How to Choose the Right Cabinet Hardware

A kitchen with white cabinets and gold hardware.

There are major decisions involved in making a comfortable home – which is why many people just leave it to an interior designer. From selecting color palettes to accessorizing and everything in between, it’s a lot.

Choosing the right cabinet hardware is one of the most challenging parts. That’s because hardware details are often an afterthought. Many people only remember it at the tail end of the decoration process. Thus, you may not spend as much time as needed in the selection process. Even worse, getting the details right is a complex matter. It takes only a tiny mistake to compromise everything.

So, whether you’re in the process of building a new home or merely swapping out the existing hardware on thrift furniture finds, you need to do your best. We’ve put together a few quick tips to help you get things right the first time.

1. Understand the different hardware types

The best place to begin is by understanding the different types of cabinet hardware. There are two broad categories of cabinet hardware, i.e., pulls and knobs. Knobs have smaller profiles than handles and are less expensive. Another key advantage is that they work excellently on cabinets and drawers. Plus, they’re slightly easier to install since you only need a screw to secure the knob.

Meanwhile, pulls are longer and make more of s statement. They are also easier to grip. Unfortunately, they are generally more expensive than knobs. The good news is that they come in different sizes, so you can pick one that best matches your application. Pulls work excellent on all types of drawers but only as well on larger cabinets. Remember that you can also mix pulls and knobs for the perfect outcome.

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2. Pick a hardware style

Cabinet hardware comes in five main categories: contemporary, transitional, traditional, rustic, and eclectic. However, the three most common styles are contemporary, transitional, and traditional. Contemporary (another word for modern) cabinet hardware is characterized by sleek lines and neutral color palettes. They have minimal ornamentation. Linear bar handles and curved barred handles are the perfect choices for this style.

Traditional cabinet hardware is typically characterized by elaborate detailing, moldings, and embellishments. Ornate drop handles and fancy knobs are the most common choices here. Finally, the transitional style is a cross between modern and traditional. For instance, you can use a cup handle with a matching knob to achieve a transitional design. The idea is to delicately balance the two styles to create a functional and aesthetically sound style.


3. Choose the right material

Here too, you have a wide range of options. This gives you greater freedom of choice. However, it also means you need to be more careful. The bottom line, however, is that cabinet hardware almost always comes in metal allows. Although other materials, such as ceramic, glass, and crystal, are available, they aren’t very common. The main advantage of metal alloys is that they reduce the spread of germs. They are also antibacterial.

Brass is by far the most common material. It has a lacquer or plating applied to the surface that makes it highly durable. The plating also makes it germ-resistance. Another very common cabinet hardware material is bronze. It offers a substantial look and feel, and works extremely well, even for cabinets with thicker wood. Finally, stainless steel is quite popular too. Its durability and cleanliness are two qualities that attract many homeowners.

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4. Choose a finish

Once you’ve selected the right hardware type, size, and style, it becomes easy to pick a finish. There are many finishes to choose from, including polished, brushed, matte, satin, and oil rubbered. You can also go for weathered or painted hardware. The following are a few pointers to help you choose the right hardware finish.

For stainless steel, polished and brushed handles make the best hardware. They look excellent, especially in contemporary kitchens. However, if you have a brightly colored cabinet, choose a black finish. It creates a dramatic contrast that’s difficult to miss. For a more traditional setting, you should choose the natural color of brass or pewter. Meanwhile, bronze, in its natural state, works best in a rustic setting.

What Else Do You Need to Know?

We want to mention two more things. First, it’s important to get the sizing right. While there’s no set rule, the general recommendation for pull lengths is one-third of the cabinet/drawer width. Secondly, we must remind you that it’s fine to mix things up. From handle types and metals to finishes, you’re at liberty to play around with the different options in an attempt to find the right cabinet hardware.

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