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.
On the very last warm-ish day of the year, I laid out all the drawers and doors and got my painting on with my paint sprayer. That thing is the bomb! I had them all primed with Zinsser oil based primer within 15 minutes. Then I waited a couple of hours before painting the final coats. I used Sherwin Williams oil based ProEnamel in Alabaster for the upper cabinets and Sherwin Williams contractor grade oil based paint color matched to Benjamin Moore’s Huntington Green.
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.
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:
“When it comes to hardware, it’s hard to shop on the internet,” says Eric. “Some things that look really good online, look cheap in person and vice versa. Some cheap-looking online items look exquisite in person.” The Brandino Brass team says that not only the look, but the feel of door hardware and cabinet hardware is very important. “You don’t want a handle to poke you or have an awkward grip for your hands,” says Renee.
Your kitchen is looking beautiful. White paint is a miracle worker…so are you. I have an old 1970’s GE oven that looks just like yours. It’s a great oven and still works perfectly. I had the door, which was originally light brown, re-enameled years ago when I painted my kitchen white. It’s held up beautifully. I just wish I had two ovens like yours. Sure would come in handy for holiday cooking.
What they are: Sturdy yet glamorous pulls that complement many styles of cabinetry. Here linear flat bar pulls not only underscore the contemporary feel of the kitchen, but oversize pulls eliminate the need for two pulls on a wide drawer. A good rule of thumb is to use two knobs or pulls on drawers 18 inches wide or wider. But if you choose superwide pulls like these, one is enough.
Never underestimate the visual effectiveness of adding just a hint of metallic to a room. These sleek round knobs are a shiny brass, which would glint beautifully in all this kitchen’s natural light. The super-flat front and simple round shape complement the modern design of the other elements. And the brass hue actually echoes the natural wood tone of the stools, warming the room up visually.
Ceramic knobs bring such charm to your kitchen. They’re reminiscent of a sweet country cottage, or an old world farm house. It’s not hard to imagine the scent of a freshly baked pie or loaf of bread cooling in the window. Ceramic knobs pair quite nicely with natural wood finishes and glass hutch cabinets. Wether you choose plain white or a funky pattern, ceramic knobs give your kitchen a homey flair.
What they are: An upside-down cup-shaped pull popularized in the mid-19th century. Bin or cup pulls are a popular choice for giving a kitchen a minimalist, vintage feel, just like on these Shaker-style cabinets and drawers. Shakers originally used wood pegs, usually made from maple, cherry or pine, in keeping with their preference for simplicity and austerity. But these cup-shaped drawer pulls are considered Shaker style today, and look clean and understated along with small knobs for the doors.
What is the existing decor of your kitchen or bathroom? For instance, if your kitchen has a white, Scandinavian minimalist aesthetic, you should try matching your hardware with it — in that case, perhaps something slender, jet-black and low-profile. Mismatching styles can look “off” and can create a confused sense of the room’s personality. However, it can also be done well. We’ll go into more depth on this below.
You don’t need to match your cabinet hardware finish to the rest of your kitchen. This is one area you can add a little bling. For example, we always recommend chrome faucets because chrome is the most durable (and in our experience, although popular, brushed nickel looks dingy and fingerprints are hard to remove), but consider brushed nickel or champagne gold for your cabinet hardware for a nice juxtaposition of metals in your kitchen
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
Remodeling and customizing your kitchen can be a big project. After planning and designing on the large scale it might be tempting to coast through choosing the cabinet hardware, but high-traffic rooms such as kitchens deserve detailed attention. Choosing the right hardware size requires a balance of style and function. Sacrifice one for the other, and you probably won’t be happy. You’ll be frustrated every time you try to pull open a drawer, or you’ll be disappointed every time you walk into the room.
For this step you’ll want to clamp your door to the work surface, unless of course you want your door to spin around in circles and possibly punch you in the stomach. Next, measure equal distance from the top and bottom of the door and mark the center hole with the jig, also mark the 2 side holes where you’ll screw the hinge in place (I found that using an awl to mark the holes made it easier to drill). We drilled for our hinges over the same location as the old ones, which were NOT equal distance from the top and bottom, but at least every door was at the same unequal distance.
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.
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What if you can’t decide on kitchen hardware? It’s OK to mix and match! Pick patterns and finishes that complement each other and install them in a repeating pattern for a look that is custom to your style. It’s easy to switch up this look as you please. However, this might not impress a potential homebuyer if you choose to sell in the future. Consider updating to more traditional cabinet hardware when it comes time to sell.
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 size of your cabinets will influence the size of your knobs. If your cabinets are smaller in scale you’ll want to opt for hardware that is likewise, such as minimal-scale circular knobs. Longer hardware is necessary when you have extra long cabinet doors—or can be used if you want to make a more of dramatic statement. Most cabinet doors are 24”, so you want a knob about 2”-3” size knob. For a larger cabinet door you can size up to 3½” or 4”. For a cabinet door under 20”, source hardware that’s closer to 1” to 2” size in diameter or length.