybe not the most functional if you’re in a hurry, but handy if you’re looking for a little extra security from pets or children. Latches are another hardware type that can easily be mixed and matched, so maybe just keep them to the lesser used cabinets.
Dreamy DIY: Have you ever seen something that makes you want to break out the craft kit and get to down to business? Well these leather drawer pulls with brass rivets are so luxuriously handsome it makes us want to rip out and redo every single pull in the house. I can only imagine how delightful these will begin to look when worn with use — a little imperfection to balance and roughen up such a posh space.

Recessed Pulls mimic the utilitarian style of traditional office cabinetry. They’re built into the cabinet door and can be crafted from the same material to blend in or a contrasting material to highlight their presence. They’re also great for high-traffic kitchens because they don’t protrude from the doors, meaning there is little risk of them snagging on clothing.


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?
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!
However, much like the keys of the grand piano, hardware commands the proceedings in cabinetry. It is generally the only part of a cabinet we touch, and its hinges account for all of its moving parts. As it is our main method of interacting with the cabinet, its feel, sturdiness and functionality are going to play a large role in how we view the functionality of the kitchen.
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.

Flat-panel cabinets.Most often seen in modern or contemporary kitchens, flat-panel cabinets embrace minimal embellishment to focus on natural materials. Subtle hardware choices are best, such as stainless steel bar pulls. You often see long, extended versions placed on the door or drawer.If you prefer square edges, you can choose a flat bar pull. Recessed pulls offer a functional option that work especially well for high-traffic kitchens. If you’re aiming for a minimalist look to your kitchen, you might consider discreet tab pulls for your flat-style cabinets.


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!
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.

2. Keep finishes cohesive. You’ll find hardware in a range of finishes from brushed nickel to brass. While mixing and matching the hardware around your kitchen is fine, you should try to maintain the same finish and keep colors as close as possible. Sometimes you’re forced to buy hardware from more than one retailer, but when doing so make sure you keep finishes cohesive.
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.
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.

There is a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to crystal. Upon first glance, it looks like glass, but it is in fact of higher quality and clarity, and its chemical composition is markedly different. Contrary to what its name suggests, crystal is not crystalline on a molecular level — that is, its molecules are not arranged in a rigid, repeating structure.
A common choice is to use knobs for all drawers and pulls for all doors (or vice versa). The problem with knobs is they are harder to grip and fingernails tend to mar the cabinet door. It is much more comfortable to open a drawer using a pull, which allows the whole hand to grab instead of only your fingertips. We generally use pulls (no nobs whatsoever) in our kitchen designs.  

Wine Logic wine racks are built-in right underneath your kitchen cabinets, eliminating the need to take up any counter space with a freestanding wine rack. Wine Logic racks come with two to five separate slide out trays that each hold up to six bottles of wine. And the best part is, Wine Logic’s horizontal design stores wine in the best possible condition, keeping the corks wet and the wine untouched by air.
When you’re choosing cabinet hardware, think about the number of times you’ll touch these pieces every day. If your cabinet pulls look and feel good and function well, you’re sure to derive pleasure from them. Browse our narrowed-down choices, from modern cabinet pulls to traditional knobs. Simply replacing your cabinet knobs is the easiest (and cheapest) way to spiff up a kitchen. Get started here.
Wine Logic wine racks are built-in right underneath your kitchen cabinets, eliminating the need to take up any counter space with a freestanding wine rack. Wine Logic racks come with two to five separate slide out trays that each hold up to six bottles of wine. And the best part is, Wine Logic’s horizontal design stores wine in the best possible condition, keeping the corks wet and the wine untouched by air.
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!
The first thing you need to consider when looking for new cabinet hardware is the overall look you would like for your kitchen. There are literally thousands of drawer pulls and cabinet knobs to choose from, so you need a starting point. Many cabinet styles are easily adaptable to any style of knobs — modern, traditional or even funky. Spend some time gathering pictures of kitchens you like from home magazines to help you choose a style that suits your tastes.

Excellent post! I already knew about the different options, but it’s so nice to see it all compiled in one place. 🙂 Very handy! I love the look (or rather, lack of) of concealed hinges… but roughly $10 a pair makes me cringe. If I’ve got about 20 doors, I’m looking at $200–for HINGES! The visible hinges run about $3, for $60 total. 🙁 Hmm… debating.
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!
Dreamer, thinker, + lemon squeezer; you'll usually find me clutching a mug of coffee, glue gun, fandeck of paint colors, and a child at any given time. This mom of two (and wife to one) loves to share freshly squeezed ideas for home and family. Join the adventure as we learn most lemons can indeed become lemonade-- with generous amounts of sweetness, perspective, and love.

Finally, another popular way of opening cabinets without the use of traditional pulls or knobs is through cut-outs in the cabinetry. These are frequently found on custom cabinets where a minimalist look is desired, or where the budget is tight and saving on hardware is desirable. Cut-outs can come in a range of shapes, and are often designed to facilitate ease of opening. 
It may take some time for you to consider what effect you would like to create with your hardware on your kitchen cabinets. In fact, some styles, patterns, and finishes are so beautiful or unique, that they become the focal point in the kitchen and a topic of conversation. Many of the ceramic and glass styles are so cleverly finished that they look too pretty to simply be part of a kitchen cabinet.
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.
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.
The style of cabinet hardware you pick will depend a great deal on the style of your kitchen, and also on the kind of cabinets you choose. Traditionally styled cabinets with more intricate face profiles call for traditional hardware: Cabinets with more simply styled or completely flat faces look best with minimal, streamlined knobs and pulls. Some very modern cabinets don’t require hardware at all: Instead, they have grooves on the edges of the door, or open by push latches.

There is a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to crystal. Upon first glance, it looks like glass, but it is in fact of higher quality and clarity, and its chemical composition is markedly different. Contrary to what its name suggests, crystal is not crystalline on a molecular level — that is, its molecules are not arranged in a rigid, repeating structure.


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2. Keep finishes cohesive. You’ll find hardware in a range of finishes from brushed nickel to brass. While mixing and matching the hardware around your kitchen is fine, you should try to maintain the same finish and keep colors as close as possible. Sometimes you’re forced to buy hardware from more than one retailer, but when doing so make sure you keep finishes cohesive.
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.
Never underestimate the visual effectiveness of adding just a hint of metallic to a room. These sleek round knobs are a shiny brass, which would glint beautifully in all this kitchen’s natural light. The super-flat front and simple round shape complement the modern design of the other elements. And the brass hue actually echoes the natural wood tone of the stools, warming the room up visually.
There’s no hard and fast rule on how long bar pulls should be, so go with personal preference. However, most designers keep them at two-thirds to three-quarters the width of the drawer. Notice they’re even longer in this kitchen, yet the length works. A good idea is to purchase a few knobs and pulls, bring them home and try them out before replacing your entire kitchen’s hardware.

I can totally appreciate that.  You’ll notice that these cabinets are also flush with the cabinet frames, which makes the hinges a little less noticeable.  But sometimes, the hinge effect just isn’t quite as charming, and can be more distracting than anything.  A lot depends on what kind of cabinet overlay you’re dealing with and the aesthetic that you’re looking for in this sort of project. 
Dreamer, thinker, + lemon squeezer; you'll usually find me clutching a mug of coffee, glue gun, fandeck of paint colors, and a child at any given time. This mom of two (and wife to one) loves to share freshly squeezed ideas for home and family. Join the adventure as we learn most lemons can indeed become lemonade-- with generous amounts of sweetness, perspective, and love.

Welcome to Willow Lane Cabinetry — the #1 place to buy affordable, semi-custom cabinets online! Let us help you create the kitchen of your dreams with our 100% free kitchen design tool. We offer all wood, semi-custom cabinets, fully assembled and delivered for free. Plus all the accessories you need to complete your remodel. Visit our website to see our products today!
Cup pulls add a unique style to drawers by going beyond the basic drawer handle. Whether you’re looking for a way to add antique or rustic style to your kitchen or you want to add modern flair, cup pulls enhance any décor. Since cabinet pulls are used frequently each day, look for quality metal styles that are durable and built to last. Cup pulls also come in interesting shapes and designs like leaves and clamshells to give your kitchen a fun aesthetic.
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.
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.
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……
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
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