Don’t Make Cabinet Hardware an Afterthought in Your Kitchen

When you’re planning a new kitchen, you probably think about the big stuff: the countertops, the cabinets, the appliances, the flooring. But we’re here to remind you that little things can make a big difference, too. Particularly, when it comes to kitchens, that means hardware.

Hardware can have a huge impact on the look and feel of your kitchen, which is why we often recommend replacing hardware as a quick upgrade for rental kitchens, or when you aren’t able to remodel. So when you’re planning a new kitchen, or a re-design, don’t let your hardware be an afterthought. Here are a few guidelines to help you select the right hardware for your kitchen.

Narrow down your cabinet style first.

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.

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.

Consider the other metals in your kitchen.

What color will your appliances be? What about your lighting? Your faucet? For some people, matching hardware to appliances may not be particularly important—we’ve seen plenty of kitchens with brass pulls and stainless appliances. But if you like everything to coordinate, consider the whole kitchen when you pick the color of your pulls. (If your appliances are stainless and you don’t particularly like the look of silver pulls, black hardware makes for a harmonious look that isn’t too matchy-matchy).

Get the placement right.

Once you’ve found a style of hardware you love, in a color that fits your kitchen, there’s the issue of how to hang it.

Knobs

Hanging knobs on a flat-front cabinet is pretty straightforward: You’ll want to position the knob in the bottom corner (for upper cabinets) or top corner (for lower cabinets) of the door. Knobs should be placed equidistant from both sides of the cabinet. A guide like this one can help you to get the measurements right. The exact distance will depend on the look you want and the size of your knobs: Test one or two before you drill a whole kitchen’s worth of holes.

For knobs on a cabinet with a stile, like Shaker-style cabinets, allow the stile to be a guide for hanging the knob. If the knob is too large to comfortably fit in the corner where the two stiles meet, then hang the knob centered on the vertical stile, with the bottom edge of the knob aligned with the top of the intersecting horizontal stile. (Or the top of the knob aligned with the bottom of the stile, for lower cabinets). The knobs in this kitchen from Ivory Lane are a good example.

(Image credit: Submitted by Erin)

Pulls

For pulls on a flat front cabinet, the bottom corner of the pull should be equidistant from both sides of the cabinet. For Shaker-style cabinets, the same rules apply as with knobs: center the pull on the vertical stile, with the bottom of the pull even with the top of the horizontal stile (or the top even with the bottom of the horizontal stile, for a lower cabinet). These aren’t hard and fast rules—you may want to adjust them depending on what looks best for your cabinets and hardware—but they’re a good place to start.

Drawers

There are a few options for hanging drawer hardware. Usually drawer pulls (or knobs or cup pulls) are centered on the face of the drawer. In a more modern kitchen, you may choose to hang them closer to the top of the face. For Shaker-style drawers, you can hang knobs or pulls either in the center of the drawer OR centered on the top stile. Which look should you go with? Whatever you like the best in your kitchen. Just make sure that you’re consistent across all the drawers. Drawers longer than two feet may look better with two knobs or pulls.

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