How to choose stylish kitchen hardware for the best overall design of your space.
A kitchen is often the most important room in your home. Not only for its practicality purposes, but also as a hub for conversation and fostering relationships. Your kitchen is the ultimate venue and gathering place for all of your favorite people to meet and enjoy each other's company.
But as any homeowner knows, a kitchen can also be one of the most overwhelming spaces to design. A key element in creating a functional and aesthetically pleasing kitchen is determining the right hardware choice to impact the overall look. Whether you're a first-time homeowner or a seasoned designer, let me help elevate your kitchen's style and functionality with these top 7 tips for choosing kitchen hardware.
7 Best Tips for Choosing Kitchen Hardware
Whatever your personal preference is for style, there are a lot of factors to consider when picking your kitchen cabinet hardware. Here are the top 7 factors that you should consider when doing a kitchen renovation or even building a brand new kitchen.
It's very important to consider the size of your hardware when compared to how large your cabinet doors and drawers may be. For example, you wouldn't want small knobs on a large drawer because then it is difficult to open. Likewise, overwhelmingly huge drawer pulls would look incredibly silly on a teeny cabinet.
A good rule of thumb to go by when considering your drawer pulls, is to go with the ⅓ rule. When choosing a pull size for a horizontal drawer, you would choose a pull to measure approximately ⅓ of the total width of the drawer. And for pulls on kitchen cabinets, you would choose hardware that is ⅓ of the total length vertically. This is a suggested general rule to think about if you are having trouble deciding.
Cabinet knobs are fairly standard and range from about 1-2 inches in diameter, but you can find some that are oversized.
Whether you love traditional kitchens or a more contemporary look, make sure you decide where you want the visual interest to be in your kitchen space. Do you want your cabinet pulls to be a focal point and stand out? Or do you want your hardware to blend in while your cabinetry or other design features become the main focus?
It's a good idea to decide where you want your focus to be before you make a final decision on any type of hardware. Plan out the different options for design and color palette well before you make any purchases.
Kitchen Hardware Finishes
There are many different types of hardware finishes, but in general, these are the most common you will find:
- Gold - more common now for a modern look, mid-century style
- Matte black hardware - a great choice for modern feel or industrial, clean lines, timeless
- Brass - trending along with gold finishes, warmer tones
- Oil-rubbed bronze - seen in a traditional style kitchen, rustic or vintage look
- Chrome finish - a shiny look, durable, also timeless, cooler looking metal, can leave finger prints
- Brushed nickel - timeless
- Copper - shiny, a popular choice in the past few years
- Stainless steel - durable and neutral, classic, cooler tones
If you want to make a statement, pairing contrasting dark and light colors is a good way to do that. In my new kitchen, I opted for black cabinet hardware against white cabinets in our white kitchen. This makes a bold statement. You can also do something similar with dark wood or painted cabinets and choosing lighter metal hardware. It all depends on the look of your kitchen.
Coordinating Fixtures With the Right Finish
One option for choosing the right finish is to match kitchen hardware to light fixtures or to the style of your kitchen faucet and then stick with that throughout the space. This makes for an easy step in deciding hardware, especially if you are feeling conflicted about what finish to go with.
Another option is to simply mix and match metals. It is a popular style to choose two different types of metals for your hardware and fixtures. Combining two different finishes allows for more depth and character across the room, creating a more modern kitchen design. A couple tips for mixing metals:
- Limit yourself to two metals at a time. Mixing more metals leads to a clutter feeling and lacks a cohesive look.
- Don't mix metal finishes that are too similar.
- Stick with metals that provide a strong contrast, ie. black matte and chrome.
- Keep metals the same if they have the same function in a room. For example, if you have two different groups of cabinets, you would keep the finish the same for both instead of doing a different color for each.
This master bathroom started out with white walls and black fixtures. However, once I painted the walls I needed to change the hardware finish so that it wouldn't blend into the background. I painted my mirror frames and vanity lighting gold to match with the rest of the drawer fronts, but left other door hardware and fixtures in black matte.
The gold finishes in my bathroom blend really well with the white oak cabinet, but pops against the white cabinetry. I love the overall elegance with these hardware designs.
Practicality and Function
The most important factor when choosing new kitchen hardware is to make sure it is practical for your needs and functions of your space. Don't purchase hardware based on looks alone. Cabinet pulls and knobs should properly function in your space to get the most use out of them.
Don't buy cabinet knobs that are difficult to open, even if they do go with your chosen style. If you can't fit your fingers through a handle pull, perhaps you need to get a larger size or switch to knobs.
Kitchen Hardware Style
Fortunately, whether you prefer contemporary kitchens or something a little more traditional, there are options for everyone when it comes to stylish kitchen hardware. Modern knobs and pulls tend to have sleek designs and straight edges while traditional can be more gaudy or with intricate designs.
- Smaller and compact
- More common for upper cabinets and small drawers
- Usually more affordable
- More traditional, draw less attention to cabinets
- More common on lower cabinets and large drawers
- An all pull look is more modern
- Edge pulls are slim handles that rest on the top of the cabinet - they are a minimalist design that is popular in modern kitchens
Round knobs are on all the doors in the bottom corners. I chose not to use knobs on the top small doors to create more of an elongated visual extending all the way to the ceiling.
Here is another example in my parents' new kitchen. My mom used champagne gold hardware that blends really well with the cabinets. She chose knobs for the top cabinets and one large handle for the bigger drawers. She used handles everywhere except for the top cabinets.
The sink fixture matches all of the cabinetry knobs and pulls.
Price and durability go hand in hand for kitchen hardware. Don't spend money on something that will fall apart within a few months. Do your research to find quality products that won't cost a fortune. Ideally, you want something to withstand longevity that's affordable and also stylish.
In our last home, I used square oil-rubbed knobs in our farmhouse kitchen. While I love the look of the square shape, these square knobs did not stay straight and were always moving. This is not ideal for aesthetically pleasing kitchen hardware.
Make sure you choose hardware that will be durable and last. If it means spending a little more on hardware that you won't have to replace any time soon, do it.
Choosing the Perfect Kitchen Hardware
Choosing the right hardware for your kitchen may seem like a small detail, but it can make a big impact on the overall design and functionality of the space. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can confidently choose hardware that complements your style and budget. As the saying goes, "a little attention to detail can go a long way," and this sentiment certainly holds true in the world of kitchen hardware.
So take the time to carefully consider your options and make the best choice for your unique kitchen. And as always, don't be afraid to get creative and try something new. You may just discover a hidden gem that adds that extra touch of charm to your beloved kitchen. Remember, the right hardware can turn a good kitchen into a great one.
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