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.
If your old fridge still runs like a champ on the inside but it’s starting to look like a but run-down and haggard on the outside, spruce it up with a DIY custom cover! Appliance covers are fastened directly to the outside of your appliance, masking their appearance on the outside and making them blend in with your kitchen cabinetry. You can take materials like bead board paneling, wallpaper, wood from old pallets or even mismatched wood scraps from barns to create an interesting look for your old appliance.
And why shouldn’t we love them? Not only are they sturdy and virtually maintenance-free, but each stone tells a story that is uniquely independent of humankind. That stone making up your cabinet knob was formed in the hot belly of our planet, hardened to a crust on its exterior and then one day miraculously plucked up by a passing human and turned into a part of your daily life.
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.
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.

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.

Sandra, I’m so glad that I came across your blog! You’ve given so much great information that I can use every day in my job doing kitchen cabinet sales. And then there’s the whole DIY part for me personally! I’m really hoping that you can answer my question, though. I have a customer who is refacing her cabinets. She has frameless cabinets and used to have exposed hinges. She wanted concealed hinges so we had the hinge holes drilled 1″ (center) from the edge. She has her new doors but when she hangs them, there’s a 1/4″ gap between the door and center stile, even after adjusting them. We were using full overlay hinges. Can you advise which type of overlay hinge to use and how to rectify the gap? Thanks so much!
It may take some time for you to consider what effect you would like to create with your hardware on your kitchen cabinets. In fact, some styles, patterns, and finishes are so beautiful or unique, that they become the focal point in the kitchen and a topic of conversation. Many of the ceramic and glass styles are so cleverly finished that they look too pretty to simply be part of a kitchen cabinet.
Black was a great color choice for the bin pulls used here on stained wood cabinetry. When choosing knobs, hold them against various finishes to see which color looks best. You may have seen a photo of a knob you love in polished brass, but with a different cabinet door color than the ones you actually own. Bin pulls come in almost infinite other finishes as well, including chrome, oil-rubbed bronze, cast iron and brass.

We also painted our kitchen cabinets white, and I love the crispness of white cabinets. We used latex paint since we ended up doing most of the work while I was pregnant/nursing a newborn and I didn’t want to deal with the oil-based chemicals and odors. It’s definitely not ideal–the hard, oil-based finish is much more practical for kitchens and cabinets. I’m not a perfectionist so it doesn’t bother me (too much!), but I would definitely recommend taking the time to do oil like you did–yours should last forever 🙂
Getting the right finish for your kitchen cabinets can make the difference between a good and a great space. The right finish offsets other design choices in your kitchen. For example, you can match your appliances to your hardware finish to create a sophisticated, coordinated look. Alternatively, you can use your kitchen cabinet hardware finishes to show off your fun-loving personality, choosing a bright metal or unique design.

It's something you could DIY if you wanted to invest the time and energy into it, but I know my strengths and weaknesses. ;-). This sweet, retired woodworker, is charging $300-$400 to drill the holes in the cabinets, provide the hinges, and rehang them (all 23 of them), so I'm feeling like it's a pretty good deal, and the homeowner agrees! I'm really excited to see the finished look!
When decorating your rustic kitchen, a little bit of detail can go along way! There are many round, cast iron options that have designs that look great in rustic kitchens. If cast iron is too dark for your cabinets, look for an antique pewter finish. The detail within the hardware itself will certainly add to the look. This option also works well for a farmhouse style kitchen, giving it a great country feel.
Nickel and chrome have about the same level of durability, but chrome is sometimes a bit more expensive.  Brushed or matte finishes hide fingerprints and watermarks better than shiny finishes.  You’ll generally find a lot more hardware options in brushed nickel than in chrome or stainless steel. Poor quality nickel and chrome finishes can peel and flake over time.  Stainless steel, which is usually matte, is the most durable of the silver finishes and as such, is usually the most expensive.  True stainless steel hardware is typically made from a full thickness metal alloy and it’s not just plated on the surface like nickel and chrome are. 

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!


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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