They say that design is in the details, and when it comes to the hardware on drawers, cabinets, and other storage millwork, we’d have to agree. You may have noticed how swapping out the knobs on a piece of old, tired furniture with modern brushed nickel pulls, for example, can give it a whole new look, or how using concealed hinge on a cabinet door can transform a kitchen. It can be difficult to get a handle (pun intended) on all the different modern kitchen cabinet hardware ideas out there—especially when some are hidden—so read on as we delve into the different types of cabinet hardware for kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas of the home. 


Thanks, Marty! You have a joyous looking kitchen/dining room – so beautiful! LOVE it! Not at all stiff and cookie-cutter, but with real individual style! An inspiration today. Your timing is perfect. We have our IKEA kitchen done, except for countertops and backsplash tiling. (We’ve been using Masonite board for a makeshift countertop. Not too bad.) The whole look of our open kitchen/dining room is pleasant, at this point, but bland. Pale minty-grass green walls, blonde (birch) cabinets, warm medium oak floors. Now for putting in some details! YAY! The scary part: Now what? Yikes!! Marty to the rescue with a reassuring article. THANKS! Here we go……
Eight staircases?!?Nothing says 'stupid' quite as much as that!Not being critical of the crew, but between the 'historical society' that dictates what you can and can't do (but happily send you the bill) and over the top designs that will prove to be idiotic just makes me shake my head in disbelief.This certainly won't be a house where you can 'age in place'.
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.
Handles are sold by the center to center measurement(1). Center to center can be spelled out or the universally known “C/C” could be used. Knobs are sold by the diameter(4) of the knob.The measurement could be in inches or millimeters (MM) CabinetParts has both measurements listed for your convenience. (Tip: to convert millimeters to inches use this formula: MM ÷ 25.4)Here is a diagram showing how these are measured:The overall length(2) and the projection(3) are offered when they are available from the manufacturer.Choosing a finish is going to be entirely up to you. Maybe your cabinets need a satin nickel look for a more modern look or maybe you are in the mood for flat black finished hardware for a more southwestern feel, or maybe weathered copper is your fancy. There are many, many choices for finish to make your kitchen look like a million bucks.The type of handle or knob will depend on what you like or maybe the motif of the rest of the room or house. There are modern, eclectic, or traditional looks and more.Most collections will have a pull and a knob that “match” so you can have the same finish throughout the room. You do not always have to choose pieces from the same collection, just remember to always choose the finish from the same manufacturer. Even though different manufacturers may have finishes that have the same name, they will often vary in the color and shade.These choices will be among the most important of the entire project. A knob and pull will put the finishing touch on the project and be one of the first things people will notice.Sometimes the hardware is noticed before the color or type of cabinet or door.Here is a listing of all of the manufacturers CabinetParts.com offers: Top Konbs, Amerock, Schaub and Co, Atlas Homewares, Notting Hill, Berenson, Jeffrey Alexander, Century Hardware, Hickory Hardware, Laurey Hardware, Liberty Hardware, Elements, Stone Mill Hardware, Hafele, R. Christensen, MNG Hardware, Acorn Mfg.Some of the companies listed above also offer Bath Hardware and Decorative Home Accents that may help complete a project.
Then I drilled and drilled. If your drill is a wimpy one, be prepared for this to take a minute…or five.  I realized what a difference a decent drill makes during this process as I had three different ones going–one with a bit to drill the pilot holes, one with the hinge bit and one to use as a screw gun for screwing the screws into the cabinet doors. If you have lots of doors to do, it might be a good idea to borrow a second and/or third one from a friend or you’ll spend lots of time playing musical bits. If you have multiple drills, use the most powerful one for the large hinge-drilling bit.
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.
If your old fridge still runs like a champ on the inside but it’s starting to look like a but run-down and haggard on the outside, spruce it up with a DIY custom cover! Appliance covers are fastened directly to the outside of your appliance, masking their appearance on the outside and making them blend in with your kitchen cabinetry. You can take materials like bead board paneling, wallpaper, wood from old pallets or even mismatched wood scraps from barns to create an interesting look for your old appliance.
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!
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!
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.
I did a little google search to see what color my oven (and sink and cooktop and bathroom) used to be. It was called Mexican sand. I also once had olive green washer, dryer, freezer and refrigerator. Oh my, we thought we were really stylin’ back in the good old 70’s. I cringe when I see a photo of myself in the fashion of the day too. I miss my youthful look, but not the styles.

A good price for pulls begins at around $12.00 a piece because anything less looks cheap and the quality will be sub-par. Look for cabinet hardware at plumbing or cabinet showrooms. They will have a larger variety and better quality. Look through the displays or catalogs and order several samples in different styles and finishes to compare to the rest of the finishes in your kitchen.
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.
I have tried to find replacement hinges for my kitchen cabinets along with screws, I have gone to every home improvement store and wasn’t able to find any. The first screws I tried kept snapping the heads off as I tightened down. It didn’t matter if it was manually tightening or with an electric screw driver. Why does this keep happening? I stripped the hinges with acetone and then sprayed them with a silver paint. Love the hinges now, just not any screws. What kind do you suggest?
And starting to play with my new HVLP turbine spray system.  (Whenever I say HVLP turbine, I think of the movie “A Christmas Story” and how Ralphie describes his Red Ryder BB gun – “an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle.”  I think I’m equally enamored with my new gun, even if it doesn’t have a compass and a stock. 😉
Decide whether to install door catches. These will secure your doors while they are closed. Magnetic door catches are most often used. When your door closes, a small metal plate on the back of the door attaches itself to a magnet on the cabinet frame. You will hear a slight clicking sound as they make contact. Two additional styles that provide a smooth operation are spring-roller catches and friction catches. These catches are silent when they latch.
Cup pulls add a unique style to drawers by going beyond the basic drawer handle. Whether you’re looking for a way to add antique or rustic style to your kitchen or you want to add modern flair, cup pulls enhance any décor. Since cabinet pulls are used frequently each day, look for quality metal styles that are durable and built to last. Cup pulls also come in interesting shapes and designs like leaves and clamshells to give your kitchen a fun aesthetic.
Shaker style cabinets. The most common style of cabinet offers flexibility in design, and they work well with knobs or cup or bin pulls. Shakers are known for their simplicity and clean lines, so simple hardware is often used, such as round knobs.Traditional nickel or steel knobs or pulls are common, as well as vintage glass or ceramic knobs. Vintage pulls with exposed screws provide a classic touch or industrial feel to a new kitchen with shaker cabinets. Tubular bar pulls — which can be short or long and dramatic — modernize a traditional kitchen with shaker cabinets. Flat bar pulls offer a contemporary edge, while wire pulls keep your décor traditional. Arched and footed bar pulls offer a classic look on shaker style cabinets.

Do you dream of a whole-kitchen remodel straight out of a magazine photo spread? Kitchens begin to look dated more quickly than any other room in your home. Replacing cabinets and countertops is an expensive proposition, but what if you could update them just a bit at little cost? Replacing or adding new cabinet hardware is a great way to update your look with the latest finishes and styles, without breaking open the piggy bank.
So here’s how this works. On the new cabinets I ordered, the center of the hinges were 4 1/2″ from the bottoms and the tops of the doors, so that’s the measurement I used for drilling on my old doors. The original hinges on the old cabinets were placed at about 3″ from the ends, so I didn’t have to worry about the old holes interfering with my new ones.
Personal preference is very important when deciding whether you want a knob or pull. Your hardware should be in keeping with the style of your kitchen, but it must be comfortable to use, too. Carefully check out the knobs or pulls you are thinking of buying. Place them against cabinetry, then see how they fit your hand. Are they the right size and shape for you?

The homeowner has already installed a new tile backsplash, and will also be replacing the floors with new tile and painting the walls once I’m finished with the cabinets.  But the homeowner was concerned about the hinges standing out against a light cabinet color.  A cabinet refresh is going to help tie the updates together, and when we got to talking about the hinges, I did some research, and found a great local woodworker to help change the hinges from exposed to concealed.
Updating certain hardware pieces throughout your kitchen is a simple change that can have a big impact on the overall look of your kitchen. Replacing basic ceramic or plastic knobs on your cabinets with heavy-duty stainless steel or brass knobs can give your kitchen cabinets a whole new refreshed style. Depending on the look you’re trying to achieve in your kitchen, you’ll find metal cabinet knobs that range in aesthetics from simple and contemporary, to ornate and decorative.
Are your cabinets in good condition but old, worn out and dated looking (kind of like me!)? With just a few tweaks you can bring them into this century and get another 10 to 15 years of life out of them. It seems like back in the 70s and 80s kitchen cabinets were built on site and built to last! That’s the case with the kitchen I’m currently dealing with, the entire kitchen was site built, they made one long face frame for an 8’ bank of cabinets – picture all the face frames of your cabinets connected together and installed as one piece, that’s how this kitchen is. Anyway, I was happy with the layout, it’s pretty basic, so to save some money I decided to work with the existing cabinets by removing the valance, replacing the exposed hinges with concealed hinges and adding glass inserts to the upper, upper cabinets – you’ll see what I mean in a minute. If you have ever thought of updating your dated kitchen cabinets, you’ll definitely want to check out this article in all its splendor.
Diane, this is so exciting! I can relate as I had a makeover much like yours ( from 70’s brown cabinets to white painted, but pulls are also painted….black.) that was 5 years ago and we are now in the process of making over a back bedroom into a walk-in closet and part of a bathroom/vanity area. I feel as though I should have taken pictures of the progress and posted blogs! I cannot wait for the finished product. I KNOW you must be feeling the same way about the beautiful kitchen you are creating…
×