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Knobs or Pulls: Your Guru Guide to Cabinet Hardware

Pinterest I Nam Dang Mitchell

They say that great design is all in the details and we couldn't agree more. Every little detail counts! One of the best finishing touches to a home that can be easily overlooked is the cabinet hardware. Whether they are knobs or pulls, they can enhance the look, feel, and function for your everyday tasks even if it is just for those few seconds. These little details don't need to be a pricey investment. Now you can easily browse through endless cabinet hardware from very affordable to high-end styles, but how do know what to look out for in order to narrow down all the available possibilities? We've rounded out a few of our tops picks to suit any style. Follow along for some helpful tips to accessorize your cabinets the right way.

White Dahlia Design

Cabinet Hardware: Knobs vs. Pulls

Before we get into tips for narrowing down your search for cabinet hardware, it's important we understand what we mean when we're referring to the hardware for our cabinet. Cabinet hardware is defined as the parts for the final trim of a cabinet, such as fastening hinges, drawer pulls, and drawer knobs. However, for this post, we will be focusing on the more decorative side of things such as your knobs or pulls. Think of it as the jewelry for your millwork, but with the added benefit of function and form.

Pictured: Cabinet Knob (left), Cabinet Pull (right)


Knobs are cabinet hardware that is connected to the face of a cabinet by a single point on a cabinet drawer or door, while Pulls are attached by two points allowing you to easily slip your fingers in through the opening to be pulled open. Are you still having trouble differentiating the two? In the most simple explanation, knobs are typically but not always used on cabinet doors much like a standard interior door, and pulls on drawers. Take a look at the examples below.

Semihandmade I Rejuvination

Narrow Down Your Search - First Things First

The first step you should do before you make any hardware purchase is to take a look at your existing millwork and count exactly how many knobs and pulls you will need! Trust us, this will save you time from having to go back to the store or place another online order if you fall short. Once you place the order, make sure to add just a couple on top of that so you have spares just in case you miscounted.

If you're replacing existing cabinet pulls or knobs, take a look around your home to see whether or not you can repurpose them onto any existing furniture or millwork! we're all about saving you money where you can, and reducing waste for the environment.

Pictured: Key Terms


Next, you'll want to have a tape measure ready to jot down some important measurements. These measurements will help you narrow down your options by giving you the size of the cabinet pulls to purchase. Here are the important terms you need to be familiar with:

Overall Width or Length: The overall length or width from either the existing whole openings on the cabinet or pull itself.

Projection: The depth of the pull or knob from the mounting hole to the opposite projection or front of the handle.

Diameter: The width of the thickest part of the knob or pull.

Center-to-Center: The distance from one center of the actual screw hole to the next center hole.


If you're working with a fresh canvas (starting your cabinets from scratch), you'll have a little more freedom of selection and placement. However, make sure to read the next section before you make any purchase since you will need to take into account the cabinet style and hardware type.

Pictured: cabinet hardware positioning guide


How to Choose Cabinet Hardware

Cabinet pulls and knobs are intended for functionality as well as cabinet protection, but they also help to define the design style of your home. Yes something as little as this! and we'll say it again, it's all in the details. Now don't get mistaken, there are cabinets without hardware pulls that are usually either part of the door, cabinet front with edge pulls, or push to open. However, in most cases, these cabinet styles are targeted for a more minimalistic design style kitchen or bathroom.

Pictured: push to open cabinet door (left), gold-finished edge/finger pulls (right)


Now to the fun part! Know that there are no strict rules you need to follow when it comes to narrowing down the style of decorative cabinet hardware for your millwork, but there are helpful guidelines that can help the process go as smoothly as possible. By taking into consideration your existing design style, the functionality of shape and form, knob or pull, finish, and comfort, you'll have narrowed down at least a few of your own top picks. Here is our checklist of considerations:

1. Interior Design Style: most places will have hardware selections categorized by design style such as modern, industrial, or traditional. Every store will be categorized differently, but usually, these are the basics. So if you have a modern kitchen, head straight to the modern section, or if you're more into a minimalistic aesthetic opt for a barely-there look like and edge pull (pictured above). Find out here what your interior design style is if you're not sure!

2. Hardware Type: as we had just mentioned, functionality and style go hand in hand. And in this case, we mean literally. Knobs and pulls come in endless shapes, sizes, and types that will feel different to every person. The biggest tip we can give you is to take a trip to the store to physically feel them in action. If you're unable to visit the store, read reviews on the item to give you a sense of quality. Quality does matter! Think about the number of times you are opening and closing cabinets... a lot right?! Designer Tip? Usually, the heavier the hardware, the higher the quality!

Pictured: Beautiful cabinet pulls in a bronze finish

Peonies and Brass

3. Finish: there are several finishes to choose from that can easily fit into the design style you have. For example, if you have cooler undertones, you can either go with cooler metal finishes such as black or chrome and if you have warmer undertones, you can go with nickel, bronze, brass, or gold. With that said, remember that you don't have to match all your finishes in the kitchen! It's more of an outdated style, and honestly, it gives more interest and depth to the kitchen. Pro tip? anything polished will have a higher reflective quality and will show more oil or water spots from your fingertips.

Pictured: typical metal finishes


4. Cost: when it comes to cabinet knobs and pulls, price is based on the finish and design. So, of course, solid metals will cost more but will be better quality. Larger and longer pulls such as appliance pulls will cost more since you are paying for more material. If you're thrown off by the higher price points, know that in this case, you are usually paying for what you get. Just make sure that you are paying for the quality of the finish vs. the design itself. Our tip is to source from your local hardware store or supplier since you will be paying for quality as well as have more of a variety vs. the big box stores. If you're wondering where to buy knobs, here are a few of our favorite picks!

  • Richelieu - endless high-quality options in various design styles.

  • CB2 - modern cabinet handles to suit any interior.

  • Wayfair - affordable and a variety of unique cabinet handles.

  • Urban Barn - mid-high end beautiful cabinet pulls

As with most things, price depends on quality, brand and style. To gauge, most knobs range from at least $5-$10 and $6-$13 for pulls.

Richelieu (first two) I Wayfair (last two)

Stylish Cabinet Pulls

All the details count! and that includes your cabinet hardware. It should be comfortable and easy to grab and contribute to your design style. So before you decide to make any hardware purchase make sure to understand why you are investing in the product. Make sure you take into account our tips to get the perfect fit, and create the perfect pairing but most importantly, make sure you have fun while doing it. Order a sample and try them out against your cabinet fronts keeping in mind the tips we have just discussed. If you're not a shopper you can always leave it to the experts! Book your free consultation call today and don't forget to follow along for next week's design blog by subscribing below!



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