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Choosing Cabinet Hardware: Knobs, Pulls, Hinges, Materials

Are you looking for modern style?  Is your room more rustic or cabin-themed?  Classic?  European?  Regardless of the design you desire, there will surely be hundreds of options to choose from when it comes down to accessorizing your cabinets.  One of the most customizable components of any cabinet project is surely the hardware.  You can significantly alter the look of your cabinets simply by changing the knobs, pulls and hinges on the drawers and door fronts.  This is an important thing to keep in mind if you’re looking to redesign your kitchen or bathroom without spending a large sum of money.  Think of the hardware on your cabinetry like the nose, eyes and ears on your face.  Swapping out any of those facial features will bring about a whole new look.  So, if you get bored with your current expression or design, you can change it at minimal cost just by picking out new colors, finish, and shapes.  To help you understand what to look for when selecting your cabinet hardware, we have put together a simply guide to the options you’ll likely come across.

Cabinet Pulls

Cabinet pulls serve the same function as a knob and are used for ‘pulling’ open and closing doors and drawers.  They are typically larger in size than knobs and are usually installed with two or more screws.  Further, they can be installed with or without a back plate.  The back plate is thin piece (usually metal) placed between the door/drawer and the pull.  It is used for protection from the pull as well as for added design and style.  Since there are several types of pulls available, we have listed each below with a simple explanation:

  • Appliance Door Handle
    • Usually larger in size to accommodate opening and closing appliance doors such as refrigerators, ovens, freezers, dishwashers and microwaves.
  • Bail Handle
    • Looks like a loop of rope tied between two holes except that it is typically a metal piece that hangs freely.  Usually has a back plate behind it for protection
  • Cup Pull (Bin Pull)
    • Solid handle in the shape of a half cup.  May have a back plate and are popular with faceless cabinetry
  • D Handle
    • Most common type of pull. Named after its shape. Fixed shape and usually installed with two screws.
  • Drop Handle
    • Similar to a bail handle except that it does not require a back plate for protection
  • Latch Handle
    • Usually like a D Pull but it is in the shape of a door latch but without working parts
  • Ring Handle (Pendant Pull)
    • This is a single ring mounted on a single screw that hangs

Cabinet Knobs

The main difference between cabinet knobs and cabinet pulls is that knobs are typically mounted with a single bolt instead of two bolts.  They are typically smaller in size and come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and finishes.  Knobs are the easiest of all cabinet hardware to replace so if you're looking for a quick makeover of your current cabinets this is a good place to start.  The design and style of each is entirely up to you but a good general guideline to follow is to make sure the knobs used on the drawers are the same size or slightly bigger than those used on the cabinet doors.  Also, in general wood knobs should be larger than metal knobs.

Cabinet Hinges

Hinges typically come included with your cabinets when you purchase them.  Though you will have some choice on their style and design, typically they do not have the wide selection that you'll find with other cabinet hardware.  When selecting your hinges you should keep two things in mind.  The first is ease of installation.  If you have to replace a hinge down the road its better to have one that is easy to replace.  Second, you should use hinges that are easy to adjust.  As cabinets age, you'll find that the doors may not open and shut as they did when they were new.  Make sure the hinges you select are easy to adjust to make things easier on you in the future.  The common hinge types you will find are L, H, Butterfly and Self Closing hinges.

Options for Cabinet Hardware Materials and Finishes

  • Brass - Antique Look, Polished, Oil-Rubbed
  • Bronze - Aged or Polished
  • Ceramic
  • Chrome - Brushed or Polished
  • Copper - Aged or Antique Look
  • Crystal
  • Enameled Aluminum
  • Glass
  • Gold - Antique Look, Polished
  • Granite
  • Iron - Forged or Wrought Iron
  • Marble
  • Nickel - Antique Look, Polished or Satin
  • Pewter - Antique Look, Polished
  • Plastics or acrylics
  • Porcelain
  • Silver - Antique Look, Polished
  • Stainless Steel
  • Stone
  • Wood
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