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.
One of the last things considered when shopping for kitchen cabinets is the hardware. But kitchen cabinet hardware can make a big impact on the look and feel of not just your kitchen cabinets, but the entire room. The shape of and finish on your pulls, knobs and handles can put the final touch on your kitchen design. The very same cabinet might have a vintage feel with porcelain knobs, or a contemporary look with brushed nickel pulls. You can give your kitchen a very personalized treatment with something custom, like artistic glass knobs, or handworked metal in oil-rubbed bronze. Think of the hardware like jewelry for your cabinets. Let it speak for your style - be that contemporary, modern, vintage or traditional. Here are some of our favorite examples of great kitchen cabinet hardware from around the web.
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.
It’s easy to find interesting kitchen cabinet knobs for theme kitchens due to the wide selection available today. For example, there are colorful fish shaped ceramic knobs for tropical or beach themed kitchens and animal shaped cupboard pulls for a country kitchen theme. Gold colored cabinet knobs work in some kitchens although silver colored handles coordinate better with stainless steel sinks and appliances.
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.
Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.
Shaker cabinets offer a simple and traditional design. Versatility is a large part of what makes them so timeless. Ultimately, you achieve the vibe you’re going for through the finishing touches, one of those being the hardware you choose. We’ve selected some of the top hardware styles for shaker cabinets, and what looks they will bring to your kitchen.
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.
Getting the right finish for your kitchen cabinets can make the difference between a good and a great space. The right finish offsets other design choices in your kitchen. For example, you can match your appliances to your hardware finish to create a sophisticated, coordinated look. Alternatively, you can use your kitchen cabinet hardware finishes to show off your fun-loving personality, choosing a bright metal or unique design.
And then there’s appliance hardware. Appliance pulls are not just hardware pulls that have a higher price point. It is a more durable hardware that look identical in style to your standard pulls, but are designed for the larger items in your kitchen like refrigerators, dishwashers, pantries, and oversized drawers. They come in a range of sizes from 6” to 36” and are constructed to hold a heavier weight, typically necessitating longer screws and a backplate for installation. The screws can be shortened to the needed size, but its best to follow the instructions and have these pieces installed by a professional to avoid hiccups.
Cabinet hardware is composed a variety of materials -- most of which are metal alloys. Brass hardware typically has a lacquer or plating applied to its surface that makes it very durable in a kitchen. It is antimicrobial and helps to reduce the spread of germs. Bronze hardware is also antimicrobial, offers a substantial look and feel, and works well for cabinets made of thicker woods. Stainless steel is another option because it is so durable. Pewter and nickel are popular choices, too. Or, you can choose knobs made from glass or crystal for a vintage look.
Wine Logic wine racks are built-in right underneath your kitchen cabinets, eliminating the need to take up any counter space with a freestanding wine rack. Wine Logic racks come with two to five separate slide out trays that each hold up to six bottles of wine. And the best part is, Wine Logic’s horizontal design stores wine in the best possible condition, keeping the corks wet and the wine untouched by air.
Over time, switch plates and outlet covers can become dingy and dirty. Replacing your old outlet covers is a quick way to add some new life to your kitchen décor. Switch plates and outlet covers are no longer stuck just being basic functional pieces on your wall. There are many different designs, materials and finishes that can complement the look of any room. Choose switch plates and outlet covers that are made from high-quality metal materials because they are more durable and stylish than basic plastic ones. Plus, you won’t have to worry about kitchen splatter creating unsightly stains on your covers, as this material is super easy to wipe clean!
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.
There’s no hard and fast rule on how long bar pulls should be, so go with personal preference. However, most designers keep them at two-thirds to three-quarters the width of the drawer. Notice they’re even longer in this kitchen, yet the length works. A good idea is to purchase a few knobs and pulls, bring them home and try them out before replacing your entire kitchen’s hardware.
Want sleek form? Want functionality at its finest? Say hello to handles. Handles for white cabinets allow a firm and full grip to easily pull open or push close any cabinet door. Handles come in a cornucopia of shapes and sizes to male for a match with your kitchen style. Handles offer installation flexibility, with vertical and horizontal options, which allows for additional detailing for your white cabinets.
Some pulls and handles are specifically made for appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, and other appliances where you might have panels installed on the front of the item to match the surrounding cabinetry. Typically, appliance handles and pulls have been designed to higher standards than traditional, mid-century, or modern cabinet drawer pulls because they need to withstand more wear and tear—your fridge door has suction that resists opening, and you probably open the fridge more times than most of the cabinets in your kitchen. As a result, many appliance handles and pulls are larger, wider, or thicker than similar cabinet hardware.
Cup pulls are a nice complement to Shaker-style cabinets, particularly in a country-style kitchen. Recessed hardware can make for a particularly elegant and modern look, but also tends to be a bit on the pricey side. Slim, modern finger pull type hardware, which mounts to the top of a drawer or the edge of a cabinet, is a nice choice for flat-front cabinets in a modern kitchen.
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.
Fantastic, right? Now, think about how much busier the cabinets would look if they still had the exposed hinges. Granted, with polished chrome hardware, it would minimize the hinge effect, but suppose you like oil rubbed bronze hardware? Exposed hinges of that variety would really stand out against the clean white cabinets. Having hidden hinges gives you the freedom to change hardware on a whim.
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…
When updating your kitchen with new cabinet hardware, one of the easiest ways to achieve a cohesive look is to choose a matching hardware suite. By choosing a hardware suite, all of the guesswork of matching one piece to another is done for you. A hardware suite includes things like cabinet knobs, drawer pulls, door hinges and even window hardware — all with a similar finish and craftsman style.
I thought for sure I’d go with the modern beauty on the upper right (the It Pull), but when I held them both up to the cabinets they whispered to me “go for the Bronte.” Like Shakira’s hips, cabinets don’t lie, so I went with the Bronte. Then we needed to chose the finish. As much as I lurrrrrrve gold hardware, my husband nixed that idea because he does not understand this is not the gold of the 1980’s. 😉 Since he gets very little choice in the rest of the house, I took one for the team (not really, I actually love the dark finish too) and chose the lovely Venetian Bronze finish. While gold would certainly have elevated this kitchen to on-trend status, I went for what works best for our marital harmony.
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.
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.
In line with our new content direction, Architizer is highlighting a different building-product and how to specify it. This week’s topic is Kitchen Cabinetry. If you’re looking for the perfect kitchen cabinetry for your next project, search for it on Architizer’s new network marketplace for building-products. Click here to see if you qualify. It’s free for architects.
The importance of selecting quality hardware is impossible to overstate. As with many parts of our home, hardware is an investment. We have all seen cabinet knobs that loosen too easily and hinges that wear out. Because hardware is going to receive the bulk of a cabinet’s wear and tear, investing more in it is ultimately investing more in the life of your cabinets.
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.
By adding hardware you like, you’re literally installing your style into the room — and this will make any accessories you want to add in feel like a part of the kitchen’s design, and not out of place. Of course, not every cabinet + hardware combo is going to work, but see how far you can take it when it comes to choosing hardware outside the traditional style of the cabinets.
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.
White cabinets really help bring out the light and area available in a room. My kitchen is currently really dark and doesn't let much light in. I feel if I were to add windows and make the room a lighter color it would appear a lot happier and feel like I have more room. Thanks for the inspiration I am going to start looking for pieces to make my kitchen lighter like yours!