My go-to shop for all of my hardware needs is D.Lawless Hardware – I’ve been using hardware from there for a while now and it’s always the best quality at the lowest prices. They sell so many other awesome products too. Everything from knobs and pulls, drawer slides and systems, to wood appliques, trim, DIY, craft supplies, outlet covers, and so much more!
However, much like the keys of the grand piano, hardware commands the proceedings in cabinetry. It is generally the only part of a cabinet we touch, and its hinges account for all of its moving parts. As it is our main method of interacting with the cabinet, its feel, sturdiness and functionality are going to play a large role in how we view the functionality of the kitchen.
Consider the style that you have used to decorate your home. Traditional styling indicates a need to use cabinet hardware that has a brushed finish. Pewter, nickel, and polished brass blend well with traditional styling, although other styles will look nice as well. Perhaps you would prefer to contrast the traditional cabinets with some hardware that leans more toward the unique and modern.
There are a couple of ways to go about choosing the right color and finish. One school of thought advises you to choose based on the color and finish of the kitchen’s faucet. Given that most faucets are either silver or brass in color, this advice can be limiting, especially if you have your eye on stone knobs or another finish that is not common in faucet design.
It can be tempting to stick with hardware that “matches” the style of your kitchen cabinets. But what if you don’t like the style of your kitchen cabinets? Lead with your own style first, and you’ll move the kitchen more into the direction you want it to go. I swapped the more traditional hardware in this San Francisco kitchen above with two patterned, shapely styles.
The first thing you need to consider when looking for new cabinet hardware is the overall look you would like for your kitchen. There are literally thousands of drawer pulls and cabinet knobs to choose from, so you need a starting point. Many cabinet styles are easily adaptable to any style of knobs — modern, traditional or even funky. Spend some time gathering pictures of kitchens you like from home magazines to help you choose a style that suits your tastes.
For pulls on a flat front cabinet, the bottom corner of the pull should be equidistant from both sides of the cabinet. For Shaker-style cabinets, the same rules apply as with knobs: center the pull on the vertical stile, with the bottom of the pull even with the top of the horizontal stile (or the top even with the bottom of the horizontal stile, for a lower cabinet). These aren’t hard and fast rules—you may want to adjust them depending on what looks best for your cabinets and hardware—but they’re a good place to start.
You probably noticed from the after photo that I didn’t just replace the hinges and add glass, oh no, I went big with this transformation. I replaced the hinges, added glass to the upper, upper cabinets, removed the wood valances, closed in a window and added open shelving (super simple), added upper and under cabinet lighting, new counter tops, new back splash and new appliances. But I did all that with the original cabinets and they no longer look tired, worn out or dated. Now if I could just find something to renovate my tired, worn out, dated self…
Hidden hinges also come in a soft-close style if you’re one of those people who want the latest and greatest. (Is it really that bad to hear a door close?) My new cabinets came with soft close hinges that I personally could take or leave. I still find myself trying to shut them all the way instead of letting them do their thing. You might not want soft-close hinges if you’re the type who likes to slam things when irritated. (Just a thought.)
That being said, buying every make and model turned out to be a good idea. I was pretty pumped when I installed my first door…until I shut the door and there was a gap the size of Kansas where the door didn’t cover my opening. I should have taken a picture because it was pretty hilarious-looking. Wrong hinge. So I removed the 1 1/4″ overlay hinge, installed the 1/2″ overlay and was good to go. The holes that need to be drilled in the door will be the same in size, depth and location regardless of your overlay measurement.
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Also, experiment with different shapes. Things like knobs, handles, toilet paper holders, towel racks and hinges have a lot of expressive power. Beyond color, though, you should take advantage of their different shapes to accentuate certain features in a room. Pay attention to details like the width of drawers and the height of cabinet doors, and experiment with different shapes to complement them.
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.
Another type of door hardware for opening cabinets are pulls or handles, which are attached to cabinet door fronts with two or more screws. You may have had experiences where you were trying to swap out old cabinet pulls for new ones, say, for example modern glass cabinet hardware, only to realize that the pulls had two screws that were a different distance apart from the new ones that you purchased. Don’t worry—you’re not alone! This happens often because the distance between two screws varies depending on pull type, manufacturer, and other factors.
Budget is, of course, a key factor in any part of your kitchen remodeling decisions. While you’ll want to pay as little as possible right now, remember that quality matters in the long run. Your local kitchen cabinet showrooms will offer you the largest variety, with people who can help you choose high-quality hardware within your budget. Remember that the price is based on the finish, as well as the design and size. Knobs are less expensive than pulls.
The timeless classics of solid brass styles, futuristic euro-design aluminum pieces, stunning granite and stainless steel combinations, and novelty handcrafted hardware can all be purchased for a fraction of the cost of replacing your entire set of kitchen cabinets. Give your kitchen a new look with the simple replacement of cabinet hardware. Sprucing up the kitchen has never been easier.
A common choice is to use knobs for all drawers and pulls for all doors (or vice versa). The problem with knobs is they are harder to grip and fingernails tend to mar the cabinet door. It is much more comfortable to open a drawer using a pull, which allows the whole hand to grab instead of only your fingertips. We generally use pulls (no nobs whatsoever) in our kitchen designs.
2) I also note that it does not take long before doors start to sag & the gaps become irregular. Not hard to fix just lie on your back, take all doors off, then tighten everything & replace – then take a cold shower you will need it! It seems the cup sections remain well fixed but the fixing plates on the inside of the cupboard sides just work loose. This ought not to happen but it does & with all the concealed overlay hinges I have seen. Is there an answer? I suspect the hinges are under rated, 2 hinges for doors that typically are nearly 10Lbs may be the reason. Can you please comment.
Black was a great color choice for the bin pulls used here on stained wood cabinetry. When choosing knobs, hold them against various finishes to see which color looks best. You may have seen a photo of a knob you love in polished brass, but with a different cabinet door color than the ones you actually own. Bin pulls come in almost infinite other finishes as well, including chrome, oil-rubbed bronze, cast iron and brass.
Shake a can of spray paint for the full amount of time recommended by the manufacturer. Position the can the recommended distance from the hinges and the screws to spray a light coat of paint. Use steady side-to-side sweeping strokes and maintain a consistent distance from the hinges to ensure a uniform coat of paint. Shake the can frequently while you spray, and spray the sides and edges. Allow the paint to dry for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer. Apply a second coat of paint and allow it to dry completely.
The type of knob that works best in a kitchen will range in size and style depending on the color and type of cabinetry you have (which is also why so many people go with simple white cabinets in their kitchens!). Knobs also come in a range of shapes and sizes, but are often designed for comfort and ergonomics, so there are rarely sharp edges that could potentially hurt someone pulling on it.
If you have a removable island or a butcher block in your kitchen, an easy way to make that extra piece look cohesive with the rest of your kitchen décor is by adding coordinating cup and cabinet pulls to drawers and doors. This addition will make your island look purposeful and blend it with the rest of your kitchen cabinets — even if the finish or countertop is different.
Here are the three different kinds of kitchen cabinet doors that demonstrate the different overlays and hinge options. The first is similar to what I’m working on now – a framed cabinet with an overlay on the cabinet frame. The second is a framed cabinet where the doors are inset, flush with the cabinet frame. And the third is a frameless cabinet where hidden hinges are utilized.
The next step was to decide whether to go with pulls, knobs, or a combination of the two– and also the size. THIS WILL SEND YOU TO THE MADHOUSE if you’re not careful. To make my decision easier, I perused my kitchen ideas board on Pinterest and realized the look I was going for was modern and symmetrical– and many of the modern kitchen used only pulls, not knobs. Hmmmm, this was interesting. Maybe it wasn’t so hard to choose?
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 choice between cabinet pulls and knobs isn’t easy — both come with positives and negatives. Keep in mind that you’ll be using your knobs or pulls every day. Whatever you choose should feel natural in your hand and flow with the décor of the room. You should consider your kitchen’s décor and style, the look you want to achieve, your budget, ease of cleaning, ease of use, the weight of your drawers and more.
One of the first reccomendations I give on choosing hardware, is on wide drawers. Go with a single larger handle especially in the kitchen. The kitchen is a busy area and users find themselves with something in their hand when they go to open a drawer with the free hand. If there are 2 pulls on a drawer, just using one will end up tweaking the drawer in the long run. When I begin to look for a hardware collection always look at the range of sizes in that collection. I like the rule of the larger the drawer the larger the handle... or the more weight the drawer will hold the wider the stance should be that the handle provides.
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!
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.