Hardware is the jewellery of the kitchen and commitment issues are common, especially with so much choice on the market. Here are a few dos and a couple of don’ts to help you accessorize with panache.
Do stick with the style of the cabinet. If your doors and drawers have flat fronts (also known as slab doors) with no inset panels or framing, choose a simple bar, streamlined finger pull, or round knob with or without a backplate. If your cabinets have Shaker-style doors and drawers with a recessed panel in the centre, I’d steer you toward classic options such as cup (or bin) pulls, pulls with exposed mounting hardware, oval knobs, and vintage-inspired latches. If budget is an issue, try wooden knobs painted to match the cabinets for an in-demand English look, though keep in mind that anything painted requires touch-ups.
Do switch up the type of hardware, using a combo of pulls and knobs. Longer bar-style pulls are best for wide, lower drawers filled with heavy pots and pans, while knobs work nicely on upper cabinet doors. Keep the finish for all hardware in the same family to maintain a cohesive look, but don’t worry about matching to your appliances or faucet. Embrace the mix! Different metals throughout the kitchen look more authentic and interesting than only cool or warm metals.
Do be mindful of scale and shop with measurements handy. The ideal length for a drawer pull is about one-third of the drawer’s width. So, for your largest drawers measuring more than 30 inches wide, choose a pull that’s between 8 and 10 inches long and mount it in the centre of the panel. If you want more of a “furniture” look for your lower drawers, split the difference with two 4-inch pulls centred in their respective third of the drawer’s width.
Don’t get too clever. Yes, there are some very cool leather- or raffia-wrapped handles on the market, but those are designed for light-duty work (think: front hall consoles or bedroom dressers) and won’t hold up to the multiple touches and messy realities of everyday kitchen life.
Don’t let your hardware say, “I’ve given up.” I confess there’s one style of pull on my never-ever list: those rounded, brushed-stainless bars. I’ve seen them turn up in rentals, new builds, house flips, and even century-home renovations when they have no business being there. These pulls are the prepandemic sweatpants of the cabinet-hardware world. With so many great options available, why settle? Take the time to find something well-crafted, unique and best suited to the style of your space.
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