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Picking Out the Perfect Cabinet Hardware for Your Kitchen

Updated on September 24, 2018

Changing out cabinet hardware as a cheap and easy way to give your kitchen a mini-makeover. While cabinet knobs and pulls are one of the smallest accessories in the kitchen; the right ones can make a huge impact. They can also improve the functionality of your cabinets and drawers.

Boy, these kitchen cabinets could use some new hardware!
Boy, these kitchen cabinets could use some new hardware! | Source

How To Choose

Knobs vs. Pulls

First, you need to know the difference between cabinet knobs and pulls. A cabinet knob is attached by a single screw and is commonly used to open cabinet doors. A cabinet pull, or handle, attaches with two screws and is typically used on drawer fronts to help facilitate opening and closing.

Knobs typically go on doors and pulls on drawers.
Knobs typically go on doors and pulls on drawers. | Source


Even before you determine the placement of knobs and pulls, you must choose a style. When you consider the number of cabinet doors and drawers in your kitchen, you’ll understand the importance of selecting the perfect style. Even in small kitchens, there may be upwards of 20 cabinet doors and drawers. That equates to a lot of hardware – so it is critical to go with a style that works with other elements in the room. Choose from minimal to elaborate, depending on the style of your kitchen.

Elegant, cut glass knobs evoke a vintage feel.
Elegant, cut glass knobs evoke a vintage feel. | Source
These adorable ceramic bird knobs will give your kitchen an eclectic look.
These adorable ceramic bird knobs will give your kitchen an eclectic look. | Source


Finish is just as important as style when purchasing knobs and pulls. If your existing cabinet hinges are visible, match that finish as closely as possible. If you are lucky enough to have European-style hinges (concealed inside the door), then you can easily go with a completely different finish.

Sleek, brushed nickel handles on Shaker style cabinet doors are a stylish combination.
Sleek, brushed nickel handles on Shaker style cabinet doors are a stylish combination. | Source

Realize, however, that in many cases, finish relates directly to style. For example, in a rustic Tuscan kitchen, rubbed bronze hardware would be a good choice. In a modern kitchen, sleek, brushed nickel knobs and pulls may make the most sense.


What you’ll need:

  • Ruler
  • Screwdriver
  • New hardware
  • Template (purchased with hardware or homemade)
  • Pencil or marker
  • Drill and proper size bit (to make new holes, if necessary)
  • Wood putty (to fill old holes)
  • Putty knife
  • Matching stain or paint (for touch up)
  • Small paintbrush

Try finding the same size hardware to avoid drilling new holes in cabinet fronts.
Try finding the same size hardware to avoid drilling new holes in cabinet fronts. | Source

Here’s How:

1. Remove one knob and pull from a door and drawer to use as samples.

2. In the case of cabinet pulls, measure the distance between the centers of the screw holes – this is the size you need if you want to avoid drilling and patching existing holes. Common center-to-center measurements are 3-inch, 3 1/2-inch and 4-inch.

3. Take your sample hardware and measurements to the home improvement center. Settle on a style and finish you like and find the size that matches your center-to-center measurement. Double check by placing your existing hardware against the new one to compare the spacing. Also, make sure the screw length is the same to ensure a proper fit in relation to the thickness of your doors and drawers.

4. I know this is an extra step, but it is so worth the effort and time. Buy one knob and pull for a test install at home. If, after a day or two, you are pleased with the look and fit, purchase the remaining knobs and pulls. This will save you from returning a kitchen full of hardware if you are not satisfied. I speak from experience!

5. Remove your old hardware and install the new pieces with a manual screwdriver.

6. If you want to purchase pulls of a different width, it will require additional work on your part. You will need a template for positioning and drilling new holes in your cabinet drawers. Some hardware manufacturers will include a pre-made template or you can make your own.

You will need to fill old, exposed holes with wood filler. Allow the filler to dry thoroughly. Touch up visible filled holes with matching paint or stain.

You can then install and admire your new hardware!

© 2012 lindacee

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    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Arizona

      Yes, teaches, it really works! I love simple home improvement projects that make a big difference, but don't cost too much. Thanks for commenting and voting! :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      I see my brushed nickel hardware here, Linda! Love this hub for the simple idea posted and how to make it work. It is amazing how changing hardware can improve the look of cabinets. Voted up.

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks Carol! It comes from years of experience installing new and replacing old kitchen hardware -- hate to admit how many times I've done it. :) So good to hear from you. I appreciate your vote, share and pin! Take care!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      A great how to hub. You can come to my house and install new hardware anytime. It does make such a difference in the appearance of cupboards...even when the cupboards are old. Thanks as always for a great and informative hub. Voting up and sharing on facebook, and pinterest.


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