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Design + Decorate

How to Choose Cabinet Hardware

Published on:

3/02/22

written by:

Carrie Barker

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When building a home, there are MANY decisions to make (as you know). Obviously choosing your cabinets is one of the big decisions, but it doesn’t stop there. You need a way to open those beautiful cabinets!

If you’re struggling with what style, finish or size of cabinet hardware you need OR you’re unsure whether you should do knobs or pulls or both, this post is for you! Below is an overview of how to choose cabinet hardware for your home.

We’ll cover what cabinet hardware is (i.e. defining knobs vs. pulls), how to choose the best hardware style, finish, and size for your home, AND I’ll answer the question, ‘can you mix cabinet hardware?’ Let’s go!

This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog so I can continue to create new content for you!

WHAT IS CABINET HARDWARE?

Cabinet hardware refers to the knobs and pulls attached to both your cabinets and drawers. Hardware also includes the hinges that allow the cabinet door to swing open. The primary function of cabinet hardware is to allow you to open your cabinet doors and drawers.

The two common types of hardware are knobs and pulls. Knobs are small and typically used on cabinet doors; pulls are long and typically used on drawers. However, you can use knobs on drawers and pulls on cabinets … there is no rule against this.

The photo below illustrates these two hardware types: pull (on the drawer) and knobs (on the cabinet doors).

how to choose cabinet hardware knobs and pulls

Image via REJUVENATION

HOW TO CHOOSE HARDWARE STYLE

While cabinet hardware’s primary purpose is function, it also helps define your home’s design style. Your hardware style is dependent on the style of your cabinet doors as well as the overall design style of your home.

Both pulls and knobs come in just about every style you can imagine. If your home is traditional, choose ornate knobs and pulls. If your home is contemporary, choose simple hardware with long simple lines. If your home is transitional, choose simple hardware like the photo above. There are also rustic choices if your home is rustic. The options are endless!

modern brass cabinet hardware house of silver lining

Contemporary brass hardware | Image via The House of Silver Lining

Some things to consider FUNCTION-WISE:

  • Cabinet knobs are typically round but do come in a wide variety of shapes
  • Choose knobs and pulls that are comfortable on your hands because you will use them often; rounded surfaces are much less likely to scratch you than a sharp square edge
  • If you’re a perfectionist (like me), I recommend round knobs because you can’t tell when they rotate (unlike square knobs that will be crooked when they rotate)

CABINET HARDWARE FINISH

The image below from REJUVENATION shows four of the most popular cabinet hardware finishes (from left to right): oil-rubbed bronze, satin nickel (or brushed nickel), brass (or gold), and chrome (or polished nickel).

kitchen cabinet hardware popular finishes

Keep in mind that finishes can vary widely from manufacturer to manufacturer. In my experience, oil-rubbed bronze varies the most. The product in the photo (left) looks borderline black; however, sometimes oil-rubbed bronze has more of a rust color.

I personally prefer to keep all hardware finishes matching in my home. (I branch out and mix metals with my decor and accents.) However, as long as you keep the finishes all cohesive in your kitchen and any surrounding rooms, you’ll be fine!

When I say hardware finishes, I’m referring to cabinet hardware (obviously), cabinet hinges, light fixtures, and sink hardware.

There is no right or wrong hardware finish. Choose the finish and style YOU love! Here are a few shoppable options:

HOW TO CHOOSE SIZE

Your home’s overall design style plays a role in the size of the hardware you should choose. A long pull (~ 9”+) provides a contemporary look, whereas a mid-length pull (~ 5”-7”) is more transitional or traditional.

Hardware size as a design element is more specific to pulls … knob size doesn’t really affect the style. It’s the style of the knob (as opposed to the size) that helps define your style.

You can mix up your pull sizes or you can use the same size throughout your kitchen (or bathroom). I have the same size pull (7.5”) on ALL of my kitchen drawers … regardless of drawer size.

Related Post: A GUIDE TO CABINET HARDWARE PLACEMENT

CAN YOU MIX CABINET HARDWARE?

YES and NO! You can certainly mix pulls and knobs (this is what I did in my home … all my kitchen cabinet doors have knobs and my drawers have pulls)… BUT I would recommend that you DON’T mix hardware styles or finishes (colors) within one room.

Choose one pull style (and size) and one knob style (and size). The knobs and pulls you choose should complement each other (i.e. I wouldn’t mix a contemporary bar pull with a traditional knob).

If you’re going to mix and match, I recommend that you choose to use knobs (or pulls) on all drawers (or cabinets) or vice versa. Create a cohesive combination of your hardware (in other words, a consistent pattern).

how to choose cabinet hardware my kitchen

Pulls on my kitchen drawers and knobs on my cabinets

In this post, we covered (1) what cabinet hardware is, (2) how to choose the best hardware style, finish, and size for your home, AND (3) answered the question, ‘can you mix cabinet hardware?’  When making a decision, keep in mind that your cabinet hardware is closely tied to your home’s overall design style.

Now that you know HOW to choose cabinet hardware, you can order some samples from Shop Cabinet Hardware below!

SHOP CABINET HARDWARE GOLD

SHOP CABINET HARDWARE BLACK

SHOP NICKEL CABINET HARDWARE

how to choose cabinet hardware finish
  1. Wendy says:

    Great post ! Basic info that I learned what I need to know to make good decisions but comprehensive enough that I had no questions & can feel confident about my decisions. Thanks????????

    • Thank you, Wendy! You don’t know happy it makes me to hear that this blog post was simple yet informative … that’s exactly what I’m going for with every blog post 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful piece of information on how to choose cabinet hardware. Actually, I was in search of such type of information. But after reading your blog post my mind is clear. Now I understand what exactly I want. Keep sharing such type of knowledgeable information.

    • sophia vazquez says:

      Hi! So I have some big drawers and a few smaller ones and a spice rack. I want to mix pulls and knobs but not sure how it would work out.??? Help?!

      • Hi Sophia! I used the same size pulls on all of my drawers … regardless of how small or large they are. I have a wide variety of drawer sizes, but they all the same size pull centered on the drawer. Another option is to double up the pulls … use the same size, but you can put a pull on each side of the drawer. The way I mixed pulls and knobs is … pulls on all drawers; knobs on all cabinet doors.

  3. Chris says:

    In an open concept home should the door knobs in the kitchen living area match?

    Is it a bad idea to buy hardware before I have chosen and purchased my kitchen cabinets?

    Thank you

    • I would personally match my doorknobs in adjoining rooms … actually, I just have the same doorknobs throughout my entire house. I think it’s fine to choose your hardware before choosing kitchen cabinets. As long as you have a good idea of the style of cabinet you will be purchasing, then go ahead and choose your hardware!

  4. […] Recommended Post: HOW TO CHOOSE CABINET HARDWARE […]

  5. Lauri says:

    What do you recommend putting in the cookie sheet, spice, and garbage pullouts? They look like doors but I’m worried a knob wouldn’t be strong enough?

    • Hi Lauri! Great question. I have pulls on my cookie sheet drawer and my garbage pullout cabinet. I don’t have a spice cabinet, but those are typically small so I’m not sure I would use a bulky pull. Good luck!

  6. Tami Campbell says:

    What are your thoughts on black hardware with white shaker cabinets? In our new home, the door handles will be black and I am worried that if my cabinet hardware doesn’t match those…it will drive me crazy.

    • I’m with you … I like all my hardware to match throughout the house! I recommend you search on Pinterest for white shaker cabinets with black hardware. Seeing photos always helps me to figure out if I’ll like what I’m thinking (design-wise).

  7. Becky says:

    Could you tell me what tile you used in your backsplash? I’m on a quest for gray subway tiles and those look perfect! <3

  8. Kay says:

    Thank you Wendy, very informative. Can you tell me the metal used on your cabinets (polished, satin, brushed) and did you use the same metal for your door hardware. I have a pantry door in my kitchen. Thanks for your advice.

    • Hi Kay! All of my cabinet hardware is stainless steel. I would typically choose nickel, but I don’t think it was available in the style I wanted when I built seven years ago. My door hardware is satin nickel. – Carrie

  9. Shauna Leewright says:

    Should you put draw pulls/knobs on “false” drawers and cabinets??

    • It really depends on the location of the ‘false’ drawer or cabinet. If it looks like it should be a functioning cabinet or drawer, then I would put hardware (knob or pull) on it. It’s a bit hard to explain what I mean. Hopefully that makes sense.

  10. Shelley Munn says:

    Thank you for the information. I have one question. Should your hardware match your light fixtures. I have black light fixtures.

    • I prefer to have all of my hardware match (light fixtures, cabinet hardware, door hardware, etc.). However, you can certainly branch out and have your light fixtures be a different finish than your cabinet hardware. I just wouldn’t mix more than two hardware finishes in a room.

  11. Sadie says:

    Your post was so helpful! We just had our cabinets painted a charcoal gray and they look sooo good but the original hardware I picked out just doesn’t look how I was hoping it would, so I’m back on the hunt. I think I want to use a mixture of simple gold bars and circular flat nobs (like the 6th option you listed). This post was just what I needed. Thank you for sharing your expertise!

  12. Sarah says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I had my kitchen cabinets painted by a professional cabinet painting company two weeks ago and I put off choosing new hardware for a while because I didn’t know what would look right with my cabinets. After reading your post, I went to Home Depot and finally made a decision. Your tips really helped and I am very happy with how they look and match my cabinets!

    • Michelle says:

      I really love the pulls and knobs that you chose for your kitchen! Im currently picking hardware for new kitchen cabinets and your selection would work great in out traditional yet contemporary home. Would you be able to tell me where you purchased them from?

  13. Pam says:

    I really like the hardware you show on the cabinets in the white kitchen . Do they come in old bronze (oil bronze )? And if so where can I buy them ? How much? And if not what would you recommend that’s similar for a traditional kitchen ?

    • Hi Pam! The white kitchen is my own kitchen, so you can find my sources on my website (under’MY HOME’). As far as oil bronze, you’ll have to look that up because I am not familiar with everything offered … and I don’t know the price because I bought my hardware 7 years ago. I will say though … I bought very inexpensive hardware :).

  14. Wow, I never knew that there were so many factors that went into choosing things like handle sizes and other cabinet hardware pieces. This makes me think about my remodeling project and how I’ve always wanted to go for a more classic look, but couldn’t think of what to do to truly achieve that aesthetic in every inch of the room. Once I find a cabinet manufacturer, I’ll make sure I follow your tips about sizes and finishes when picking out cabinet hardware.

  15. Tina says:

    Carrie
    I’m looking at hardware for our new kitchen. I am using an Ash Gray (slightly lighter than black) for white cabinet surround and all other hardware in house (window seating drawers etc) I know you said you don’t mix but have you seen where the island has brass or a different color hardware. I think I’d like the island to look like a stand alone piece of furniture. thoughts?

    • Great question, Tina! I haven’t seen this done (i.e. different hardware on the island) and I don’t know if I would mix like this personally. However, this is a relatively low-cost, easy-to-change design decision that you could definitely give a shot. Go ahead and try different hardware on your kitchen island. If you don’t like it, you can easily make a change. Best! – Carrie

  16. Veronica Idle says:

    This has been a great article and very needed! For my new kitchen, I was thinking of putting pulls on all drawers as you suggested, but mixing it up for the cabinets. Would it look right to do the same pulls on the cabinets that are above the counters and then knobs on the cabinets below the counter tops?

  17. Giulia says:

    Hi! What length are your pulls ?

    • My pulls are just under 7.5″.

      • Colette says:

        Great article! Our new home is a spec house that we didn’t get to choose hardware on and it has brushed nickel hardware throughout. The kitchen cabinets will not have any hardware yet so we can pick that out. We do have a pantry door in the kitchen with the brushed nickel door knob, but no hardware in the kitchen/open concept living area. I really would love to do brass cabinet hardware, but I am worried about mixing the metals. Any thoughts on how that might turn out? Thanks!

        • Hi Colette! I’m working on a blog post right now that is all about mixing metals … and how to do make it work. I hope to be ready to publish this post next Wednesday (4/27), so be sure to check back for that post :). – Carrie

  18. carmel bang says:

    I think you just saved me years of correcting and being annoyed at square knobs not being perfectly square. Now shopping for round!!!

  19. Cheryl says:

    Am getting new wood cabinets/drawers. Can I use hardware I have now??

    • Sorry, Cheryl, but I don’t have enough info to answer your question :). I don’t know what hardware you have or what your current cabinets look like. Your hardware selection should be based on the style of home you want.

  20. Judith Field says:

    I have 83 year old hands, which don’t always work well. I want to use handles in my freshly painted kitchen but wonder if I can use handles on both drawers and doors. Is this look too many handles? 11 drawers and 22 doors. Not a large kitchen, as you can see. What would you recommend?

    • Hi Judith! I think that you can certainly use handles (pulls) on all drawers and cabinets … especially since that will be the easiest and most functional option for your hands :). – Carrie

  21. Darlene Cankar says:

    You’re so great to reply to all the questions! I’m considering your option to keep all the pulls the same size….I think the largest my pulls come is 6-5/16”. Then it zooms up to 12” What would you suggest for a panel covered dishwasher? And would a knob suffice for a tall pantry cabinet? I want to love my hardware! It’s the finishing touch! Thanks.

    • I agree that hardware is the finishing touch! I believe for a dishwasher that you’ll need a very sturdy pull that is similar to the pull you would find on a dishwasher. A knob can work for a tall pantry door, but a pull might work better (aesthetically and functionally).

  22. Teresa says:

    Yay! I’m so glad I found this blog! We are finally redoing our kitchen (a reface not remodel). We are going with pulls for both cabinets and drawers and I’m pretty sure we will do 5” length which will work well with everything except we have one weird very small drawer that’s 9”. Should I size down for the one drawer or keep it 5” to match with
    the others?

    • Hi Teresa! I have the same size pull on all of my drawers regardless of their size. I think that having a smaller pull on your small drawer will stand out more than having the 5″ pull on your small drawer. In other words, just do the same size! – Carrie

      • Lindsey says:

        I have this same issue. I have new shaker drawers and cabinets being installed. I am doing knobs on the cabinets and 6 inch pulls on all the drawers. However, i have three very small drawers in between the lazy susan cabinet and the baking sheet drawer. I cant get any pull to fit inside the panel. What do you suggest? I was thinking of doing the same cabinet knobs for those three drawers in center of panel. Hope this makes sense. I don’t know what to do!

        • Hi Lindsey! If you can’t fit even a small pull that matches your larger pulls, then you might need to put a knob on the small drawers. They do make knobs that almost look like little 1″ pulls. That could be an option.

  23. Fathie, Maria says:

    I have chrome shower frames on glass, black and stainless appliances in kichen with white cabinets, gold brass light fixtures. What color knobs and pulls should I get? Back splash and granite tops are calcutta gold marble.

    • It sounds like you have no problem mixing metals, Maria, so I say choose whichever cabinet hardware finish you want! Your kitchen already has black, gold, and stainless in it. Good luck!

  24. Paula Beritzhoff says:

    Hi Caroline – great info, and i love the tidbit on round knobs as you don’t see if they are turned!
    The top photo doesn’t have a link — may I ask the maker of that design? All brass, with “Pin it” in the center… Thx!

  25. […] So, whether you’re in the process of building a new home or merely swapping out the existing hardware on thrift furniture finds, you need to do your best. We’ve put together a few quick tips to help you get things right the first time. […]

  26. […] Most of the old oak cabinets come with bulky handles or boring knobs. Just switching those for new handles will give a modern look to the cabinets. So how to choose cabinet hardware? […]

  27. […] to Caroline on Design, these are some considerations for […]

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