How to Choose the Best Hardware for Your Kitchen Cabinets
Hardware is the finishing touch in your kitchen, and can often be referred to as the jewelry of the cabinetry. Even though this may be the last selection you make in your kitchen remodel, it’s important to remember that cabinet hardware will make a big impact on the look and feel of the entire room. It’s also important to remember that you’ll be touching and using this hardware multiple times each day, so you will also need to consider functionality. Read on for some tips and considerations that will help you select the right hardware to enhance your design.
Cabinet hardware is available in a variety of materials, from inexpensive plastic to high-end solid metal. A typical kitchen can have anywhere between 20-40 knobs and pulls, which can add up quickly. Purchasing quality hardware that has a solid construction is a wise investment, even if the up-front costs are a little higher. The finish of less expensive knobs can wear and even wipe off completely over time, which can lessen the look of your new kitchen. A solid metal knob will not dent, last longer and feel heavier, adding to the value of your renovation.
As a designer, one of the more common questions I get asked about cabinet hardware is quite simply, knobs or pulls? Traditionally, knobs are used for doors and pulls for drawers. However, not every kitchen will be a traditional kitchen, and we have seen trends of kitchens using all knobs or all pulls. If you’re going for more of a contemporary or modern look, don’t be afraid to use pulls on everything. Like the photo above, using all knobs pairs very well with a cottage style kitchen. As the end user, you will have to determine how the hardware feels in your hands. Generally, a larger knob will be easier to use than a smaller knob, as there is more surface area for your hand to grab onto. Additionally, pulls will be easier to use than a knob, especially one wide enough to get the backside of your hand through. Also, keep scale in mind. If you are planning on taller wall cabinets or a tall pantry cabinet, a long pull looks wonderful mounted vertically on those larger doors.
When it comes to finishes, let the items in your room be your guide. Consider the finish of your cabinetry along with the metals on your major appliances, sink, faucet, and other fixtures. One foolproof way of selecting your hardware is to choose a finish that coordinates with the other metals in your room and that contrasts with your cabinetry. For example, many clients with stainless steel appliances and dark cabinetry will choose satin nickel hardware to blend with the stainless steel and contrast with the darker wood like the photo above. Interested in mixing finishes? There’s no need to match every finish. We love the contrasting copper sink against the satin nickel. If cabinet hinges are exposed, you may be a little more limited as your hardware should have the same finish to keep the look consistent.
If you’re replacing old cabinet hardware with new knobs or pulls, you should be able to use the existing drill holes. Measure your current pulls center-to-center measurements and compare with your new hardware. If the measurements do not match, add a decorative back plate to cover them.
If you’re installing new hardware, consider purchasing a nifty hardware template. For just a few dollars, aligning your cabinet hardware will be a breeze.
When installing cabinet hardware, you should place the hardware at a location that is comfortable for you as the end user while keeping these guidelines in mind:
- For cabinetry with a raised center panel door, install your hardware directly across from the flat line of the center panel.
- For cabinetry with a flat center panel door, install your hardware anywhere from 2” to 4” from the bottom (wall cabinets) or the top (base cabinets).
- For drawers, center the hardware. For drawers 30” or wider, consider installing two pieces of hardware.
As you can see, selecting cabinet hardware is not an exact science. It deals with budget, style, function, and personal preference. Visit your local kitchen remodeler’s showroom to view hardware displays and allow them to help you make a well-informed decision.
Photos courtesy of DesignMine
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