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How To Choose The Handles For Your Kitchen Cabinets

There are as many choices for kitchen cabinet hardware as there are designers of custom modern kitchen cabinets.

But you don’t have to get bogged down in confusion when making your choices as long as you go with what your decor is reflecting or by using your own creativity. No one says everything has to be of the same materials or even the same patterns. It’s your kitchen — your space — you have the licence to choose whatever suits your tastes.

New kitchen cabinets rarely ever come with handles or hardware. You, as the homeowner, are given that choice. Here are some tips for making that decision a simple one:


If you like the sleek, clean lines of a contemporary kitchen, your best bet is to go with streamlined handles or knobs. Rectangular shapes and matte finish look fresh and crisp, lending a modern look to your sleek cabinets.

Giving some pause to the colour scheme of your kitchen as well as to the style and colour of your appliances will help you choose the hardware for your custom modern kitchen cabinets. Finishes don’t have to match, but they should be complementary. For instance, you can marry brushed nickel and chrome or brass and bronze. If you have white cabinets, any colour handles will make them shine.

Some things to think about

Homeowners don’t often think about glass when choosing hardware for their kitchen cabinets, but it can be a beautiful addition to cupboards. They can be both stylish and a little glamorous. They’ll give your cupboards just a little extra sparkle and a little colour if you choose to go that route.

If you’re the type who doesn’t like to take too many risks decor-wise, you can never go wrong coordinating hardware finishes with appliance finishes. For instance, black handles or knobs on your custom modern kitchen cabinets would be terrific with black appliances just as pewter or brushed nickel would go with stainless steel appliances. One thing to note, if the hinges on cabinets are exposed, keep the same finish on the hardware.


Handles and knobs don’t have to have smooth finishes and they don’t have to be made of conventional materials. Handles can me made from anything from tin to wood to steel or you can turn things into handles or knobs. Shapes can also be mixed and matched. Use square handles on top cabinets and curved handles on the bottom.

Some homeowners have utilized materials like rope, rubber or crystal. Handles and hardware aren’t stationary, so you can change the look when you feel like giving your kitchen a new lease on life in a relatively inexpensive way.

Cost factor

Cabinet handles and knobs can cost as little or as much as your budget allows. You can repurpose items as handles or knobs for virtually no cost or you could spend upwards of $300 each for handles or pulls. But, with all the choices on the market, the good news is that there is something for every budget and style.

As an example, using $10 per cabinet handle or knob, here is an estimated cost of hardware.

  • Figure on a medium-sized kitchen having about 40 cabinet doors and drawers. A kitchen this size would cost about $400 to outfit with hardware.
  • A bigger kitchen with about 70 cabinet knobs and handles would cost about $700. And remember, that is using $10 per handle/knob as a guide.

For further consideration

Before making a final choice, you might want to think about:

  • Knobs vs. handles: Knobs are more difficult to pull than handles. So if any family members have a hard time grasping things with their hands, such as people with arthritis, handles are the better choice.
  • Comfort: There are cute looking knobs on the market in various shapes, but they aren’t practical when it comes to comfort and ease of opening. For instance, if your kitchen has a beach theme, installing starfish-shaped knobs on your cabinets may hurt when you’re trying to quickly open a door. You don’t want to get stabbed by your hardware.
  • Size: If your cabinets are large, you can choose larger handles or knobs. Conversely, small cabinets would look silly with oversized handles or knobs. Get more than you need. Styles won’t always be available on the market, so buying a few extras just in case would be a good idea.
  • Sample first: Take some samples home and try them on your cabinets. Make sure they look good and feel right. If you’re searching online, you’ll still be able to get some samples. If you purchase online and don’t sample first, make sure your supplier will refund your money if they don’t look as you hoped they would.

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