I am taking on more and more cabinet refresh projects (for hire), and still never tire of the transformations.  My latest project is an oak, galley style kitchen, and I’m digging deeper into ideas to make these older kitchens look more modern.  Paint is obviously a big hitter in terms of updating a kitchen, but let’s talk about something else that is equally powerful – cabinet hinges.
For easy access to below-counter drawers and cabinets with minimal aesthetic impact, hidden pulls can be a great option. They’re usually attached to the top edge of each door and designed as small slivers of metal that jut out of the flush portion. They are designed to be largely concealed by the work surface above, forming a subtle lip that does not deter from the material and design of the cabinetry itself.
​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.
Though not as common as stainless steel or brass, pewter is a very traditional western metal to use in a kitchen. It has a long history dating back around a thousand years — the “Worshipful Company of Pewterers” was even formed in 14th-century England to regulate pewter quality. By the time it began making its way onto furniture in the 1700s, it was a centuries-old art.
I mentioned to my super-smart carpenter brother, Mike, that I was wanting to update my hinges but was afraid of ruining my doors in the process.  I watched a YouTube video of DIYer who tried to install hidden hinges, and I’ll be polite and just say that the outcome was not a good one. Thus my fear. The place I ordered my new cabinets from couldn’t order replacement doors, so this was a one-shot deal.
Thanks, Marty! You have a joyous looking kitchen/dining room – so beautiful! LOVE it! Not at all stiff and cookie-cutter, but with real individual style! An inspiration today. Your timing is perfect. We have our IKEA kitchen done, except for countertops and backsplash tiling. (We’ve been using Masonite board for a makeshift countertop. Not too bad.) The whole look of our open kitchen/dining room is pleasant, at this point, but bland. Pale minty-grass green walls, blonde (birch) cabinets, warm medium oak floors. Now for putting in some details! YAY! The scary part: Now what? Yikes!! Marty to the rescue with a reassuring article. THANKS! Here we go……

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.


Hanging knobs on a flat-front cabinet is pretty straightforward: You’ll want to position the knob in the bottom corner (for upper cabinets) or top corner (for lower cabinets) of the door. Knobs should be placed equidistant from both sides of the cabinet. A guide like this one can help you to get the measurements right. The exact distance will depend on the look you want and the size of your knobs: Test one or two before you drill a whole kitchen’s worth of holes.
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.
Ultimately, you should choose your hardware according to your personal preferences, kitchen style and goals for functionality. If you’re concerned about resale value, recognize that the most popular hardware finishes are satin, nickel and bronze. There are no hard-set rules to follow when it comes to adding the final details to your kitchen, and many people choose a combination of knobs and pulls. If you’re unsure of which to choose for your kitchen cabinets or drawers, it’s wise to examine the pros and cons of both.
What color will your appliances be? What about your lighting? Your faucet? For some people, matching hardware to appliances may not be particularly important—we’ve seen plenty of kitchens with brass pulls and stainless appliances. But if you like everything to coordinate, consider the whole kitchen when you pick the color of your pulls. (If your appliances are stainless and you don’t particularly like the look of silver pulls, black hardware makes for a harmonious look that isn’t too matchy-matchy).
Knikki Grantham is a Trend Manager with over 20 years in the Furniture and in the Furniture and Design Industry. She grew up in the furniture industry with early memories of sawdust and hand tied springs. After working in various phases of furniture production and development she moved into Design Sales for a Luxury high-end retailer, attaining an Associate ASID as well as other accreditations from various furniture manufacturers.
Excellent post! I already knew about the different options, but it’s so nice to see it all compiled in one place. 🙂 Very handy! I love the look (or rather, lack of) of concealed hinges… but roughly $10 a pair makes me cringe. If I’ve got about 20 doors, I’m looking at $200–for HINGES! The visible hinges run about $3, for $60 total. 🙁 Hmm… debating.
Based on the size of the room, consider how much leeway you have to mix different finishes and materials. Mixing finishes can add a classic agelessness to a room, but the smaller the room is, the more carefully one must tread when doing so. If there are too many different finishes in one small space, you run the risk of having your hardware look random and noncommital. However, if you select each piece carefully, it can add warmth and a sense of human touch — subconsciously giving the impression that the collection was acquired over time.
With each pass of the roller and swipe of my paint brush I am making my way around the kitchen. Going back to standard time has slowed me down since it gets dark around 5 o’clock now. I like to paint in daylight, using electrical lights casts too many shadows and I miss spots. It is also getting colder outside. I was painting in the garage, but the temps have to be above 50 to paint, so I brought my painting set-up inside.
Knob or pull? Bronze or silver? Small or big? Kitchen cabinet hardware is more than just a pretty decoration; knobs and pulls keep your cabinet cleaner and protect the finish. Plus, while they’re little, they can actually make a big impact on your kitchen’s appearance. But with thousands of options out there, how can you select the right hardware to make the best impact? Take these things into consideration before you make your final kitchen cabinet hardware selection.

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.
You may also have seen cabinets that are so modern and minimalist that they have no knobs or pulls whatsoever—and they look like they’re impossible to open! The trick is, in fact, a mechanism with a spring located on the inside of the cabinet. When you push on the corner of a cabinet, you compress and then release the spring, which in turn pops the cabinet open. In order to close the cabinet, you simply push it closed until you hear the little "click" that means the spring is back in its locked position.
Mid-century modern design grew in popularity from the 1940s to the 1970s. During this time period, there was increased interest in nuclear physics, molecular chemistry, and science fiction which inspired the unique shapes seen in everything from furniture and lighting to homes and office buildings. Mid-century modern style combines vintage elements with sleek and timeless … Continued
I love your site and your super helpful advice. We’re installing full overlay cabinets in our kitchen and we’re trying to select hinges for the upper cabinets — particularly the cupboard doors on the end which when closed is perpendicular to a wall. Since the door aren’t inset, I’m concerned we won’t be able to open the cupboard a full 90 degrees. Basically, the issue is how to solve the problem of the door swing? Are there any hinges that could solve this problem? I can send elevations if that helps. Thanks so much in advance!
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!

Swapping these items out is often easy, and Los Angeles-based designer Betsy Burnham says her clients are frequently surprised at the visual impact of something as simple as carefully chosen hardware. Last summer, she added door pulls made of rope tied in small nautical knots to the built-in cabinets at a California beach house, inexpensively adding a dash of personality to the space.
Wow, its looking great and really coming together. Did you use stick on tiles for the kitchen? I too have ugly hinges and have to tackle them. Do I just contact the hardware company and describe what I have? The cabinets in my home appear to be handmade by the original owner but the hinges are the black iron wrought look that was so popular back in the day. Love the glass cabinet knobs too!
Aside from polishing, the look of stone hardware is largely in the hands of nature. Though your hardware pieces may all share traits if they come from the same slab of rock, each piece is going to be different. This creates a natural variety in appearance that will add zest to your room. Stone is cool to the touch and looks especially lovely in homes with a woodsy touch.
There are a few options for hanging drawer hardware. Usually drawer pulls (or knobs or cup pulls) are centered on the face of the drawer. In a more modern kitchen, you may choose to hang them closer to the top of the face. For Shaker-style drawers, you can hang knobs or pulls either in the center of the drawer OR centered on the top stile. Which look should you go with? Whatever you like the best in your kitchen. Just make sure that you’re consistent across all the drawers. Drawers longer than two feet may look better with two knobs or pulls.
When you’re choosing cabinet hardware, think about the number of times you’ll touch these pieces every day. If your cabinet pulls look and feel good and function well, you’re sure to derive pleasure from them. Browse our narrowed-down choices, from modern cabinet pulls to traditional knobs. Simply replacing your cabinet knobs is the easiest (and cheapest) way to spiff up a kitchen. Get started here.

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.
Contemporary kitchens have sleek lines, very little ornamentation and minimalistic colors. So, for a contemporary style kitchen, it is wise to choose hardware that is simple and streamlined. Linear bar handles with straight lines or curved barrel handles are the perfect choice. Since stainless steel appliances are a hallmark of a contemporary kitchen, you can also select handles for your cabinetry in a similar style and finish as your appliance handles. 

When exploring kitchen cabinet hardware ideas, your first task should be to decide how closely aligned in terms of style you want your hardware and the cabinets themselves. For example, a traditional Shaker style cabinet can be complemented with simple, understated brushed metal hardware—or it can provide a blank canvas for all manner of creative approaches to door handles and drawer pulls. The choice is yours, and while it's true that sticking with a one-to-one approach with cabinets and hardware may save you time and simplify the design process, exploring other options may allow you to express more of your own design aesthetic in the kitchen.
We also painted our kitchen cabinets white, and I love the crispness of white cabinets. We used latex paint since we ended up doing most of the work while I was pregnant/nursing a newborn and I didn’t want to deal with the oil-based chemicals and odors. It’s definitely not ideal–the hard, oil-based finish is much more practical for kitchens and cabinets. I’m not a perfectionist so it doesn’t bother me (too much!), but I would definitely recommend taking the time to do oil like you did–yours should last forever 🙂

At this point, you will have narrowed down your hardware choices to a specific style, type, size and finish. Next thing to incorporate is your budget. A good starting point is to count how many knobs and pulls you will need for your cabinetry and determine a price range that is comfortable for you. Many hardware manufacturers have multiple lines of varying quality and price, so be sure to find a manufacturer that uses high-quality materials. Buying cheap can seem like a good idea in the short run, but cheaper metals will degrade faster down the road and face a much higher risk of breaking or bending. Stainless steel hardware, for example, should be solid (not hollow) with a durable but even finish.


My home was built in 1940 and the kitchen cabinet hinges and pulls are the hammered black ones. I want to replace same pulls with chrome or polished chrome but cannot find the offset hinges or pulls to fit the holes. I really do not want to have to fill the holes to get another kind. Where can I find these? Have seen them in the past but now I cannot find them. Where should I look?
Concealed hinges can be mounted on the surface of the door or a pressed into a “cup” that is drilled into the door.  These are often called “cup hinges”.  The cup diameter is generally 35mm but that can vary as can the drill depth required to accept the hinge.  Most concealed hinges have built in adjustability so you can slightly change the position of the door without relocating the hinge.

We just moved into our home a few months ago and it definitely needed some updating. We decided to start in the kitchen with new appliances. Black stainless beauties 😍 That's when we really noticed how "80's" our kitchen cabinets were! They were in good shape, just wrong color. So we decided to just paint them! The hinges were terribly dirty with a film over them and brass colored. So here's a step by step how I quickly cleaned them and then painted them to match the black stainless appliances....
Rest easy, friends, you can do this, too.  And then, since it looks much better and you are thrilled and at peace with it, you can move on to dreaming about that full kitchen reno you are still working towards… one day.  Or, maybe you will be so happy with the small changes you made that you can cross that idea right off the list and move on to dreaming about making other areas of your home just right.
When it comes to designing a kitchen inevitably you have to pick out hardware, and these seemingly small details can literally keep you up at night, going back and forth between brass knobs or stainless steel bars. But thankfully, we’re here to help you get a “handle” on the process. Here are the factors you should consider when choosing kitchen cabinet hardware.
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