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The Most Common Cabinet Hardware Questions Answered

Some of the most-often-asked questions we get from homeowners are about cabinet hardware sizing and finishes. We asked local designers to weigh in. Keep in mind that there are no set-in-stone rules and that you should ultimately go with what suits your taste.

Mixing and Matching Knobs and Pulls

It’s actually very common for homeowners to select both knobs and pulls for their cabinetry.

It is personal preference, but I believe that pulls work better for drawers. Drawers hold more items, and they are becoming more popular in kitchens than cabinet doors. Drawers are also easier to access and organize. If you do have some cabinets, I recommend knobs unless it’s a big cabinet. The pantry cabinets are a perfect example of an area that usually needs a large pull.

- Diane Burnett, Diane Burnett Interiors

I almost always use knobs on doors and pulls on drawers. Sometimes I’ll use a knob on a tiny vanity drawer in a bathroom.

- Anna Claire Leary, Anna Claire Interiors

Mixing and Matching Finishes

The general consensus is that mixing and matching hardware finishes has to be done correctly. It is possible to go overboard and look too busy if you’re already mixing styles. If you want to mix and match, consider using one finish as an accent rather than splitting the finishes 50/50 throughout the room. Also, note that not all finishes are the same. An oil rubbed bronze finish from one brand could be noticeably different than the same finish from another brand. At the end of the day, it’s about what you like, but try not to get too sucked into trends since they come and go. If you make a design decision based solely on the fact that something is trendy, you may decide you no longer like it once the trend has run its course and will just end up wanting to replace it.

Color of hardware should remain consistent throughout a room. The cabinets might be a different color from room to room, so you have the flexibility of changing hardware colors when you move rooms.

- Diane Burnett, Diane Burnett Interiors

This is a personal preference, but I think it creates a more unified look when the knobs and pulls are the same finish and then mixed with other metals in the space. For example, if you use bronze hardware throughout your kitchen, it’s okay to have a polished nickel faucet and an antique brass light fixture.

- Anna Claire Leary, Anna Claire Interiors

Choosing a Size

Cabinet hardware size is another detail that’s based on your preference. The main focus is usually how proportionate the hardware looks on your cabinet or drawer. Another factor to keep in mind when choosing a size is how comfortable the hardware feels in your hands. Someone with larger hands may not like the feel of a smaller pull. It’s also common to vary hardware sizes depending on what it’s for. A pantry door would need a larger pull than a drawer.

No true rules as to size, but bigger is better. It is better to have one large pull than two small pulls.

- Diane Burnett, Diane Burnett Interiors

I typically like to have 3”-4” on either side of the pull for smaller drawers. For longer top drawers, it looks best to have two 4” pulls. If you have a long lower drawer that carries heavy pots and pans, it’s best to use one long single pull in the middle so the weight is distributed evenly rather than pulled on one side, which could destroy your cabinet drawers over time.

- Anna Claire Leary, Anna Claire Interiors

Making design decisions in your home comes down to your personal taste. It’s okay to “break the rules” if you’re in love with something (even if it’s not favored by others), and you’ll end up happier with your space!

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