Cabinetmaker Steve Roca replies: Whether you're hanging new doors, as I'm doing here for a hallway cabinet, or swapping out old hinges, concealed or Euro-style hinges are a dream to install. Unlike the butt or knife hinges often used in kitchen cabinets, they can be adjusted along three axes with the turn of a screwdriver, so you can easily fine-tune the door's fit.
3. Know when to use knobs over pulls. In traditional and country kitchens, putting a knob on a cabinet is not uncommon. In fact, with many cabinets, knobs may a better option than pulls. How do you know the difference? When kitchen cabinets are ornate or finely detailed, go with a knob rather than a pull. A knob is smaller and simpler and doesn’t take attention away from the design of the cabinets.
Oh how true this is for me right now. Oh how true. Luckily I’m here :-). By the way, I can’t handle your kitchen, it’s too perfect. I’ve never seen anything like it and it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen. I’m doing a modern eclectic boho kitchen, predominately white, some wood accents, maybe darker lower cabinets, maybe gold hardware (that’s where I’m stuck), and then pops of beautiful colour like you have here. I’m excited!
Go to the home improvement center and get a 35mm Concealo Hinge mounting kit, it comes with a forstner bit (invented by Benjamin Forstner, in case you didn’t know) and a jig for marking the drill location. You’ll also want to make sure you get 35mm European-style hinges too, but before you buy them you’ll need to determine if you have ½” overlay or full overlay doors. ½” overlay doors overlap the face frames by a ½”, full overlay doors fully overlap the face frame leaving about an 1/8” showing on the outside edge. My doors were all ½” overlay, so I bought eighty 3-way adjustable hinges from eBay. I’m not sure what I was thinking because I ended up with a LOT of hinges left over. Warm up your drill and let’s move on to the next step.
I thought for sure I’d go with the modern beauty on the upper right (the It Pull), but when I held them both up to the cabinets they whispered to me “go for the Bronte.” Like Shakira’s hips, cabinets don’t lie, so I went with the Bronte. Then we needed to chose the finish. As much as I lurrrrrrve gold hardware, my husband nixed that idea because he does not understand this is not the gold of the 1980’s. 😉 Since he gets very little choice in the rest of the house, I took one for the team (not really, I actually love the dark finish too) and chose the lovely Venetian Bronze finish. While gold would certainly have elevated this kitchen to on-trend status, I went for what works best for our marital harmony.
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.
If you want to use warm metal like matte brass or gold or copper in your house, but are hesitant because you’re afraid it might go out of style in the next few years, adding warm metal cabinet hardware is a great way to go. If brass, gold and copper do go out of style in the next few years, most cabinet hardware is pretty simple to replace all by yourself. If, however, you decide on a warm metal faucets, door hinges or lighting fixtures, many of us would have to hire a professional or handyman to replace those items. But cabinet hardware can easily be switch out by almost anyone. Just make sure you use standard sized hardware.
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.
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.
But If you don’t think of your hardware as decorative (but as purely functional) and just want your pulls and knobs to blend into the background, instead of standing out, you can choose hardware that is more subtle. Choose dark hardware for darker cabinets or silver or clear hardware for white or light cabinets. Alternatively, you can forgo cabinet pulls and knobs all together, which will give a much more contemporary look.
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.
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.