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 might think that after making dozens of tough decisions during your kitchen remodel, something like choosing handles for your cabinets would be easy. Yeah, so not the case. You’ll soon find out that there are more cabinet knob options than there are stars in the sky. But don’t panic. And by all means, don’t make a knee-jerk decision just to get it over with. When I used to make up design and swatch boards, I would remind clients that the hardware matters as much as the big stuff. Remember, you’ll be looking at and touching your kitchen cabinet knobs every single day. So you want to make the right choice. And after all, this is a micro design element that can have macro impact.
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.
By adding hardware you like, you’re literally installing your style into the room — and this will make any accessories you want to add in feel like a part of the kitchen’s design, and not out of place. Of course, not every cabinet + hardware combo is going to work, but see how far you can take it when it comes to choosing hardware outside the traditional style of the cabinets.
The size of your cabinets will influence the size of your knobs. If your cabinets are smaller in scale you’ll want to opt for hardware that is likewise, such as minimal-scale circular knobs. Longer hardware is necessary when you have extra long cabinet doors—or can be used if you want to make a more of dramatic statement. Most cabinet doors are 24”, so you want a knob about 2”-3” size knob. For a larger cabinet door you can size up to 3½” or 4”. For a cabinet door under 20”, source hardware that’s closer to 1” to 2” size in diameter or length.
You probably noticed from the after photo that I didn’t just replace the hinges and add glass, oh no, I went big with this transformation. I replaced the hinges, added glass to the upper, upper cabinets, removed the wood valances, closed in a window and added open shelving (super simple), added upper and under cabinet lighting, new counter tops, new back splash and new appliances. But I did all that with the original cabinets and they no longer look tired, worn out or dated. Now if I could just find something to renovate my tired, worn out, dated self…
Whereas crystal is made primarily of silica and lead oxide, glass is largely composed of silica and soda lime. The lime is the reason glass can have a greenish tint when light is shining through it, whereas crystal is clear. Glass can provide the perfect accent to a room, and is an excellent secret weapon if you are wondering how to add a “pop” without overdoing it.
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.
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.