How to Choose Cabinet Hardware

How to Choose Cabinet Hardware

So you’ve finished designing your new dream kitchen or are about to remodel your old one. The color scheme is decided, the sinks, new cabinets, drawers, and benchtops are all in place, and now’s the time for the finishing touch — choosing your cabinet hardware. By “hardware,” we mean the knobs and pulls, hinges, and organizers that will make your kitchen space both functionally and aesthetically complete. So, read on for a few tips on choosing the best cabinet hardware to complement your vision for your perfect kitchen.

A green and white kitchen that demonstrates mixing knobs and pulls on kitchen cabinets.

Choosing Cabinet Hardware for Your Kitchen

There are plenty of choices to make when it comes to deciding on your cabinet hardware, most especially the knobs and pulls that will complete the look and feel of your kitchen. These cabinet hardware choices involve decisions about both the look and function of your kitchen, not to mention considerations of comfort and cost estimate. For example, do you choose square or round knobs, vertical or horizontal pulls, in traditional or modern styles, with a variety of finishes? There are no hard and fast rules here, but there are some general tips and current trends to guide you in making your kitchen space a beautiful expression of your individual style.

A kitchen with white cabinets with black hardware and wood floating shelves.

Types of Cabinet Hardware

Generally speaking, knobs are used for cabinet doors and pulls for drawers, but you are free to swap that around as you see fit. Keep in mind that smaller knobs on heavy drawers full of pots and pans may make them harder to grip and open, while pulls will give you more leverage. Also, note that curved pulls, rather than square ones with sharp edges, may be softer on your hands, as will rounded rather than square knobs. Be sure to know what feel you prefer before you buy.

With just the one screw hole to align, knobs are easier to fit than pulls, which require more work to attach, as there are generally two screw points that will need to be aligned with the screw holes on your drawer or cabinet door. This can be problematic when replacing old pulls in a kitchen makeover, although there are adjustable pulls available that could get the job done. Also, square knobs may tend to rotate and go out of alignment unless locked in place, while this problem doesn’t occur with round knobs. Finally, knobs are usually cheaper than pulls, especially when it comes to metallic finishes.

With these functional concerns in mind, either type of cabinet hardware will work just fine in your new kitchen, but your choice of pulls and knobs will affect the look. Knobs will have a smaller visual profile than pulls, while longer vertical pulls can make a bold statement on a tall cabinet and accentuate its lines.

You can use all knobs or all pulls, you can mix knobs and pulls on various cabinets and drawers, and the results can transform your space in markedly different ways. There are also various types of pulls, including finger, cup, bail, recess, and ring pulls, all of which can subtly change the look and feel of your entire space. Try sketching out the lines of your kitchen and cabinets and then drawing in a variety of knobs and pulls to see which look you might prefer.

Select your cabinet hardware style

After you’ve chosen the type of cabinet hardware for your kitchen, you can decide on the style to suit your tastes and vision. For example, are you after a contemporary or modern look to your kitchen, with clean lines in a minimalist style? Or maybe you would prefer a traditional look with more ornate, textured details? Or something transitional between the two? Then again, perhaps your vision of your perfect kitchen is more eclectic? Whatever style you go for, once you’ve decided, it’s usually best to stick with it and not mix it with other styles, as you can quickly end up with a confusing aesthetic. Then again, you’re free to mix and match as you please — it is the end result that counts! At Nieu, we offer a full range of knobs and pulls in a variety of styles for you to browse through.

Choose your cabinet hardware finish

From nickel and stainless steel to bronze or brass, chrome or black finishes — your choice of hardware finish will also change your kitchen’s look in various ways. Consider the color scheme of your walls and cabinets and the finish of your sinks, faucets, and lighting, and mix and match your cabinet hardware finish to suit your style. For example, brass finishes may suit warmer tones and more traditional styles, while chrome or black finishes may go with more contemporary or modern styles.

Again, there are no hard and fast rules saying you must match your cabinet hardware with your kitchen hardware. Many kitchens successfully mix their metal finishes between the faucets, lighting, and cabinets, adding a layered depth to the whole space. However, your cabinet hardware should have the same finish, and if in doubt, black pulls and knobs will tend to complement a variety of metal finishes in your kitchen.

Deciding on your cabinet hardware sizes

While your drawers and cabinets may all be of different sizes, it is perfectly reasonable to go with just the one size for your knobs and pulls. This uniformity can give a cohesive look and feel to your kitchen space. On the other hand, you can also choose to use wider knobs and longer pulls on larger cabinets and drawers, especially where this makes them easier to open and close. A general rule of thumb regarding pull sizes is for the length to be around 1/3 the width of your drawer or cabinet. And on very wide drawers, you could use two smaller knobs or pulls.

Mixing knobs and pulls on kitchen cabinets

Generally, you can mix your knobs and pulls — or decide on all knobs or all pulls in just one size or matched to your drawer and cabinet sizes. However, you should probably decide on just the one style and finish for your cabinet hardware and stick with it. But, again, this is just a general rule of thumb, and rules can be broken to suit your own individual preferences!

For your mixing and matching inspiration, Jo Marie at Blissful Builds and Interiors shared an image of her experiments with mixing and matching pulls and knobs. In Jo Marie’s kitchen, scalloped silver pulls are used for drawers and cabinets lower down, while darker silver knobs contrast against the white cabinet finish higher up.

Current Cabinet Hardware Trends

Selecting kitchen cabinet hardware that looks great, makes a statement, and complements the look and feel of your chosen kitchen style can be a daunting task. So, we’ve added a little cabinet and hardware pairing inspiration below to help you along the way.

White cabinets with black hardware

With white cabinets as a starting point, you have a wealth of options for the aesthetic direction of your kitchen. If you’re looking for a clean, modern look, then pairing your white kitchen cabinets with black hardware is the way to go. Black hardware on white cabinets tends to visually “pop,” as seen in the image below. With this effect in mind, modern black cabinet pulls on white cabinets are a great way to achieve more depth and visual impact in your kitchen.

A large kitchen with white and grey cabinets and modern black cabinet pulls.

Polish influencer and interior design blogger Monika Przewrocka recently shared a charming tour of her kitchen that features white cabinets with a classic beveled design finished with rustic black handles. You’ll notice that this black-on-white contrast also beautifully complements the natural tones of her wood finish kitchen island.

White cabinets with chrome hardware

Pairing the white cabinets in your kitchen with chrome or stainless steel hardware allows you to create an exciting yet subtle shift in color with an attractive and contemporary look. Less accentuated than black hardware on white, the chrome finish blends seamlessly with chrome faucets and appliances while complementing brass lighting fixtures.

British interior design Instagram account Little Pettitt Pad shared a sharp and stylish example of this chrome-on-white trend. The design included mid-century modern-style handles in a subtle chrome and silver paired with off-white kitchen cabinets and accentuated with cool retro kitchen equipment.

White cabinets with brass or bronze hardware

Offsetting cooler all-white surfaces by adding beautiful warm brass or bronze accents is a lovely way to break up that white space and draw attention to your cabinet hardware. While a polished golden finish provides an opulent, luxurious effect, an oiled bronze finish can give a more understated, industrial look. In contrast, a matte bronze finish to your cabinet hardware may have a more subtle effect.

A white kitchen with golden handles, a built-in oven, and brass faucet.

High-end bathroom and kitchen design team Waterworks recently shared some inspiration, matching the rich color of a burnished brass faucet fitting with cabinet hardware in the same metallic finish.

Dark brown and wood cabinets with black hardware

Dark-grained wood cabinets have a natural finish that allows the wood grain to become part of the design. Matching your oak kitchen cabinets with black hardware can help you craft a rustic, homey effect using a traditional hardware style or, conversely, a cleaner, more understated modern or transitional feel, as seen in the photo below.

Oak kitchen cabinets with black hardware, white subway tile backsplash.

If your kitchen cabinet doors are more uniform in color — think of large dark brown surfaces without much variation or gradation in tone — you can also choose to highlight your dark brown cabinets with black hardware. This pairing leads to a more modern effect for your kitchen, with an overall aesthetic that is right on-trend. Award-winning design firm Z Domus has been deploying natural wood effect cabinets with black handles opposite sleek white cabinets with the same hardware, creating an attractive, multi-faceted aesthetic.

Grey cabinet doors with metallic hardware

Grey kitchen cabinets come in many shades, from light to dark and warm to cool. So, what color hardware for grey cabinets?  Should you decide to go down this path, these many shades of grey make for an exceptionally versatile color scheme for your kitchen. In addition, virtually all metallic tones, from chrome or nickel and stainless steel, to brass and bronze, will complement your grey cabinets. And if your kitchen already has a busy mix of metallic finishes, grey cabinets with black pulls will also work beautifully.

A photo of a large kitchen with grey cabinets, oak hardwood floor,s and glass pendant lighting.

Virginia’s award-winning SK Interior Designs has been doing exciting things with grey cabinets and bronze hardware, showcasing several different twists on this bold look. One such design features dark grey cabinets contrasted with a subtle aged bronze finish on the cabinet hardware.

Finish your perfect kitchen with Nieu Cabinet Doors hardware

We stock a wide range of cabinet doors, accessories, and hardware that can help you develop your own unique look and feel for your perfect kitchen. For design advice on choosing the right cabinet hardware for your next kitchen remodeling project, reach out to our team today!


Kortney Wilson’s Lake House Kitchen Makeover

Kortney Wilson’s Lake House Kitchen Makeover

When designer Kortney Wilson bought her lake house in rural Kentucky, her goal was to create a space to gather, retreat, relax and enjoy time with loved ones.

As she slowly transformed the space into one that was uniquely hers, while still preserving the rustic charm that drew her to the property, the kitchen quickly became a topic of consideration. To remodel or not to remodel?

The Before

Working her way through updates in the home, Kortney updated the countertops from a tile mosaic island and laminate perimeter cabinets to stunning new quartz, which then drew more attention to the doors looking dated. Since she had just purchased new counters, it seemed wasteful to rip everything out and redesign the kitchen!

After discussing the possibilities that cabinet refacing created in this project, updating the cabinet doors with Nieu was the exact concept she was looking for to make the space feel elevated and cozy for herself and her family to enjoy. The layout didn’t change, but she wanted to create a space where people could gather and hangout while enjoying a weekend or getaway at the lake, and somewhere that felt more on-part with her overall design and style than the formerly “Aztech” looking mosaic tile and wooden cabinetry.

“I had liked a few kitchens on social media that I noticed were done by Nieu Cabinet Doors so they had already piqued my interest. When I bought my lakehouse I had invested a lot of time and energy into making decisions that would last for years to come as I plan to pass this house onto my kids so I was super intentional in the products I used.  I’m beyond thrilled with the outcome. The quality exceeded my expectations”

– Kortney Wilson, Designer

The Process: Cabinet Refacing

From measuring to ordering and installation, Kortney tackled this project DIY style!

A picture of a woman sitting on the kitchen countertop surrounded by grey cabinets.

Key Features

The renovated space is one that encourages you to cozy up with a cup of tea for a long chat, to gather around the island for a meal with friends and loved ones, or to relax and unwind while preparing a meal together. The huge island and built-in dining area encourages togetherness, and the updated space balances both fresh and updated with lake-house charm.

The design encompasses brass and black handles to tie the black countertops, grey cabinetry and light perimeter cabinets together while the shiplap and wood panelled ceiling envelop you into a rustic retreat.

“It was such a win to find such beautifully made cabinet doors to help modernize my lakehouse kitchen while reducing my carbon footprint on this renovation.  I’m so grateful that I didn’t have to just gut it all and start from scratch but that the result looks like I did just that.” 

– Kortney Wilson, Designer
An image of a woman sitting on the kitchen counter surrounded by grey cabinets and white countertops.

Design Elements

The warm tile floor and cozy beams and skylights were strong design anchors for the kitchen. Perimeter cabinets used a light quartz countertop while the island is grounded with a dark counter. Black & brass two-toned handles add to the striking look.

Kortney used the Angela Rose Slim Shaker cabinet doors in Sherwin Williams Westchester Gray (SW2849) to bring her design to life!

A kitchen with grey cabinets, white countertops and a sink in front of a window.

Project Cost

Updating the cabinet doors with Nieu cost only $4,700 compared to the cost, time, and inconvenience of a kitchen remodel! The original character and layout of the kitchen was kept intact, while indulging in some modern updates and finishes. Cabinet refacing typically saves up to 60% of the cost of a remodel!

A woman wearing a white blouse and hat stands in front of a kitchen island surrounded by grey cabinetry.
A woman in a red checkered dress leaning on a kitchen island surrounded by barstools, grey cabinetry and tile flooring.

“I was thrilled to partner with Nieu Cabinet Doors on my lakehouse kitchen. The entire process was so much easier than gutting an entire kitchen.  From measuring to install, I’m a pretty happy camper with the results. I can also see a boatload of people in there making memories for years to come.”

– Kortney Wilson, Designer

Face Framed Cabinets: Increase Overlay to Reduce Reveal

Face Framed Cabinets: Increase Overlay to Reduce Reveal

“How can I make my cabinet doors bigger?” “I want the doors to almost touch”.  If you’ve asked these questions and thought you need to rip out your cabinets to achieve these goals – stop and read this blog that will teach you How-To!

Increasing cabinet door sizes to reduce the amount of frame showing is an easy process that any homeowner can tackle. Older framed kitchens usually show a lot of the cabinet face frame when the doors are closed. Many homeowners seeking a more modern look want to increase the size of the cabinet doors so that less frame is showing.

Key Terms for Face Framed Cabinets

Before we go through the steps to hide cabinet frames with larger doors, we’ll review some important terms around increasing your cabinet door size to reduce the amount of reveal.

Reveal

The amount of face frame showing when the cabinet door is closed, sometimes called by DIY newbies the “gaps” around your doors. Reducing the amount of reveal is the goal for a sleeker, more modern cabinet look.

A picture of a bathroom vanity showing outdated cabinet doors and an arrow pointing to the cabinet hinge.
The arrow indicated the large reveal on these framed cabinets.

Door Overlay

The amount of frame that is covered by the cabinet doors is known as the overlay of the door on the cabinet frame. In older cabinets, the overlay is typically ½” meaning the door overlays the cabinet frame by 1/2’” on all 4 sides.

A bathroom vanity without cabinet doors with red highlight around the cabinet openings showing where the doors should sit when installed.
The red outline indicated the placement of half overlay doors on this vanity.

Hinge Overlay

Concealed soft close hinges are made for specific overlays. The overlay of your cabinet doors needs to match the overlay of the hinge you are using. Manufacturers make soft close concealed hinges in a variety of overlays, the most common being ½”, ¾”, 1”, 1 1/4”, 1 9/16”. The overlay measured for the hinge side of the door needs match the overlay of the hinge you will use. It helps to think of a door as having 2 sides; the hinge side and the handle side. The overlay on the hinge side needs to match the hinge, while the overlay on the handle side can vary depending on application.

A cabinet door divided into two with a vertical line showing labels for the hinge side and handle side of the door.
Handle vs. hinge side on a cabinet door.

Frame Width

The first step in determining the size of your new door is to measure the width of the face frame that the door will sit on. The width of the frame will determine how much overlay you can add to a cabinet opening and how much frame you can cover. A typical full overlay is 1/8” to ¼” less than the frame width.

A closeup of a measuring tape against a cabinet frame.
Measuring your face frame width will determine the overlay of door you can measure.

Inside Frame Dimensions

Also referred to as “cabinet opening” or “ICW – Inside Cabinet Width”, these measurements are taken by measuring the width and height of the cabinet opening from the inside edge of the cabinet frame. Make sure these measurements are exact to the nearest 1/16 of an inch.

Measuring for Larger Cabinet Doors in 5 Steps

Step 1: Measure Frame Width

Measure the width of the frame that the door will mount to on all four sides. The frame width will most likely be the same on all sides, but it is important to double check.

In some cases, a single frame may have a left door and a right door mounted to it, this is known as a “shared frame”. In this case, each door will share half of the width of the frame. For example, if the frame is 3” wide, each door is allocated 1-1/2” of that frame.

Step 2: Determine Hinge Overlay

Using your frame width, you can now select the correct hinge overlay for your project. A good rule of thumb is to select the hinge overlay that is a minimum of 1/8” less than your frame width. For example, if your frame width is 1 1/8” your ideal overlay hinge would be 1”. This allows for a 1/4” gap between doors which gives enough clearance for the doors to open without touching.

Step 3: Calculate Door Width

Use the hinge overlay and the Inside Cabinet Dimensions to determine the door width.

For a single door cabinet with an opening with of 12” and the 1” overlay described above, the door calculations would be as follows;

12” opening + 1” overlay on hinge side of door + 1” overlay on handle side of door = 14” door width

For a double door cabinet (large opening with 2 doors on it) with an opening of 30”, the math is;

30” divided by 2 doors = 15”.

15” plus 1” overlay on hinge side only of door = 16”.

16” less 1/16” = 15-15/16” wide door for each door (you will order a quantity of two)

Why deduct 1/16”? Deducting 1/16” from the handle side of the door after the overlay is added ensures that the doors won’t touch in the middle when they are closed. By deducting 1/16” from each door you are actually allowing for a 1/8” gap between the doors which is ideal.

Step 4: Calculate Door Height

The height of your doors depends on the amount of frame you want to cover. You can choose to add the same amount of overlay to the height of the doors as the width, or you can make the height overlay whatever looks best for your cabinet.

In this example, the height of the cabinet face from the underside of the countertop to the bottom of the frame was 25-1/4”. Allowing for a 3/16” gap between the top of the door and the underside of the countertop meant the doors were made at 25-1/16” high to completely cover the face frame.

An image showcasing a full overlay cabinet door on a face framed cabinet.
A visual demonstration of door height on framed cabinet to cover the cabinet face frame.

Drawer Above Door

When a base cabinet has both a door and a drawer front, ensure that you allow for a minimum 1/8” gap between the top of the door and the bottom of the drawer face.

The width of drawer fronts should be calculated in the same way as doors. Although there is no hinge to match overlay to, by using the same overlay as the doors you will ensure a consistent amount of reveal throughout the project. Remember, if a drawer is located above a door, the width of the drawer and door should be the same so that they line up.

Step 5: Double Check

Before spending hundreds, maybe thousands on new cabinet doors, its important to double check your measurements to ensure that you are achieving the look you want and that your newly sized doors will fit properly. Doors that are slightly undersize may be workable, but doors that are too large may be unusable.

The best method for double checking requires green painter’s tape and patience. With the existing cabinet doors removed from your cabinet, use your painter’s tape to layout the newly measured width and height of the cabinet doors as you have measured. Taking the time to do this ensures that your doors are sized correctly to cover the amount of face frame desired, while ensuring they won’t overlap or touch each other when closed. This can take a bit of time in a large kitchen but is time well spent compared to the cost of doors that were measured incorrectly.

Painter's tape covers the face frames of a bathroom vanity as a double check of dimensions prior to ordering.
Double checking your measurements with painter’s tape is a great visual check!

In Conclusion

Achieving a full overlay look on a framed cabinet is an easy DIY project that is doable by any homeowner with a little how-to knowledge and some patience. Correct measurements are the key to success, so be sure to double check your measurements for accuracy!

An updated bathroom vanity complete with full overlay doors on face framed cabinets.
After: Full Overlay Cabinet Doors on an updated bathroom vanity.

As Seen on The Drew Barrymore Show

As Seen on The Drew Barrymore Show

The Drew Barrymore Show took on their biggest makeover yet transforming the kitchen and main floor of Victoria Osei, a nurse and mother of four to enhance the flow and functionality of her space while providing a bright and cheery place for her family to gather. Check it out below!

Kitchen Transformation

The kitchen makeover featured a full scale remodel of the kitchen to improve the flow of space, and completely transformed the dated cabinetry and appliance placement. The kitchen serves as a place to gather, entertain, and give back to the community, and the Design by Drew incorporated Nieu doors in the Slim Shaker Style, in Winter White.


Kitchen Remodel Tips: Where to Save vs. Splurge

Kitchen Remodel Tips: Where to Save vs. Splurge

A kitchen remodel can get expensive! Many homeowners spend tens of thousands of dollars on their kitchen remodel just to make basic changes. If you’re on a tight renovation budget and want to get the most out of your remodel, it’s important to know where to save vs. splurge.

By spending money on big-ticket items, and saving money where it doesn’t need to be spent, you can get the most bang for your buck – and the highest ROI if you decide to sell your house. Here’s what you need to know. 

Save on Cabinet Boxes 

Semi custom cabinets can cost as much as $650 per linear foot. That kind of cost could break your kitchen renovation budget quickly. Fortunately, you can save money by purchasing budget kitchen cabinets from a supplier like IKEA. The less you spend on the cabinet boxes, the more you’ll have to spend on the custom cabinet fronts.

Don’t want to buy new cabinet boxes at all? Use the existing cabinets in your kitchen, but remove the doors from your lower and upper cabinets. Old cabinetry often has perfectly good cabinet boxes and can be made-over with new doors or paint.

Splurge on Custom Fronts

By installing new custom fronts on your cabinetry boxes, you can achieve the look of custom cabinetry and save a lot of money at the same time. High quality fronts can make your cabinets look brand-new and high-end. Work with a custom cabinet door supplier to purchase cabinet doors that you’ll love for years to come.  

Scandia doors in Sweetly Sage took this kitchen from dated to contemporary.

Save on Painting (Do it DIY!)

Painting your walls and cabinets yourself is one way that you can reduce the cost of your kitchen remodel without sacrificing value. Apply a fresh coat to your walls and new paint to your cabinets to make them stand out! 

Remember to use a  semi gloss paint on your kitchen walls to make them easy to clean – and semi gloss or glossy on the ceilings. Newly painted cabinets look great, but over time, paint can chip if the paint isn’t applied correctly. Be sure to prep the cabinet surfaces to ensure that the paint is long-lasting and durable. 

Splurge on Stainless Steel Appliances

New appliances like the dishwasher, refrigerator and stove are all important parts of the kitchen. For high efficiency and longevity, buy high-quality appliances. Look for the ENERGY STAR rating before making a purchase. 

Stainless steel appliances are popular with home buyers right now, so if you’re planning to sell your home soon, leave room in your renovation budget for attractive appliances that will make your kitchen stand out.  

Save by Using Existing Layout

Homeowners spend a lot of money updating their kitchen designs. Moving appliances and plumbing from one location to another requires invasive changes that can cost a lot of money. Unless you’re seeking a perfect work triangle or a brand-new kitchen design, you can save money and reduce cost by using your existing layout.

Leaving your existing cabinets, kitchen island and appliances where they are, you can potentially save thousands of dollars. If you’re seeking a more efficient kitchen triangle, talk to your contractor about smaller changes to improve your efficiency, like swapping appliance locations within your existing layout. 

Splurge on Quartz Countertops

For many homeowners, installing new countertops is one of the best parts of the kitchen remodel. While granite countertops and marble countertops are popular for their natural properties, quartz countertops are the new king of the kitchen.

These low-maintenance countertops are designed to last. Unlike other types of stone like granite and marble countertops, they require no sealing. They’re naturally stain-resistant and need only to be cleaned regularly in order to look and perform their best. If you hope to entertain guests after your new kitchen renovation, quartz countertops will make you proud to host guests in your home. 

Anika of Anika’s DIY Life explains steps to properly prep your cabinetry for long lasting paint results.

Know Where to Save Vs. Splurge on Your Kitchen Remodeling Ideas? Get Started Today

Your kitchen makeover doesn’t need to break your budget. Get started on your kitchen remodel with low cost, high impact changes. Remove some upper cabinets for decorative shelving to make your space feel larger, or buy new fronts for outdated cabinets.

Stay tuned for future renovation and decorating ideas to help create your dream home.


IKEA is a registered trademark of Inter-IKEA Systems B.V. and is not affiliated with Nieu Cabinet Doors.