Once you dig into the details, you’re going to find a slew of cabinet knob and pull options.
Hardware is important because you’ll be looking at, and touching your kitchen cabinet pulls and knobs every time you access a cabinet. This is why you want to make the right choice out of the gate. Hardware is a micro design with a macro impact.
First and foremost you must determine what cabinets you want to purchase. Then you need to narrow down the hardware you want to add.
There are two common approaches to help you with this decision.
If you’re making decisions solely on resale, you may want to consider hardware finishes including satin nickel, chrome and bronze. You’ll need to base this ultimately on your kitchen faucet finish and style.
We recommend you visit a specialty showroom like the Edge Showroom because you’ll find a slew of choices outside the mainstream and you can get our expert designer’s help for free. No charge whatsoever by clicking here.
The Edge Showroom features all types of knobs including glass knobs, swirly knobs, modern knobs, and others. These are knobs and pulls you won’t find at a big box or hardware stores, and ours feature the best style and workmanship. The average kitchen has 20-40 knobs, so you might want to make yours unique.
While the material choices and detailing are endless, there are a few core common styles that you’ll see over and over again.
Let’s discuss them briefly.
STREAMLINE MODERNE PULLS
This is hardware inspired by the high-speed rails and gorgeous ships of the art deco era. They are seen in the architecture and furnishings of the mid-1930s. They use curved, slender, and often horizontal lines.
They are a natural for modern cabinetry and often come in stainless steel, which means it’s an excellent choice to go with dark stained wood. You will often see this hardware in nautical-themed rooms as well.
We also recommend it for your appliance handles such as your stove and refrigerator.
This hardware works great with modern, contemporary, art deco, and transitional styles.
These are sturdy, glamorous pulls that complement many styles of cabinetry.
Linear flat bar pulls underscore the contemporary feel of the kitchen. Oversized pulls eliminate the need for two pulls on a wide drawer.
You should use two knobs or pulls on drawers that are 18” or wider. Or you could opt for super-wide pulls, where one is enough.
Personal preference dictates how long your bar pulls should be. Many designers recommend keeping them 2/3 to 3/4 of the width of the drawer. Purchase a few knobs and pulls, and bring them home and try them out before replacing your entire kitchen’s hardware.
Bar pulls are also a great utilitarian choice for flat-panel cabinets.
These pulls typically come in stainless steel. You’ll also find them in satin nickel, as well as black, and polished brass. Please note that shiny finishes, such as chrome or brass, will show scratches.
Pulls are also easier for the elderly to use than knobs. A pull will allow seniors to use their whole hand instead of just their fingertips.
Bar pulls are great for modern kitchens. They also have a jazzy, updated feel to shaker-style, five-piece recessed panel doors.
Bar pulls provide a secure grip and streamlined appearance. The larger formats have a tendency to stand out more. They’re a great choice good if you like a pristine, unfussy look, and they work well with modern, minimalist, contemporary, traditional, transitional, and shaker styles.
These are an upside-down, cup-shaped pull, popularized in the mid-19th century.
Bin/cup pulls are a popular choice for kitchens that feature a minimalist, vintage feel.
Shaker cabinets originally used maple, cherry, and pine wood pegs, to keep with their preference for simplicity and austerity. Bin/cup drawer pulls are considered the shaker style today, as they’re clean and understated along with small knobs for the doors.
Bin pulls and knobs come in a variety of finishes.
Black is a great color choice for the bin pulls.
When choosing these knobs, hold them up against various finishes to see which color looks best. You may have seen a photo of a knob you love in polished brass, but with a different cabinet door color than the ones you actually own.
Bin pulls come in almost infinite other finishes as well, including chrome, oil-rubbed bronze, cast iron, and brass.
They’re easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to mix with a variety of cabinet styles. They tend to work best for traditional styles.
Bin pulls are a great choice if your drawers are heavy, because these are strong, workable pulls. They work great with shaker, traditional, vintage, country, and eclectic styles.
WINDOW SASH PULLS
These pulls are based on window sash fittings, designed to lift heavy windows in the early 1900s during the transitional period.
Black hardware tends to look great against white wood and subway tiles.
Window sash pulls date back to an old-fashioned era when window fittings were smooth and simple, with softly rounded handles.
Many are industrial-feeling, blending colonial and arts/crafts. They come in a wide variety of finishes. And don’t feel your knobs must match all the finishes in your kitchen. Feel free to mix things up. Just don’t mix the knobs and hinges on the same door, as they need to be coordinated so one doesn’t detract from the other.
These pulls are easy to grip (with a full grip) and very nostalgic. And they work well with styles such as traditional, arts and crafts, colonial, country, and vintage.
These are artsy knobs with personality and a theme.
Novelty knobs are perfect for bringing a great, personalized look to an otherwise mundane kitchen. Some of these knobs are simply used as a reminder to people not to take themselves too seriously. They’re just plain fun and goofy.
These knobs provide one of those small touches that can really make a room.
Novelty knobs bring a dash of drama to the kitchen. They’re not always easy to grab. And also keep in mind that these knob styles can be overdone if too many are used in one space.
They’re great for you if you like expressing personality and taking chances in your decor. And they work best with basic, plain cabinetry, in modern, traditional, and contemporary styles. This way they get plenty of attention.
These are back pieces that are under a knob, lying flat against the door.
Expect to pay a bit more for a knob with a back plate, as opposed to a knob alone.
The back plate protects your finish from fingernail scratches, while also giving a more substantial feel to the knob.
Back plates are often every ornate, making it much harder to clean around the details.
They’re a great choice if you want a high impact look that underscores the style you’ve chosen, such as a stylized European, Asian or Victorian theme.
Back plates work very well with Mediterranean, Tuscan, Victorian, Asian, traditional, eclectic, vintage, Gothic, and Edwardian styles.
These are two-piece handles with a mounted portion and a dangling pull.
Drop handles make built-ins look more like furniture.
A dangling ring is the most common style. They do work in other shapes and styles as well.
If you have small toddlers, drop handles are a great choice as they’re harder for kids to open.
Drop handles will give a furniture feel to kitchen cabinetry.
They’re not as easy to open as standard pulls, so they can be somewhat frustrating if you’re in a hurry. Also, depending on the handles you choose, they can scratch the cabinets over time.
They’re a great choice if you’re trying to dress up plain-looking cabinets. They work great with any style. Just use modern handles on modern cabinets, Victorian handles on Victorian cabinets and so on.
Glass knobs are relatively inexpensive, while being flashy knobs.
They’re usually small.
Octagonal and fluted glass knobs became an affordable luxury during the great depression era.
Keep in mind that center-placed knobs appear to be below center when viewed from above, so place them just slightly above center on lower cabinets.
Glass knobs can add a touch of sparkle or formality to your kitchen. Also, a glass knob is usually less expensive than a larger handle and far quicker to install.
Many are carved or fluted, so they can be difficult to clean.
Glass knobs are a great choice if you like classic simplicity with a bit of bling. They work great with vintage, eclectic, contemporary, traditional, and country styles.
These are streamlined pulls built right into the cabinet door facings.
They have to be planned for prior to choosing your cabinets. They’re a great choice in a high-traffic, galley kitchen, where clothes could snag on knobs that stick out.
Recessed pulls feature smooth lines that don’t snag clothes. They do take more effort to reach in and pull than regular knobs.
One drawback is that they can’t easily be switched to a different style later, if you decide to change your decor.
They’re a great choice if you’re buying new cabinets or replacing your doors. That way you can purchase them upfront.
Recessed pulls work great with minimalist, modern, and contemporary styles.
These knob systems feature vertical rods that slide to lock.
If you go with these bolts, make sure your hinges match.
They are amazing conversation pieces, style statements, even fun to utilize.
They are great if you want a look of architectural integrity, you like gadgets, and you have a large budget for cabinet hardware.
Cremone bolts are a great choice if you add a single statement piece on a stand-alone cabinet.
They work great with vintage, antique, colonial, eclectic, and country styles.
Oversized pulls are art objects as much as pulls.
They draw a ton of attention, so choose the perfect style.
You can search salvage yards for antique pulls. Don’t be afraid to spring for the few knobs you’ll need. If you can’t find this sort of door detailing, you can create a similar effect by placing a medallion behind each knob in the center of your doors.
Look for anti-twist pins to keep the knob from spinning (in fact, do this with any round knob).
Oversized pulls are great for putting your personal stamp on your decor. They will really add an element of surprise and panache to your kitchen.
Keep in mind that this look can be overdone. The pulls can also be tricky for youngsters to use.
They’re a great choice for you if you have cabinet doors that can open easily with a center-mounted pull.
Oversized pulls work great with eclectic, country, Mediterranean, Tuscan, contemporary, and vintage styles.
Hopefully you learned quite a bit about pulls and knobs.
Feel free to stop into Builder Supply Outlet or the Edge Showroom with any home improvement questions you may have regarding cabinet hardware, bathroom vanity sinks, tops, remodeling, tile, backsplash, cleaning, sealing, grout, windows, kitchen cabinets, construction, contractors, designing/installing a new kitchen or bathroom — or anything else. We can help you through the entire design and installation process from A-Z. Or call us anytime in Broadview, IL at 1-708-343-3900 or in Orland Park, IL at 1-844-876-3343. You can also make an appointment to meet with one of our Edge Kitchen and Bathroom designers at no charge by clicking here.