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Building a Home

A Guide to Cabinet Hardware Placement

Published on:

8/21/19

written by:

Carrie Barker

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So you’ve chosen your cabinets, they’re installed, and now there is one more decision … where is the best cabinet hardware placement? In other words, where should you hang cabinet knobs and pulls on your cabinet doors?

It’s actually quite simple! I’ll give you some guidelines (and share helpful diagrams) below re: the best place to hang your hardware. We’ll focus solely on the two most common types of hardware: knobs and pulls.

a Guide to Cabinet Hardware Placement

WHAT ARE CABINET STILES AND RAILS?

Before getting into our discussion of where to place cabinet hardware, you first need to understand the parts of the cabinet door that I’ll be referring to. The diagram below illustrates where the cabinet stiles (vertical parts), rails (horizontal parts), and panel are. This will be helpful as you read about placement below.

guide to cabinet hardware placement stiles and rails diagram

WHERE SHOULD CABINET KNOBS BE PLACED?

Knobs should be centered horizontally on the door stile on the side opposite the hinge … this goes for both upper and lower cabinetry. The typical height to place knobs is 2.5” – 3” from the bottom of the door (on upper cabinets) or from the top of the door (on lower cabinets). FYI: we used the 2.5” measurement on all of our cabinets.

Just to clarify … the knob HOLE should be 2.5” – 3” from the top or bottom of cabinet door; your actual knob will hang lower than 2.5”- 3”.

Cabinets that pull out (e.g. trash cabinet) have a different guideline. In this case, knobs are typically centered on the cabinet’s top rail. FYI: we have knobs on all cabinets EXCEPT our pull out garbage cabinet … we used a pull and centered it on the top rail.

guide to cabinet hardware placement caroline on design kitchen

My Kitchen Cabinet Hardware Placement

Recommended Post: HOW TO CHOOSE CABINET HARDWARE

WHERE SHOULD CABINET PULLS BE PLACED?

The guideline for hanging cabinet pulls is the same as hanging knobs (i.e. 2.5” – 3” from top or bottom). However, there is one slight difference. Cabinet pulls have two screws as opposed to only one screw with a knob. On upper cabinets, the bottom screw hole should be placed 2.5” – 3” above the bottom of the door. On lower cabinets, the top screw hole should be placed 2.5” -3” below the top of the door.

Just like knobs, pulls are typically centered horizontally on the door stile opposite the side of the door hinge. See the diagram below to illustrate this concept.

Shop for hardware in my CABINET HARDWARE BOUTIQUE

WHERE TO PLACE DRAWER HARDWARE

I know this post focuses primarily on CABINET hardware placement … however, you’re probably also wondering where is the best hardware placement on drawers!

The majority of people choose to center their drawer knobs and/or pulls in the center of the middle panel. Others choose to center their drawer knobs and/or pulls in the center of the top rail. I personally prefer hardware to be centered in the middle panel (as opposed to on the top rail).

As far as the number of pulls or knobs, you do have a choice. If your drawers are 24” or wider, you can place either one pull (or one knob) in the middle of the drawer OR two pulls (or two knobs) on either side of the drawer. See the image below.

I chose to use one pull on ALL drawers regardless of the width of the drawer. Either way (one pull vs. two pulls) looks great so it’s simply a matter of personal preference!

guide to drawer hardware placement

Image via STUDIO MCGEE

CONCLUSION

In this post, we covered the guidelines and best practices for cabinet hardware placement of both knobs and pulls. I also gave you a brief overview of where to place hardware on your drawers. I hope you now see how simple it is to find the ideal spot to hang your hardware!

Now that you know where to place your hardware, it’s time to find the perfect knobs and pulls for your new home! Visit my CABINET HARDWARE BOUTIQUE to see products that I’ve curated for YOU!

  1. […] Related Post: A GUIDE TO CABINET HARDWARE PLACEMENT […]

  2. Ed says:

    Thank you for the article. You might consider redrawing the panel illustration: Stiles run the full height and rails run between them rather than what you show, which is having the rails go the full width with the stiles running between them.

  3. Tina says:

    Re: Matching Sink Faucet to Cabinet Hardware

    Help! We are remodeling our kitchen with white cabinets and I want to use gold hardware on them. My sink will be white (today it is! 🤪) and I want a faucet with matching gold. Suggestions? I also worry about the gold finish rubbing off with time on both the cabinet hardware and the faucet…

    Thank you!

    • Hi Tina! I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking for re suggestions 🧐. If you’re asking for design suggestions, I no longer offer e-design services, so I don’t help individual clients. As far as the gold finish rubbing off, I don’t think you would have any more issues with gold than you would with nickel. Just make sure you purchase a quality gold hardware product and faucet … you should be fine!

  4. What about a corner lazy Susan? Should it have any hardware on it and if so pulls or knobs?

    • A corner lazy susan should have hardware if your other cabinets have hardware on them. I would go with whatever is on your other cabinets. If the lazy susan is a lower cabinet and you have pulls on the lower cabinets, then mimic that same design.

  5. arpita says:

    Carrie – Thanks for this article. Can you please share where you got your kitchen cabinet hardware from, name of the design, etc for knobs and pulls?

  6. Natalie Hatt says:

    Hi Carrie, thanks for posting this. Question for you.
    My cabinet drawers are 36 inches wide. I was looking at 12 inch pulls centered or 2 x 6 inch (left/right)? Thoughts?

  7. Shannon says:

    When placing the hardware(knobs in my case) on the lazy Susan cabinet(lower), should I place it with the same 3 inches down that I did on all of the lower cabinets or place them even with the other ones?

  8. Tanya Thompson says:

    Hi Carrie
    We have a door in our island that is the only door on the island (all others are drawers) that houses our garbage bins. So it’s a tall door that pulls out like a drawer rather than being on hinges. The other cabinetry at its level across the island are two banks of two pot drawers.

    My question is do we place the handle center on the top rail (which will be the only handle on the island at that height) or do we match the drawer handle heights going across the island which places it lower on the door and at the top maybe three inches down on the middle panel?

    Thanks so much for your help
    Tanya

    • I apologize, Tanya, but I’m having a hard time picturing your island in my head. I don’t feel like I can answer without actually seeing a photo. I don’t usually answer personal design dilemma questions for readers (bc I put my primary focus on my paying clients). However, if you send me a photo of your kitchen island, I will give you a quick answer :). hello@carolineondesign.com

  9. Lindsey M says:

    Hi

    I have a simile question to Tanya. In our kitchen, we have shaker cabinetry. The wall with the sink, there are only doors and drawers with horizontal drawer pulls mounted in the center panel. We have one vertical pullout that houses our spice and utensil “drawer” (similar to a garbage pullout, but narrower). My question is this: do we put the horizontal pull on the top rail or in the panel lined up with the other top drawer pulls. If we put in the top rail, it will be the only pull at the height, as the rest are in the center panel of the drawers. I think top rail is still correct, my husband disagrees. Can you help?

  10. sara seeley says:

    Hi Carrie,

    Are there any instances when you don’t have to or shouldn’t put the cabinet knobs 2.5-3″? We have Omega cabients in Perrin, and they have a beveled edge where the rail and stile intersect. This is where I think the hardware looks the best, but it is less than 2.5.” What are the disadvantages of installing it less than 2.5?”

    Thank you!

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