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.
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……

Ultimately, you should choose your hardware according to your personal preferences, kitchen style and goals for functionality. If you’re concerned about resale value, recognize that the most popular hardware finishes are satin, nickel and bronze. There are no hard-set rules to follow when it comes to adding the final details to your kitchen, and many people choose a combination of knobs and pulls. If you’re unsure of which to choose for your kitchen cabinets or drawers, it’s wise to examine the pros and cons of both.
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.
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 Give your cabinets a quick facelift by replacing outdated hardware.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.
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.
If you don’t want to match to your faucet, then think about some of the other components in your kitchen. For example, if you have a black stone countertop, then antiqued metal or even satin black knobs could help tie the room together. Alternatively, base your color and finish choice on the cabinets themselves: Dark hardware to match dark wood or light hardware as a contrast. Choose more rustic finishes like antiqued or hammered metal to go with traditional cabinetry or go with sleek brushed metal for a more modern look.
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.
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.
“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.
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.

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.  


The cons are a few: 1. MDF is heavy in relation to wood or plywood. 2. MDF does not accept screws very well. You must use coarse thread screws and always pre-drill. Apply the hinge screws by using a hand-held screwdriver instead of a screw gun. If you don't, they can strip the hole quickly. 3. Over time the screws will come lose just from opening and closing the doors (just go around every so often and tighten the screws). 4. If water gets into the doors, they will swell and they will need to be replaced so seal them well.
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.
Knobs are installed with a single screw through one focused entry point on a door or drawer. Pulls are installed with two screws through two points of contact on a door or drawer. Before any holes are drilled, make sure you give detailed instructions to your homebuilder or remodeling professional so that they know the correct type of handle to install on each cabinet door or drawer. You will also need to specify the position of the knob or pull so that they are installed in a consistent manner throughout the kitchen.
Hanging knobs on a flat-front cabinet is pretty straightforward: You’ll want to position the knob in the bottom corner (for upper cabinets) or top corner (for lower cabinets) of the door. Knobs should be placed equidistant from both sides of the cabinet. A guide like this one can help you to get the measurements right. The exact distance will depend on the look you want and the size of your knobs: Test one or two before you drill a whole kitchen’s worth of holes.
Diane, this is so exciting! I can relate as I had a makeover much like yours ( from 70’s brown cabinets to white painted, but pulls are also painted….black.) that was 5 years ago and we are now in the process of making over a back bedroom into a walk-in closet and part of a bathroom/vanity area. I feel as though I should have taken pictures of the progress and posted blogs! I cannot wait for the finished product. I KNOW you must be feeling the same way about the beautiful kitchen you are creating…

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. 


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!


3. Traditionally, your hardware should be the same finish as your kitchen sink faucet. However, mixing and matching metals is on trend in contemporary and transitional homes. Don’t forget to consider your appliances and light fixtures as well. Black appliances look lovely beside bronze or black hardware, while stainless steel and nickel play nicely together. 


Knobs have been around forever, and still function as a clean and classic hardware, with loads of practicality. Especially for cabinets that get used the most, knobs are still a perfect fit. Pay close attention to the color and size of knobs for white cabinets, and also be mindful of the finish. Are you looking for a shiny finish to match your white, modern kitchen? Or perhaps you prefer a matte finish, to accentuate your country style kitchen.
We just moved into our home a few months ago and it definitely needed some updating. We decided to start in the kitchen with new appliances. Black stainless beauties 😍 That's when we really noticed how "80's" our kitchen cabinets were! They were in good shape, just wrong color. So we decided to just paint them! The hinges were terribly dirty with a film over them and brass colored. So here's a step by step how I quickly cleaned them and then painted them to match the black stainless appliances....
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 it comes to finishes, let the rest of the components in the home be your guide. If you are selecting an oil-rubbed bronze artisan faucet, select the matching hardware. Interested in mixing finishes? In today’s home, anything goes. Mixing brass with black iron might be over the top, but pairing brushed nickel with polished chrome can offer a dynamic and attractive contrast.
​If you like the idea of mixing metals, just make sure that the mix looks intentional instead of haphazard.  To make your design of mixed metals look intentional, choose 2 or 3 metal finishes and use those finishes in at least 2 or 3 areas within the space.  That way, each metal finish has coordinating partner in the same space.   Take a look at the 3 photos below.
Modern cabinet door hinges are a critical part to any cabinet, and are also quite complex; there are about a dozen (if not more) different types of hinges, depending on whether you have face-frame cabinets or frameless cabinets. Face-frame cabinets include a frame made of 1-½" to 2" wide solid wood that attaches to the front edges of the cabinets. This type of cabinet construction is common in American-made cabinets, and hinges will then mount directly to this frame. However, if you have frameless cabinets—which are typically made in Europe, like IKEA cabinets—your cabinets are basically just a four-sided box with no frame around the front edges. In this case, the hinges will mount directly to the interior of the cabinet. 
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.
I'm glad that you talk about the different hardware options, such as how you can choose something more decorative or if you are more focused on the functionality you want pulls and knobs that are subtle, like silver or clear colored. Knowing what you want would be useful so you can then easily search the various door hardware options online. If you search online, it could help you get more options and you could find stores that focus more on the type of knobs, pulls, and anything else that you're looking for.

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These small items — doorknobs, drawer pulls, cabinet-door handles — are "the jewelry" that can add style and sparkle to any space, says New York-based interior designer Young Huh. Just as the right necklace can turn a simple dress into a fashion statement, a striking new set of knobs on an old cabinet, or vintage crystal doorknobs can bring a huge dose of style to your home with minimal expense, she says.
The timeless classics of solid brass styles, futuristic euro-design aluminum pieces, stunning granite and stainless steel combinations, and novelty handcrafted hardware can all be purchased for a fraction of the cost of replacing your entire set of kitchen cabinets. Give your kitchen a new look with the simple replacement of cabinet hardware. Sprucing up the kitchen has never been easier.
Finally, one of the more technical parts of cabinet hardware are the ball-bearing slides or tracks and latches that are used to open and close drawers and cabinets. Sliding tracks are what allow drawers to open and close smoothly, and using drawer slides that have soft-close ball bearings allow them to close slowly so that they don’t make much noise or rattle everything inside. Drawer slides are available in side-mount, center-mount, and undermount versions, depending on the amount of space you have between the drawer and the cabinet opening. 
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!
These industrial-feeling pulls are a blend of colonial and Arts and Crafts, and come in a wide variety of finishes. While these black ones are a good choice with the black appliances and lighting, don’t feel your knobs must match all the finishes in your kitchen; it’s OK to mix things up. Just don’t mix the knobs and hinges on the same door; those definitely should be coordinated so one doesn’t detract from the other.
The color white, and more specifically, white colored cabinets, have never been more popular in today’s kitchens. White is always in style, regardless if you have a slick modern kitchen or relaxed country style. With their relaxed style and design flexibility, it’s no secret as to why white cabinets are a constant crowd pleaser. The color white can make a room look larger and timeless in one broad stroke. With white cabinets, hardware is the most crucial detail, as it is more than just an accent, Hardware completes the room and adds overall value to your kitchen. With all of the available options, selecting the perfect hardware for your white cabinets can be a frustrating exercise. Below we discuss what to consider when selecting hardware for white kitchen cabinets.
Based on the size of the room, consider how much leeway you have to mix different finishes and materials. Mixing finishes can add a classic agelessness to a room, but the smaller the room is, the more carefully one must tread when doing so. If there are too many different finishes in one small space, you run the risk of having your hardware look random and noncommital. However, if you select each piece carefully, it can add warmth and a sense of human touch — subconsciously giving the impression that the collection was acquired over time.
Furthermore, hardware attracts the eye like a bright light. Functionality aside, it is the ultimate accent piece — it provides a pop to cabinets and drawers that can make or break the décor of a room. It also keeps the wood of our cabinets and drawers looking fresh by taking the brunt of the natural oils in our hands, which we leave behind every time we reach for the cabinet to grab something.
I've painted lots of golden oak cabinets in three houses now! Hidden hinges also called European hinges are a huge update. You have to take hinges off to paint anyway so instead of putting the old ones on you can fill the holes and replace them with European style hinges. There is a special type of drill bit that counter sinks an appropriate sized hole to accept the European hinge. It would be easy to find at a big box store along with the hinges themselves.
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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