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.
Pick a color scheme and stick with it. This tip is twofold, as it helps tremendously in narrowing down your choices while simultaneously expanding your options. Pick a large swath — say, the entire lower half of the kitchen — and commit to a color scheme. If the drawers in your kitchen are white, and all the hardware shares the same type of finish, the presence of different types of knobs and handles will be a pleasant sight, rather than a distraction.
It's easy to overlook cabinet handles when you're remodeling your kitchen or building a new home. After all, they're fairly small, easy to install and don't cost as much as, say, a refrigerator or new cabinets. Nevertheless, cabinet handles, also called cabinet pulls, and their near kin, cabinet knobs, can make a big difference in the look and utility of your kitchen. You use your cabinet hardware dozens of times a day, and while hardware like cabinet hinges are not highly visible, kitchen cabinet handles are high profile and can add to or detract from the look of your kitchen, depending on how carefully you choose your kitchen cabinet knobs and handles. Keep reading for information on how to choose cabinet handles that will help give your kitchen the look you want.
One of the biggest enemies of a clean kitchen lies in careless cabinet hardware selection. Apart from choosing a gaudy color or ill-fitting shape, the one detail that can make or break the look of a cabinet door actually is the humble piece of hardware that is chosen to open and close it. From round knobs to long pulls and magnetic mechanisms, there’s a world of choices to make when it comes to honing in on the perfect hardware for kitchen cabinets. Some can stick out like a sore thumb, while others can be completely invisible.
At a home renovation in Connecticut, cabinet fabricator Michael Madore experimented with what he calls an "aggressive" metal-sanding process to pull out the grain from the whitewashed oak plywood. For the hardware-free cabinets, Julie Salles Schaffer looked to a drawer pull detail derived from Giò Ponti’s work—though she admits the radial edging is an effect entirely her own.
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.
For oversized cabinetry you’ll obviously want to use larger hardware. Oversized cabinets and drawers are defined as over 3 feet wide. Cookware drawers or built-in appliance cabinetry are usually oversized. For these large drawers and cabinet doors, consider long pulls which typically come in widths of 6”, 8”, 10” or 12 inches. Some contemporary pulls are even larger than 12 inches. That measurement is taken from the center of one screw hole to the center of the second screw hole). Oversized knobs are 1-1/2” or larger.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Your kitchen is looking beautiful. White paint is a miracle worker…so are you. I have an old 1970’s GE oven that looks just like yours. It’s a great oven and still works perfectly. I had the door, which was originally light brown, re-enameled years ago when I painted my kitchen white. It’s held up beautifully. I just wish I had two ovens like yours. Sure would come in handy for holiday cooking.
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).
3. Know when to use knobs over pulls. In traditional and country kitchens, putting a knob on a cabinet is not uncommon. In fact, with many cabinets, knobs may a better option than pulls. How do you know the difference? When kitchen cabinets are ornate or finely detailed, go with a knob rather than a pull. A knob is smaller and simpler and doesn’t take attention away from the design of the cabinets.
I’m Jenny, a wife of 23 years, mother of three, and a corporate drop-out. I’m a creative minded blogger, business owner and DIYer, and love transforming furniture, cabinets and rooms in my home. I’m a card carrying paint geek, and am always amazed at the power of paint in making budget-friendly updates to your home. I’m a serial house-stalker, and never tire of a great home tour or a before and after renovation. I’m a firm believer in restyling, refreshing and renewing things in your home to make it your own - without breaking the budget. I’ll show you how!
Hello Mr. TretheweyMy name is terry cotto, when we built our beautiful home 16 years ago, in Sierra Madre Ca I had my claw tub installed,( my child hood remembrance) It appears, that the claw legs of the tub were not installed properly, and one leg fell off , tub was slightly tipping to the right. I had a handyman come over and reinstall the claw legs, tighten so this would not happen again. The other day, while I was bathing I noticed the seal of the drain on the outside rubber was not laying properly, plus it was leaking, ( I think this was due to the leg falling off and unbalancing the ring. Well, now I really don't know what to do about that. I believe the thing to do is remove the cover off the top drain , ok, but than what do I have to move the claw tub, impossible. How do I replace the rubber of the outside of the top drain pipe, it appears to be brittle. (Not good)Please answer my questions, and I will hire the handy man again to help me. Thank you. I have learned so much from T.O.H weekly shows, I am a loyal fan at 75. I tell my 80 year old husband, you need to watch these shows with me, and we can do it ourselves, the right way. God Bless you all for the great job your doing, I need to know how to do it right, so it doesn't happen again. a picture would be good, I can see exactly how its done?
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!
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.
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.
In my opinion, going to a specialty showroom and paying the extra expense is worth it, because you’ll find choices outside the mainstream and you can get expert help there. These come from the selection at The Plumbery, a kitchen and bath fixture store in Northern California. Here you can see glass knobs, swirly knobs, modern knobs — all just a tad pricier than conventional choices at a hardware store. But look at the workmanship and style, even the heft. Though the average kitchen has 20 to 40 knobs, you might want to splurge for something unique.
Below and above the sink can be two different color schemes. Don’t worry, you can mix and match more than you might think and still obey the laws of symmetry. It can provide a sunny, uplifting splash to have a lighter color above the level of the countertops, such as a warm brass or gold. Particularly with items like faucets and sconces, a lighter color around eye level will create a happy glow.
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.
Cabinet hardware is composed a variety of materials -- most of which are metal alloys. Brass hardware typically has a lacquer or plating applied to its surface that makes it very durable in a kitchen. It is antimicrobial and helps to reduce the spread of germs. Bronze hardware is also antimicrobial, offers a substantial look and feel, and works well for cabinets made of thicker woods. Stainless steel is another option because it is so durable. Pewter and nickel are popular choices, too. Or, you can choose knobs made from glass or crystal for a vintage look.
I have a solid oak kitchen from the late 1980s. I would like to update the cabinets by painting them but my hinges are exposed. Is it possible to change any exposed hinge to a hidden hinge, or are there some styles that won't be replaceable? Also, has anyone else painted kitchen cabinets with exposed hinges in such a way that it looks good? Thanks!
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.
Consider proportion, balance, aesthetics and function when deciding upon the size of a knob or pull for your kitchen cabinetry. A large cabinet door or drawer needs a larger piece of hardware, or maybe two, for proper functionality, but a smaller size knob or pull is appropriate for a smaller door or drawer. A good rule of thumb for traditional or transitional style pulls is that they should be about one-third of the length of the cabinet drawer. Drawers larger than eighteen inches wide may require more than one pull or knob. However, more contemporary designs call for longer pulls that are at least two-thirds of the length of the drawer or cabinet door.
Dreamy DIY: Have you ever seen something that makes you want to break out the craft kit and get to down to business? Well these leather drawer pulls with brass rivets are so luxuriously handsome it makes us want to rip out and redo every single pull in the house. I can only imagine how delightful these will begin to look when worn with use — a little imperfection to balance and roughen up such a posh space.