Comparing Your Hardware Options
Porcelain knobs aren't the only kids on the block when it comes to kitchen cabinet hardware. You'll find hardware in all different kinds of materials and finishes, from brushed chrome to plastic to ceramic to glass to forged iron, and in all shapes and sizes.
Select cabinet hardware whose material gels with the theme of your kitchen. Copper and ivory ceramic add a dose of authenticity to French country and farmhouse-style kitchens. While stainless steel is an obvious choice for contemporary spaces, look to modern alternatives like brightly-colored resin and brushed nickel. From glass to hand-cast metals, your cabinet hardware material options include:
Acrylic and Nylon
Though they're synthetic like plastic, acrylic and nylon are much more durable, resisting much of the wear that plastic succumbs to. The man-made material can be tinted an endless array of colors. They are generally a less expensive choice.
A yellow-colored alloy of zinc and copper, brass works well for both casting and machine fabrications. Increased amounts of zinc produce a more yellow metal. Unprotected brass will tarnish, even with constant polishing; many manufacturers offer protection options. Solid brass offers a heavier feel, an authentic choice for Old World kitchens, and shows sharper details. Other varieties include brass finished and brass coated.
Ceramic and Porcelain
This natural clay product, fired for a hard and durable finish, is generally glazed in a shade of white and often later painted. Porcelain has a slightly more transparent finish, like that of fine china. Ceramic is more common among decorative hardware options. Both generally use and inbedded brass insert to enable installation.
Chrome tends to plate brass hardware, imparting a look that easily swings from 1930s retro to thoroughly modern and sophisticated. Chrome requires frequent polishing to stay fingerprint-free.
The fragile and faceted material provides beautiful results, so long as great care is taken with installation; they can be broken by dropping or over-tightening the installation screw.
This jewelry-quality material, available in brushed and polished finishes, exudes a beautiful patina that makes it well suited for traditional designs. Antique pewter, an alloy of lead and tin, darkens to its characteristic shade because of the lead. Modern lead-free pewter hardware is more durable than pure varieties and will not darken.
This solid polymer material casts well and is primarily used for artisan items.
Able to fit with a wide variety of styles, wood hardware is available both finished and unfinished in soft and hardwood varieties. It's also used as a base for hand-painted knobs and as a decorative accents on metals.
A good base for a variety of decorative finishes, this softer material generally has threaded brass inserts for installation of screws.