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.


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.
On the very last warm-ish day of the year, I laid out all the drawers and doors and got my painting on with my paint sprayer. That thing is the bomb! I had them all primed with Zinsser oil based primer within 15 minutes. Then I waited a couple of hours before painting the final coats. I used Sherwin Williams oil based ProEnamel in Alabaster for the upper cabinets and Sherwin Williams contractor grade oil based paint color matched to Benjamin Moore’s Huntington Green.
And starting to play with my new HVLP turbine spray system.  (Whenever I say HVLP turbine, I think of the movie “A Christmas Story” and how Ralphie describes his Red Ryder BB gun – “an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle.”  I think I’m equally enamored with my new gun, even if it doesn’t have a compass and a stock. 😉

Installing new hinges can be easy, but only when choosing the correct cabinet hinge upgrade. The door style, door thickness, and hinge type, all play a role. Once this information is obtained, you should be able to find a soft-close hinge that is a direct retrofit to the existing hinge, or choose one of the many independent dampers and keep your current hinges.

I had already chosen polished nickel hardware (which I will share more about soon), so my hinges needed to coordinate.  I decided to use Rub n Buff to give them a much-needed update.  If you don’t know, Rub n Buff is a fantastic metallic paste used to give almost anything a metal finish.  I chose it because it is so easy to use and gives a lasting finish.


I'm a wax girl. Wax always seems to work best for me and I'm ok with reapplying every 6 months or so. With that said, I cleaned them really good krud cutter. It's a great degreaser. Then sanded them first with 120 grit, then 180 grit, and finally 220 grit. Then cleaned them again with the vinegar/water mixture. I always have a spray bottle with the mix handy. Once dried, I primed and painted followed by waxing.

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!


Interior Door knobs and levers can range from less than $20 to $200.  You can find cabinet knobs and pulls from less than $2 each to more than $20 each.     Solid knobs and pulls are better quality than hollow hardware.  Although you generally get what you pay for with hardware, if your budget is tighter, you might want to choose less expensive cabinet hardware since it’s relatively easy for homeowners to trade it out for better quality hardware in the future.

If you’re looking for a more contemporary approach, tubular bars seem to be a favorite of the future. The current design couples beautifully with darker finishes and larger tiles. Tubular bars can also be used horizontally or vertically, and can be as long or short as you like. Go with a shorter bar for a more modest appeal, or make a statement with longer ones.
Some pulls and handles are specifically made for appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, and other appliances where you might have panels installed on the front of the item to match the surrounding cabinetry. Typically, appliance handles and pulls have been designed to higher standards than traditional, mid-century, or modern cabinet drawer pulls because they need to withstand more wear and tear—your fridge door has suction that resists opening, and you probably open the fridge more times than most of the cabinets in your kitchen. As a result, many appliance handles and pulls are larger, wider, or thicker than similar cabinet hardware.

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.
It’s easy to get caught up in selecting the larger items, such as cabinetry, countertops or flooring for your new kitchen when building a custom home or renovating your existing home. "A project isn't complete until you've selected the right hardware that strikes a personal balance between form and function. These final touches will pull the whole project together and are fantastic for imbuing it with a flair that reflects your personality," says Jonathan Pilley, Co-Owner at Push Pull Decorative Hardware in North Bethesda, Maryland. Decorative hardware comes in a variety of types, sizes, styles, materials and finishes. So, what should you pick? Read our 5 tips on choosing the right kitchen cabinet hardware.
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!
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.

For knobs on a cabinet with a stile, like Shaker-style cabinets, allow the stile to be a guide for hanging the knob. If the knob is too large to comfortably fit in the corner where the two stiles meet, then hang the knob centered on the vertical stile, with the bottom edge of the knob aligned with the top of the intersecting horizontal stile. (Or the top of the knob aligned with the bottom of the stile, for lower cabinets). The knobs in this kitchen from Ivory Lane are a good example.

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!!
Wow! I finally figured out what to ask for, THANKS. Old hickory cabinets still look great, and the wife loves them, but hates the sound of them closing. Want soft closing hinges, a nice project. They are face-frame cabinets, with semi-inset doors with about 1/4″ overlay.and inset about 3/8″. What hinges do I need? Plan on doing this just as soon as the soft closing drawer slides are all installed.

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.
Shaker cabinets offer a simple and traditional design. Versatility is a large part of what makes them so timeless. Ultimately, you achieve the vibe you’re going for through the finishing touches, one of those being the hardware you choose. We’ve selected some of the top hardware styles for shaker cabinets, and what looks they will bring to your kitchen.

Shake a can of spray paint for the full amount of time recommended by the manufacturer. Position the can the recommended distance from the hinges and the screws to spray a light coat of paint. Use steady side-to-side sweeping strokes and maintain a consistent distance from the hinges to ensure a uniform coat of paint. Shake the can frequently while you spray, and spray the sides and edges. Allow the paint to dry for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer. Apply a second coat of paint and allow it to dry completely.
I'm shocked on how little power they want in the kitchen. One outlet on the island? Wait until the kids want to plug a phone or lap top in or they are stinging an extension cord across it to use a blender on the other end. The Refridge/stove/freezer wall sounds a bit scary also. Stove next to a fridge is almost always a no no. You need countertop on both sides of the stove, period.
When you’re choosing cabinet hardware, think about the number of times you’ll touch these pieces every day. If your cabinet pulls look and feel good and function well, you’re sure to derive pleasure from them. Browse our narrowed-down choices, from modern cabinet pulls to traditional knobs. Simply replacing your cabinet knobs is the easiest (and cheapest) way to spiff up a kitchen. Get started here.

If you’re looking for a more contemporary approach, tubular bars seem to be a favorite of the future. The current design couples beautifully with darker finishes and larger tiles. Tubular bars can also be used horizontally or vertically, and can be as long or short as you like. Go with a shorter bar for a more modest appeal, or make a statement with longer ones.
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.
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.
The chrome and stainless steel can vary some too, but usually not as much, and as often as nickel.  To be safe, get samples from different brands and compare the colors, or get all the hardware that you need for  a single room from one manufacturer.  It’s ok if the nickel in one room doesn’t exactly match the nickel in another room.  It only looks mismatched if the different nickel finishes  are right next to each other in the same room.
You may also have seen cabinets that are so modern and minimalist that they have no knobs or pulls whatsoever—and they look like they’re impossible to open! The trick is, in fact, a mechanism with a spring located on the inside of the cabinet. When you push on the corner of a cabinet, you compress and then release the spring, which in turn pops the cabinet open. In order to close the cabinet, you simply push it closed until you hear the little "click" that means the spring is back in its locked position.

Thanks Mary. That is a good question. There is another similar product from DecoArt called Metallic Lustre but I am not sure if it is available in Europe either. (Also, I haven’t used it so I can’t say for sure if I would recommend it.) Also, it isn’t exactly the same but silver spray paint can also work. After cleaning the hinges, spray them with spray primer and then follow up with a spray paint in the metallic finish you want.

Concealed hinges can be mounted on the surface of the door or a pressed into a “cup” that is drilled into the door.  These are often called “cup hinges”.  The cup diameter is generally 35mm but that can vary as can the drill depth required to accept the hinge.  Most concealed hinges have built in adjustability so you can slightly change the position of the door without relocating the hinge.
Apparently I would use MP(?) kind of boards (I forget what the man at HD called it) and it costs about $25 for an 8x4 sheet. I would just measure my cupboard doors, then go in and tell them the measurements, and they would do all the cutting. Then I would just prime the boards, then paint them, then pre-drill the holes for the new hinges, then put them up.

In my opinion, going to a specialty showroom and paying the extra expense is worth it, because you’ll find choices outside the mainstream and you can get expert help there. These come from the selection at The Plumbery, a kitchen and bath fixture store in Northern California. Here you can see glass knobs, swirly knobs, modern knobs — all just a tad pricier than conventional choices at a hardware store. But look at the workmanship and style, even the heft. Though the average kitchen has 20 to 40 knobs, you might want to splurge for something unique.
This step will work best with raised panel or recessed panel cabinets, my cabinets are raised panel. OK, so I have a little confession to make, I outsourced this step, my routering skills are not top notch and I wanted the kitchen to look good, not like something put together by Dr. Frankenstein. The good news is it was very inexpensive and I was able to get 10 little doors done for less than the cost of a new upper cabinet. If you’re an ace with the router then you know exactly what to do, so have at it!
At a home renovation in Connecticut, cabinet fabricator Michael Madore experimented with what he calls an "aggressive" metal-sanding process to pull out the grain from the whitewashed oak plywood. For the hardware-free cabinets, Julie Salles Schaffer looked to a drawer pull detail derived from Giò Ponti’s work—though she admits the radial edging is an effect entirely her own.
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.
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!
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