Choosing Your Cabinet Hardware

Leah Dean | Kitchen Designer | Dean Cabinetry

By Leah Dean

Cabinet hardware is most likely one of the final selections you will need to make for your new kitchen. You can pat yourself on the back because by now you have made all the larger selections for your project. You are focusing on the “jewelry” of your kitchen and this can be both fun and a bit frustrating! It should coordinate with your kitchen, be comfortable to use, and enhance the overall look you are trying to create. 

kitchen hardware display
Cabinet Hardware at Dean Cabinetry

Choosing the right cabinet hardware for your kitchen is dependent on both design and function. Some of the same elements are involved in both design and function.

The design is the “look” you are trying to create. This relates to: 

  • Knob vs pull
  • Size of the knob and/or pull
  • One or two pieces on a drawer
  • Location of where the hardware is installed
  • Finish
  • Shape (square edges vs curved edges)

The function is how well you are able to “grab” and open one of your cabinet doors or drawers using the hardware you’ve chosen. This relates to:

  • Knob vs pull
  • Size or the knob and/or pull
  • One or two pieces on a drawer
  • Location of where the hardware is installed
  • Comfort (includes size and shape)
white kitchen cabinets under windows
Dean Cabinetry Kitchen showing Cabinet Hardware

Can you mix Knobs and Pulls on kitchen cabinets? 

Knobs vs. pulls relate to both design and function. Traditionally, knobs have been used on doors and pulls were used for drawers. This is no longer the case. You can choose all knobs, or all pulls, or any combination thereof. Knobs are easy to grab when you are opening a cabinet door, but it is much more comfortable to open a drawer using a pull. This allows the whole hand to grab a pull rather than just a few fingertips wrapping around a knob. This is especially true when you are opening deep drawers that are heavy, stacked with pots, pans, platters, or dishes. 

Pulls are used on both doors and drawers. Pulls on all the doors and drawer fronts, creates a more contemporary look. If you choose all pulls, you will also want to consider how they will be mounted on the doors. It is more traditional to install pulls on doors vertically, and pulls on drawers horizontally. Installing all of them horizontally will give a more contemporary feel. 

Choosing a longer pull (whether installed horizontally or vertically) can also add to a more modern look. 

Some people find doors easier to open with a pull and therefore choose pulls for doors. In our shop, we recommend pulls on tall doors, as in tall pantry cabinets. We also recommend them to be used on certain drawers as in trash pullouts and certain base pullouts and organizers.

How many pulls do I put on my drawers? 

black kitchen cabinet pulls
Dean Cabinetry Custom Kitchen Showing Cabinet Pulls

We get this question often.  The answer is simple when the drawer front is under 24”…one! But what about a drawer front that is wider than 24”? Two pulls might start to make sense. If you don’t like the look of two, then choosing a single, wider pull, might be the answer. With soft close drawers (at Dean Cabinetry, the drawers in all of our cabinet lines, come with soft close) even if you have two pulls you can usually grab just one of them and the drawer will open and close just fine.

The width of the pull is also important to consider. It is often easier to grab a wider pull than one that is only a few inches wide. It sounds funny, but the size of your hand is important to consider. Individuals with larger hands often find it more convenient to grab a wider pull.

The location of where your hardware is installed will also change the look and function of your cabinetry. At Dean Cabinetry, our installers will explain our “standard” location for both knobs and pulls. Prior to installing, they will review this location with you and will ask if you would like them installed in a different location. We are happy to do this! 

Should cabinet hardware match appliances or kitchen sink?

In years past, it was common to have all the same finishes in your kitchen, stainless steel appliances meant stainless steel cabinet hardware, Oil rubbed bronze sink meant oil rubbed bronze cabinet hardware. This is no longer the case. Today, you will see finishes mixed and matched in a kitchen. Kitchens that implement different finishes can create a beautiful look. Your hardware does not need to match your appliance, sink, or faucet, as long as the finish complements the other finishes in your kitchen. 

cherry cabinet pulls
Dean Cabinetry Kitchen Showing Cabinet Knobs

The shape of your hardware affects both design and function. You will find hardware that has softer curved edges and hardware that has very square, hard edges. Both are great choices! Curved edges lend themselves to a more traditional look, square edges lend themselves to a more modern feel. Take a look at your kitchen design and find the “edges” you’ve incorporated into your design. Look at your door style, lighting, and countertop edges. Are the lines soft and round, or more square? Do you want to try to mimic those edges in your hardware selection? From a function perspective, hardware with curved edges might be slightly more comfortable to use than hardware with harder, square edges, but this is ultimately determined by the end user.

As you search for the right hardware for your cabinetry, Dean Cabinetry suggests you try out the knob or pull before you purchase them for the entire kitchen. Look at it closely. Touch it. Do you like how it feels? Does the knob and pull fit comfortably in your hand? 

What is the cost of hardware for kitchen cabinets?

Cost may be an important factor in the hardware you choose. Cabinet hardware can be purchased locally or online. With the multitude of companies to choose from, you are likely to be able to find hardware that fits your style and budget. You will find hardware for a few dollars per piece and for $20 and more per piece. By getting one piece to start, you can tell whether it is of the quality you are looking for, or if it looks cheap and of low quality. At Dean Cabinetry, we have a small selection of hardware. You can visit the big-box stores, your local plumbing supplier, and cabinet hardware showrooms. These locations will have a larger variety and salespeople on hand to assist you.

A good price range for knobs is $6 to $10 and for pulls is $7 to $12 and higher. Price is based on finish and design. The longer pulls will be more expensive since there are more details and materials used. Whatever you choose, always order a few extras just in case there is a scratch, or you decide at the last minute to put a pull where you thought you’d like a knob. 

At Dean Cabinetry, we don’t include hardware in the cost of our cabinetry, as their cost varies tremendously. We do though include the installation of your cabinet hardware as part of our cabinet installation cost.

Once you decide on your cabinet hardware, you’ll need to determine how many of each knob and pull you need for your kitchen. If you need help with this, feel free to reach out to us, we are happy to help!