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Cabinet Hardware Guide

You might put so much time into picking out just the right custom cabinets that the hardware almost seems like an afterthought. If you pick hardware at random, however, you might kick yourself later. Cabinet handles and knobs can really make a large impact in your room, from creating a cozy look to a sleek, modern feel. First select the type of hardware that you want, and then choose the finish and color.

Handles or Knobs?

Cabinet handles give you a larger surface to grab, and usually connect to your cabinets in two places. Handles might be easier for people with larger hands to grab onto, and they are more noticeable from a distance. Handles are often a good choice for a modern kitchen, as the edges of a handle are usually very angular. Knobs can also be quite modern, however, if you choose something with the right details. Cabinet knobs can be either round or square, and they often include details around the edges. A knob is connected to a drawer or door through only one screw, so you only have to create one hole in each piece of cabinetry. Handles or knobs are both a good choice for your cabinets -- it really just comes down to a matter of preference.


Most cabinet hardware is metallic, but you can also find some hardware made of hard plastic or glass. The material of your hardware will largely be dictated by your wood -- stainless steel handles will really pop on a dark wood cabinet, while a darker metal may be a better match for bright white cabinetry. Metals available for cabinet handles and knobs include silver, pewter, chrome, or copper. If you're unsure about which hardware will look best, purchase just one handle or pull and bring it home to decide if it makes sense with your kitchen cabinets. If you are especially fond of your cabinet wood, you may choose to install hardware that actually blends in with the wood, as opposed to serving as a contrast.


Many cabinet handles and knobs are matte, meaning that they don't have any shine. These types of hardware will show less fingerprints and dirt, so they are a good option if you don't want to have a lot of upkeep or even the slightest of smudges will bother you. Some hardware is also made to look antiqued, and will have faux vintage finish. Shiny handles, while time consuming to maintain, can give a bright and modern look to your cabinets. Again, the hardware you choose is purely a matter of personal preference. However, keep in mind that the finish of your hardware should complement the look of your room. Shiny silver handles may not fit in if you have an old world style kitchen.


Most handles and pulls are not very expensive, and some can be purchased in bundles. However, if you have many handles and doors on your cabinets then cost may still be a factor. Count the number of knobs or handles that you need and establish a budget before you go shopping. If you know how much you can afford to spend per knob or handle, you may have a much easier time picking out the hardware. Get a few extra pieces, just in case you need to replace a handle later and the model you purchase is discontinued.

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