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.

Hardware can have a huge impact on the look and feel of your kitchen, which is why we often recommend replacing hardware as a quick upgrade for rental kitchens, or when you aren’t able to remodel. So when you’re planning a new kitchen, or a re-design, don’t let your hardware be an afterthought. Here are a few guidelines to help you select the right hardware for your kitchen.


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.
It’s easy to find interesting kitchen cabinet knobs for theme kitchens due to the wide selection available today. For example, there are colorful fish shaped ceramic knobs for tropical or beach themed kitchens and animal shaped cupboard pulls for a country kitchen theme. Gold colored cabinet knobs work in some kitchens although silver colored handles coordinate better with stainless steel sinks and appliances.
Use the same guidelines for or your interior doors. If you like the idea of statement door knobs and hinges, go for lots of contrast— dark door knobs and hinges on light doors, for example.  As an aside, interior door levers, which you simply have to push down, are easier for aging hands to operate as compared to door knobs, which you have to twist.
Dreamy DIY: Have you ever seen something that makes you want to break out the craft kit and get to down to business? Well these leather drawer pulls with brass rivets are so luxuriously handsome it makes us want to rip out and redo every single pull in the house. I can only imagine how delightful these will begin to look when worn with use — a little imperfection to balance and roughen up such a posh space.
This step will work best with raised panel or recessed panel cabinets, my cabinets are raised panel. OK, so I have a little confession to make, I outsourced this step, my routering skills are not top notch and I wanted the kitchen to look good, not like something put together by Dr. Frankenstein. The good news is it was very inexpensive and I was able to get 10 little doors done for less than the cost of a new upper cabinet. If you’re an ace with the router then you know exactly what to do, so have at it!
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.
Mona Culberson began working on the assembly line at a large manufacturing company in 1983, where she worked her way up into several positions of business responsibility. In 2005, she began a career in roofing, interior design and remodeling. She works daily as a professional painter/home remodeler/handywoman while lending her husband's roofing business a helping hand in her spare time.
Over time, switch plates and outlet covers can become dingy and dirty. Replacing your old outlet covers is a quick way to add some new life to your kitchen décor. Switch plates and outlet covers are no longer stuck just being basic functional pieces on your wall. There are many different designs, materials and finishes that can complement the look of any room. Choose switch plates and outlet covers that are made from high-quality metal materials because they are more durable and stylish than basic plastic ones. Plus, you won’t have to worry about kitchen splatter creating unsightly stains on your covers, as this material is super easy to wipe clean!
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!
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.
Based on this, you can then figure out the relationship between your cabinet doors and the frame or exposed edge of the cabinet—do the doors cover part of the frame or edge, or are they inset so that you can see that frame? Depending on whether it’s a single cabinet door or a double cabinet door, the frame or edge might be covered by one or two cabinet doors. 
Caring for decorative hardware purchased from Cliffside Industries is easy. Use only a soft cloth dampened with water for cleaning. The most important thing to remember is never to apply any chemicals or abrasive cleaners, including all kinds of soap or detergent. Using these products damages the protective lacquer and may change the appearance of the piece. Any use of chemicals, abrasives or soaps will void your warranty.
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.
Cup pulls add a unique style to drawers by going beyond the basic drawer handle. Whether you’re looking for a way to add antique or rustic style to your kitchen or you want to add modern flair, cup pulls enhance any décor. Since cabinet pulls are used frequently each day, look for quality metal styles that are durable and built to last. Cup pulls also come in interesting shapes and designs like leaves and clamshells to give your kitchen a fun aesthetic.
Sandra, thank you so much for this awesome post! I’m remodeling my 40 yr old kitchen, and wanted to get rid of the visible old fashioned hinges that show! I had absolutely no clue as to what type of cabinets I have until I read your post! I completely understand now, and will be purchasing the “concealed surface mount overlay hinges for face frame cabinets” I know the 3 holes on the outside will be visible when I change out the hinges, so I’ll just fill them in with wood filler and sand before repainting. You’re so smart, informative and detail oriented just like me! Thank you again so much for this wonderful lesson on cabinets and hinges! I’m subscribing to your website or blog or whatever you have!
“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.”
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!
The timeless classics of solid brass styles, futuristic euro-design aluminum pieces, stunning granite and stainless steel combinations, and novelty handcrafted hardware can all be purchased for a fraction of the cost of replacing your entire set of kitchen cabinets. Give your kitchen a new look with the simple replacement of cabinet hardware. Sprucing up the kitchen has never been easier.
It’s definitely possible to change out the hinges without redoing the cabinets – you would just have to make sure that the holes on the frames where the old hinges were, are able to be filled and touched up so that they’re not obvious. I’m not sure of the cost, but hinges aren’t cheap, and I definitely recommend using a carpenter to do the work. Hinges can be maddening!
I can totally appreciate that.  You’ll notice that these cabinets are also flush with the cabinet frames, which makes the hinges a little less noticeable.  But sometimes, the hinge effect just isn’t quite as charming, and can be more distracting than anything.  A lot depends on what kind of cabinet overlay you’re dealing with and the aesthetic that you’re looking for in this sort of project. 
It’s important to choose hardware that will complement the rest of your kitchen décor and accentuate its worthy features. Generally, most people want their cabinet and drawer hardware to coordinate with the handles on their appliances. The colors should work well together, and the finishes shouldn’t clash. Drastically different shapes can also make your kitchen feel cluttered. You should use functionality and your personal preference to approach choosing knobs vs. pulls, but there are a few general guidelines to follow that correlate with your style of cabinets.
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.
Cliffside offers a unique brand of stone hardware. The river rock collection is a series of knobs made from river pebbles, which were naturally smoothed by rushing water and by tumbling over each other. They come in shades like gray, salmon-pink, charcoal black, a rusty Martian red and a speckled white that can complement essentially any color scheme imaginable.
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.
Below and above the sink can be two different color schemes. Don’t worry, you can mix and match more than you might think and still obey the laws of symmetry. It can provide a sunny, uplifting splash to have a lighter color above the level of the countertops, such as a warm brass or gold. Particularly with items like faucets and sconces, a lighter color around eye level will create a happy glow.
Since most kitchen cabinets are not sold with hardware, it’s up to homeowners to decide which knobs and pulls to pair with their selection. This is not always the easiest decision, since there are so many unique styles and finishes to choose from. To help you on your search for the perfect hardware for your kitchen cabinets, here are some tips to follow.
For customers who have homes near the ocean, Cliffside recommends choosing non-metal items such as marble or wood for your projects. Salt air acts as an abrasive, and quickly erodes the lacquer coating. If you absolutely need (or desire) metal hardware, Cliffside recommends solid stainless steel, or certain solid brass finishes such as Black, Polished Brass, or Polished Chrome. Note that, even in optimum indoor conditions, no Cliffside finish has a lifetime guarantee under any circumstances.
The style of cabinet hardware you pick will depend a great deal on the style of your kitchen, and also on the kind of cabinets you choose. Traditionally styled cabinets with more intricate face profiles call for traditional hardware: Cabinets with more simply styled or completely flat faces look best with minimal, streamlined knobs and pulls. Some very modern cabinets don’t require hardware at all: Instead, they have grooves on the edges of the door, or open by push latches.
Disclaimer: Although it is my intention to provide accurate plans and clear instructions, not all plans have been tried and tested. Using plans or information found on SawdustGirl.com indicates that you agree with the Terms of Use policy and will accept full responsibility for the process and outcome of any project you attempt. All plans are for private use only. Plans and information published on SawdustGirl.com may not be reproduced, republished or distributed in any manner without written permission from Sandra Powell, Sawdust Girl. Actual projects built using Sawdust Girl plans may be published on your own site without instructions or "tutorial" as long as you provide a link to my original post with full post title or "SawdustGirl.com" as link title.
White cabinets really help bring out the light and area available in a room. My kitchen is currently really dark and doesn't let much light in. I feel if I were to add windows and make the room a lighter color it would appear a lot happier and feel like I have more room. Thanks for the inspiration I am going to start looking for pieces to make my kitchen lighter like yours!
I had already chosen polished nickel hardware (which I will share more about soon), so my hinges needed to coordinate.  I decided to use Rub n Buff to give them a much-needed update.  If you don’t know, Rub n Buff is a fantastic metallic paste used to give almost anything a metal finish.  I chose it because it is so easy to use and gives a lasting finish.
The other option for changing kitchen cabinet knobs is to purchase new ones. The two main types of cabinet fixtures for kitchens are circular pulls and metal bars. The round pulls tend to be old-fashioned, while the metal bar handles are often more contemporary. Cabinet pulls can be made more modern by painting them metallic silver. Metal bar cabinet door handles are usually silver-colored and narrow; this style is often seen with darker wood toned cabinets.

One of the last things considered when shopping for kitchen cabinets is the hardware. But kitchen cabinet hardware can make a big impact on the look and feel of not just your kitchen cabinets, but the entire room. The shape of and finish on your pulls, knobs and handles can put the final touch on your kitchen design. The very same cabinet might have a vintage feel with porcelain knobs, or a contemporary look with brushed nickel pulls. You can give your kitchen a very personalized treatment with something custom, like artistic glass knobs, or handworked metal in oil-rubbed bronze. Think of the hardware like jewelry for your cabinets. Let it speak for your style - be that contemporary, modern, vintage or traditional. Here are some of our favorite examples of great kitchen cabinet hardware from around the web.
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