Though not as common as stainless steel or brass, pewter is a very traditional western metal to use in a kitchen. It has a long history dating back around a thousand years — the “Worshipful Company of Pewterers” was even formed in 14th-century England to regulate pewter quality. By the time it began making its way onto furniture in the 1700s, it was a centuries-old art.
The importance of selecting quality hardware is impossible to overstate. As with many parts of our home, hardware is an investment. We have all seen cabinet knobs that loosen too easily and hinges that wear out. Because hardware is going to receive the bulk of a cabinet’s wear and tear, investing more in it is ultimately investing more in the life of your cabinets.
Choose hardware that will contrast with your cabinets. Accent dark wood with brass, stainless steel, chrome or nickel. Light-colored cabinets provide the perfect background for bronze, enamel or copper with an antique finish. Metal hardware with a satin or highly polished finish can be adapted to a contemporary or traditional decor. Oil-rubbed bronze suggests a more casual style. Consider enamel and glass hardware for a Victorian home. Glass is also available in sleek designs to accent a contemporary setting.
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.

Choose hardware that will contrast with your cabinets. Accent dark wood with brass, stainless steel, chrome or nickel. Light-colored cabinets provide the perfect background for bronze, enamel or copper with an antique finish. Metal hardware with a satin or highly polished finish can be adapted to a contemporary or traditional decor. Oil-rubbed bronze suggests a more casual style. Consider enamel and glass hardware for a Victorian home. Glass is also available in sleek designs to accent a contemporary setting.
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
And then there’s appliance hardware. Appliance pulls are not just hardware pulls that have a higher price point. It is a more durable hardware that look identical in style to your standard pulls, but are designed for the larger items in your kitchen like refrigerators, dishwashers, pantries, and oversized drawers. They come in a range of sizes from 6” to 36” and are constructed to hold a heavier weight, typically necessitating longer screws and a backplate for installation. The screws can be shortened to the needed size, but its best to follow the instructions and have these pieces installed by a professional to avoid hiccups.
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.  
Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.
“What is your overall style? Traditional, contemporary, arts and crafts, eclectic, cottage, French, Mediterranean, Western, Art Deco or coastal,” asks Brandino Brass co-owner Eric Brandino. He encourages clients to think about the style of their home or the style they would like to incorporate. “Is there a consistent style throughout or does it vary from room to room? Transitional style has been one of the most popular looks recently,” he says of what’s trending in hardware. “Clean lines with just a touch of traditional features and finishes, such as an unlacquered brass or bronze.”
Over time, switch plates and outlet covers can become dingy and dirty. Replacing your old outlet covers is a quick way to add some new life to your kitchen décor. Switch plates and outlet covers are no longer stuck just being basic functional pieces on your wall. There are many different designs, materials and finishes that can complement the look of any room. Choose switch plates and outlet covers that are made from high-quality metal materials because they are more durable and stylish than basic plastic ones. Plus, you won’t have to worry about kitchen splatter creating unsightly stains on your covers, as this material is super easy to wipe clean!
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.
With each pass of the roller and swipe of my paint brush I am making my way around the kitchen. Going back to standard time has slowed me down since it gets dark around 5 o’clock now. I like to paint in daylight, using electrical lights casts too many shadows and I miss spots. It is also getting colder outside. I was painting in the garage, but the temps have to be above 50 to paint, so I brought my painting set-up inside.

Try putting different types of handles on different types of cabinets and drawers. Again, you should adhere to a color scheme and symmetry, but using a mixture of metal and glass knobs, bars and handles can add lots of character to the space. Just be sure to step back and make sure there is some rhyme and reason to it all. For instance, perhaps the two drawers straddling the kitchen sink should share the same handles to create a pleasing sense of symmetry.


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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