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.
Aesthetically when do you choose to a long handle or a cabinet door vs. a button size knob. This does require some finesse and doing some drawings to get it just right, but here are few tips to take into consideration. You may want to lean more towards small knobs and handles if you are going for a more contemporary style in your kitchen space. Often mixing and matching round knobs with drawer pulls work well in these style of kitchens. A longer handle may be used in a more modern kitchen for a more polished look in a space, while having too many small knobs would feel cluttered for this type of kitchen. In a transitional space, you may want to select one style of hardware and then make that one particular style of hardware larger or smaller depending on where it’s going in the kitchen. For example you would have larger handles for your refrigerator and pantry doors, but a smaller version of the same knob for the upper cabinets in your kitchen area above the refrigerator.
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.

Hopefully you drilled for the hinges in the same location on every door, if so, then this should be simple. You really just need to measure for the top hinge. I installed my top hinge 4” down from the top of the door, so I measured 3 ½” down from the inside top of the face frame (3 ½” + ½” overlay = 4”). This step is a team effort, one person to hold the door and another person to attach the hinge to the face frame.


Hopefully you drilled for the hinges in the same location on every door, if so, then this should be simple. You really just need to measure for the top hinge. I installed my top hinge 4” down from the top of the door, so I measured 3 ½” down from the inside top of the face frame (3 ½” + ½” overlay = 4”). This step is a team effort, one person to hold the door and another person to attach the hinge to the face frame.
We also did that. Our handles are those stainless steel round bars. Loved the look with our white slab door/drawer fronts! Turned out there was big problem with sides of the horizontal drawer pulls snagging pants pockets. So, replaced those with centered flush type steel rectangular pulls that we mounted on the drawers after using router to make mortise holes No more snagging pockets!
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.

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 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.
If you have a removable island or a butcher block in your kitchen, an easy way to make that extra piece look cohesive with the rest of your kitchen décor is by adding coordinating cup and cabinet pulls to drawers and doors. This addition will make your island look purposeful and blend it with the rest of your kitchen cabinets — even if the finish or countertop is different.
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!
The cons are a few: 1. MDF is heavy in relation to wood or plywood. 2. MDF does not accept screws very well. You must use coarse thread screws and always pre-drill. Apply the hinge screws by using a hand-held screwdriver instead of a screw gun. If you don't, they can strip the hole quickly. 3. Over time the screws will come lose just from opening and closing the doors (just go around every so often and tighten the screws). 4. If water gets into the doors, they will swell and they will need to be replaced so seal them well.
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.
When I’m talking about metals, I consider the silver metals as one grouping. So, when you have stainless appliances (silver), a chrome faucet (silver) and brushed nickel lighting (silver) those all count as one metal in my book- SILVER. I personally think Nickel is the most timeless of the metals. Brass has really gained in popularity with interior designers, but is probably a trendier choice. I’ve seen a rise in the popularity of black hardware especially in this age of farmhouse- EVERYTHING (Thanks Chip and Joanna). I think every room in your house should have a little black in it, so if you can bring in the black with your second metal in your kitchen, DO IT!!
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