But If you don’t think of your hardware as decorative (but as purely functional) and just want your pulls and knobs to blend into the background, instead of standing out, you can choose hardware that is more subtle.  Choose dark hardware for darker cabinets or silver or clear hardware for white or light cabinets.   Alternatively, you can forgo cabinet pulls and knobs all together, which will give a much more contemporary  look.
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!
Hi Diane, I am so darned impressed with the work you are doing on your kitchen cabinets. We have high end oak cabinets painted in a washed white finish and they need a refresher too. I am going to follow your lead and try and do them myself. I am a novice at this but, you give such excellent instructions that I feel I can do it, starting in January. I want our island to be a dark, almost blue/black finish and the other cupboards done in white. Love yours. I am going to do the counter tops with the paint (Carrara Marble) if I can find it in Canada. I think Home Depot will sell it. I have one big problem. When we originally had our kitchen done back in 1987, they put corrian edging around the edges and I want it taken off. Do you have any suggestions on what to put there to replace it? A friend suggested putting a wood molding there and just painting it too. I just don’t know if it would stand up. Help! Love your great ideas. Thanks so much, Peggy
Finally, another popular way of opening cabinets without the use of traditional pulls or knobs is through cut-outs in the cabinetry. These are frequently found on custom cabinets where a minimalist look is desired, or where the budget is tight and saving on hardware is desirable. Cut-outs can come in a range of shapes, and are often designed to facilitate ease of opening. 
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!

If the idea of metal tarnishing is not your cup of tea, a dose of chromium may be just what the doctor ordered. Stainless steel is steel infused with around 10.5 percent chromium, which keeps it from tarnishing and keeps it low-maintenance. It is also a self-healing metal, meaning if it is scratched, the chromium content will quickly restore a protective oxidizing layer over the blemish.


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.
For those considering putting their home on the market soon, it’s likely your looking at what parts of your home to freshen up to impress potential buyers. Changing your cabinet hardware to a traditional option can make a huge difference. Small, ridged handles in a dark finish or square knobs is a cabinet hardware pick that will stand the test of time.

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.
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.
Thanks so much. Isn’t it crazy how expensive hardware can be. Concealed hinges generally have the advantage of more adjustability. That is more important with inset doors and overlay doors that meet in the center of the cabinet with no center style. If you have a simple 1/2″ overlay and a center style, they are so forgiving and don’t require precise fiddle factor installation! LOL There’s no need for the more expensive hinges.
Once you’ve selected your new handles and pulls, it’s time to remove all the old ones. Using a drill or screwdriver, slowly back the screws out, then gently pull the old hardware away from the door or drawer front, so as not to damage the finish. Keep the old screws and pulls/knobs together in a plastic baggy so it’s easy to donate or toss them depending on their condition. If you’re going to repaint your cabinet doors, do it now.
The clean, industrial look of silver produces a calm ambiance, which pairs perfectly with your white cabinets. Silver is also bright enough, where it also stands out on your cabinets and gives your kitchen that shiny and sterile feel. The majority of today’s appliances are stainless steel, so your stainless steel hardware will share that uniform look.

What they are: Art objects as much as pulls, these knobs draw attention. Placed in the center, they draw your eye to the detailing of the worn wood here. Search salvage yards for antique ones and don’t be afraid to spring for the few knobs you’ll need. If you can’t find this sort of door detailing, you can create a similar effect by placing a medallion behind each knob in the center of your doors. Look for antitwist pins to keep the knob from spinning (in fact, do this with any round knob).
“We find it refreshing for people to purchase what they like and what feels good to them, not caring what the ‘Joneses’ have,” says Renee. The Brandino Brass team regularly works with professionals who have their own signature styles. “One architect in town may use the same small knob all over the house all in the same finish for continuity. Another one will use different styles and finishes in each individual room,” says Jessie Isom, Brandino Brass team member. “There is no right or wrong if you like it.”
Recessed Pulls mimic the utilitarian style of traditional office cabinetry. They’re built into the cabinet door and can be crafted from the same material to blend in or a contrasting material to highlight their presence. They’re also great for high-traffic kitchens because they don’t protrude from the doors, meaning there is little risk of them snagging on clothing.
Thank you so much for helping me understand more about the process to choose new kitchen cabinet hardware. We have been really into rustic looking kitchens lately, and I think that some antique decorative nails could really change the way it looks. Just as you mentioned, you can always change the look of your kitchen again if you do not like the way it looks after a couple of years. Thanks for posting!
Once you know whether you want cabinet handles or cabinet knobs and which sort of design you want, you’ll want to choose a material and finish. Cabinet pulls and handles come in a variety of materials, from inexpensive plastic to high-end polished brass. As a general rule, nickel or stainless steel cabinet handles usually give a more modern, sophisticated look to a kitchen, whereas bronze and brass handles often project an antique or rustic look. Most materials come in different finishes, from glossy polishes to dark antique finishes, so you’re sure to be able to find something that matches your kitchen decor.
The chrome and stainless steel can vary some too, but usually not as much, and as often as nickel.  To be safe, get samples from different brands and compare the colors, or get all the hardware that you need for  a single room from one manufacturer.  It’s ok if the nickel in one room doesn’t exactly match the nickel in another room.  It only looks mismatched if the different nickel finishes  are right next to each other in the same room.
Generally speaking, I like to see a combination of knobs and handles/pulls. Knobs or handles for the doors and handles or pulls for the drawers. If you are painting your kitchen, the extra holes can be filled, sanded, and smoothed prior to painting so you can start with a clean slate and choose any hardware for your update. I say “generally speaking” because lately I’m drawn to kitchens that have all handles like this “before” photo of a kitchen we recently updated.
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