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.

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!


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.
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!
Even if you have multiple light fixtures in your kitchen, don’t worry about finding new fixtures that match exactly. By varying the design slightly, each light fixture will stand out and create visual interest in your kitchen. However, when choosing one-off pieces, just be sure to stick with a theme for your lighting so it looks purposeful. In other words, if you’ve picked a rustic metal chandelier for over your dining table, choose something that is also rustic inspired to hang over your kitchen sink, like a simple pendant light, and keep that theme going with other lighting choices as well.
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.
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.
When it comes to a quick and easy update that makes a massive difference in the style of your kitchen, hardware ranks right at the top. It can be changed out in just a few hours, yet transforms the entire appearance and feeling of a space. Think of how the perfect necklace tops off a plain dress, or how a precisely kicked field goal can win the Superbowl. When it comes to an easy kitchen update, new hardware can transform a space from ‘blah’ to beautiful!

For this step you’ll want to clamp your door to the work surface, unless of course you want your door to spin around in circles and possibly punch you in the stomach. Next, measure equal distance from the top and bottom of the door and mark the center hole with the jig, also mark the 2 side holes where you’ll screw the hinge in place (I found that using an awl to mark the holes made it easier to drill). We drilled for our hinges over the same location as the old ones, which were NOT equal distance from the top and bottom, but at least every door was at the same unequal distance.
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.  
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.

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!
If you’re going to paint or re-stain your cabinets now would be a good time to do that. I’m a painted wood kind of gal, so these cabinets got painted, plus it’s a lot quicker and easier to paint them than to sand and re-stain. After the doors and frames have been painted it’s time to install the hinges and the glass. Since my upper, upper cabinets will rarely get used I secured the glass with silicone, if your glass cabinets will get daily use then you might want to use silicone and glazing points. I also put removable frosted film on my glass because after we added puck lights to the upper, uppers I realized how ugly the inside of the cabinets looked.

For pulls on a flat front cabinet, the bottom corner of the pull should be equidistant from both sides of the cabinet. For Shaker-style cabinets, the same rules apply as with knobs: center the pull on the vertical stile, with the bottom of the pull even with the top of the horizontal stile (or the top even with the bottom of the horizontal stile, for a lower cabinet). These aren’t hard and fast rules—you may want to adjust them depending on what looks best for your cabinets and hardware—but they’re a good place to start.
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.
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 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.
The type of knob that works best in a kitchen will range in size and style depending on the color and type of cabinetry you have (which is also why so many people go with simple white cabinets in their kitchens!). Knobs also come in a range of shapes and sizes, but are often designed for comfort and ergonomics, so there are rarely sharp edges that could potentially hurt someone pulling on it.
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.
The first step in choosing kitchen hardware was to decide on the color and style. I fell in love with the selections offered by Atlas Homewares — so much so that I’m now thrilled to be partnering with them on this post. 🙂  I started by ordering several samples in various shapes, sizes and finishes so I could style them in person with the cabinets and countertops.
Traditional style cabinetry typically has elaborate detailing, embellishments and moldings. Decorative, ornate hardware is in keeping with this style. Often, interior designers choose drop handles for traditional style doors with coordinating knobs on the drawers. Want a vintage look? Try a handle with a porcelain overlay for a sophisticated farmhouse feel. 
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.  
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.

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!
I have the exact hinge you mentioned under the caption “Then there are Overlay Hinges where you can see part of the hinge as well.” My problem is that on the 3 sets of doors we have that have no center stile, the doors are pushed too far toward center, therefore not enough space to close properly. Any suggestions other than taking down the doors and planing them? Hate that option on already completely finished doors. Great informative post.
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!)

It can be tempting to stick with hardware that “matches” the style of your kitchen cabinets. But what if you don’t like the style of your kitchen cabinets? Lead with your own style first, and you’ll move the kitchen more into the direction you want it to go. I swapped the more traditional hardware in this San Francisco kitchen above with two patterned, shapely styles.
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.

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.
What they are: An upside-down cup-shaped pull popularized in the mid-19th century. Bin or cup pulls are a popular choice for giving a kitchen a minimalist, vintage feel, just like on these Shaker-style cabinets and drawers. Shakers originally used wood pegs, usually made from maple, cherry or pine, in keeping with their preference for simplicity and austerity. But these cup-shaped drawer pulls are considered Shaker style today, and look clean and understated along with small knobs for the doors.
Disclaimer: Although it is my intention to provide accurate plans and clear instructions, not all plans have been tried and tested. Using plans or information found on SawdustGirl.com indicates that you agree with the Terms of Use policy and will accept full responsibility for the process and outcome of any project you attempt. All plans are for private use only. Plans and information published on SawdustGirl.com may not be reproduced, republished or distributed in any manner without written permission from Sandra Powell, Sawdust Girl. Actual projects built using Sawdust Girl plans may be published on your own site without instructions or "tutorial" as long as you provide a link to my original post with full post title or "SawdustGirl.com" as link title.
Between your cabinets and your drawers, you may have thirty of more cabinet handles in your kitchen, which has a significant effect on the look of the room, so you will want to choose knobs and pulls that match or complement your kitchen decor. If your kitchen has a modern look, consider choosing a cabinet handle that has angles and a very simple design or a square knob. Keep in mind that you can find knobs and pulls in a number of different designs, so if you have a Tuscan-themed kitchen, you can find kitchen cabinet knobs stamped with grapes, and if you have a rustic kitchen, you can find kitchen cabinet handles made from twisted wrought iron.

That being said, buying every make and model turned out to be a good idea. I was pretty pumped when I installed my first door…until I shut the door and there was a gap the size of Kansas where the door didn’t cover my opening. I should have taken a picture because it was pretty hilarious-looking. Wrong hinge. So I removed the 1 1/4″ overlay hinge, installed the 1/2″ overlay and was good to go. The holes that need to be drilled in the door will be the same in size, depth and location regardless of your overlay measurement.

On a day-to-day basis, you probably don’t put much thought into your door handles and cabinet hardware. But, for guests who are seeing them for the first time, these handles make a subtle impression and add to the overall aesthetic of your home. Visitors notice door knobs and cabinet handles in your home because they are items that are touched. Furthermore, since handles and other hardware are three-dimensional elements in your home, there are more artistic possibilities in these details than there might be with the fabric pattern on a sofa or a rug.

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.  


Remodeling and customizing your kitchen can be a big project. After planning and designing on the large scale it might be tempting to coast through choosing the cabinet hardware, but high-traffic rooms such as kitchens deserve detailed attention. Choosing the right hardware size requires a balance of style and function. Sacrifice one for the other, and you probably won’t be happy. You’ll be frustrated every time you try to pull open a drawer, or you’ll be disappointed every time you walk into the room.
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.
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 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.


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.

Installing new hinges can be easy, but only when choosing the correct cabinet hinge upgrade. The door style, door thickness, and hinge type, all play a role. Once this information is obtained, you should be able to find a soft-close hinge that is a direct retrofit to the existing hinge, or choose one of the many independent dampers and keep your current hinges.
Black was a great color choice for the bin pulls used here on stained wood cabinetry. When choosing knobs, hold them against various finishes to see which color looks best. You may have seen a photo of a knob you love in polished brass, but with a different cabinet door color than the ones you actually own. Bin pulls come in almost infinite other finishes as well, including chrome, oil-rubbed bronze, cast iron and brass.
When I’m talking about metals, I consider the silver metals as one grouping. So, when you have stainless appliances (silver), a chrome faucet (silver) and brushed nickel lighting (silver) those all count as one metal in my book- SILVER. I personally think Nickel is the most timeless of the metals. Brass has really gained in popularity with interior designers, but is probably a trendier choice. I’ve seen a rise in the popularity of black hardware especially in this age of farmhouse- EVERYTHING (Thanks Chip and Joanna). I think every room in your house should have a little black in it, so if you can bring in the black with your second metal in your kitchen, DO IT!!
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