How to Easily Select the Right Cabinet Hardware
We renovate many homes that were built in the 1980’s. These homes rarely have pulls or knobs on the cabinetry, and it drives me crazy! Generally, the cabinets from this era in builder grade homes are always dirty and worn around the bottom of the doors and on the top ledge of the drawers. Why? Because there are no pulls or knobs!
If you are looking for a way to upgrade your kitchen cabinets, consider adding hardware or updating your existing hardware. Pairing that with a good, thorough cleaning will make your cabinets look new and fresh.
..but what type of hardware should you choose? Knobs, pulls, or both? There are no strict rules to follow. Let go over the differences of each to help you make the right decision for your kitchen.
Knobs are the most simple and basic type of cabinet hardware to install. Generally, a knob is attached to the cabinet door or drawer front by means of a single screw. If you have all knobs in your kitchen (common in older homes when there was not a great selection) you can easily replace the knobs with pulls by adding another screw hole.
In contrast to knobs, which have only one screw attachment, a cabinet pull (or cabinet handle) is attached to the cabinet door or drawer front with two or more screws. Because there are multiple screw holes, one of the most determinative factors in choosing handles is the center-to-center measurement; i.e., the difference from the center of one screw hole to the center of the next.
This is important to know when replacing pulls because changing the screw hole placement never works. One would think you could fill the old screw hole and finish it to match, but sadly you can always see the repair (unless you have an extremely talented craftsmen, which would be pricey).
Cup and Bin Pulls
Cup handles are a special type of cabinet pull that are made especially for use on drawers. They are often known as bin pulls because of this use, or half-moon pulls because of their semi-circular or semi-elliptical shape. Cup pulls are very popular in farmhouse style homes.
Cabinet Tabs (or Finger/Edge Pulls)
Installed on the top of cabinet drawers and doors and facing down, tabs pulls are the next big trend in kitchen design as they look sleek in a modern kitchen and retro in a traditional kitchen. Place tab pulls in the opposite corner of the hinge on doors and center them on drawers.
Appliance Pulls and Handles
Appliance pulls and handles are a specialty type of cabinet handle which are designed specifically for refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, and other appliances with wood-panel layovers, sometimes called panel kits. If you have appliance panel kits, you need to pick a cabinet hardware collection that has appliance pulls and handles included.
Knob or Pull? What this Designer Suggests
1 | Get a pull
A common choice is to use knobs for all drawers and pulls for all doors (or vice versa). The problem with knobs is they are harder to grip and fingernails tend to mar the cabinet door. It is much more comfortable to open a drawer using a pull, which allows the whole hand to grab instead of only your fingertips. We generally use pulls (no nobs whatsoever) in our kitchen designs.
2 | Place pulls horizontally for drawers and vertical for doors
The next decision is whether pulls will be mounted horizontal or vertical or a combination thereof. We tend to mount pulls horizontally for drawers and vertically for doors. This is the most comfortable configuration when opening cabinets.
3 | Don’t be afraid to mix up the finish
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
4 | Cost is a determining factor
A good price for pulls begins at around $12.00 a piece because anything less looks cheap and the quality will be sub-par. Look for cabinet hardware at plumbing or cabinet showrooms. They will have a larger variety and better quality. Look through the displays or catalogs and order several samples in different styles and finishes to compare to the rest of the finishes in your kitchen.
Remember, pulls and knobs help protect your cabinets by increasing their longevity. The choice of cabinet hardware is nearly always an aesthetic decision and should complement your kitchen style and theme.