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.
However, much like the keys of the grand piano, hardware commands the proceedings in cabinetry. It is generally the only part of a cabinet we touch, and its hinges account for all of its moving parts. As it is our main method of interacting with the cabinet, its feel, sturdiness and functionality are going to play a large role in how we view the functionality of the kitchen.
There are also a couple of overlay sizes, most commonly  1 1/4″ and 1/2″. Overlay refers to the distance your door overlaps your opening. Mine didn’t measure 1 1/4″ or 1/2″, and this project still worked with my doors. If you’re looking for information on how to measure your overlay, this is not the post for you because I haven’t the faintest idea. Back to Google you go! (Sorry!)
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.
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.
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.
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).
After the center panels have been removed, take measurements of the inside openings. I subtracted an 1/8” from the length and width just to make sure the glass would fit. Now, go to Lowes, find the glass cutting isle and give the kind man or woman working there your list of measurements. Make sure you have other things to shop for because this is going to take a while, but it’s super duper cheap so it’s worth the wait. By the way, you don’t have to use glass, you could use that cool radiator metal, chicken wire, punched tin, you name it, sky’s the limit!
Dreamer, thinker, + lemon squeezer; you'll usually find me clutching a mug of coffee, glue gun, fandeck of paint colors, and a child at any given time. This mom of two (and wife to one) loves to share freshly squeezed ideas for home and family. Join the adventure as we learn most lemons can indeed become lemonade-- with generous amounts of sweetness, perspective, and love.
The choice between kitchen cabinet knobs and cabinet pulls and handles may seem unimportant, but knobs and handles have different features that can alter the overall look of your kitchen. Because kitchen cabinet knobs are round, they often give a kitchen a welcoming, home-style look that works especially well in country-themed kitchens. Kitchen cabinet handles and kitchen cabinet pulls, on the other hand, can give a kitchen a more sophisticated or elegant look. These distinctions are fairly loose though, and you can find plenty of rustic kitchen cabinet handles as well as sophisticated kitchen cabinet knobs, if that’s what you want.

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!
There’s no hard and fast rule on how long bar pulls should be, so go with personal preference. However, most designers keep them at two-thirds to three-quarters the width of the drawer. Notice they’re even longer in this kitchen, yet the length works. A good idea is to purchase a few knobs and pulls, bring them home and try them out before replacing your entire kitchen’s hardware.
The clean, industrial look of silver produces a calm ambiance, which pairs perfectly with your white cabinets. Silver is also bright enough, where it also stands out on your cabinets and gives your kitchen that shiny and sterile feel. The majority of today’s appliances are stainless steel, so your stainless steel hardware will share that uniform look.
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!
“When it comes to hardware, it’s hard to shop on the internet,” says Eric. “Some things that look really good online, look cheap in person and vice versa. Some cheap-looking online items look exquisite in person.” The Brandino Brass team says that not only the look, but the feel of door hardware and cabinet hardware is very important. “You don’t want a handle to poke you or have an awkward grip for your hands,” says Renee.
Order samples, and get a few different types of styles and sizes to decide what will work best for your cabinet doors. It’s helpful to shop with a sample of your cabinet door. Ask yourself: Does my hand keeps sliding on the grip? Is it difficult to pull or get a grasp on it? Does it get greasy from my fingertips? Would I rather have a pull near the fridge but a knob near the stove? You will use this item a ton of times everyday, and you want to feel comfortable with your choice. There’s nothing worse than a cute knob that’s hard to pull open everyday.
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