Choosing Cabinet Hardware: The How-to Guide

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How to Pick Your Kitchen’s “Jewelry”

By Ryan Horvath

Choosing cabinet hardware can be a frustrating and overwhelming process. The sheer number of options is mind-boggling. Because of this, homeowners let cabinet hardware be an afterthought. This week’s blog is helping find your style and finish. It’s also going to educate you on the different types of cabinet hardware.

Plan Your New Kitchen

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The most important step to a kitchen remodel is picking out your style. Are you a fan of traditional or do you prefer contemporary? What about modern? What are your thoughts on transitional? A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about kitchen styles. You can read that blog by clicking here.

For a traditional kitchen, you’ll find raised center panel cabinets. These cabinets are ornate and detailed. Our Choice Premier® Cambridge and Renaissance are examples of this style cabinet. For traditional cabinets use simple knobs. Choose curved knobs with small edges with some detail. Slightly detailed knobs won’t take attention away from the cabinet design.

Click on the image to enlarge.

In a contemporary or modern kitchen, the cabinetry uses a flat panel. These cabinets are considerably less detailed than traditional cabinets. An example of contemporary is our Choice Essentials® line. An example of modern would be the cabinetry we designed for Mariner’s Watch. Unfortunately, we currently are unable to produce these modern cabinets. To complete this style, consider using tubular pulls or square hardware. The square hardware can be rounded with square contours. These are perfect for the contemporary look. For the modern look, consider using recessed pulls.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Transitional cabinetry is a mix of traditional and contemporary. It’s a flat panel that uses a slight decorative edge. Our Choice Select® line is a perfect example of transitional cabinetry. To pull off the traditional style, use knob, pulls, or a combination of both.

Click on the image to enlarge.


Once you’ve picked out your style and cabinets, it’s time to pick out the finish. For white and light gray cabinets, anything goes. These cabinets are the perfect “canvas” for cabinet hardware. For brown and espresso cabinets, it can be a little harder to match. Brass and bronze are trendy picks. Your safe picks would be stainless steel and brushed nickel. Matte black is another option. Joni Hilton from Houzz adds:

“If you’re making considerations based on resale, the top-selling finishes today are satin nickel, chrome, and bronze.”

Keep the finish as close as possible when you’re shopping around. Mixed metals can disrupt the look of your kitchen design. Consider using your appliances, lighting fixtures, and faucet as inspiration. Experts suggest matching your hardware to the handle of your appliances. This will help create a cohesive kitchen design. If matching isn’t an issue, black hardware goes with stainless steel appliances.


When it comes to choosing cabinet hardware, you’ll find more styles than you could ever imagine. Depending on your style and taste, you can narrow it down. Below is a list of cabinet hardware options and brief description courtesy of Houzz:

Streamline Modern

  • Curved and slender with horizontal lines
  • Great for the mid-1930s look
  • Natural for a modern kitchen and nautical-themed spaces like bathrooms

Bar Pulls

  • Sturdy and stylish
  • Great for contemporary and modern
  • Easier for seniors to use (if you’re planning on aging with your home, consider this look)

Bin Pulls or Cup Pulls

  • The upside-down cup shape is easy to grab
  • Popular in the mid-19th century
  • Perfect for the minimalistic and vintage look

Window Sash Pulls

  • Based on window sash fittings (designed to lift heavy windows in the early 1900s)
  • The “comfort food” of cabinetry hardware
  • Uses softly rounded handles

Novelty Knobs and Pulls

  • Artsy and themed to add personality
  • Great way to add flair to a boring kitchen
  • Use too many and it looks overdone

Knob and Pulls with Back Plates

  • Knobs and pulls with a back piece that lays flat against the cabinet
  • Perfect for the traditional, Mediterranean look

Drop Handle Knobs

  • Two-piece knobs with mounted and dangling portions
  • Gives the cabinets a furniture look
  • Good for families with small children or toddlers

Glass Knobs

  • Inexpensive but flashy
  • Considered an affordable luxury during the Great Depression

Recessed Pulls

  • Pulls built into the door and drawer facings
  • Very contemporary and modern
  • Great for galley kitchens

Cremone Pulls

  • Knob system with vertical rods with slide to lock
  • European look
  • Expensive (this pulls can run up to $100 a pop)

Oversized Knobs

  • Art objects that are functional and draw attention
  • Salvage yards and antique shops are a few places to look (relatively cheap, but unique)


Choosing cabinet hardware doesn’t have to be hard. Picking your kitchen style is an important first step. Once you pick a style, you can decide the type of finish you want. Whether you go with knobs, pulls, or a combination of both, find one that suits your personality and style. For Choice Cabinet’s lineup of cabinet hardware, click here.

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