Glass Knob. Photo courtesy of
If you ever watch remodeling television shows or read home magazines, you’ve probably heard it before: if your cabinets are in good shape, replacing cabinet hardware is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to update your kitchen or bath.
A little bit of know-how goes a long way in helping you select the right decorative hardware for your cabinets. Here are the basics:
Knobs and pulls. Decorative cabinet hardware typically comes in two basic types: knobs and pulls. Knobs are handles made from any number of materials that are mounted to drawers or doors with a single screw and bolt, which makes them relatively easy to remove and install. Knob sizes may range from ¾ inch to 2 inches in diameter; 1- to 1½-inch knobs work with most cabinets. Pulls are similar to knobs but take up more space and are usually attached with two screws. They come in a variety of styles, including D handle, ball handle, drop handle, lifting handle, ring handle, latch handle, and bin pulls. Learn more about the basic types of decorative hardware.
When you replace existing pulls, be sure to measure the distance between the two screws so you can purchase new pulls with screws positioned in the right spot. Or take a sample piece of the old hardware with you to the store to ensure you buy the correct fit.
Stainless Steel European Bar Pulls.
Photo courtesy of MyKnobs.com
Hardware styles and materials. Decorative hardware is available in a variety of styles, materials, and finishes to fit appearance of your cabinets and the look you are creating in your kitchen or bathroom. If your home has a distinct period style—whether it’s country, traditional, contemporary, or something else altogether—it makes sense to find hardware that matches it.
The shape your knobs or pulls take influences their appearance, but the materials and finish have a major impact on style as well. Options include antique copper, polished chrome, polished or antique brass, nickel, aged bronze, iron, machine or molded plastic or acrylic, cut glass or crystal, stone, ceramic, or porcelain. In general, brass, nickel, or pewter hardware is best for creating traditional style; enameled or high-gloss finishes look more contemporary.
Still stumped on the type of hardware to choose? Here are a few more pointers to help you narrow down the choices:
• Choose hardware with a darker finish to contrast with lighter color cabinets; look for lighter hardware if your kitchen or bath has darker cabinets.
• Make sure the hardware is proportionate to the cabinet.
• Integrate the shape of the hardware with other elements in the room for serious style.
• Select sturdy pulls for heavy, deep drawers and reserve fragile decorative pulls for drawers or doors that don’t receive as much use.
Price. Decorative hardware costs anywhere from under $2 to more than $20 per knob or pull. Although that seems relatively inexpensive compared to, say, replacing all of the cabinets, the cost can add up quickly. If you’re outfitting an entire kitchen full of upper and lower cabinets with new hardware, you may want to consider less expensive versions (many of which still look pretty cool and can be incredibly durable). Have your eye on some striking knobs that are amazing (and amazingly expensive)? Consider reserving them for the bathroom, where you may only have to buy a couple rather than a couple dozen.
What else? Besides considering the decorative part of the hardware, you may want to protect the surface of your cabinets and cover existing holes with backplates, which are placed between the door or drawer surface and the knob or pull. And when you order hardware, don’t forget about breakaway screws.
Copia Bronze – Murano Finial
Knob in Antique Bronze.
Photo courtesy of MyKnobs.com
Ready to shop for hardware? There are a lot of great websites that sell decorative hardware. You can even find knobs made from recycled glass and aluminum, cork, eco-resin, and stone. And some sites, such as Aurora Glass, sell knobs to benefit charity. How cool is that?
Surf these sites to find the hardware of your dreams. (What? You don’t dream about cabinet hardware? I thought everybody did!)
The Home Know-It-All