How to Choose Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

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Want to know how to choose kitchen cabinet hardware? Here are the best tips to help you decide on pulls or knobs, finish, size and style.

A kitchen with stainless steel appliances and wooden cabinets

When we remodeled our ugly, dated 1950’s kitchen we had a completely blank slate, a brand spanking clean canvas.

No more tiny rooms with people crammed on top of each other, mama stuck in the kitchen cooking, missing all the great conversations!

And yet sometimes I felt paralyzed, afraid to make a mistake. This was the largest project we’d ever undertaken. Starting from scratch was intimidating yet exhilarating!

Newly remodeled kitchen with white cabinets, granite countertops and wood vent hood

I have to admit I spent many a sleepless night wondering if my dream kitchen ideas were too much, or my ideas too far fetched. So many decisions to make!

Knowledge is power and today I want to share how to choose kitchen cabinet hardware and how this one relatively small decision can have a great impact in your kitchen.

White kitchen cabinets with granite countertops

How important is kitchen design style?

One question to ask yourself is what design style are you going for in your kitchen? Do you have an overall look or theme? Are you going for contemporary or French country? Traditional, coastal or a blend of styles?

Is your kitchen one room or is it open to the rest of the house? Have you made the decision on type of cabinets or are you repainting/refinishing what’s already there?

living room and kitchen combo area

When your kitchen is contained in one room it’s easier to focus on one style for that room. When one space flows into another it can be more challenging to bring it all together.

However, I always tell people do what makes you happy (and what you can afford!)

Should you put knobs or pulls on kitchen cabinets?

There are two different types of decorative cabinet hardware: knobs and pulls. Knobs are small handles mounted with a single screw. While pulls function the same way as knobs, they are often bigger, thinner, and provide more surface area – making them easier to grip.

Large kitchen island with dishwasher and sink open to family room

If you’re getting older access and ease of use becomes more important. Think long term goals for your kitchen as you make your decision.

To me, pulls and knobs are one of the accents that matter most in a kitchen, especially if you have white cabinetry like we chose.

As you can see in the pictures we chose an oil rubbed bronze pull and rope edge knob that would work well with our white cabinets.

How to choose kitchen cabinet hardware to match decor

I would suggest waiting until the other major decisions have been made for your kitchen/combo room. Once the bigger decisions have been made and the kitchen comes together whether new construction, remodeling or just updating, it’ll be easier to focus on hardware.

Just remember. There are no hard and fast decorating rules to follow when selecting knobs and pulls. Use one or use both!

What about size and style of cabinets?

Do your cabinets go all the way to the ceiling? The larger and heavier the drawer or door, the larger the handle or pull should be.

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A kitchen with stainless steel appliances and white wooden cabinets

As far as size, a knob is smaller and simpler than a pull. If your kitchen cabinets are more decorative or finely detailed, go with a knob rather than a pull.

A general rule of thumb is knobs for doors and pulls for drawers.

As we were designing our kitchen one of the features I wanted most was drawers and pull out trays. I was tired of dragging heavy kitchen equipment off the refrigerator or down from an upper cabinet. I knew as we got older this should be a consideration.

In our original kitchen (which was actually cabinets I bought at  a yard sale when we moved into the house 30 years ago!) we only had knobs. I was so excited to be able to use both pulls and knobs in our newly remodeled room.

What type of finish do you want?

Are you trying to match the finish of appliances, faucets and lighting in the room? Or are you taking a more eclectic approach?

The same idea of an open or closed room concept applies here. The more open the area the easier it is to refrain from trying to match the finish of every single item in the room.

A stove top oven sitting inside of a kitchen

Cabinet hardware comes in many different materials: including metal, glass, wood, plastic and crystal. It’s also possible to combine pulls and knobs of the same finish.

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Do knobs and pulls have to match faucets?

One of the only things we salvaged from the original kitchen was our Tuscan Bronze pull down faucet. It doesn’t match the knobs and pulls exactly but it has a dark finish which is perfectly fine!

Are hinges on cabinet doors exposed? If so, you probably want to take that into consideration.

One of my favorite upgrades of our cabinets is the soft close hinges on the doors. My grandsons are entertained by watching the doors close all by themselves!

Can you understand now how even this one seemingly small decision added to the many other decisions in our kitchen remodel and at times was overwhelming?

My best advice (in both DIY AND life?) Do your homework and choose process over perfection. 

Which do you love most, pull or knobs?


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How to Choose Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

Want to know how to choose kitchen cabinet hardware? Here are the best tips to help you decide on pulls or knobs, finish, size and style


  • How important is kitchen design style?
  • Should you put knobs or pulls on kitchen cabinets?
  • How to choose kitchen cabinet hardware to match decor.
  • What about size and style of cabinets?
  • What type of finish do you want?
  • Do knobs and pulls have to match faucets?
How to choose kitchen cabinet hardware

Decorating Tips and Hacks
Get my FREE guide: How to decorate your home for practically nothing!
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  1. Thank you so much for helping me understand more about the process to choose new kitchen cabinet hardware. We have been really into rustic looking kitchens lately, and I think that some antique decorative nails could really change the way it looks. Just as you mentioned, you can always change the look of your kitchen again if you do not like the way it looks after a couple of years. Thanks for posting!

  2. Okay, I’m going for the gold hardware, whether or not I can afford a gold faucet! Thank you! Ps… There’s just something about those chairs and the mirror on the back wall. They dance together. It’s amazing.

  3. “Paralyzed..afraid to make a mistake.”

    Oh how true this is for me right now. Oh how true. Luckily I’m here :-). By the way, I can’t handle your kitchen, it’s too perfect. I’ve never seen anything like it and it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen. I’m doing a modern eclectic boho kitchen, predominately white, some wood accents, maybe darker lower cabinets, maybe gold hardware (that’s where I’m stuck), and then pops of beautiful colour like you have here. I’m excited!

    1. Hi, Randi! I love all your comments. They are MAKING my day! (Especially how can I be old enough to have a daughter with her own place lol This daughter also has two kids which makes me grandma. Oy. Yes, I’m THAT old!) Anyway, I’m so glad you commented and shared about your kitchen. I’m so glad you’re going for what you want! Sometimes we do indeed get paralyzed but we have to remember who our homes are for…..and that’s US! I think we want to enjoy our kitchen especially, since most of us spend time in there with our families, or at least cooking for our families!

      Thank you so much for the compliments as well. Our kitchen turned out even better than I imagined and I’m grateful for the gift that it is.

      I hope you’ve subscribed to my mailing list so you don’t miss any updates! Have a wonderful Christmas!

  4. Kitchen renovation is one of the important part of your kitchen. But for this first you should make a plan, after that decide the budget. There are variety of flooring materials and from this you should select one according to your needs and preferences. Then select the kitchen cabinet hardware. For this you should decide which design you want to select, then select the size and shape of the material. In your blog you give the clear idea on how to select the kitchen cabinet hardware. You can refer this:

  5. I love a white kitchen and when we re-did ours, we went white too! With hardwood floors. We used wide plank hickory and the contrast was really lovely. Yours is too! And you won’t believe it but I choose the same hardware, the only thing mine was dark brass.

  6. Thanks, Marty! You have a joyous looking kitchen/dining room – so beautiful! LOVE it! Not at all stiff and cookie-cutter, but with real individual style! An inspiration today. Your timing is perfect. We have our IKEA kitchen done, except for countertops and backsplash tiling. (We’ve been using Masonite board for a makeshift countertop. Not too bad.) The whole look of our open kitchen/dining room is pleasant, at this point, but bland. Pale minty-grass green walls, blonde (birch) cabinets, warm medium oak floors. Now for putting in some details! YAY! The scary part: Now what? Yikes!! Marty to the rescue with a reassuring article. THANKS! Here we go……

    1. Hi, Carol. It sounds like you’re making great progress on your kitchen. I loved working with D. Lawless Hardware and am thrilled with the pulls and knobs we chose. Let me know what you end up choosing!