How to Select and Position Cabinet Hardware
Selecting and positioning your cabinet hardware can be confusing, but here are some considerations that will make it easy for you to choose so that it suits the style you want.
1. Knobs vs. Pulls
The first decision you need to make is whether to have knobs or pulls or a combination of both. Here are four options we recommend:
All knobs or finger/edge pulls. Knobs and finger or edge pulls are smaller in size and can be used when you want your cabinetry to get most of the attention.
All pulls. Pulls have a number of benefits including the benefit of ease of use, especially with older or weaker hands. Given their larger size it usually means that fewer fingers touch the cabinets and this keep the cabinets cleaner than knobs. Also, there are many more pull options available to choose from to create a unique space of your own.
Knobs on uppers and pulls on lowers. For the best of both worlds, use a mixture of knobs and pulls. To make the combination look harmonious, we suggest one of two options. The first suggestion is to put knobs on all upper cabinets and pulls on all lower cabinets.
Knobs on doors and pulls on drawers. The second option we recommend if using a combination of knobs and pulls is to put knobs on all doors and pulls on all drawers. Note that neither option mentioned is more superior than the other. It simply comes down to personal preference.
So you've decided between knobs and pulls, now you must pick a size. So, which should you pick?
Knob Sizes. For knobs, 1-1/4" is always a safe bet. For a minimalist look, size down. For an impressionable oversized appearance, choose something larger.
Pull Sizes. Pull sizing is where it can be tricky. There are many options for sizes and many configurations to choose from. Our go-to recommendations are below. Keep in mind that the longer the pull, the more contemporary the appearance.
Consistent Size Throughout
One of the most popular options is to pick one size and use it throughout your cabinetry. There is no right or wrong size to choose, but we do recommend choosing pulls that have at least a 3-3/4" center to center (the distance between the screw holes).
This size looks pleasing on most cabinets, while still being large enough to grip comfortably. 5" - 6.5" pulls are also an excellent choice. Their slightly longer length offers a more updated appearance, while still being small enough to fit onto most drawers. If you choose to use a smaller size throughout, we highly recommend using two pulls on wide drawers.
Longer Lengths for Longer Drawers
Rather than using two pulls on wide drawers, you can use a single pull that is longer in length. This can offer a cleaner, more contemporary appearance and it also is easier to operate your drawers with. Using a pull that is approximately 1/3 the length of the drawer is a good rule of thumb.
When in between sizes, size up. Cabinet doors do not follow the 1/3 rule. Generally, pulls between 5 - 7" for uppers are a safe choice - go larger for a more contemporary look. Use longer pulls for extra-tall cabinets such as pantries, and position the centre of the pull at elbow height for ease of operation.
3. Where to Install
You've picked out your cabinet hardware and it's time to install. Where do you put everything? There are a few factors that come into play including the cabinet style, size, and use.
Most cabinet knobs today are installed by lining up the installation hole with the edge of the rail (the top or bottom horizontal piece) . This contemporary knob placement is both aesthetically pleasing and easy for installers.
If you are using elongated knobs, such as egg knobs or T knobs, place the installation hole so that the top of your knob is in line with the rail. For a more classic look, consider offsetting your knobs from the rail a bit. You can cut circles out of painters tape to test placement.
For pulls, you want the bottom of your pull to fall in line with the cabinet rail. Be sure to adjust your installation holes if needed. You do not want your pulls extending into the rail.
For slab doors, you will want the hole placement to be equidistant from the bottom and side of the cabinet. 2" is typically a good distance. For pulls, you will want the end of the pull to be in this position. Adjust the screw hole placement accordingly if necessary.
For paneled drawers, the most aesthetic choice is typically to center the hardware within the panel. However, some prefer to install their hardware within the top rail where it is somewhat easier to reach and pull. This mounting location is recommended for heavy vertical pullouts like trash cans and appliances.
For slab drawers it is most common to center your hardware on shallow drawers and near the top of deeper drawers. This installation is both attractive and functional. For modern cabinetry, installing all of your knobs or pulls towards the top gives a sleek and streamlined aesthetic.
The above suggestions are not strict rules. It is okay to stray from the norm.
When in doubt, use painters tape to mark out ideas for hardware placement.
Be sure to express exactly what you want to your installer. Write down clear instructions.
Image Sources: SanDiego Hardware