It's referred to as jewelry for a reason; when you're dressing your home with cabinets, decorative hardware truly makes the "outfit" sparkle. Now that you're comfortable with the basics of form and function, it's time to let your tastes run wild.
From frosted turquoise resin pulls to antique knobs painted with farm animals to elegant leather-bound cup pulls, it's safe to say that your options are, quite literally, limitless:
Arts & Crafts-The hardware finishes in this time period were generally very dark and had hammered faces. Metal is a must: consider aged iron, silver or bronze hammered knobs and pulls or backplates with geometric cutouts.
Contemporary (Cool): Unsurprisingly, stainless steel reigns supreme, though primary colors and plastics make solid choices and well. Opt for elongated angled pulls and geometric knobs.
Contemporary (Warm): To project a softer, warmer look, opt for material that's a little less harsh, such as brushed and satin nickel, bright colors in resin or artisan glass, or materials with matte finishes. Opt for elongated pulls that are curved and free of sharp angles or T-knobs.
Cottage: Knobs are the dominant hardware of choice for cottage-style kitchens. Porcelain and embossed stoneware are authentic choices; semi-glossy periwinkle blues, creams and whites work well. Also check for woven designs using wire or bamboo.
Country/Farmhouse: Think simple. Wooden knobs or rustic brass cup pulls are as complicated as you need to get. Glazed porcelain and faceted glass knobs add fun without being too fussy. If you're leaning more toward kitschy than period-style, consider decorative country symbols like farm animals and vegetables.
Georgian/Traditional: Select hardware with classic turnings in brass or weathered copper or nickel. Look for stylings reminiscent of fine furniture.
Old World: To mimic old European chateaus, search out hefty hardware with an aged patina. Consider wire frame knobs in cast iron with rust finish, distressed ceramics or ivory polyresin knobs with an oil-rubbed bronze shaft, hardware featuring bas relief accents, and fluted cup pulls.
Rustic Retreat: Earthy is best. Consider wood and natural stone products in aged and weathered finishes or hammered designs. To really play on your theme, choose twig pulls or leaf knobs.
Tuscan: Bring the Mediterranean to life with hand painted ceramic knobs in warm limes, blues and rust colors, and jeweled-tone glass with silver overlay.
Victorian: Faceted clear glass knobs impart elegance while maintaining an heirloom feel. Check to see if area antique shops sell them.
In the end, however, it's best to pick what you like; even if it doesn't exactly fit in with the descriptions above. Glass knobs acquired during a trip to South Africa, playful asparagus-shaped pulls and retro red lacquer knobs can truly make your kitchen yours.