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.
The style of cabinet hardware you pick will depend a great deal on the style of your kitchen, and also on the kind of cabinets you choose. Traditionally styled cabinets with more intricate face profiles call for traditional hardware: Cabinets with more simply styled or completely flat faces look best with minimal, streamlined knobs and pulls. Some very modern cabinets don’t require hardware at all: Instead, they have grooves on the edges of the door, or open by push latches.
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.
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.
If you're having trouble selecting the perfect cabinet hardware, for quality and value, you can’t go wrong with a cabinet hardware sample box. The cabinet hardware sample box lets you try out multiple styles and finishes in your home, select the one you love, then visit homedepot.com or your local Home Depot store to purchase the full amount needed.
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.
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.
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.
I’m currently on the hunt for the perfect brass pulls to update my run-of-the-mill silver knobs. But to get a whole sense of what's available at the hardware store these days, I'm looking beyond just brass and test-driving a few other options as well. From handsome black bars to boho porcelain and even DIY leather, these gorgeous hardware options are sure to inspire.