When it comes to kitchen cabinet hardware ideas, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the seemingly endless options available. Do you want knobs or pulls, all pulls, a combination of both, or something else entirely? What about finishes and materials? What size and how many? Just like jewelry can make or break an outfit, the look of your cabinetry can enhance your whole kitchen and give your home a more custom look.
A combination of cabinet knobs and drawer pulls in this traditional Myers Park kitchen avoids the appearance of being weighed down by cabinet hardware.
So, where do we start? Since no one wants to spend hours obsessing over kitchen cabinet knob ideas only to realize they made the wrong choice, it’s best to lean on an experienced designer who will help you make the right choice for your kitchen. After 18+ years of designing and specifying hardware for each of our kitchen and bath remodeling projects, we’ve developed an effective system for narrowing down the options quickly. Let’s explore a few kitchen cabinet hardware ideas and what they could look like in your home.
Kitchen Cabinet Hardware Ideas to Consider
The function always comes first. By asking yourself three critical questions, you can quickly narrow the pool of options: What kind of cabinets are these going on, how much use they get, and who is using these cabinets the most?
Kitchen and bath cabinets get heavy usage. Such delicate materials as leather, woven tab pulls, or semi-precious stones don’t hold up over time and are not ideal kitchen cabinet hardware ideas. Those built-in cabinets flanking the fireplace, on the other hand, are probably opened and closed less frequently, so a more decorative selection would be appropriate there.
If you or a family member have large hands, some pulls will be much more challenging to grasp than others (like cup pulls or short pulls). People with arthritis in their hands should avoid knobs as they are almost impossible to grasp. Instead, opt for pulls that open by hooking something through them if necessary.
In some cases, it may be preferable to order all of your cabinetry with hidden, built-in touch latches, so you can bump the doors with your knee or elbow, allowing them to pop open effortlessly. Contemporary designs work best with this application, but it’s not required. If you’re interested in this solution, make sure to discuss it with your kitchen designer during the design phase, as it’s best to order the cabinets like this from the manufacturer instead of trying to retrofit them later.
Material and Finish
Cabinet hardware can vary wildly in cost in the kitchen, bathroom, or elsewhere throughout the home, depending on the manufacturer, material, and finish. A chrome knob made out of a metal alloy from the local hardware store could be $2, while a solid brass appliance pull for a panel-ready refrigerator could be well over $350. Most people want good quality pieces that will tarnish or discolor but don’t find it necessary to splurge on solid brass or bronze. They may feel richer in your hand, but most of our clients don’t see it’s worth the extra investment.
When it comes to finishes, don’t fall into the “every single metallic element in the house must match” trap. Production builders use this strategy because it’s easy and saves them time (great for them, not so great for you). Mixing metals creates a more custom look and sets your home apart from your neighbors. Nowhere in the house combines metallic elements more than a space with many metallic features, such as the kitchen. It’s ok to have stainless appliances, oil-rubbed bronze hardware on your interior doors, brushed brass light fixtures, and a polished nickel faucet with polished nickel cabinet hardware. As long as each finish makes sense with the rest of your design, don’t be afraid to mix it up!
Should your cabinet hardware have knobs, pulls, or a combination?
Now that you know how much usage your cabinets will get and who is using them the most, consider the breakdown of knobs and pulls. While it’s easy to decide to use all knobs or pulls, the finished kitchen cabinet or bathroom hardware will look much more custom and function better when you consider each cabinet.
In this farmhouse-inspired kitchen cabinet remodel, we used a combination of kitchen cabinet hardware ideas. We placed knobs on the doors, cup pulls on the drawers, and longer pulls on the paneled appliances.
Drawers and pull-outs tend to operate best with pulls, while doors are easily opened and closed with knobs or pulls. We prefer a combination of knobs and pulls of various sizes to keep them proportional to the cabinets. This step is where things can start to get confusing. Our designers calculate the size and quantity for our clients, but we’ve broken down our system below if you’re trying to do it independently.
Pros and Cons of Hardware Types
Pros: Easy to grasp, great for drawers or cabinets, flexible
Cons: Larger in size, can take up more visual space
Pros: Simple, small, great for cabinets
Cons: Not the best for drawers, unless it’s smaller in size
Pros: High-end look and feel, a great way to add flare to select drawers
Cons: Difficult functionality, not suitable for cabinets
Kitchen Cabinet Hardware Ideas: Knobs with Short Pulls
Most higher quality hardware lines offer their pulls in several different sizes, but if you fall in love with one that doesn’t, you may want to double up as we did here. On drawers over 24″ wide, two pulls look more proportional than a tiny pull in the center. You will often see this look in farmhouse-style kitchens with cup pulls. Unfortunately, most cup pulls don’t come in various sizes.
Kitchen Cabinet Hardware Ideas: All Pulls
How to Size Your Cabinet Hardware
The best way to determine the correct size pulls for a set of drawers is to take the width of the cabinet box and divide it by three. It’s unlikely the pull you’ve selected will ever be that exact measurement, so on wider drawers, choose the next size up. For smaller drawers, it usually looks best to size down. If the cabinets are inset, first subtract the size of the frame (typically, each side is 1 ¼” or 1 ½” wide, so 2 ½” -3″ total). If your chosen cabinet hardware has wider stiles, you may need to size down.
If you’re still worried that you’ll make the wrong choice, remember to ask yourself three questions: How often are these cabinets getting used? Who are the primary users? What sizes do I need?
Choosing the Best Hardware
The most exciting part of a kitchen remodel is that you get to design your space exactly how you want it, for functionality and aesthetics. There are many combinations of pulls and finishes you can select and ultimately it comes down to what your kitchen cabinet hardware ideas are. Do you want a simple, functional choice that won’t detract from your cabinets? Do you want some additional wow factors in your kitchen? Once you have the general idea of what you want, enjoy the process of selecting the finish and details that speak to you and compliment your kitchen design.
If you’d like this attention to detail on every aspect of your kitchen or bathroom remodeling project, schedule a call with us today to speak to one of our project developers about your goals.