From selecting lighting to picking paint – there are many major decisions involved in the process of making a house a home. With all these moving parts, it can be hard to remember that design is in the details too. And hardware is a detail that can easily become an afterthought. But the right knob or pull can make a serious visual impact, elevating the room in a way that is easy and effortless. And when you think about the countless times that cabinet hardware is used throughout everyday undertakings, it becomes clear that the value and joy that a well-made piece of hardware brings is well worth the investment.
Simply put, investing in heirloom-quality hardware is an easy way to elevate the everyday. So, whether you’re building a brand new kitchen, working on a bathroom remodel, or simply want to swap out some existing hardware on a thrifted furniture find, we’ve put together a simple and straightforward how-to, to help you choose the perfect cabinet hardware for your space.
Types of Cabinet Hardware
First, decide if you’d like to use all knobs, all pulls, or a combo of both. While there are no hard and fast rules, it’s generally a lot easier to open a cabinet with a knob and a drawer with a pull. With that said, there are plenty of exceptions. For instance, installing drawer pulls vertically may work best for bathroom baseboard cabinets. If you want to elevate existing furniture (such as a side table or media console), you may decide that small knobs add the perfect amount of visual impact over a longer pull. When thinking about hardware type, try to envision what will feel the most functional for your lifestyle.
Knobs have smaller profiles than handles, are less expensive, and can be used for both drawers and cabinets. They are slightly easier to install than pulls since you only need one screw to secure the knob to the surface.
Pulls are larger than knobs, make more of a statement, and tend to be easier to grip. They are more expensive than pulls, but they come in many different sizes. They tend to complement drawers or larger cabinets with their linear shape.
Select a Pull or Knob Style
Once you’ve decided on hardware type, you’ll want to think about what style suits your space best. Hardware with ridges, curved silhouettes, and textured detailing typically work well with traditional or heritage-inspired designs. Modern cabinetry tend to have clean lines and edges with a sleek, minimal profile that is smooth to the touch.
Pick a Material or Choose a Finish
Next, you’ll want to consider the material and finish. Cabinet hardware works best when it adds contrast to the room. What color are your cabinets? What about your appliances, faucet, and lighting? What color are your hinges? In general, warmer toned spaces with brass cabinetry have a vintage feel to them, while cooler tones with darker cabinet hardware lean more contemporary.
Don't Be Afraid to Mix Metals
With that said, your space should be a reflection of your personal design choices, so don’t be afraid to break the rules or mix metals. We’ve seen plenty of kitchens with brass lighting and black hardware or vice versa. If you typically want everything to match but have stainless steel appliances, try selecting black cabinet hardware. Not only does it match with all finishes, but it also keeps your space feeling clean and well-coordinated.
How to Choose the Right Cabinet Hardware Size
Drawers and cabinets range in size, so it can be difficult to determine what size you need. While there is no set rule, we generally recommend that the pull length is approximately 1/3 of the cabinet or drawer width.
Small Drawers that are 12” or less typically work best with a pull that is 3” to 4” long or a knob that is 1” in diameter.
Medium Drawers that are between 12” to 30” work well with a pull that is between 4” to 8” long or a knob that is between 1” to 1.5” in diameter
Large Drawers that are 30” to 48"will require a pull that is longer than 8" or a knob that is 1" in diameter or greater. Using two pulls or knobs for a large drawer also works great.
Consider Cabinet Hardware Placement
Last but not least, cabinet hardware placement is an important aspect of kitchen or furniture design. Proper placement not only enhances the aesthetics of the space but also ensures functionality and ease of use. Here are some general tips to get you started:
Upper Cabinets: knobs or pulls should be about 2.5 to 3 inches from the bottom edge of the door or drawer.
Lower Cabinets: hardware is typically placed between 2.5 to 3 inches from the top edge.
Drawers: center the cabinet pull or knob horizontally on the face.
To ensure consistent placement across all cabinets and drawers, consider using templates or jigs. These tools can help you mark the exact placement for each piece of hardware. It's also a good idea to create a mock-up using tape or temporary adhesive to visualize how it will look before drilling holes.
Remember that personal preference and the specific design of your cabinets will influence hardware placement. Ultimately, the goal is to strike a balance between aesthetics and functionality while ensuring a uniform and polished appearance.
Hopefully, this simple how-to serves as a helpful starting point when shopping for cabinet hardware. In the end, experimentation is the best way to dial in your personal preference because every room has its own unique set of requirements. If you find yourself unsure of what you’d like, we recommend you place a smaller order of hardware. Take some time to try different styles, sizes, and finishes to see how the swap impacts your space.