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3 Steps to choosing kitchen cabinet hardware

choosing kitchen cabinet hardware

3 Steps to choosing kitchen cabinet hardware


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This past week, there was great progress in our Coastal Vibe project.  The kitchen cabinets were installed as well as all of the hardware for the cabinets.  As you may know, for this project we are using IKEA cabinets and making some customizations to not make it look like an IKEA kitchen.  Part of the customizations includes the cabinet hardware.  I thought this would be a timely post to discuss the steps to choosing kitchen cabinet hardware.  It’s important to guide my clients in not only picking the ‘pretty’ hardware to go along with the overall design but to also choose the right sizes.  In addition, it’s important that the installers know which pull or knob is to be installed on the cabinets.  So how does an Interior Designer help you with these decisions?  How does being the Project Manager ensure that it’s done properly?

Steps to choosing kitchen cabinet hardware

1. Have the kitchen design plan

When I’m helping clients design a kitchen, the first process is to listen.  There are a lot of questions asked about what the cooking habits are, what my clients currently like and dislike about their kitchen, and what their hopes and dreams are.  Let’s be honest here, typically the hopes and dreams don’t always jive with the budget.  I still like to know the hopes and dreams as I believe it’s my task to try and check off everything on their list!   From this stage, a kitchen design is created.  There is typically a first draft and then tweaks and changes are made to come up with a final design.

2. Evaluate the use of each box

When the design plan is created, it is important to look at each cabinet.  Each cabinet provides a function.  Is the function to store pots and pans?  Then most likely there will be pot drawers.  It would make sense that there would be a cabinet pull on these cabinets.  Is the function to store dishware and glasses?  Most often this means there will be a hinged door.  For this situation, you could use a knob or a pull.

3. Choose the right size & location

For cabinet pulls, the ‘Rule of Thumb’ that I use is to take the total length of the cabinet front and divide that by 3.  As with all rules, they are meant to be broken and are often done so (depending on the style of the kitchen, the look you’re going for, etc.).  If you are really not sure of sizing, then follow the one-third rule. As for the placement of the pulls or knobs, that will need to be determined with the style of your cabinet doors as well as the look you are going for.

Choosing kitchen cabinet hardware

Seeing it in action

For my Coastal Vibe project, my clients and I looked at a variety of kitchen pulls and knobs.  We knew that for most of the cupboards, there was going to be a knob and for most of the drawers we were going to use pulls.  I say most as there are 2 cabinets (one in the dry bar and one on the stove wall that do not follow the ‘rules’).  In the end, we chose to go with the following hardware from Emtek.

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Image source

How I plan it out

Once it was decided which hardware we were going with, I started to plan the correct sizing for each cabinet front. These particular pulls come in four different sizes:

    • 3-1/2″ C-to-C    Overall length 4 3/4″
    • 4″ C-to-C           Overall length 5 1/4″
    • 6″ C-to-C           Overall length 7 5/8″
    • 8″ C-to-C           Overall length 10 1/2″

As I use the one-third guide for sizing, I take what sizing is available and determine which size pull will go on each cabinet.  To show my clients, I actually draw on the plans whether it is a pull or a knob.

choosing kitchen cabinet hardware

You can see that it’s not pretty, I’m actually not very neat, but it gives me the opportunity to ensure every cabinet has been thought of.  Here is a closer look at one of the kitchen drawings sheet that I write all over.

choosing kitchen cabinet hardware

I place a checkmark beside the cabinet pulls and knobs after I have triple checked the number I need, and then highlight when I have placed the order.

Ensuring it’s done right

On cabinet install day, I ensure that the handles are set out by each box ahead of time.  I use my sheets that you see above to place the appropriate pull or knob for each cabinet.  Typically we choose cabinet hardware at least 4 weeks prior to the cabinet install and with many projects, you do not want to make a mistake! My little sheets come in so handy.

choosing kitchen cabinet hardware

Cabinet pulls that I’ve tucked under the boxes for each box. 

I also ensure that the installer and myself are very clear on where the placement of each knob and pull will be going.

choosing kitchen cabinet hardware

Reviewing the placement of each knob.  Each knob is located inside the cabinet ready to be installed. 

The End Result

When you go to all of the effort to plan, you had better see the results you were hoping for.  That is exactly what happened!

choosing kitchen cabinet hardware

Pulls and knobs perfectly installed. 

Choosing kitchen cabinet hardware

When you don’t have an Interior Designer and/or Project Manager involved, you will be responsible for determining all of the above.  Were you aware of how much work and planning were involved when choosing cabinet hardware?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Sheri Bruneau Get It Together

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