Cabinet Hardware 101


The “jewelry” of the cabinets, choosing decorative hardware is met with unlimited possibilities. All performing the same functions – opening and closing doors and drawers – the various styles, sizes, and finishes can make selecting the right combination akin to selecting your wardrobe for the special night out. Not only coordinating with the design and enhancing your aesthetic, cabinet hardware should be comfortable to the touch and easy to use. That being said, if the decorative hardware are the jewels of the cabinet, then the concealed hardware – door hinges and drawer slides, could be called the “support garments” and are just as important!

custom black cabinetry



Replacing decorative hardware can be the quickest and most affordable way to spruce up your cabinets, and knowing when to use Knobs versus Pulls can be a tricky question. Knobs are available in a variety of shapes – round, oval, square, mushroom, octangular and more. When choosing, take care to select one that is easy to grab – with 1-1 ¼” knobs being the most popular. In more traditional designs, you’ll see knobs on doors and pulls on drawers, whereas modern and contemporary designs led themselves to pulls of varying lengths.


The most common complaint about pulls is that they are too small to fit one’s hand comfortably, but with today’s design input, many options are available beyond the standard 3” center-to-center measurement. 5” or 6” centers have become the norm, with options available in multiple sizes within one line – even large, sturdy appliance pulls to coordinate on cabinet fronts for refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers and more. For large drawers, or those containing heavy pots, two pulls provide better stability when opening and closing, while for smaller drawers, use one pull.


Current European style cabinet trends have increased demand for hidden hardware, allowing for opening of doors and drawers by a simple push at the corner thanks to a spring mechanism. Helpful when your hands are full or dirty, concealed hardware also lends itself well to sleek designs.

Traditional Kitchen stove and cabinets



Beyond the size and style, the color and texture of your cabinet hardware will further enhance your space. Generally, you should decide whether you want to match your hardware finishes throughout the space – lighting, plumbing, and hardware, or if you want to coordinate your finishes – use varying shades within the same finish family. A common theme for coordination would be blending rubbed bronze and copper, or mixing nickel and black finishes.


For an eclectic look, throw (most) rules out the window. Look for unique cabinet knobs and pulls to fully embrace your personality. Don’t sacrifice function and keep in mind the ease of use when opening and closing your cabinetry. Here’s the time when nautical-inspired pulls can accent a beach house, or crystal knobs can glam up a bathroom cabinet.

custom island cabinets



Don’t neglect the inner workings of your cabinets. Door hinges and drawer slides can transform your cabinets into a working wonder. Concealed or mortise hinges attach inside the door and are best for full overlay and inset doors. Decorative hinges or face frame hinges are attached to the outside of the door can further advance your design. Available in light, medium, and heavy duty, drawer slides are especially important, given the weight of the drawer’s contents. With full extension slides, you can access the depths of the drawers with ease. For both hinges and slides, also consider self-closing or soft-close models, making your cabinets safer for kids and toddlers and from destructive teens!

custom cabinet storage
custom spice rack cabinet

Don’t spend countless hours collecting photos and falling down the internet rabbit hole. Check out our portfolio for more inspiration!

View Our Portfolio

Original Designs
Customized for You

The team at Classic Cupboards is here to help you make sense of the possibilities, working with you from initial design through installation. Give us a call today!

Schedule An Appointment

More Articles