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.

Hardware makes an enormous difference in the bones of the cabinetry and the style of the room.  If I was facing down an oak kitchen that I wanted to live with, in harmony, for a bit of time, here’s what I would do in one weekend:  Paint it a great color.  Clear the counters.  Lay down a great, eye-catching rug.  Change out the hardware.  Add some color (probably a big framed print and a huge plant in a nice planter).  That’s it. 
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.
And why shouldn’t we love them? Not only are they sturdy and virtually maintenance-free, but each stone tells a story that is uniquely independent of humankind. That stone making up your cabinet knob was formed in the hot belly of our planet, hardened to a crust on its exterior and then one day miraculously plucked up by a passing human and turned into a part of your daily life.
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. 
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. 

Due to its quasi-metallic makeup, crystal does much more than just sparkle — it also exhibits other coveted traits. When rubbed to the point of vibrating, crystal will produce a musical tone. It is also stronger than glass and can be blown quite thin. Cliffside Industries distributes German crystal, which is stupendous in its clarity and diamond-like cuts, as well as products from the world-famous Austrian crystal maker Swarovski AG.


Choose hardware that will contrast with your cabinets. Accent dark wood with brass, stainless steel, chrome or nickel. Light-colored cabinets provide the perfect background for bronze, enamel or copper with an antique finish. Metal hardware with a satin or highly polished finish can be adapted to a contemporary or traditional decor. Oil-rubbed bronze suggests a more casual style. Consider enamel and glass hardware for a Victorian home. Glass is also available in sleek designs to accent a contemporary setting.

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.


What if you can’t decide on kitchen hardware? It’s OK to mix and match! Pick patterns and finishes that complement each other and install them in a repeating pattern for a look that is custom to your style. It’s easy to switch up this look as you please. However, this might not impress a potential homebuyer if you choose to sell in the future. Consider updating to more traditional cabinet hardware when it comes time to sell.
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.
Dreamer, thinker, + lemon squeezer; you'll usually find me clutching a mug of coffee, glue gun, fandeck of paint colors, and a child at any given time. This mom of two (and wife to one) loves to share freshly squeezed ideas for home and family. Join the adventure as we learn most lemons can indeed become lemonade-- with generous amounts of sweetness, perspective, and love.
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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