The choice between cabinet pulls and knobs isn’t easy — both come with positives and negatives. Keep in mind that you’ll be using your knobs or pulls every day. Whatever you choose should feel natural in your hand and flow with the décor of the room. You should consider your kitchen’s décor and style, the look you want to achieve, your budget, ease of cleaning, ease of use, the weight of your drawers and more.

What they are: Art objects as much as pulls, these knobs draw attention. Placed in the center, they draw your eye to the detailing of the worn wood here. Search salvage yards for antique ones and don’t be afraid to spring for the few knobs you’ll need. If you can’t find this sort of door detailing, you can create a similar effect by placing a medallion behind each knob in the center of your doors. Look for antitwist pins to keep the knob from spinning (in fact, do this with any round knob).

The first step in choosing kitchen hardware was to decide on the color and style. I fell in love with the selections offered by Atlas Homewares — so much so that I’m now thrilled to be partnering with them on this post. 🙂  I started by ordering several samples in various shapes, sizes and finishes so I could style them in person with the cabinets and countertops.
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. 
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.
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.
Most of your pulls and knobs, though, will go on standard sized cabinetry, which will be 3 feet wide or less.   The most common pull sizes for standard cabinetry are 3”,  4”, or 96mm and 128mm, again measured from the center of one screw hole to the center of the other. But many of today’s pulls tend to be on even larger than 4 inches.  Standard knob sizes are less than 1.5 inches in diameter.
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.
Recessed Pulls mimic the utilitarian style of traditional office cabinetry. They’re built into the cabinet door and can be crafted from the same material to blend in or a contrasting material to highlight their presence. They’re also great for high-traffic kitchens because they don’t protrude from the doors, meaning there is little risk of them snagging on clothing.
Most knobs and pulls are only a few dollars apiece but when you consider the sheer number that you’ll need, those costs add up fast. For each standard lower cabinet with two doors and one drawer, you’ll need three pieces of hardware — and two more knobs or pulls for the matching upper cabinet doors. With that in mind, here are a couple of factors to consider:

Between your cabinets and your drawers, you may have thirty of more cabinet handles in your kitchen, which has a significant effect on the look of the room, so you will want to choose knobs and pulls that match or complement your kitchen decor. If your kitchen has a modern look, consider choosing a cabinet handle that has angles and a very simple design or a square knob. Keep in mind that you can find knobs and pulls in a number of different designs, so if you have a Tuscan-themed kitchen, you can find kitchen cabinet knobs stamped with grapes, and if you have a rustic kitchen, you can find kitchen cabinet handles made from twisted wrought iron.
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.

Linda, great questions! I have only had my rub n buffed hinges in use for a few weeks so far so I can’t say much for long term use yet. I can say that I haven’t had a problem with it rubbing off, but I did have to be really careful hanging my cabinet doors because I noticed that it did rub off on the white paint if I wasn’t careful. (The few spots where that happened, I just touched up the white paint.) I also didn’t have a problem getting it to shine – but I was going for a brushed nickel look which isn’t super shiny. I don’t know that you could get it shiny enough to be a chrome looking finish. Overall I have been really happy with it but I will be sure to share an update after more time passes.
Do you dream of a whole-kitchen remodel straight out of a magazine photo spread? Kitchens begin to look dated more quickly than any other room in your home. Replacing cabinets and countertops is an expensive proposition, but what if you could update them just a bit at little cost? Replacing or adding new cabinet hardware is a great way to update your look with the latest finishes and styles, without breaking open the piggy bank.
Never underestimate the visual effectiveness of adding just a hint of metallic to a room. These sleek round knobs are a shiny brass, which would glint beautifully in all this kitchen’s natural light. The super-flat front and simple round shape complement the modern design of the other elements. And the brass hue actually echoes the natural wood tone of the stools, warming the room up visually.
If you’re like me and love hardware (I think of it as jewelry for the house) and want your pulls and knobs to make a statement, instead of blend into background, you’ll want to choose hardware that contrasts with your cabinets, drawers and doors.  Consider using darker finishes like black or oil rubbed bronze on white or light colored cabinets and doors.  
“We find it refreshing for people to purchase what they like and what feels good to them, not caring what the ‘Joneses’ have,” says Renee. The Brandino Brass team regularly works with professionals who have their own signature styles. “One architect in town may use the same small knob all over the house all in the same finish for continuity. Another one will use different styles and finishes in each individual room,” says Jessie Isom, Brandino Brass team member. “There is no right or wrong if you like it.”
I have a solid oak kitchen from the late 1980s. I would like to update the cabinets by painting them but my hinges are exposed. Is it possible to change any exposed hinge to a hidden hinge, or are there some styles that won't be replaceable? Also, has anyone else painted kitchen cabinets with exposed hinges in such a way that it looks good? Thanks!
Flat-panel cabinets.Most often seen in modern or contemporary kitchens, flat-panel cabinets embrace minimal embellishment to focus on natural materials. Subtle hardware choices are best, such as stainless steel bar pulls. You often see long, extended versions placed on the door or drawer.If you prefer square edges, you can choose a flat bar pull. Recessed pulls offer a functional option that work especially well for high-traffic kitchens. If you’re aiming for a minimalist look to your kitchen, you might consider discreet tab pulls for your flat-style cabinets.
I love your site and your super helpful advice. We’re installing full overlay cabinets in our kitchen and we’re trying to select hinges for the upper cabinets — particularly the cupboard doors on the end which when closed is perpendicular to a wall. Since the door aren’t inset, I’m concerned we won’t be able to open the cupboard a full 90 degrees. Basically, the issue is how to solve the problem of the door swing? Are there any hinges that could solve this problem? I can send elevations if that helps. Thanks so much in advance!
These small items — doorknobs, drawer pulls, cabinet-door handles — are "the jewelry" that can add style and sparkle to any space, says New York-based interior designer Young Huh. Just as the right necklace can turn a simple dress into a fashion statement, a striking new set of knobs on an old cabinet, or vintage crystal doorknobs can bring a huge dose of style to your home with minimal expense, she says.
My home was built in 1940 and the kitchen cabinet hinges and pulls are the hammered black ones. I want to replace same pulls with chrome or polished chrome but cannot find the offset hinges or pulls to fit the holes. I really do not want to have to fill the holes to get another kind. Where can I find these? Have seen them in the past but now I cannot find them. Where should I look?
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.
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.
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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.
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.
It's easy to overlook cabinet handles when you're remodeling your kitchen or building a new home. After all, they're fairly small, easy to install and don't cost as much as, say, a refrigerator or new cabinets. Nevertheless, cabinet handles, also called cabinet pulls, and their near kin, cabinet knobs, can make a big difference in the look and utility of your kitchen. You use your cabinet hardware dozens of times a day, and while hardware like cabinet hinges are not highly visible, kitchen cabinet handles are high profile and can add to or detract from the look of your kitchen, depending on how carefully you choose your kitchen cabinet knobs and handles. Keep reading for information on how to choose cabinet handles that will help give your kitchen the look you want.

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.
In line with our new content direction, Architizer is highlighting a different building-product and how to specify it. This week’s topic is Kitchen Cabinetry. If you’re looking for the perfect kitchen cabinetry for your next project, search for it on Architizer’s new network marketplace for building-products. Click here to see if you qualify. It’s free for architects.
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.

A good price for pulls begins at around $12.00 a piece because anything less looks cheap and the quality will be sub-par. Look for cabinet hardware at plumbing or cabinet showrooms. They will have a larger variety and better quality. Look through the displays or catalogs and order several samples in different styles and finishes to compare to the rest of the finishes in your kitchen.


Custom kitchen cabinetry doesn’t come cheap, but if you’re planning to stay put in your home for a long while, it’s worth spending to get exactly what you want, including the built-ins that enable you to live clutter-free. At the other end of the spectrum, we show you ways to modify Ikea kitchen components for a custom look (we’ve found almost a dozen new companies that offer doors to pair with Ikea’s cabinets).
Pre-drilled holes: replacing the handles on cabinets comes with a few more limitations than selecting completely new cabinetry – namely that the holes might be pre-drilled. You must make sure the center measurements of the existing holes match the spacing of the new pieces. Standard hole center measurements for pulls are 96 mm, 128 mm, 160 mm, 192 mm. When choosing the size of the hardware, keep in mind the scale in relation to the size of your cabinets. Regarding door handles, there is a good chance you may need to increase the size of the bore hole in your door as well. The old standard size was 2-1/8” diameter, and the new standard size is 2-3/8” or 2-3/4”. Tutorials The Quick Door Hanger can help you learn how to do this with a boring bit.
If you’re going for wood paneling, the process is pretty simple. Fasten the pieces together and cut to the size of your appliance. Then, remove the handles from your appliance and glue the panels onto the front using a hot glue gun. You can either paint the wood and the sides of your appliance to match your cabinets, or you can leave it as is for a natural unfinished feel. Complete the look by adding new appliance pulls to match the rest of your kitchen hardware. Appliance covers can be added to just about any kitchen appliance that has a door like a refrigerator and dishwasher.
Cabinet hardware sizes can vary depending on your own personal design preferences, but you’ll want to choose a size that is both stylish and functional. Bar pull sizes are generally determined by the “center-to-center” measurement (the distance between the two screw holes). If you have pre-drilled cabinetry, you’ll need to buy hardware that fits the existing center-to-center measurement. Otherwise, you’re left to your own devices in choosing the size of your cabinet hardware. Here are a few general guidelines to follow:

Pick a color scheme and stick with it. This tip is twofold, as it helps tremendously in narrowing down your choices while simultaneously expanding your options. Pick a large swath — say, the entire lower half of the kitchen — and commit to a color scheme. If the drawers in your kitchen are white, and all the hardware shares the same type of finish, the presence of different types of knobs and handles will be a pleasant sight, rather than a distraction.


5. Be aware of the appliances and fixtures in the kitchen. Pulls and knobs are not the only hardware in your kitchen. Take into account the finish on appliances, light fixtures, and your sink and faucet. While mixing metal finishes is trendy right now in kitchen design, be sure not to overdo it. If the colors clash, it could disrupt the cohesiveness of your kitchen and take away from the beauty of your new cabinets.
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, 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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