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.

Once you choose the style of hardware you want, it becomes easier to choose the right finish. There is a wide variety of cabinet hardware finishes: tarnished, polished, brushed, burnished, oil-rubbed, satin, antique or matte -- just to name a few. Stainless steel handles in a highly polished finish look great in a contemporary kitchen. Pewter and brass look more at home in a traditional setting. Bronze will patina over time, mature in appearance, and will make a bold statement in a kitchen. A black finish is dramatic on a light colored cabinet. Whatever you choose, just make sure the finish on your cabinet hardware complements the overall decor of your kitchen.


We just moved into our home a few months ago and it definitely needed some updating. We decided to start in the kitchen with new appliances. Black stainless beauties 😍 That's when we really noticed how "80's" our kitchen cabinets were! They were in good shape, just wrong color. So we decided to just paint them! The hinges were terribly dirty with a film over them and brass colored. So here's a step by step how I quickly cleaned them and then painted them to match the black stainless appliances....

When it comes to finishes, let the rest of the components in the home be your guide. If you are selecting an oil-rubbed bronze artisan faucet, select the matching hardware. Interested in mixing finishes? In today’s home, anything goes. Mixing brass with black iron might be over the top, but pairing brushed nickel with polished chrome can offer a dynamic and attractive contrast.
You’ll also want to think about how visible your hinges will be—do you want them to be a major design feature and mounted directly to both the outside of the frame and the outside of the cabinet, known as a surface-mounted hinge? Or take a more minimalist design approach and have them virtually invisible from the outside when the cabinets are closed, known as a concealed hinge? Are you worried about the noise of cabinet doors closing, and think that soft-closing hinges are important? 
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.
Hardware makes an enormous difference in the bones of the cabinetry and the style of the room.  If I was facing down an oak kitchen that I wanted to live with, in harmony, for a bit of time, here’s what I would do in one weekend:  Paint it a great color.  Clear the counters.  Lay down a great, eye-catching rug.  Change out the hardware.  Add some color (probably a big framed print and a huge plant in a nice planter).  That’s it. 
Shake a can of rust-inhibiting metal spray primer for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer. Position the can the recommended distance away from the hinges -- it varies among manufacturers. Spray a light coat of primer on the hinges and screw heads using steady, even sweeps. Make sure you spray the sides and edges. Shake the can frequently while you spray. Allow the primer to dry for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer. Apply a second coat of primer and allow it to dry completely.
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.
One of the first reccomendations I give on choosing hardware, is on wide drawers. Go with a single larger handle especially in the kitchen. The kitchen is a busy area and users find themselves with something in their hand when they go to open a drawer with the free hand. If there are 2 pulls on a drawer, just using one will end up tweaking the drawer in the long run. When I begin to look for a hardware collection always look at the range of sizes in that collection. I like the rule of the larger the drawer the larger the handle... or the more weight the drawer will hold the wider the stance should be that the handle provides.
Painting cabinets yourself is cost-effective -- a few gallons of paint, sandpaper, cleaner -- but the process is time-intensive. You can paint most cabinet surfaces, but proper prep is key to success. For laminate and melamine finishes, be sure to rough up the surface with 150-grit sandpaper, and apply a good bonding primer before topping it off with the color of your choice.

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.


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!
Chrome, nickel and stainless steel finishes will never go out of style, but warm metallics offer a fresh, modern look. For a quick update, consider replacing your lighting, faucet or cabinet hardware with products in gleaming brass or bronze like the ones in this chic space. “The updated satin brass cabinet hardware is really striking against the simple shaker cabinets,” says designer Elizabeth Lawson.
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