The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

As a 44-year-old stay-at-home dad with two kids and a wife, I've recently developed a passion for kitchen design. During my own kitchen renovation, I dove deep into the world of cabinet hardware and discovered how overwhelming the options can be. To help others navigate this journey, I’ve put together this ultimate guide on choosing kitchen cabinet hardware.

How to Pick Kitchen Hardware for Your Kitchen Style

The first thing to consider is the style of your kitchen. Modern kitchens often feature clean lines and sleek, minimalist hardware. Traditional kitchens might lean towards more detailed and ornate hardware. However, blending styles can also work—traditional kitchens can incorporate modern elements for a fresh look. For example, in my laundry room, I used modern bar pulls horizontally across two doors, creating a continuous, modern touch in a traditional space.

How to Pick Your Kitchen Hardware – Should All Your Hardware in a Kitchen Be the Same?

In my kitchen, I chose a mix of painted wood knobs and traditional brass pulls, proving that not all hardware needs to be the same. Knobs are usually placed on doors and pulls on drawers, but there’s flexibility. Some of my cabinet drawers have two knobs, while others have a single pull. It’s all about personal preference.

How to Pick Your Kitchen Hardware – Should All Your Hardware Be the Same Size?

While knobs should generally be the same size, drawer pulls can vary. Wider drawers and larger cabinets should have appropriately sized hardware for both aesthetic balance and functionality. For example, larger drawers and heavy pull-outs benefit from larger handles, making them easier to use.

How to Choose Cabinet Hardware Finishes

Choosing the right finish is crucial. Here are some popular options:

  • Brass and Gold: Brass is a timeless choice. I prefer unlacquered brass, which patinas over time, or antique brass for a time-worn feel. Lacquered brass is shiny and doesn’t age.
  • Polished Nickel and Chrome: Both are elegant and have a cooler tone, ideal for traditional or modern spaces.
  • Oil-Rubbed Bronze: This finish was popular a few years ago but is now less common.
  • Black: Black hardware can be stark but works well in modern settings or against dark cabinets.
  • Painted Knobs: Painted knobs are charming and great for a casual, English country style. I use them throughout my house.

Mixing Metals

Mixing metals can be tricky. Stick to a cool metal and a warm metal combo, like brass with chrome. In my kitchen, I combined antique brass hardware with polished nickel plumbing fixtures, creating a balanced look.

Knobs Versus Pulls

Knobs are typically used on upper cabinets, while pulls are used on lower cabinets and drawers. Pulls are easier for heavy drawers, but using two knobs on wider drawers is a trendy option.

Hardware Placement

Placement can vary based on preference. For knobs on shaker doors, align them with the edge of the shaker detail. Pulls can be placed at the top or center of drawers. Experiment with painter’s tape to find the best placement before drilling.

Changing Existing Hardware

If you’re updating existing hardware without repainting, you’re limited to the current hole placements. However, new hardware is an easy and impactful update. Consider filling old holes if repainting to open up more options.

Where to Buy Hardware

I recommend investing in quality hardware since it’s something you use daily. Emtek and Rejuvenation are excellent sources. Etsy also has great options at good prices.

My Favorite Spice Rack

In my own kitchen, I’ve installed a fantastic natural maple spice rack that attaches to the inside of the cabinet door. It keeps my spices organized and easily accessible, freeing up valuable counter space. This spice rack features adjustable shelves and is expandable with additional shelves available for purchase. It's a perfect blend of style and functionality, fitting seamlessly into my kitchen design.

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Kitchen Cabinet Hardware
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