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.
Knobs are installed with a single screw through one focused entry point on a door or drawer. Pulls are installed with two screws through two points of contact on a door or drawer. Before any holes are drilled, make sure you give detailed instructions to your homebuilder or remodeling professional so that they know the correct type of handle to install on each cabinet door or drawer. You will also need to specify the position of the knob or pull so that they are installed in a consistent manner throughout the kitchen.
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!
There it is, our top 16 knobs and pulls. We were surprised there weren't any on-trend satin brass options on the list. While we've seen an up-tick in brushed and satin brass hardware's popularity, these tried-and-true stainless steel, satin nickel, and oil rubbed bronze knobs and pulls are still leading of the pack. It just goes to show that not everyone is a trend-follower. Choose your kitchen design details based on your tastes, because the trends will always change anyway!
Look to the other elements of your kitchen to help you determine the right style for your kitchen hardware. You’ll notice that your cabinets, countertop edges, and lighting fixtures have either square or curved lines. Choose hardware that matches those lines. Curved hardware tends to be more traditional, while square hardware styles are often more contemporary.
Once you have decided on a style and shape for your hardware, you still need to choose the finish for your knobs and pulls. A shiny chrome finish has a modern feel, while brushed nickel or pewter may bring a more traditional look to your kitchen. Black hardware can be modern in a glossy finish or traditional with a matte finish. Many hardware lines come in several different finishes to help you find exactly the look you want.
You’ll also want to think about how visible your hinges will be—do you want them to be a major design feature and mounted directly to both the outside of the frame and the outside of the cabinet, known as a surface-mounted hinge? Or take a more minimalist design approach and have them virtually invisible from the outside when the cabinets are closed, known as a concealed hinge? Are you worried about the noise of cabinet doors closing, and think that soft-closing hinges are important?
At one point I considered trying to update the cabinets with more modern hidden hinges, but after some research I realized that isn’t possible for all cabinet styles and can also be pretty costly. So instead, I started making a plan to update the older-style hinges we already had. They started out an aged brass finish. And not a beautiful antique brass, but more like brass that had been soaking up kitchen grease for 40 years. Not exactly what I wanted to use on my ‘new’ white cabinets.
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.
Modern cabinet door hinges are a critical part to any cabinet, and are also quite complex; there are about a dozen (if not more) different types of hinges, depending on whether you have face-frame cabinets or frameless cabinets. Face-frame cabinets include a frame made of 1-½" to 2" wide solid wood that attaches to the front edges of the cabinets. This type of cabinet construction is common in American-made cabinets, and hinges will then mount directly to this frame. However, if you have frameless cabinets—which are typically made in Europe, like IKEA cabinets—your cabinets are basically just a four-sided box with no frame around the front edges. In this case, the hinges will mount directly to the interior of the cabinet.
Interior Door knobs and levers can range from less than $20 to $200. You can find cabinet knobs and pulls from less than $2 each to more than $20 each. Solid knobs and pulls are better quality than hollow hardware. Although you generally get what you pay for with hardware, if your budget is tighter, you might want to choose less expensive cabinet hardware since it’s relatively easy for homeowners to trade it out for better quality hardware in the future.
For Shaker-style cabinets, look for hardware like small round knobs or hardware that feels organic to the craftsman style. I like the idea of brushed nickel or brass for this style of cabinetry. With modern fronts, choose hardware with a sleek and simple design, think matte black or stainless steel, or don’t be afraid to ignore hardware all together and have a custom groove built-in. When planning for a more traditional approach, push the boundaries in your hardware and look for more ornate knobs.