Hardware: Jewelry for Your Cabinet
Pulls and knobs, also known as decorative hardware, come in tens of thousands of options. (Door hinges and drawer glides also fall into the hardware category, but most often they are functional rather than decorative—and certainly not optional.)
Start by considering which of the main types of cabinet hardware you like most: knobs or pulls. Knobs can be any shape, but attach to the cabinet with one screw. Pulls use two.
There’s no secret formula for deciding what's right for you. Many kitchens use both knobs and pulls—one type for the doors and another for the drawers. Just be sure to choose knobs and pulls from the same collection or with complementary stylings to maintain continuity.
Knobs offer a few benefits: With a pull, oils and digging fingernails are more likely to affect the cabinet finish. Also, if you decide to change your cabinet hardware, a knob's one-point suspension is easier to replace. Pulls vary in length, so you have to consider distance between the two holes.
If you’d rather go minimalist and avoid hardware, you can. Select a touch-and-release style or doors that hang slightly below the cabinet so you just pull on the lower edge to open them.
Ease of Use
Make sure that your choice doesn’t pinch your finger, attaches firmly to the cabinet and is easy to grasp, especially if located above the refrigerator or vent hood. Knobs and pulls protect your cabinets from food or lotion on your hands. Being comfortable with the way the hardware feels means you won’t be tempted to open cabinets another way. Test how complicated the hardware is by trying to operate it with your pinkie.
Make sure your decorative hardware’s finish doesn’t clash with any exposed functional hardware such as hinges. Also consider the other finishes in your room. Stainless steel pulls in a kitchen with a bronze faucet or appliances with a carbon finish may not blend well.
Comfort and accessibility come first; after that, it’s your aesthetic choice.
The distance that the pull extends from the cabinet is known as the projection. Make sure your projection allows for adequate drawer and door clearance. Larger projections can benefit those looking to employ universal design.
Be sure to get the proper length screw. If your cabinet has predrilled holes for pulls, be sure to purchase hardware that fits the length from the center of each screw to screw. If you’re having trouble finding the right size, you could also drill new holes and cover the existing ones with a backplate.
Look for hardware in proportion to the size of the cabinet doors. Long pulls are very popular in contemporary looks.
For a universal design-inspired, user-friendly kitchen, choose cabinet and drawer pulls large enough to grip with the entire hand.