How to Choose Pulls or Knobs for Your Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

Pulls or Knobs? That is the big question when you’re redoing your kitchen cabinets. How do you make the right choice? Choosing cabinet handles sounds easy but if you want to guarantee long-term satisfaction, then there are a lot of factors to look at. Here are some of the factors so you can settle the debate and choose something you’ll love!

1. The Ideal Kitchen Cabinet is Comfortable to Use

Comfort is not often something that is considered when it comes to kitchen cabinet design but where your satisfaction is concerned, it should be a primary consideration. As you are searching for a knob style or handles that you like, try out as many varieties as you possibly can. Ask yourself a series of questions as you search:

  • Do the knobs or pulls fit your hand nicely? Or are they too big? Too small?
  • Are sharp edges uncomfortable? Would you rather have something sleek and square or rounded and smooth? Keep in mind that you’ll be using the hardware many, many times each day as you accomplish kitchen tasks.
  • If you would like pulls, do the handles sit far enough from the cabinet that you can comfortably slide your fingers underneath them?
  • Are you going to catch your clothes or a fingernail on them?

Keep these questions in mind so that the hardware you choose doesn’t end up being a hassle to use.

2. What Shape Knobs or Pulls?

Once you’ve worked out which types of hardware are comfortable to use, it’ll be time to start thinking about shapes in relation to the shape of your cabinetry. In general, knob and pull styles should be matched to kitchen cabinet styles. What this means is if you have selected a plain cabinet style, for example, shaker or flat, ultra-modern doors, then you’ll want square, plain hardware to match — perhaps something like Emtek’s brass bar knob or a similar style. Recessed panel doors or doors with curving and intricate trim will often do well with more ornate hardware styles.

3. Choosing the Right Color and Finish

There are a couple of ways to go about choosing the right color and finish. One school of thought advises you to choose based on the color and finish of the kitchen’s faucet. Given that most faucets are either silver or brass in color, this advice can be limiting, especially if you have your eye on stone knobs or another finish that is not common in faucet design.

If you don’t want to match to your faucet, then think about some of the other components in your kitchen. For example, if you have a black stone countertop, then antiqued metal or even satin black knobs could help tie the room together. Alternatively, base your color and finish choice on the cabinets themselves: Dark hardware to match dark wood or light hardware as a contrast. Choose more rustic finishes like antiqued or hammered metal to go with traditional cabinetry or go with sleek brushed metal for a more modern look.

4. Keep an Eye on Cost

Most knobs and pulls are only a few dollars apiece but when you consider the sheer number that you’ll need, those costs add up fast. For each standard lower cabinet with two doors and one drawer, you’ll need three pieces of hardware — and two more knobs or pulls for the matching upper cabinet doors. With that in mind, here are a couple of factors to consider:

  • A plain knob or pull in a simple material like porcelain will be cheaper. The cost goes up as designs, finishes and materials become more complex.
  • Knobs are generally cheaper than pulls by a dollar or two. If you see a pull style that you love but want to save a bit of money, consider finding the matching knob style so that you can mix and match hardware types while keeping the hardware style consistent.

Hardware choices are surprisingly complex but with these factors in mind, you’ll be able to narrow the selection down and find the ideal knob or pull style for your kitchen!