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.
Furthermore, hardware attracts the eye like a bright light. Functionality aside, it is the ultimate accent piece — it provides a pop to cabinets and drawers that can make or break the décor of a room. It also keeps the wood of our cabinets and drawers looking fresh by taking the brunt of the natural oils in our hands, which we leave behind every time we reach for the cabinet to grab something.

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.


Rest easy, friends, you can do this, too.  And then, since it looks much better and you are thrilled and at peace with it, you can move on to dreaming about that full kitchen reno you are still working towards… one day.  Or, maybe you will be so happy with the small changes you made that you can cross that idea right off the list and move on to dreaming about making other areas of your home just right.


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.  
Most knobs and pulls are only a few dollars apiece but when you consider the sheer number that you’ll need, those costs add up fast. For each standard lower cabinet with two doors and one drawer, you’ll need three pieces of hardware — and two more knobs or pulls for the matching upper cabinet doors. With that in mind, here are a couple of factors to consider:
After the center panels have been removed, take measurements of the inside openings. I subtracted an 1/8” from the length and width just to make sure the glass would fit. Now, go to Lowes, find the glass cutting isle and give the kind man or woman working there your list of measurements. Make sure you have other things to shop for because this is going to take a while, but it’s super duper cheap so it’s worth the wait. By the way, you don’t have to use glass, you could use that cool radiator metal, chicken wire, punched tin, you name it, sky’s the limit!

Finally, one of the more technical parts of cabinet hardware are the ball-bearing slides or tracks and latches that are used to open and close drawers and cabinets. Sliding tracks are what allow drawers to open and close smoothly, and using drawer slides that have soft-close ball bearings allow them to close slowly so that they don’t make much noise or rattle everything inside. Drawer slides are available in side-mount, center-mount, and undermount versions, depending on the amount of space you have between the drawer and the cabinet opening. 
When decorating your rustic kitchen, a little bit of detail can go along way! There are many round, cast iron options that have designs that look great in rustic kitchens. If cast iron is too dark for your cabinets, look for an antique pewter finish. The detail within the hardware itself will certainly add to the look. This option also works well for a farmhouse style kitchen, giving it a great country feel.
Choose hardware that will contrast with your cabinets. Accent dark wood with brass, stainless steel, chrome or nickel. Light-colored cabinets provide the perfect background for bronze, enamel or copper with an antique finish. Metal hardware with a satin or highly polished finish can be adapted to a contemporary or traditional decor. Oil-rubbed bronze suggests a more casual style. Consider enamel and glass hardware for a Victorian home. Glass is also available in sleek designs to accent a contemporary setting.
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.
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.
If you’re going to paint or re-stain your cabinets now would be a good time to do that. I’m a painted wood kind of gal, so these cabinets got painted, plus it’s a lot quicker and easier to paint them than to sand and re-stain. After the doors and frames have been painted it’s time to install the hinges and the glass. Since my upper, upper cabinets will rarely get used I secured the glass with silicone, if your glass cabinets will get daily use then you might want to use silicone and glazing points. I also put removable frosted film on my glass because after we added puck lights to the upper, uppers I realized how ugly the inside of the cabinets looked.
Most of your pulls and knobs, though, will go on standard sized cabinetry, which will be 3 feet wide or less.   The most common pull sizes for standard cabinetry are 3”,  4”, or 96mm and 128mm, again measured from the center of one screw hole to the center of the other. But many of today’s pulls tend to be on even larger than 4 inches.  Standard knob sizes are less than 1.5 inches in diameter.
This step will work best with raised panel or recessed panel cabinets, my cabinets are raised panel. OK, so I have a little confession to make, I outsourced this step, my routering skills are not top notch and I wanted the kitchen to look good, not like something put together by Dr. Frankenstein. The good news is it was very inexpensive and I was able to get 10 little doors done for less than the cost of a new upper cabinet. If you’re an ace with the router then you know exactly what to do, so have at it!
Hinges creak, wear out, discolor or even break over the years. They can also bend. This makes cabinet doors fit poorly. New hinges can update any set of cabinet doors no matter how old they are, and real estate agents often recommend replacing old hardware to help sell your home. Whether you're moving, doing a remodeling job or your kitchen just needs a bit of TLC, you can change your hinges out in one afternoon. Hinges are designed to fit square on the side of the door, making it simple to get the hinge alignment correct -- even if your doors are older than you are.
Sandra, thank you so much for this awesome post! I’m remodeling my 40 yr old kitchen, and wanted to get rid of the visible old fashioned hinges that show! I had absolutely no clue as to what type of cabinets I have until I read your post! I completely understand now, and will be purchasing the “concealed surface mount overlay hinges for face frame cabinets” I know the 3 holes on the outside will be visible when I change out the hinges, so I’ll just fill them in with wood filler and sand before repainting. You’re so smart, informative and detail oriented just like me! Thank you again so much for this wonderful lesson on cabinets and hinges! I’m subscribing to your website or blog or whatever you have!
Mona Culberson began working on the assembly line at a large manufacturing company in 1983, where she worked her way up into several positions of business responsibility. In 2005, she began a career in roofing, interior design and remodeling. She works daily as a professional painter/home remodeler/handywoman while lending her husband's roofing business a helping hand in her spare time.
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.
Cabinet hardware sizes can vary depending on your own personal design preferences, but you’ll want to choose a size that is both stylish and functional. Bar pull sizes are generally determined by the “center-to-center” measurement (the distance between the two screw holes). If you have pre-drilled cabinetry, you’ll need to buy hardware that fits the existing center-to-center measurement. Otherwise, you’re left to your own devices in choosing the size of your cabinet hardware. Here are a few general guidelines to follow:
It’s easy to get caught up in selecting the larger items, such as cabinetry, countertops or flooring for your new kitchen when building a custom home or renovating your existing home. "A project isn't complete until you've selected the right hardware that strikes a personal balance between form and function. These final touches will pull the whole project together and are fantastic for imbuing it with a flair that reflects your personality," says Jonathan Pilley, Co-Owner at Push Pull Decorative Hardware in North Bethesda, Maryland. Decorative hardware comes in a variety of types, sizes, styles, materials and finishes. So, what should you pick? Read our 5 tips on choosing the right kitchen cabinet hardware.
Aesthetically when do you choose to a long handle or a cabinet door vs. a button size knob. This does require some finesse and doing some drawings to get it just right, but here are few tips to take into consideration. You may want to lean more towards small knobs and handles if you are going for a more contemporary style in your kitchen space. Often mixing and matching round knobs with drawer pulls work well in these style of kitchens. A longer handle may be used in a more modern kitchen for a more polished look in a space, while having too many small knobs would feel cluttered for this type of kitchen. In a transitional space, you may want to select one style of hardware and then make that one particular style of hardware larger or smaller depending on where it’s going in the kitchen. For example you would have larger handles for your refrigerator and pantry doors, but a smaller version of the same knob for the upper cabinets in your kitchen area above the refrigerator.
×