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.
Do you dream of a whole-kitchen remodel straight out of a magazine photo spread? Kitchens begin to look dated more quickly than any other room in your home. Replacing cabinets and countertops is an expensive proposition, but what if you could update them just a bit at little cost? Replacing or adding new cabinet hardware is a great way to update your look with the latest finishes and styles, without breaking open the piggy bank.
Ceramic knobs bring such charm to your kitchen. They’re reminiscent of a sweet country cottage, or an old world farm house. It’s not hard to imagine the scent of a freshly baked pie or loaf of bread cooling in the window. Ceramic knobs pair quite nicely with natural wood finishes and glass hutch cabinets. Wether you choose plain white or a funky pattern, ceramic knobs give your kitchen a homey flair.
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!!
Below and above the sink can be two different color schemes. Don’t worry, you can mix and match more than you might think and still obey the laws of symmetry. It can provide a sunny, uplifting splash to have a lighter color above the level of the countertops, such as a warm brass or gold. Particularly with items like faucets and sconces, a lighter color around eye level will create a happy glow.
They say that design is in the details, and when it comes to the hardware on drawers, cabinets, and other storage millwork, we’d have to agree. You may have noticed how swapping out the knobs on a piece of old, tired furniture with modern brushed nickel pulls, for example, can give it a whole new look, or how using concealed hinge on a cabinet door can transform a kitchen. It can be difficult to get a handle (pun intended) on all the different modern kitchen cabinet hardware ideas out there—especially when some are hidden—so read on as we delve into the different types of cabinet hardware for kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas of the home. 
Whereas crystal is made primarily of silica and lead oxide, glass is largely composed of silica and soda lime. The lime is the reason glass can have a greenish tint when light is shining through it, whereas crystal is clear. Glass can provide the perfect accent to a room, and is an excellent secret weapon if you are wondering how to add a “pop” without overdoing it.

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…


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.
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.
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.
Once you’ve selected your new handles and pulls, it’s time to remove all the old ones. Using a drill or screwdriver, slowly back the screws out, then gently pull the old hardware away from the door or drawer front, so as not to damage the finish. Keep the old screws and pulls/knobs together in a plastic baggy so it’s easy to donate or toss them depending on their condition. If you’re going to repaint your cabinet doors, do it now.
Shake a can of rust-inhibiting metal spray primer for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer. Position the can the recommended distance away from the hinges -- it varies among manufacturers. Spray a light coat of primer on the hinges and screw heads using steady, even sweeps. Make sure you spray the sides and edges. Shake the can frequently while you spray. Allow the primer to dry for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer. Apply a second coat of primer and allow it to dry completely.
You might think that after making dozens of tough decisions during your kitchen remodel, something like choosing handles for your cabinets would be easy. Yeah, so not the case. You’ll soon find out that there are more cabinet knob options than there are stars in the sky. But don’t panic. And by all means, don’t make a knee-jerk decision just to get it over with. When I used to make up design and swatch boards, I would remind clients that the hardware matters as much as the big stuff. Remember, you’ll be looking at and touching your kitchen cabinet knobs every single day. So you want to make the right choice. And after all, this is a micro design element that can have macro impact.
Personal preference is very important when deciding whether you want a knob or pull. Your hardware should be in keeping with the style of your kitchen, but it must be comfortable to use, too. Carefully check out the knobs or pulls you are thinking of buying. Place them against cabinetry, then see how they fit your hand. Are they the right size and shape for you?

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.
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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!
If you have a removable island or a butcher block in your kitchen, an easy way to make that extra piece look cohesive with the rest of your kitchen décor is by adding coordinating cup and cabinet pulls to drawers and doors. This addition will make your island look purposeful and blend it with the rest of your kitchen cabinets — even if the finish or countertop is different.

The choice between kitchen cabinet knobs and cabinet pulls and handles may seem unimportant, but knobs and handles have different features that can alter the overall look of your kitchen. Because kitchen cabinet knobs are round, they often give a kitchen a welcoming, home-style look that works especially well in country-themed kitchens. Kitchen cabinet handles and kitchen cabinet pulls, on the other hand, can give a kitchen a more sophisticated or elegant look. These distinctions are fairly loose though, and you can find plenty of rustic kitchen cabinet handles as well as sophisticated kitchen cabinet knobs, if that’s what you want.
For easy access to below-counter drawers and cabinets with minimal aesthetic impact, hidden pulls can be a great option. They’re usually attached to the top edge of each door and designed as small slivers of metal that jut out of the flush portion. They are designed to be largely concealed by the work surface above, forming a subtle lip that does not deter from the material and design of the cabinetry itself.

“When it comes to hardware, it’s hard to shop on the internet,” says Eric. “Some things that look really good online, look cheap in person and vice versa. Some cheap-looking online items look exquisite in person.” The Brandino Brass team says that not only the look, but the feel of door hardware and cabinet hardware is very important. “You don’t want a handle to poke you or have an awkward grip for your hands,” says Renee.

Handles are sold by the center to center measurement(1). Center to center can be spelled out or the universally known “C/C” could be used. Knobs are sold by the diameter(4) of the knob.The measurement could be in inches or millimeters (MM) CabinetParts has both measurements listed for your convenience. (Tip: to convert millimeters to inches use this formula: MM ÷ 25.4)Here is a diagram showing how these are measured:The overall length(2) and the projection(3) are offered when they are available from the manufacturer.Choosing a finish is going to be entirely up to you. Maybe your cabinets need a satin nickel look for a more modern look or maybe you are in the mood for flat black finished hardware for a more southwestern feel, or maybe weathered copper is your fancy. There are many, many choices for finish to make your kitchen look like a million bucks.The type of handle or knob will depend on what you like or maybe the motif of the rest of the room or house. There are modern, eclectic, or traditional looks and more.Most collections will have a pull and a knob that “match” so you can have the same finish throughout the room. You do not always have to choose pieces from the same collection, just remember to always choose the finish from the same manufacturer. Even though different manufacturers may have finishes that have the same name, they will often vary in the color and shade.These choices will be among the most important of the entire project. A knob and pull will put the finishing touch on the project and be one of the first things people will notice.Sometimes the hardware is noticed before the color or type of cabinet or door.Here is a listing of all of the manufacturers CabinetParts.com offers: Top Konbs, Amerock, Schaub and Co, Atlas Homewares, Notting Hill, Berenson, Jeffrey Alexander, Century Hardware, Hickory Hardware, Laurey Hardware, Liberty Hardware, Elements, Stone Mill Hardware, Hafele, R. Christensen, MNG Hardware, Acorn Mfg.Some of the companies listed above also offer Bath Hardware and Decorative Home Accents that may help complete a project.
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Then I drilled and drilled. If your drill is a wimpy one, be prepared for this to take a minute…or five.  I realized what a difference a decent drill makes during this process as I had three different ones going–one with a bit to drill the pilot holes, one with the hinge bit and one to use as a screw gun for screwing the screws into the cabinet doors. If you have lots of doors to do, it might be a good idea to borrow a second and/or third one from a friend or you’ll spend lots of time playing musical bits. If you have multiple drills, use the most powerful one for the large hinge-drilling bit.
Although kitchen cabinet knobs are small objects, keep in mind that one on each cupboard door creates an overall design impact. Further impact can be created by choosing cabinet knobs that contrast in color and texture with the cabinets. If less impact is desired, cabinet knobs may be made of the same material and in the same color as the kitchen cabinets. The most important thing to remember when choosing cabinet knobs to coordinate with cabinets is to keep the kitchen’s overall tone in mind, whether it’s country, elegant, whimsical or traditional.
What they are: Sturdy yet glamorous pulls that complement many styles of cabinetry. Here linear flat bar pulls not only underscore the contemporary feel of the kitchen, but oversize pulls eliminate the need for two pulls on a wide drawer. A good rule of thumb is to use two knobs or pulls on drawers 18 inches wide or wider. But if you choose superwide pulls like these, one is enough.
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.  

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.
Contemporary kitchens have sleek lines, very little ornamentation and minimalistic colors. So, for a contemporary style kitchen, it is wise to choose hardware that is simple and streamlined. Linear bar handles with straight lines or curved barrel handles are the perfect choice. Since stainless steel appliances are a hallmark of a contemporary kitchen, you can also select handles for your cabinetry in a similar style and finish as your appliance handles. 
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.
Hidden hinges, or European (Euro) hinges as they’re called, aren’t difficult to install, and were part of my mini kitchen update. My kitchen is small, and in order to gain storage space, I switched the 30″ upper cabinets to 42″ ones, but kept some of the existing base cabinets. The very shiny, visible hinges on the base cabinets were a dead giveaway as to which cabinets were the moldy oldies. Here are the originals.
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.

Hidden hinges also come in a soft-close style if you’re one of those people who want the latest and greatest. (Is it really that bad to hear a door close?) My new cabinets came with soft close hinges that I personally could take or leave.  I still find myself trying to shut them all the way instead of letting them do their thing. You might not want soft-close hinges if you’re the type who likes to slam things when irritated. (Just a thought.)


Chrome, nickel and stainless steel finishes will never go out of style, but warm metallics offer a fresh, modern look. For a quick update, consider replacing your lighting, faucet or cabinet hardware with products in gleaming brass or bronze like the ones in this chic space. “The updated satin brass cabinet hardware is really striking against the simple shaker cabinets,” says designer Elizabeth Lawson.
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