Use the same guidelines for or your interior doors. If you like the idea of statement door knobs and hinges, go for lots of contrast— dark door knobs and hinges on light doors, for example.  As an aside, interior door levers, which you simply have to push down, are easier for aging hands to operate as compared to door knobs, which you have to twist.
When exploring kitchen cabinet hardware ideas, your first task should be to decide how closely aligned in terms of style you want your hardware and the cabinets themselves. For example, a traditional Shaker style cabinet can be complemented with simple, understated brushed metal hardware—or it can provide a blank canvas for all manner of creative approaches to door handles and drawer pulls. The choice is yours, and while it's true that sticking with a one-to-one approach with cabinets and hardware may save you time and simplify the design process, exploring other options may allow you to express more of your own design aesthetic in the kitchen.

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Cabinet hardware sizes can vary depending on your own personal design preferences, but you’ll want to choose a size that is both stylish and functional. Bar pull sizes are generally determined by the “center-to-center” measurement (the distance between the two screw holes). If you have pre-drilled cabinetry, you’ll need to buy hardware that fits the existing center-to-center measurement. Otherwise, you’re left to your own devices in choosing the size of your cabinet hardware. Here are a few general guidelines to follow:

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.
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!
Consider proportion, balance, aesthetics and function when deciding upon the size of a knob or pull for your kitchen cabinetry. A large cabinet door or drawer needs a larger piece of hardware, or maybe two, for proper functionality, but a smaller size knob or pull is appropriate for a smaller door or drawer. A good rule of thumb for traditional or transitional style pulls is that they should be about one-third of the length of the cabinet drawer. Drawers larger than eighteen inches wide may require more than one pull or knob. However, more contemporary designs call for longer pulls that are at least two-thirds of the length of the drawer or cabinet door. 

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.


What they are: Art objects as much as pulls, these knobs draw attention. Placed in the center, they draw your eye to the detailing of the worn wood here. Search salvage yards for antique ones and don’t be afraid to spring for the few knobs you’ll need. If you can’t find this sort of door detailing, you can create a similar effect by placing a medallion behind each knob in the center of your doors. Look for antitwist pins to keep the knob from spinning (in fact, do this with any round knob).
Updating certain hardware pieces throughout your kitchen is a simple change that can have a big impact on the overall look of your kitchen. Replacing basic ceramic or plastic knobs on your cabinets with heavy-duty stainless steel or brass knobs can give your kitchen cabinets a whole new refreshed style. Depending on the look you’re trying to achieve in your kitchen, you’ll find metal cabinet knobs that range in aesthetics from simple and contemporary, to ornate and decorative.

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.

First, you’ll want to do a thorough count of all your doors and drawers to make sure you know exactly how many new pulls and knobs you’ll need. To streamline the project, match your new hardware’s spread to the distance between the existing screw holes (you may need a tape measure). Or you can just take one of the old pulls with you to the store to shop.
Hi Diane….Glad to see you again and happy to see the progress on your lake home. I was a subscriber and then suddenly lost you about the time you started working on your staircase! I was afraid it had driven you away from your blog!! You showed up on another blog yesterday and now I plan to catch up on all I have missed. Thank you for accepting me again!!
“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.
“We find it refreshing for people to purchase what they like and what feels good to them, not caring what the ‘Joneses’ have,” says Renee. The Brandino Brass team regularly works with professionals who have their own signature styles. “One architect in town may use the same small knob all over the house all in the same finish for continuity. Another one will use different styles and finishes in each individual room,” says Jessie Isom, Brandino Brass team member. “There is no right or wrong if you like it.”
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.

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.
Knobs only: The benefit of cabinet knobs is that they are typically less expensive than bar and T-pulls, and they only require one hole to be drilled into your cabinetry. A single cabinet knob can be installed on cabinet doors, but you may want to consider placing two knobs on larger drawers. Cabinet drawers are heavier than doors, therefore you may need that extra knob for ease of use. The minimalistic style of using knobs only for your cabinetry can give a very appealing look to your new kitchen.

If you’re going for wood paneling, the process is pretty simple. Fasten the pieces together and cut to the size of your appliance. Then, remove the handles from your appliance and glue the panels onto the front using a hot glue gun. You can either paint the wood and the sides of your appliance to match your cabinets, or you can leave it as is for a natural unfinished feel. Complete the look by adding new appliance pulls to match the rest of your kitchen hardware. Appliance covers can be added to just about any kitchen appliance that has a door like a refrigerator and dishwasher.
Under-cabinet lighting serves not only a fashionable purpose by creating visual depth in your kitchen, but it serves a functional purpose as well. The added lighting will make everything from chopping veggies to reading recipes to measuring ingredients easier to see as your countertops will be under direct light from above. And as far as style goes, the right lighting can make all the difference!
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.
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.

I have a solid oak kitchen from the late 1980s. I would like to update the cabinets by painting them but my hinges are exposed. Is it possible to change any exposed hinge to a hidden hinge, or are there some styles that won't be replaceable? Also, has anyone else painted kitchen cabinets with exposed hinges in such a way that it looks good? Thanks!


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!
Linda, great questions! I have only had my rub n buffed hinges in use for a few weeks so far so I can’t say much for long term use yet. I can say that I haven’t had a problem with it rubbing off, but I did have to be really careful hanging my cabinet doors because I noticed that it did rub off on the white paint if I wasn’t careful. (The few spots where that happened, I just touched up the white paint.) I also didn’t have a problem getting it to shine – but I was going for a brushed nickel look which isn’t super shiny. I don’t know that you could get it shiny enough to be a chrome looking finish. Overall I have been really happy with it but I will be sure to share an update after more time passes.
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!
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
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