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.
Latches for cabinets aren’t quite as common as they were about a 100 years ago because of improved hinge technology, but you can still find a variety of latches and catches for keeping cabinets closed. A latch is mounted to the outside of a cabinet, and typically features two pieces: a mechanism with a turn or a lever on one side that controls the "tongue" of the latch, and a "shell" with a cavity to house the tongue on the other side. On the other hand, cabinet catches are usually installed on the inside of a cabinet, making them invisible from the exterior, and can consist of a magnet, a clip, or a ball that holds the door closed unless a certain amount of force is applied to open it.
The size of your cabinets will influence the size of your knobs. If your cabinets are smaller in scale you’ll want to opt for hardware that is likewise, such as minimal-scale circular knobs. Longer hardware is necessary when you have extra long cabinet doors—or can be used if you want to make a more of dramatic statement. Most cabinet doors are 24”, so you want a knob about 2”-3” size knob. For a larger cabinet door you can size up to 3½” or 4”. For a cabinet door under 20”, source hardware that’s closer to 1” to 2” size in diameter or length.
Although kitchen cabinet knobs are small objects, keep in mind that one on each cupboard door creates an overall design impact. Further impact can be created by choosing cabinet knobs that contrast in color and texture with the cabinets. If less impact is desired, cabinet knobs may be made of the same material and in the same color as the kitchen cabinets. The most important thing to remember when choosing cabinet knobs to coordinate with cabinets is to keep the kitchen’s overall tone in mind, whether it’s country, elegant, whimsical or traditional.
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.
It may take some time for you to consider what effect you would like to create with your hardware on your kitchen cabinets. In fact, some styles, patterns, and finishes are so beautiful or unique, that they become the focal point in the kitchen and a topic of conversation. Many of the ceramic and glass styles are so cleverly finished that they look too pretty to simply be part of a kitchen cabinet.
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.
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!
As latches like these are elements that people come into contact with every day — literally gripping them for support or activating them with a gentle nudge — architects should keep both aesthetics and functionality in mind when specifying these seemingly simple components. To help you as you search for kitchen hardware on Source, here are a few savvy choices that fit well with modern clean spaces; ones that, even when situated in repetitive rows, won’t take attention away from sleek cabinetry design:
Furthermore, hardware attracts the eye like a bright light. Functionality aside, it is the ultimate accent piece — it provides a pop to cabinets and drawers that can make or break the décor of a room. It also keeps the wood of our cabinets and drawers looking fresh by taking the brunt of the natural oils in our hands, which we leave behind every time we reach for the cabinet to grab something.

Hinges creak, wear out, discolor or even break over the years. They can also bend. This makes cabinet doors fit poorly. New hinges can update any set of cabinet doors no matter how old they are, and real estate agents often recommend replacing old hardware to help sell your home. Whether you're moving, doing a remodeling job or your kitchen just needs a bit of TLC, you can change your hinges out in one afternoon. Hinges are designed to fit square on the side of the door, making it simple to get the hinge alignment correct -- even if your doors are older than you are.
Fantastic, right?  Now, think about how much busier the cabinets would look if they still had the exposed hinges.  Granted, with polished chrome hardware, it would minimize the hinge effect, but suppose you like oil rubbed bronze hardware?  Exposed hinges of that variety would really stand out against the clean white cabinets.  Having hidden hinges gives you the freedom to change hardware on a whim.
First, you’ll want to do a thorough count of all your doors and drawers to make sure you know exactly how many new pulls and knobs you’ll need. To streamline the project, match your new hardware’s spread to the distance between the existing screw holes (you may need a tape measure). Or you can just take one of the old pulls with you to the store to shop.
Hi Angie, I think that over time the rub n buff would rub off of the hardware from repeated touching. My hinges still look good two years later, but I can still see places where the finish is starting to rub off and the hinges are almost never touched. I do think that you could update your hardware with a good spray paint though. Just be sure to clean them thoroughly and use a spray primer followed by spray paint. I have update furniture hardware this way that is still going strong almost 10 years later. Good luck!
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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