How To Choose Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

Updated: Jul. 14, 2023

A style and trend expert helps to simplify the head-scratching and often frustrating process of choosing kitchen cabinet hardware

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Choose Your Hardware
Courtesy Hickory Hardware.

The Finishing Touch

Choosing the right, perfectly-complementing kitchen cabinet hardware isn’t easy. There are just too many options! We asked trend manager Knikki Grantham how to decide on one product among the potential thousands there are to choose from. She gave us some great tips to help put the best possible finishing touch on your new cabinets.

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White Cabinets
Courtesy Hickory Hardware.

Choosing Color and Finish Based on Tone

  • Hardware on white cabinets will stand out and steal the show, so it’s a great opportunity to go bold!
  • If you have warm tones, go with gold, black, or bronze hardware.
  • If you have a cold grey tone, then silver, pewter, black, and stainless steel hardware will work.
  • Take note of lighting, appliances, and other metal accents in the room and stick to the same tone.
  • It’s never a bad idea to buy one sample of several different options to see how they actually look installed. Some manufacturers will even ship you samples for a small fee.
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Textured cabinet pulls
Courtesy Hickory Hardware.

Should Everything Match?

Not necessarily. Think about coordinating more than matching. There is a flow that can be achieved from room to room by coordinating finishes, but it is much more pleasing to see variety than the same repetitive styles in every room of the home.

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Knobs and pulls
Courtesy Hickory Hardware.

Pulls or Knobs?

There isn’t a rule, rather a preference. Knobs are generally less expensive and easier to work with from a design perspective, as they are less significant to the overall look of a cabinet. Pulls are generally more expensive than knobs and significant to the overall appearance or design of a cabinet.

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Satin Nickel
Courtesy Hickory Hardware.

Don’t Worry About Permanence

Swapping out kitchen hardware is financially friendly, so why not take a risk?  There is no other single thing in a kitchen renovation that packs as much punch as changing the cabinet hardware. If you decide you’re growing tired of how your cabinets look in a few years, it’ll be much cheaper to freshen things up with new hardware than replacing the cabinets entirely.

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Courtesy Hickory Hardware.

Choosing the Size of Your Cabinet Hardware

Overall, the hardware needs to FEEL right. From an aesthetic standpoint, if the design or size of the hardware overshadows the kitchen, then it is too big.  There are some physical limitations to think about, like how pulls and knobs with large overhands or profiles can easily get caught on clothing. The hardware needs to be easily gripped. Since pulls tend to have a short profile, you need to make it easy for people with larger hands to use them. Nothing is more frustrating than non-functional hardware, no matter how good it looks. If you are choosing hardware from a showroom, test how it feels in use.

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Mix and match hardware
Courtesy Hickory Hardware.

Can Knobs and Pulls Be Mixed and Matched?

Don’t feel like you need to be defined by a style bucket. Hardware is an accessory to the kitchen, much like how shoes or a handbag can complete an outfit. Mixing styles would allow you to put your own signature on the kitchen.