Cabinet Hardware Comes Front and Center

It wasn’t so long ago that cabinet hardware appeared to be a relic of the past. New Euro cabinet designs not only did away with the hinges, but the pulls and knobs as well. While this created a cleaner, more sophisticated look in the kitchen, it also robbed the home of a bit of its soul, as personality became secondary to clean lines and hidden features.

Thankfully, designers and builders have taken a second look at cabinetry, returning to the days when cabinet hardware wasn’t only visible, but used as a design element as well. This partially explains the huge selection of pulls, knobs, back plates, drawer glides and hinges on the market these days. There are literally tens of thousands of choices, which can be a bit bewildering to a homeowner contemplating an easy facelift in the kitchen or even bathroom.

Replacing cabinet hardware is one of the easiest things anyone can do to give their home an entirely new look. Depending on the type of hardware you choose, it can also be one of the least expensive remodels you can do and can be completed over a weekend.

When looking at new cabinet hardware, you want to start by looking at the cabinets you have now or the ones you are about to purchase. Cabinets all use different styles of hardware. For example, if your current cabinets have hidden hinges you may not be able to retrofit them with hinges that are visible, as the cabinets themselves aren’t set far enough apart to accommodate them.

So start by looking at the cabinets you have now and see how they can be refitted without having to do a lot of retrofitting. One of the easiest things to do is to change out the pulls with new pulls or knobs with new knobs. When working with pulls, you do need to be aware that not all pulls are the same width so you may not be able to match the bolt holes exactly. Knobs are the easiest to replace because you’re only matching one existing hole, not two as with pulls.

Assuming that a switch out is fairly simple, you want to give the most consideration to the style of cabinet hardware you want. These days you can go in nearly any direction you want to and it’s easy to get carried away. While it may be fun to add Wild West or nautically inspired hardware to your kitchen because you enjoy these looks, the cabinets themselves may not support the hardware. Every kitchen has a set style, whether it’s country, Provincial, modern, transitional, rustic – and it’s important that the cabinet hardware you are choosing supports the style of the cabinets you have. Otherwise they will look out of place and your kitchen d├ęcor will look uneven.

If you’re ordering new cabinets but haven’t signed on the dotted line yet, you may want to talk to your home improvement store, contractor or cabinet maker about your options. This is especially true if you have fallen in love with specific hardware and want to build your kitchen around a particular theme, color, trim or material. Nothing’s worse than writing a check out for a major remodel, only to find that your hardware, cabinetry and even colors are a mismatch.

As any designer will tell you, try twice and order once. Even if new cabinets are on the horizon, try out any hardware in your home first before you make a final decision, even if you have to use the old cabinets. Hardware can look perfect online or in the hardware store but once you start using it daily, you may find that it’s not quite what you thought it would be. Sure, the starfish knobs and sailboat pulls looked great for your beach cottage, but do you really want to spend the next 20 years pulling on a starfish to make the morning coffee? Live with your choice for a while before you finally make a change throughout the kitchen.