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.
Hi, Randi! I love all your comments. They are MAKING my day! (Especially how can I be old enough to have a daughter with her own place lol This daughter also has two kids which makes me grandma. Oy. Yes, I’m THAT old!) Anyway, I’m so glad you commented and shared about your kitchen. I’m so glad you’re going for what you want! Sometimes we do indeed get paralyzed but we have to remember who our homes are for…..and that’s US! I think we want to enjoy our kitchen especially, since most of us spend time in there with our families, or at least cooking for our families!

If you’re looking for a more contemporary approach, tubular bars seem to be a favorite of the future. The current design couples beautifully with darker finishes and larger tiles. Tubular bars can also be used horizontally or vertically, and can be as long or short as you like. Go with a shorter bar for a more modest appeal, or make a statement with longer ones.

At this point, you will have narrowed down your hardware choices to a specific style, type, size and finish. Next thing to incorporate is your budget. A good starting point is to count how many knobs and pulls you will need for your cabinetry and determine a price range that is comfortable for you. Many hardware manufacturers have multiple lines of varying quality and price, so be sure to find a manufacturer that uses high-quality materials. Buying cheap can seem like a good idea in the short run, but cheaper metals will degrade faster down the road and face a much higher risk of breaking or bending. Stainless steel hardware, for example, should be solid (not hollow) with a durable but even finish.


Once you have decided on a style and shape for your hardware, you still need to choose the finish for your knobs and pulls. A shiny chrome finish has a modern feel, while brushed nickel or pewter may bring a more traditional look to your kitchen. Black hardware can be modern in a glossy finish or traditional with a matte finish. Many hardware lines come in several different finishes to help you find exactly the look you want.
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.
“What is your overall style? Traditional, contemporary, arts and crafts, eclectic, cottage, French, Mediterranean, Western, Art Deco or coastal,” asks Brandino Brass co-owner Eric Brandino. He encourages clients to think about the style of their home or the style they would like to incorporate. “Is there a consistent style throughout or does it vary from room to room? Transitional style has been one of the most popular looks recently,” he says of what’s trending in hardware. “Clean lines with just a touch of traditional features and finishes, such as an unlacquered brass or bronze.”
The choice between cabinet pulls and knobs isn’t easy — both come with positives and negatives. Keep in mind that you’ll be using your knobs or pulls every day. Whatever you choose should feel natural in your hand and flow with the décor of the room. You should consider your kitchen’s décor and style, the look you want to achieve, your budget, ease of cleaning, ease of use, the weight of your drawers and more.
“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.
Concealed hinges can go in face-frame or frameless cabinets and on any door type—including full overlay, partial overlay, or inset—as long as the doors are at least ½ inch thick. The hinges I'm using are for frameless cabinets with inset doors. To find the hinge that will work with your door type, consult the hinge company's online brochures and customer service line. Then, with the right hinges in hand, follow the steps on the next page to install them.
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.
Caring for decorative hardware purchased from Cliffside Industries is easy. Use only a soft cloth dampened with water for cleaning. The most important thing to remember is never to apply any chemicals or abrasive cleaners, including all kinds of soap or detergent. Using these products damages the protective lacquer and may change the appearance of the piece. Any use of chemicals, abrasives or soaps will void your warranty.
I mentioned to my super-smart carpenter brother, Mike, that I was wanting to update my hinges but was afraid of ruining my doors in the process.  I watched a YouTube video of DIYer who tried to install hidden hinges, and I’ll be polite and just say that the outcome was not a good one. Thus my fear. The place I ordered my new cabinets from couldn’t order replacement doors, so this was a one-shot deal.

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!!
And starting to play with my new HVLP turbine spray system.  (Whenever I say HVLP turbine, I think of the movie “A Christmas Story” and how Ralphie describes his Red Ryder BB gun – “an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle.”  I think I’m equally enamored with my new gun, even if it doesn’t have a compass and a stock. 😉

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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!
Are your cabinets in good condition but old, worn out and dated looking (kind of like me!)? With just a few tweaks you can bring them into this century and get another 10 to 15 years of life out of them. It seems like back in the 70s and 80s kitchen cabinets were built on site and built to last! That’s the case with the kitchen I’m currently dealing with, the entire kitchen was site built, they made one long face frame for an 8’ bank of cabinets – picture all the face frames of your cabinets connected together and installed as one piece, that’s how this kitchen is. Anyway, I was happy with the layout, it’s pretty basic, so to save some money I decided to work with the existing cabinets by removing the valance, replacing the exposed hinges with concealed hinges and adding glass inserts to the upper, upper cabinets – you’ll see what I mean in a minute. If you have ever thought of updating your dated kitchen cabinets, you’ll definitely want to check out this article in all its splendor.

I love to see your work in progress! And I agree that the wood valance over the window looks so much better painted white, you almost don’t see it now. Funny story, I had a similar valance in my last house and as part of my kitchen refresh, I had the contractor knock that out and oh what a difference it made! I had only 1 tiny window in the kitchen and that stinking valance blocked so much light. Your home is much more open and bright with all the white now, thanks for sharing! You’re in the home stretch now!!
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.
The homeowner has already installed a new tile backsplash, and will also be replacing the floors with new tile and painting the walls once I’m finished with the cabinets.  But the homeowner was concerned about the hinges standing out against a light cabinet color.  A cabinet refresh is going to help tie the updates together, and when we got to talking about the hinges, I did some research, and found a great local woodworker to help change the hinges from exposed to concealed.
If you’re looking for a more contemporary approach, tubular bars seem to be a favorite of the future. The current design couples beautifully with darker finishes and larger tiles. Tubular bars can also be used horizontally or vertically, and can be as long or short as you like. Go with a shorter bar for a more modest appeal, or make a statement with longer ones.
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
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? 
Wow, its looking great and really coming together. Did you use stick on tiles for the kitchen? I too have ugly hinges and have to tackle them. Do I just contact the hardware company and describe what I have? The cabinets in my home appear to be handmade by the original owner but the hinges are the black iron wrought look that was so popular back in the day. Love the glass cabinet knobs too!
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.

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. 
For Shaker-style cabinets, look for hardware like small round knobs or hardware that feels organic to the craftsman style. I like the idea of brushed nickel or brass for this style of cabinetry. With modern fronts, choose hardware with a sleek and simple design, think matte black or stainless steel, or don’t be afraid to ignore hardware all together and have a custom groove built-in. When planning for a more traditional approach, push the boundaries in your hardware and look for more ornate knobs.
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