By Norine Farrell

An important element in achieving the overall look you are trying to accomplish in your kitchen is choosing your cabinet hardware. Did you know that cabinet hardware is often referred to as the “jewelry” of your cabinets?! And depending on your appliance choices, you might also need to determine the best hardware for your appliances.

With so many potential functions happening in one kitchen, you’re picking hardware to meet the ergonomic needs of doors, drawers, accessory pullouts, trash pullouts, and possibly even appliances. With all of these varied functions, you’ll want to choose the right hardware for function as well as for charm and beauty!

You’ll find several articles on our website helping clients choose the best hardware for their cabinet doors and drawers. This particular article is intended to help those clients who have “panel ready appliances.” These appliances will also need hardware. It’s important to keep this in mind early on when you begin looking at your hardware options.

appliance hardware
Appliance Hardware: Panel Ready Refrigerator with Pulls

Are knobs or pulls best for cabinet doors?

Both knobs and pulls for a cabinet door can look great and feel comfortable. For some, grabbing a knob for a drawer might not be “as” comfortable. A pull might be a better “fit”. Drawers in your kitchen typically contain many items, are “heavier”, and might take a bit more effort to open than a door. Due to the design of pulls, they are generally easier to grab than a knob, and you can get your entire hand involved in the action of opening a drawer.

If a pull is easier to grab, would then a wider handle on a wider drawer also make sense? What about a pull for a double trash unit? Or a dishwasher with a paneled front that needs a piece of hardware in order to open? We all know dishwashers have a tight seal to keep them closed tightly…so should the pull for your dishwasher be larger or heftier than the pulls for your drawers? You can start to see the trend here.

No one single hardware style or size would be an ideal ergonomic choice to cover all of these functions. Instead, choosing a hardware “mix” might make the most sense.

door handles replacement
Appliance Hardware: Refrigerator Pulls & Cabinet Knobs

So how do you go about mixing your hardware choices and still have a beautiful result? Comfort and function are two guiding factors, but let’s look at some tips that will help you get your hardware mix right:

1. Consider the scale

if you’re mixing different styles of hardware handles or pulls, make sure they are noticeably different in scale. If their sizes are too close, the look created appears mismatched rather than intentionally coordinated. The different styles should have their own distinct size and structure to make sense from a design perspective. This technique avoids creating a cluttered appearance but introduces more detail to the overall design.

2. Appliance Pulls

A popular kitchen design is the cohesive look of paneled appliances. Regarding the hardware, it is extremely important to discuss this with your designer early in the design stage. Finding matching hardware in regular sizes for the cabinetry as well as matching or coordinating hardware for the paneled doors needs to be planned early in the process.

appliance pulls
Appliance Hardware: Panel Ready Dishwasher with Pull

What size appliance pulls should I choose?

The most common sizes of appliance pulls, in order of popularity, are 12”, 18”, 8”, 7” and 15”. Appliance pulls typically mount onto ¾” thick wood panels affixed to the appliance, rather than to the appliance itself. While fridges and freezers are the most common panel-ready appliances, they are not the only ones. You’ll find almost any appliance available as panel-ready: dishwasher, dishwasher drawers, ice makers, wine coolers, warming drawers, wall ovens and trash compactors.

Should the finish for my cabinet hardware and my appliance hardware match?

Matching the finish

The safe move is to match your hardware finish throughout the kitchen. This choice creates a coordinated look even when the types of knobs and handles are different.

Mixing the finishes

This is not as safe a move but a very fun one! Mixed metals have been trending over the last few years, so although not as “safe” of a look, it can be a fun one at the very least! If you like this idea, perhaps you could choose one hardware finish for your perimeter cabinets, and another finish for your island cabinets. 

Pay attention to the Texture

While you may choose brass, there are different surface textures which create different levels of shine. For example, brushed brass vs satin brass. The gold color may be similar, but how the two different textures reflect light and shine may meet the eye quite differently.

You may even plan to carry the finish and texture choices further to your faucet, lighting and switch plate covers helping create a consistent look throughout the room.

refrigerator door handles replacement
Appliance Hardware: Refrigerator and Cabinet Pulls

Here are links to the other articles we’ve written on choosing your cabinet hardware. 

Here are a few local companies that can help with your hardware choices. And of course, any of us at Dean Cabinetry are always happy to help, so feel free to reach out to us!