Adding or replacing decorative cabinet hardware is one of the easiest facelifts you could possibly do for your cabinets.
If your cabinets are in pretty good shape, and not too dated, changing pulls or knobs is an easy thing to do. You’ll need to invest $100 to $300 on average to replace all the pulls and knobs in your kitchen (figuring 25-30 or so pulls or knobs).
If you cabinets look really old, brand new decorative cabinet hardware might stand out like a sore thumb. Depending on the situation, though, you could add rustic pulls or knobs to your cabinets, and they’d still look good (and would fit right in).
Your cabinets might also just need a good cleaning to get them sparkling again.
If you are starting fresh, and don’t already have pull or knob holes in your doors or drawer fronts (good for you!), the choices are almost endless. You can get 3″ center pulls, or knobs, or 96mm, or 128mm, or just about anything you want.
Keep in mind though, that handles with 3″ centers are the most common decorative cabinet hardware that there is. If you ever want to change handles in the future, there will certainly be tons of choices. If you go with, say 128mm handles, your future choices for handles will be limited, because you’ll have to get 128mm handles again. Also, these handles are larger (longer) than normal, so cost more. For example, a 128mm handle in stainless steel could cost $13 or more, where the same handle with a 3″ center could be $5 or less. Finish is also a factor in your cost. Stainless steel will cost much more than a nickel finish, but will look almost identical.
Replacing What You’ve Got
If you already have pulls, knobs (or both) then you must keep that in mind when choosing hardware. You have some alternatives, but you may be limited.
If you have pulls, measure the distance from mid-point to mid-point of each hole. This will give you the size pull you will need. You will often find they are 3″ centers.
If they are 3″ centers, you are in luck, because you will find most styles of decorative cabinet hardware are available with 3″ centers.
If you have a measurement other than 3″, you can look for that size. It may be difficult to find pulls that fit those holes. If you do find something in that measurement, it might not be the style you like.
What You Can Do if You Have Odd Sized Holes or Need to Cover the Holes Left by Previous Handles
Add a back-plate to your door or drawer front before you put your pull or knob on. You can simply drill new holds that work for your new handles (usually 3/8″ holes are what you need to drill, sometimes 1/4″). In this way, no one will see the old holes because they will be covered up by the back-plate.
Another easy alternative is to put two knobs where the pull holes were. With this option, you are only limited in the knob’s diameter. You will want to make sure the knobs aren’t so big that they will be touching each other when you put them on.
STYLE! What’s available in Decorative Cabinet Hardware?
Recent years have seen a surge in sleek, new styling. There are literally thousands of styles of pulls, knobs, and back-plates to choose from.
Anything from contemporary to rustic, colored or clear glass to solid brass.
You will also find several choices in theme-based hardware. There are several choices for children’s rooms, hunting themes, fishing, bugs, butterflies, frogs, and stones to name a few.
There are even pulls out there (from Amerock) that look like knives, forks, and spoons.
Popular Finishes to Choose from Include:
Oil Rubbed Bronze
Polished Brass or Chrome
Brushed, Satin, or Sterling Nickel
Antique English (a bronze looking finish)
Ceramic and Ceramic Crackle Finishes (be careful – ceramic looks nice, but will crack very easily)
There are several other decorative cabinet hardware finishes to choose from too, including solid colors and several actual woods, finished and unfinished.
Some brand names that manufacture good and reasonably priced hardware include:
What’s This Going to Cost?
The cost will vary as much as how many styles are out there.
You might find small knobs for as little as $2.00 or less a piece.
Several pulls fall into the $3.00 to $6.00 range for each pull.
If you are going for a contemporary, sleek European style, where the pulls can be as long as 12″ or more, you may pay $25.00 or more for each pull.
Some glass knobs and pulls can also run you into some money, from the low teens to as high as $40.00 each.
Pulls for appliances (appliance pulls – that are used if you have a wooden insert over your appliance and basically need a handle for it) can be quite costly as well, over $20.00 on up (but they are very large and long).
Be sure to count each door and drawer front you have, twice. You’d be upset with yourself if you ordered your pulls or knobs online or made a special trip to the hardware store, just to find you are short one pull or knob! It’s been done!!
Where to Get Decorative Cabinet Hardware
Online is a very convenient place to get hardware. Home improvement stores carry decorative cabinet hardware, but it may actually cost you more to get hardware there, and they won’t have as big of a selection as online stores.
You may even be lucky enough to find just what you’re looking for at your local thrift store. If you can, you’ll no doubt save money, but most likely won’t get good quality products.
Amerock hardware (and almost every good company has this guarantee for many of their hardware products), has several handles and knobs that have what they call their Guardian Finish. It is a lifetime guarantee on your hardware finish to never tarnish, or they replace the hardware free of charge.
If you enjoy garage-saling or auctions, you may find something there. Usually though, when you use those types of venues, you will be very limited in your choices and only find a few of what you need.
In my experience, the best place to purchase hardware is either online or at your local home-center. If you really want to see and feel your handles before you purchase them, go to your home-center and pick something out. If you have the time, write down who manufactures the hardware, its product number, and then check out prices on the internet. You’ll no doubt find the same product for less over the internet.
Bottom Line: Get what you Love
The possibilities for decorate cabinet hardware are endless. Look for hardware that is not only practical and will last a long time, but that you also fall in love with and enjoy!!
And remember – HAVE A HAPPY KITCHEN!!
Crystal co-owned a custom cabinet shop for 14 years (1992-2006). She is now a stay-at-home mom who writes on the web, sharing all that she’s learned from her years building and installing kitchen cabinets.