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Kitchen Cabinet Knobs and Pulls

If choosing the right style, materials and finish for your kitchen cabinets was overwhelming, choosing the knobs and/or pulls for the doors and drawer fronts may seem an even bigger challenge. After all, it’s these “jewelry pieces for the home” that put the all-important final touch on your dream kitchen - and the choices are endless. So the pressure is really on.

It’s always important to work with design and building professionals you trust, and this is an area where you’ll really benefit from their perspective on what’s right for the overall look of your cabinets, your kitchen, and your home as a whole. On the other hand, you’re the one who’ll be living with the cabinets, so don’t be shy about speaking your mind or following your heart.

Particularly if you’ve chosen frameless cabinets in a sleek, modern design, you may simply skip knobs and pulls entirely in favor of a streamlined look. You may find the cabinet manufacturer’s standard or custom hardware options a perfectly good fit for your plans; on the other, you may want to use antique pieces salvaged from your great-grandmother’s home - and you planned the whole remodel around those pieces. Whatever your taste, you’ll have no lack of options - if your local artisans, showrooms and hardware stores don’t have what you like, the Internet offers true option overload.

There are no hard and fast rules - it’s your kitchen and your choice, but there are some issues you definitely want to take into account. Consider the overall look you’re trying to create - which knobs or pulls enhance that effect without either distracting from it or overwhelming it? Whether you’re going for traditional or modern, ornate or sleek, look at furniture from the relevant period for inspiration and guidance. And while the right look is essential, don’t forget the practical side - how well will the hardware you’re considering stand up under day-to-day use, and your family’s current needs? For example, that fancy glass knob or the gorgeous wrought-iron pull with the wicked curlicue might not be the best choice when your rambunctious toddler spends a lot of time in the kitchen, and you might move “kid-proof” to the top of your wish list.

Conventional wisdom favors brushed or antiqued metal finishes with traditional decor, but particularly in country styles, knobs of milk or clear faceted glass are also popular, as are white, ivory, or painted ceramic. More modern looks allow a less subdued approach - shiny metal, bright colors, whimsical designs, wild Italian glass that cries out for attention. It’s all in the effect you’re trying to create, the environment in which you’re going to be at home.

Changing the knobs and pulls in your kitchen is also one of the most popular and least drastic ways to give your existing cabinets a new look - a fact to keep in mind when you’re choosing today’s versions. While knobs usually attach with a single screw and don’t present much trouble when it’s time to change them, drawer pulls generally have at least two screws spaced a particular distance apart; if their eventual replacement has its fasteners spaced differently, you’ll probably need to drill new holes in the cabinet, leaving unsightly traces of the old. If you stick with standard offerings from popular manufacturers this probably won’t be much of an issue, as options are likely to be available in standard sizes for the foreseeable future.

However, this is a classic case where your custom pieces or antique-fair finds could really come back to haunt you - say, if you wanted to take them with you when you sold your home and replace them with something off-the-shelf. If you’re planning to incorporate such pieces in your project, you’ll save untold time, headaches, and money by discussing them with your building professional at the beginning and avoiding unpleasant surprises years later.

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