I am taking on more and more cabinet refresh projects (for hire), and still never tire of the transformations. My latest project is an oak, galley style kitchen, and I’m digging deeper into ideas to make these older kitchens look more modern. Paint is obviously a big hitter in terms of updating a kitchen, but let’s talk about something else that is equally powerful – cabinet hinges.
The size of your cabinets will influence the size of your knobs. If your cabinets are smaller in scale you’ll want to opt for hardware that is likewise, such as minimal-scale circular knobs. Longer hardware is necessary when you have extra long cabinet doors—or can be used if you want to make a more of dramatic statement. Most cabinet doors are 24”, so you want a knob about 2”-3” size knob. For a larger cabinet door you can size up to 3½” or 4”. For a cabinet door under 20”, source hardware that’s closer to 1” to 2” size in diameter or length.
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.
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.
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.
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?
By adding hardware you like, you’re literally installing your style into the room — and this will make any accessories you want to add in feel like a part of the kitchen’s design, and not out of place. Of course, not every cabinet + hardware combo is going to work, but see how far you can take it when it comes to choosing hardware outside the traditional style of the cabinets.
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.
Hardware can have a huge impact on the look and feel of your kitchen, which is why we often recommend replacing hardware as a quick upgrade for rental kitchens, or when you aren’t able to remodel. So when you’re planning a new kitchen, or a re-design, don’t let your hardware be an afterthought. Here are a few guidelines to help you select the right hardware for your kitchen.
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.
Let’s talk first about metals. As a general rule, I like to keep the different metals in a kitchen to no more than two. If you have stainless steel appliances, that counts as one metal. So that leaves one other metal you can bring into a kitchen. If you’ve got brass light fixtures, that’s your one other metal. Your new hardware should be nickel or brass.