close up of modern dark colored cabinet and handlesWhen planning a kitchen remodel or building a new kitchen, homeowners typically spend a lot of time contemplating the larger, more costly aspects like countertops, flooring, appliances and cabinetry, but they may overlook the importance of kitchen cabinet hardware. Because cabinets often account for a large chunk of your remodeling or new kitchen budget, you want to ensure they stand out with the perfect cabinet hardware, and there’s a lot more to hardware than you might imagine.

Importance of Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

Even custom cabinets can be elevated to the next level with the right hardware to set them off. Think of hardware as jewelry for your cabinets and kitchen. The smallest details often make the largest impact and can even affect the overall appearance of your kitchen. If you want other elements in your kitchen to stand out, more subdued hardware is appropriate. Alternately, if you’re looking to add some bling to your cabinets, go with something eye-catching. You’ll find cabinet knobs and drawer pulls in a wide array of styles to match your personal preferences and give your custom cabinetry character.

Types of Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

Light grey kitchen cabinetsStart by deciding what type of cabinet hardware you want. The two primary types are knobs and pulls, but there are tons of options within each category. Knobs are less expensive, easier to install, have a smaller profile and can be used for cabinets or drawers. Pulls are more expensive, are larger and work well for drawers and larger cabinets. Pulls also tend to make a bigger statement and are easier to grip than knobs.

You could choose classic round knobs, elegant bar pulls or a nice blend of both. While there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules, many homeowners choose knobs for cabinets and pulls for drawers, but it’s really all about personal preference. Whatever you choose, modern cabinet hardware should provide a nice balance between form and function, meaning it should look good but also be comfortable and convenient to use.

Choosing a Style for Cabinet Knobs and Pulls

Pulls and knobs come in just about every style you can imagine. Shape is part of the style, so you’ll want to examine the other elements in your kitchen to help you decide on the right shape and style for your cabinet hardware. Take note of whether your cabinet doors and countertop edges have curved or square lines and focus on hardware that meshes with these lines. Classic round knobs are often chosen for traditional kitchens, while more progressive square knobs are popular in contemporary kitchens. If you visit kitchen cabinet showrooms, you may notice that different style cabinets often have different styles of hardware.

  • Square knobs and flat bar pulls work well for Mission-style or shaker cabinets, which typically feature flat, recessed center panels with straight lines and square edges.
  • Cup pulls, also known as bin pulls, are semi-circular in shape and are very popular for farmhouse-style homes, but they can help give any kitchen a more vintage look.
  • Window-sash-style pulls are softly rounded and slightly old-fashioned, making them ideal if you’re striving for a colonial design or nostalgic look.
  • Cabinet tabs, or finger pulls, are installed facing down from the top of cabinet doors and drawers and give modern kitchens a sleek look while giving traditional kitchens a retro look.
  • Round or flat bar cabinet pulls make an excellent utilitarian choice in stainless steel, satin nickel or matte black for a streamlined appearance in minimalist or modern kitchen designs.
  • Stylish knobs paired with an ornate backplate offer more impact, and the right design can help create a Victorian, Mediterranean, Gothic or Asian theme in your kitchen.
  • Drop handles with dangling pulls instead of stationary ones can jazz up plain cabinets and make them look more like furniture and work with nearly any cabinet style.

Another popular style for cabinet knobs and pulls is glass, which is a relatively inexpensive option that provides a bit of flash. Glass knobs and pulls come in clear or a rainbow of color choices, and some are even multicolored. They also come in a variety of shapes and can work with nearly every type of kitchen design, from traditional to contemporary or vintage to eclectic. Picking cabinet hardware with colored knobs and pulls can be a great way to bring out an accent color in your backsplash or tie your cabinets together with a dominant color.

Kitchen Cabinet Hardware Finishes

Once you’ve decided on the type and style of kitchen cabinet hardware you want, it’s time to consider the finish. You can match your hardware finish to the finish on your kitchen faucet or lighting, but this isn’t strictly necessary as long as the finishes complement each other or contrast in an aesthetically pleasing way. For example, brass lighting with black hardware, or vice versa, makes a nice contrast. You can also contrast hardware with other elements in your kitchen, such as cabinet color or countertops, or mix and match hardware styles between the upper cabinets and the lower ones. Some suggestions include:

  • Creating an industrial modern farmhouse look with polished nickel cabinet hardware contrasted with matte black plumbing fixtures and lighting
  • Achieving a timeless look by combining oil-rubbed bronze cabinet hardware and faucet with light-colored granite countertops
  • Contrasting dark stained wood with stainless steel hardware for a sleek, elegant look that can complement a modern or contemporary kitchen
  • Choosing square pewter knobs to give a traditional kitchen a more contemporary feel or getting an ultra-modern look with polished brass or chrome
  • Making your kitchen pop with the classic black-on-white combo by contrasting white cabinetry with black hardware and black marble countertops

To help you decide on a finish, bring home several different options in the style of cabinet hardware you like and place each one up against your cabinets to help determine which one works best. Another reason to bring home samples is that hardware finishes can widely vary between manufacturers. For instance, brushed nickel may appear more or less yellow, and oil-rubbed bronze can look almost black or rust-colored.

Turn to Kitchen Cabinet Experts

Installing kitchen cabinet hardware can be an easy project for DIY homeowners because it usually only takes a screwdriver to attach cabinet pulls and knobs if the screw holes are pre-drilled in the correct locations. However, it may take some time to track down the right hardware, which may require trying several different types, styles and finishes. If you find the task daunting, call the kitchen design experts at Element Design Build Remodel.

Whether you’re doing a kitchen remodel or building a modern kitchen from scratch, our talented team works with you to ensure the finished product is exactly what you envisioned. We can even help you find a style you’ll love when you’re not sure what you want. Element Design Build Remodel is a full-service home remodeling company serving Cleveland and the northeast Ohio area. We’ll gladly help you design personalized cabinets, complete with the perfect cabinet hardware that makes your kitchen shine. Contact us at 330-523-6919 to set up a free, no-obligation design consultation.