In the fashion world, they say accessories are the exclamation point of an outfit. In the world of cabinetry, it’s the kitchen cabinet hardware that creates a finished and cohesive look. While kitchen cabinet knobs and pulls are functional, they can also transform a space and elevate its look and feel.
If you’re selecting hardware for kitchen cabinets, you’ll want to read our thoughts before making your final selections. We’re sharing how to choose cabinet hardware, the best ways to care for your new kitchen cabinet pulls and knobs, and our favorite place to get the best cabinet hardware for kitchens and baths.
Understanding The Importance Of Kitchen Cabinet Hardware
Kitchen cabinet hardware is functional, but more and more people are using hardware for kitchen design as well. When it comes to how to choose kitchen cabinet hardware, there are two things you should consider first.
The way the kitchen cabinet hardware looks is going to be the most important decision you make. While the hardware is a small element of the kitchen, it carries a lot of weight, so it’s important to pick something that looks good to you. Choosing the hardware design elements you love will make you love the space even more.
It doesn’t matter how beautiful the knobs or pulls for kitchen cabinets are if they aren’t functional. Kitchen hardware that isn’t easy or intuitive to use will frustrate you. This is something most people overlook when picking out kitchen hardware. They go for looks first and forget that it also has to work. It doesn’t matter how beautiful a knob or pull is, if it doesn’t do its job adequately or gets caught on your clothing, you’ll end up frustrated with it.
Popular Cabinet Hardware Choices
There is an abundance of popular cabinet hardware these days. Really, there’s something for everyone’s taste, and we love it! If you’re curious about our favorite kitchen cabinet hardware ideas and trends, you can read more about them here. Or here is a summary of our thoughts.
Kitchen Cabinet Knobs
When it comes to kitchen cabinet knobs, we tend to lean towards simple, timeless designs. We love a round or oval knob, but these classics are far from boring. With a variety of bases and proportions to choose from, you can add a lot of personality to a space with this straightforward choice. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, we also love the look of a rectangular knob. Depending on the style, these can be used in modern, farmhouse, or even industrial kitchens.
Kitchen Cabinet Pulls
We always love a classic bar pull on a drawer, but there are plenty of other options to choose from as well. Bar pulls with added details are always fun, and extra-long pulls can be really eye-catching. Cup pulls are also having a moment right now, and deservedly so. They are extra sturdy and add a unique touch to drawer fronts.
How To Choose Kitchen Cabinet Hardware
If finding the perfect kitchen cabinet hardware for your space feels like looking for a needle in a haystack, take these steps as you think about what hardware to choose.
Considering the Kitchen Style
The latest trendy cabinet handles or knobs may be wildly popular, but that doesn’t mean they fit in with your design. A modern handle would certainly look out of place in a rustic kitchen, just as a rustic handle would look out of place in a modern one. Instead of gravitating towards what is most popular right now, consider your overall style and design aesthetic. This will help eliminate a lot of choices. The chart below is a good place to start to determine what goes with your style:
|Style||Best Kitchen Cabinet Hardware||Description|
|Modern/Contemporary||Matte or glossy finishes, sleek handles, minimalistic knobs||Think clean lines, a sleek design, and a monochromatic color scheme.|
|Traditional||Ornate knobs, classic pulls, antique finishes||The elegant designs and detailed craftsmanship give this hardware its touch of sophistication.|
|Transitional||A mix of classic and modern characterize these versatile designs||Traditional elegance and modern simplicity come together to create this style of hardware.|
|Rustic/Farmhouse||Vintage knobs and pulls with weathered finishes||This hardware is distinctive and charming, with elements that are reminiscent of nature and well-worn.|
|Industrial||Metallic finishes and bold designs||These designs can be described as rugged, bold, and even a little edgy.|
|Shaker||Simple knobs and pulls with classic designs||Just as the shaker cabinet style is simple and straightforward, the hardware that goes with it is minimal yet functional.|
|Coastal||Nautical-themed knobs and pulls with light finishes||This hardware can often be a bit whimsical as it combines sea elements with a breezy and light air.|
|Eclectic||Mixed styles, colorful and unique designs||This blends several styles with an intentional, cohesive theme running throughout.|
Knobs or Pulls for Kitchen Cabinets?
There’s a simple rule of thumb to use when choosing kitchen cabinet hardware styles, or at least when choosing between knobs or pulls. Generally, if a hinge is present, like on a cabinet front, you should use a knob. Pulls are typically used when a slide is present, like on a drawer front. There are obviously exceptions to both of these cases, but that’s a good place to start when picking kitchen cabinet hardware. This article is a great resource for deciding between knobs and pulls in a kitchen.
Exploring Hardware Finishes
Even if you’ve selected your cabinet hardware, there’s still the matter of choosing kitchen cabinet hardware finishes. The finish of your hardware can change the entire look of your kitchen cabinets, so you want to select something that ties together your cabinets, countertops, flooring, and walls. Seems easy enough, right? If you want my advice on how to choose hardware finishes, you first have to understand the finishes available, and then you can think through what works best for you.
Kitchen Cabinet Hardware Finishes
Here are a few of the most commonly seen choices for kitchen cabinet hardware finishes:
- Polished Brass: This bright finish has a gold tone that elevates any space.
- Aged Brass: Unlike polished brass, aged brass is more subdued with a satin finish. It continues to age as you use it and takes on a well-worn look in all the best ways.
- Polished Nickel: This bright metal finish gives a feel of clean opulence to any space.
- Brushed Nickel: Brushed nickel had a real moment at one point, but it is less common these days, with more people opting for its shinier polished sibling.
- Black: Whether you choose matte or flat black, this color of kitchen cabinet knobs and pulls is great for modern or contemporary spaces.
- Oil-Rubbed Bronze: Oil-rubbed bronze is a fancy way of saying blackish-brown. It’s not as dark as a solid black, and sometimes, you’ll see a distressed look on hardware with this finish.
- White: White kitchen hardware is typically made of a porcelain material. It’s not a style you see often in the kitchen, but it can be a great statement piece.
- Painted: This style is often a wood knob or pull that is painted to match the color of the cabinets. They aren’t as durable as traditional cabinet hardware but can be a fun touch in the right space.
How to Choose Hardware Finishes
At the end of the day, choose the kitchen cabinet hardware finishes that spark joy and go with your overall design. A safe bet is to blend your hardware with your appliances, lighting, and faucet hardware. This doesn’t mean they must match exactly, but they should complement each other.
Similarly, you can mix and match finishes throughout your home, but you should limit the number of finishes in one room to one or two at most. If you’re using more than one finish, be sure that the finish is represented at least three times in the room to avoid it looking accidental.
Creative Kitchen Cabinet Hardware Ideas
Have we mentioned there are a lot of kitchen cabinet knobs and pulls to choose from? Hardware is functional but is also part of the design too. Here are a few of our favorite uses of unique cabinet hardware.
Kitchen Cabinet Hardware Questions
If you’re not living and breathing kitchen cabinet hardware every day like we are, you probably still have some questions. Here are a few questions we get asked regularly, along with our best advice to homeowners.
Why is kitchen cabinet hardware important?
First of all, kitchen cabinet hardware is important for its functionality. It makes it easier to open cabinets and drawers. But looking beyond that, cabinet hardware provides a wow factor that elevates a space.
How do I choose between kitchen cabinet knobs and pulls?
As a general rule, kitchen cabinet knobs are used on doors or areas where there is a hinge present. Kitchen cabinet pulls are used on drawers or things that use a slide.
What are the popular cabinet hardware styles?
Classic round knobs and bar pulls have been a staple in the kitchen hardware game for quite some time. They tend to be timeless.
How can I ensure the durability of my kitchen cabinet hardware?
If you want kitchen cabinet hardware that stands the test of time, solid brass is the choice for you. While brass tends to be a little pricier than cheaper materials like zinc, plastic, or aluminum, it has corrosion resistance, and solid brass will not break or chip.
Are there trending kitchen cabinet hardware finishes I should consider?
We can’t sing the praises of brass enough, but then again, we tend to really appreciate the classics. Polished brass, polished nickel, and antique brass are all pretty high on our list of kitchen cabinet hardware finishes.
How do I know the right size of knobs or pulls to choose?
Pulls are often around a third of the width of a drawer front. So, for a 12-inch-wide drawer front, shop for a 4” wide draw pull. That said, sometimes it can be fun and visually pleasing to break the rules. You can consider a transitional style pull that covers much more of the drawer—if it works in the space. For larger drawers between 12-30” wide, use a pull at least 4-12” wide. For extra large drawers, you can double up on smaller, widely-placed drawer pulls or skip the pulls altogether and use two well-chosen knobs.
Where can I find inspiration for unique kitchen cabinet hardware ideas?
How often should I update my kitchen cabinet hardware?
Kitchens tend to be due for an overhaul every 10+ years. You can choose to replace your hardware then, or you can change it out when you’re looking for a little kitchen refresh. If you use more trendy hardware, you may need to replace it more often, whereas timeless pieces such as these cabinet knobs and pulls from Tradition Hardware will be in style indefinitely.
Our Favorite Place For Kitchen Cabinet Hardware
Now that you’re practically a kitchen cabinet hardware expert, it’s time to let you in on one of our favorite places to buy hardware. Just as Christopher Scott Cabinetry has gained a reputation for quality and attention to detail, Tradition Hardware is a name we trust for beautiful, timeless kitchen hardware that is high quality.
And if you’d like to talk with one of our experts about designing your dream kitchen cabinets or get help picking the perfect hardware for your kitchen, you can contact us here.