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!

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.


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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.

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.
This was a great project! I did something similar but much lazier. After installing beautiful brushed-nickel handles to dozens of drawers & cupboards, I noticed that the 30 year old hinges were dark brown and ornate (against white cabinets). Yuck ... So I opened each cabinet & used painter's tape to block off a rectangular area around each hinge. They weren't dirty, so I just painted inside the whole rectangle with silver paint. The result is sleeker and more modern, and nobody would ever notice unless they were really close. Love it!

Our drawer pulls come in a nearly endless variety of materials, styles and finishes. For a contemporary, modern look, try a brushed nickel or chrome drawer pull. If you’re considering a more traditional, classic style, check out our bronze, brass, pewter and black drawer pulls. You’ll be amazed by how a small detail like cabinet hardware can change the look of an entire room. Updating kitchen cabinet hardware, or furniture hardware is also a quick and easy exercise that requires few tools, minimal effort, and is relatively inexpensive.
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.

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.
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!

Try to establish some sense of visual symmetry. If you are going to mix styles, the secret to having it look great is to counterbalance the mixing and matching with a semblance of symmetry. For instance, make sure all your drawers have the same number and configuration of knobs. Perhaps all drawers of the same size should share the same knob, and smaller drawers can display a different type.

What they are: An upside-down cup-shaped pull popularized in the mid-19th century. Bin or cup pulls are a popular choice for giving a kitchen a minimalist, vintage feel, just like on these Shaker-style cabinets and drawers. Shakers originally used wood pegs, usually made from maple, cherry or pine, in keeping with their preference for simplicity and austerity. But these cup-shaped drawer pulls are considered Shaker style today, and look clean and understated along with small knobs for the doors.
Thank you so much for helping me understand more about the process to choose new kitchen cabinet hardware. We have been really into rustic looking kitchens lately, and I think that some antique decorative nails could really change the way it looks. Just as you mentioned, you can always change the look of your kitchen again if you do not like the way it looks after a couple of years. Thanks for posting!
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!
Once you’ve worked out which types of hardware are comfortable to use, it’ll be time to start thinking about shapes in relation to the shape of your cabinetry. In general, knob and pull styles should be matched to kitchen cabinet styles. What this means is if you have selected a plain cabinet style, for example, shaker or flat, ultra-modern doors, then you’ll want square, plain hardware to match — perhaps something like Emtek’s brass bar knob or a similar style. Recessed panel doors or doors with curving and intricate trim will often do well with more ornate hardware styles.

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.
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