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Jewelry for your Kitchen Design: A Guide to Selecting Cabinet Hardware

Just like picking the right jewelry completes a special outfit, kitchen hardware puts the finishing touches on a kitchen design.  A kitchen renovation involves making decisions on items such as kitchen cabinets, countertops, and flooring that are typically a significant investment and must stand the test of time.  The kitchen hardware you select complements these items by pulling together the colors and style of your room.  Hardware selections also allow you to bring out your personality in a way that enhances your design, but also can be more easily swapped as tastes change.

In the same way that selecting simple gold earrings gives an outfit a different feel than adding diamond drop earrings, your choice of kitchen hardware can greatly influence the tone and style of your design.  There are an endless array of options available in a wide range of prices, so how do you go about selecting the right hardware styles to bring out the best in your design?  Here are some of the key things you must know about hardware when making this selection.

What is kitchen hardware?

Typically one of the last things to be considered in a kitchen remodeling project, hardware allows you to easily open your cabinet doors and drawers.  The only exceptions to this requirement are cabinets specially designed to open without hardware, like those using recessed channels or cutouts.

Decorative hardware fits generally into two main categories: knobs and pulls.  Knobs are attached to the door or drawer with a single screw, while pulls can be either cabinet handles or drawer pulls and usually attach with two or more screws.  Some hardware comes with a decorative backplate that lies flat against the door.

How do I coordinate hardware with the rest of the kitchen?

Most cabinets today do not have exposed hinges, but if your cabinets do then the hardware should match the cabinet hinge.  Other than this, there are no fixed rules to selecting cabinet hardware so let your senses be your guide and add a bit of personality to your design.  Hardware selections should complement other elements of your design, such as the cabinetry, sink and faucet, light fixtures, and appliances, but by no means do they need to exactly match the finish of these items.  You could also select something completely different like glass or crystal to bring a glamorous shine to your kitchen, or painted ceramic knobs to add a vintage look to your cabinetry.  

A simple cabinet style, like Shaker, will lend itself to a wider range of options for selecting hardware, like the design pictured here. 

Traditional cabinetry usually suits a more ornate or classic style hardware like the one below left, while contemporary designs typically fit better with streamlined hardware like tubular or rectangular pulls like those below right.  

You can also mix and match different materials and styles to achieve your desired effect, particularly where you have main cabinets and island cabinetry in different finishes.  The primary factor in determining your hardware choice should be how it fits your style and personality, and that it is pleasing both to look at and touch. 

What are the main options available?

With all the styles to choose from, it can be difficult to make a selection.  Your kitchen renovation professional can help you navigate the choices and usually has displays available to help you find the best option.  In general, hardware options include:

Knobs are available in a variety of shapes including round, square, rectangular, novelty, and more.  The sizes vary though they are typically smaller and intended for opening cabinet doors or smaller drawers.  Knobs come in an array of materials and finishes, including brass, stainless steel, glass, stone, ceramic, or even unusual materials like re-purposed buttons or rope.

Pulls come in a range of options including bar, cup, ring, and bail pulls.  Drop handle pulls give cabinets a more furniture like look and recessed pulls are built into the door facing to give a sleeker appearance.  Like knobs, pulls are available in many different materials and colors.

Your kitchen design professional is a knowledgeable expert who can guide you through this maze with an understanding of your space, the other elements of your design, and your personal style. A design professional can also help with technical considerations like the appropriate size of pulls for your drawers or exactly where on your cabinet doors a knob should be positioned.  Contact us today for more information or check out our kitchen design gallery to see the difference kitchen hardware selections make!