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Picking Out the Perfect Cabinet Hardware for Your Kitchen

Linda is a seasoned writer and home-decorating authority. She loves sharing design trends, decor ideas, and useful tips with her readers.

Changing out cabinet hardware as a cheap and easy way to give your kitchen a mini-makeover. While cabinet knobs and pulls are one of the smallest accessories in the kitchen; the right ones can make a huge impact. They can also improve the functionality of your cabinets and drawers.

Boy, these kitchen cabinets could use some new hardware!

Boy, these kitchen cabinets could use some new hardware!

Knobs Versus Pulls

First, you should understand the difference between cabinet knobs and pulls. A cabinet knob is attached by a single screw and is commonly used to open cabinet doors. A cabinet pull or handle attaches with two screws and is typically used on drawer fronts to help facilitate opening and closing. However, contemporary cabinet doors now feature sleek vertical cabinet pulls versus knobs.

Knobs typically go on doors and pulls on drawers.

Knobs typically go on doors and pulls on drawers.

Style

Function and style are important when choosing hardware. Even before you determine the placement of knobs and pulls you have to find a style that works with your kitchen design. Selecting the hardware can be an overwhelming decision. If you've looked on line and in stores there are a profusion of styles, finishes and sizes. Choose from minimal to elaborate depending on your design preference.

When you consider the number of cabinet doors and drawers in your kitchen you’ll understand the importance of selecting the perfect type. Even in small kitchens there may be upwards of 20 cabinet doors and drawers. That equates to a lot of hardware and money. If you're thrifty at least try to find quality hardware within your budget. They will last much longer than cheaper versions.

Elegant, cut glass knobs evoke a vintage feel.

Elegant, cut glass knobs evoke a vintage feel.

These adorable ceramic bird knobs will give your kitchen an eclectic look.

These adorable ceramic bird knobs will give your kitchen an eclectic look.

Finish

Finish is just as important as style when purchasing knobs and pulls. If your existing cabinet hinges are visible, match that finish as closely as possible. If you are lucky enough to have European-style hinges (concealed inside the door), then you can easily go with a completely different finish.

Realize, however, that in many cases, finish relates directly to style. For example, in a rustic Tuscan kitchen, rubbed bronze hardware would be a good choice. In a modern kitchen, sleek, brushed nickel knobs and pulls may make the most sense.

Sleek, brushed nickel handles on Shaker style cabinet doors are a stylish combination.

Sleek, brushed nickel handles on Shaker style cabinet doors are a stylish combination.

What You Need

  • Ruler

  • Screwdriver

  • New hardware

  • Template

  • Pencil or marker

  • Drill and proper size bit (for new holes)

  • Wood putty

  • Putty knife

  • Matching stain or paint

  • Small paintbrush

Installing Hardware

1. Take your existing hardware and measurements to the home improvement center. Settle on a style and finish you like and find the size that matches. Common center-to-center measurements are 3-inch, 3 1/2-inch and 4-inch. Double check by placing your existing hardware against the new one to compare the spread measurements.

2. Make sure the screw length is the same to ensure a proper fit in relation to the thickness of your doors and drawers.

3. This is an extra step but it is so worth the time and effort. Buy one knob and pull to test at home. If you are pleased with the look and fit purchase the remaining knobs and pulls. This will save you from returning a kitchen full of hardware if you are not satisfied.

4. Remove your old hardware and install the new pieces with a manual screwdriver.

5. If you can't find the same size fill the existing exposed holes with wood filler. Allow it to dry thoroughly. Touch up visible filled holes with matching paint or stain.

6. If you prefer purchasing pulls of a different width it requires additional work on your part. You'll need a positioning template to drill new holes. Some hardware manufacturers include a template or you can make your own. Then install and admire your sparkling new hardware.

Try finding the same size hardware to avoid drilling new holes in cabinet fronts.

Try finding the same size hardware to avoid drilling new holes in cabinet fronts.

Quick Tips for Choosing Hardware

  • Stick with your kitchen design style.
  • Use matching hardware finishes.
  • Choose whether to choose knobs or pulls.
  • Consider the color of your cabinets.
  • Don't clash appliance and hardware finishes.
  • Invest in quality.

© 2012 Linda Chechar

Start a Conversation!

Zach Thalman on February 02, 2015:

What kinds of cabinetry are typically the best to go with? I have been thinking about getting new cabinets to kick start my remodeling. I have been thinking about getting a maple wood or maybe pine. I think they would both go well in the house. http://www.kitchencabinetsbathroomspa.com/Remodeli...

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on December 16, 2012:

Yes, teaches, it really works! I love simple home improvement projects that make a big difference, but don't cost too much. Thanks for commenting and voting! :)

Dianna Mendez on December 16, 2012:

I see my brushed nickel hardware here, Linda! Love this hub for the simple idea posted and how to make it work. It is amazing how changing hardware can improve the look of cabinets. Voted up.

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on December 15, 2012:

Thanks Carol! It comes from years of experience installing new and replacing old kitchen hardware -- hate to admit how many times I've done it. :) So good to hear from you. I appreciate your vote, share and pin! Take care!

carol stanley from Arizona on December 15, 2012:

A great how to hub. You can come to my house and install new hardware anytime. It does make such a difference in the appearance of cupboards...even when the cupboards are old. Thanks as always for a great and informative hub. Voting up and sharing on facebook, and pinterest.

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