One of the ways to refresh a space is through new hardware. Typically, production builders, flippers, etc select the most generic and inexpensive hardware if they select anything at all. Hardware is a small detail but affects the overall feel of the space. Below we list things to consider when wanting to refresh your cabinets through hardware!
When it comes to finishes, things to consider is do you want the hardware to disappear into the cabinets for a more subtle look or do you want them to pop offering up some contrast? If you want hardware to blend into the cabinets and you have darker cabinets, select a darker finish when it comes to the hardware. It creates a tone-on-tone look that is simple and subtle but impactful. There is something very grounding about doing dark cabinets and darks pulls or knobs. If you want something that creates contrast with your cabinets, go for a finish that is different than the finish of your cabinets. A lot of appliances are stainless, so you always have the option to go with a silver-toned finish for your hardware. It is a very safe choice. The next question is do you want something that has a matte finish or a shiny finish? A shiny finish will create more sparkle and stand out a little more. In projects, we typically match hardware to either the plumbing (faucet) finish or the lighting finish.
The current trends of gold and black are very popular right now and we think will remain for several years to come because there is always a way to use them in a classic way. Remember design is cyclical and all finishes have their time in the spotlight.
There are different types of hardware that you can choose from. Do you want to do pulls or knobs or a combination? Choosing all pulls leans more modern. You also see more hardware since they are longer in size. Knobs are smaller in scale so they are little accents to your cabinets. When doing a combination of pulls and knobs, pulls get installed on the drawers and knobs on the doors. This is a very classic combination. Another option is to use all knobs. This is probably the least done but we love using all knobs. We think they resemble buttons on clothing and can be very elegant. When using all knobs, we usually install more than one knob on drawers.
Don’t forget about appliance pulls if you have paneled appliances. Not all manufacturers provide matching appliance pulls so that is something to look into if you are wanting all of the hardware to match exactly. A lot of times our clients prefer that they match; however, if we fall in love with hardware that doesn’t come in an appliance option, we will first see if there is another version from the same manufacturer in the same finish. If there is not or the style is not preferred, we will select one from another manufacturer with a similar finish. Brass is the most difficult finish to match across manufacturers since every company has their own version so we recommend getting samples to look at everything in person before ordering!
The most common size for pulls is a 5” and each manufacturer has slightly different dimensions and most of the time, the measurement is actually the distance from the centers of each hole. We prefer to scale out the length of the pulls against the size of the drawer. You don’t want a dinky little pull on a very long 24” drawer for example. So in this we, we will spec a longer pull or spec two shorter pulls. For knobs, it is rare that we select a 1” because they are pretty small. We think that 1-1/4” knob is typically the goldilocks size without being too small or too big.
Pulls are installed horizontally on drawers and vertically on doors. We prefer for the pulls to be mounted in the center of the drawers unless it’s a pull-out trash bin, then we will install them at the top of the door. When mounting pulls on doors, we like the bottom of the pull to line up with the top rail of the shaker door (most of our clients do the shaker style). For knobs, we like to install those in the same way as we do the pulls. On drawers, we will install in the center and on doors, we prefer to line them up with the top or bottom (depending if they are uppers or lowers) of the shaker rail). If we are doing multiple knobs or pulls on a drawer, we will divide the drawer evenly to select the placement of them. If you are working with existing cabinets that already have hardware, then you are limited to where the holes are already drilled if you do not want to do through the trouble of refinishing them to patch the existing holes.