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5 Tips On Choosing The Right Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

Posted by Alexa Lerner on Jul 25, 2017 7:00:00 AM

5 Tips On Choosing The Right Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

It’s easy to get caught up in selecting the larger items, such as cabinetry, countertops or flooring for your new kitchen when building a custom home or renovating your existing home. "A project isn't complete until you've selected the right hardware that strikes a personal balance between form and function. These final touches will pull the whole project together and are fantastic for imbuing it with a flair that reflects your personality," says Jonathan Pilley, Co-Owner at Push Pull Decorative Hardware in North Bethesda, Maryland. Decorative hardware comes in a variety of types, sizes, styles, materials and finishes. So, what should you pick? Read our 5 tips on choosing the right kitchen cabinet hardware.
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Photo courtesy of Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

Download our kitchen design guide! 

Types of Decorative Hardware

Personal preference is very important when deciding whether you want a knob or pull. Your hardware should be in keeping with the style of your kitchen, but it must be comfortable to use, too. Carefully check out the knobs or pulls you are thinking of buying. Place them against cabinetry, then see how they fit your hand. Are they the right size and shape for you?

You can mix knobs and pulls in a kitchen to create visual interest. Use pulls on the drawers and knobs on the doors, or vice versa. Just stick with styles and finishes that complement each other. Or, you can use one type of hardware throughout the kitchen for a clean, streamlined look.

Knobs are installed with a single screw through one focused entry point on a door or drawer. Pulls are installed with two screws through two points of contact on a door or drawer. Before any holes are drilled, make sure you give detailed instructions to your homebuilder or remodeling professional so that they know the correct type of handle to install on each cabinet door or drawer. You will also need to specify the position of the knob or pull so that they are installed in a consistent manner throughout the kitchen.
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Size and Positioning of Handles

If possible, get samples of your cabinetry so you can hold up the knobs and pulls you are considering against the doors and drawer heads to see what you like. Make sure you inquire about the length of time it will take to receive the hardware that you pick. Some vendors turn around orders within a week, while others can take upwards of 12 weeks.

Consider proportion, balance, aesthetics and function when deciding upon the size of a knob or pull for your kitchen cabinetry. A large cabinet door or drawer needs a larger piece of hardware, or maybe two, for proper functionality, but a smaller size knob or pull is appropriate for a smaller door or drawer. A good rule of thumb for traditional or transitional style pulls is that they should be about one-third of the length of the cabinet drawer. Drawers larger than eighteen inches wide may require more than one pull or knob. However, more contemporary designs call for longer pulls that are at least two-thirds of the length of the drawer or cabinet door. 

Typically, pulls are positioned horizontally on drawers and vertically on doors. In contemporary kitchens, you can consider placing the pulls on the doors horizontally for an ultra-modern look. However, no matter the style of your kitchen, make sure the knobs and pulls are positioned conveniently for you before they are permanently attached.
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Style of Hardware

The hardware you select for your cabinetry should reflect the overall style of your kitchen. There are four main categories of kitchen cabinet hardware: traditional, contemporary, transitional and eclectic.

  • Traditional

    Traditional style cabinetry typically has elaborate detailing, embellishments and moldings. Decorative, ornate hardware is in keeping with this style. Often, interior designers choose drop handles for traditional style doors with coordinating knobs on the drawers. Want a vintage look? Try a handle with a porcelain overlay for a sophisticated farmhouse feel. 
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  • Contemporary

    Contemporary kitchens have sleek lines, very little ornamentation and minimalistic colors. So, for a contemporary style kitchen, it is wise to choose hardware that is simple and streamlined. Linear bar handles with straight lines or curved barrel handles are the perfect choice. Since stainless steel appliances are a hallmark of a contemporary kitchen, you can also select handles for your cabinetry in a similar style and finish as your appliance handles. 
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  • Transitional

    A transitional style allows you to blend elements that are traditional and modern. For example, you can combine the clean look of cabinetry with an inset door and hardware that is not too ornate, but not too hard-edged and contemporary either, like a cup handle with a matching knob.
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  • Eclectic

    Want your personality to shine through? Consider unique hardware to spice up your cabinetry. Choose handles that look like seashells for your beach house. Or, pick pretty painted knobs for your informal, relaxed-style kitchen.
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Download our kitchen design guide!

Materials

Cabinet hardware is composed a variety of materials -- most of which are metal alloys. Brass hardware typically has a lacquer or plating applied to its surface that makes it very durable in a kitchen. It is antimicrobial and helps to reduce the spread of germs. Bronze hardware is also antimicrobial, offers a substantial look and feel, and works well for cabinets made of thicker woods. Stainless steel is another option because it is so durable. Pewter and nickel are popular choices, too. Or, you can choose knobs made from glass or crystal for a vintage look. 
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Photo courtesy of Push Pull Decorative Hardware in North Bethesda, Maryland

Finishes

Once you choose the style of hardware you want, it becomes easier to choose the right finish. There is a wide variety of cabinet hardware finishes: tarnished, polished, brushed, burnished, oil-rubbed, satin, antique or matte -- just to name a few. Stainless steel handles in a highly polished finish look great in a contemporary kitchen. Pewter and brass look more at home in a traditional setting. Bronze will patina over time, mature in appearance, and will make a bold statement in a kitchen. A black finish is dramatic on a light colored cabinet. Whatever you choose, just make sure the finish on your cabinet hardware complements the overall decor of your kitchen.
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Photo courtesy of Push Pull Decorative Hardware in North Bethesda, Maryland 

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Topics: Kitchen, Home Hardware

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