Selecting and Installing Cabinet Hardware


Selecting appropriately sized knobs and pulls for your cabinets:

Quite often, knobs and pulls are one of the last items selected and installed in a kitchen or bath remodel. Knobs and pulls are both decorative and functional Their placement can affect the overall look of the room and can affect the performance of opening and closing a drawer or door. For example, installing a knob or pull too close to a hinge location can make it difficult to open a drawer or door. Properly selecting a knob or pull size, and installing them in an appropriate location will not only enhance the overall look of the kitchen or bath, it will also look and function as if it were professionally done.

Knob or Pull Selection:
When selecting your knobs and pulls, consider how many varying sized drawers and doors you have. For example, a large kitchen with many custom cabinets may mean that you have many different sized drawers and doors. In this case, consider a line of cabinet hardware which has available a variety of sizes in the style and finish you like. This way, you will be able to create a cohesive look and not have any hardware which looks too large or too small according to the size of the drawer or door. Whether you use pulls or knobs is purely preference. You can mix knobs with pulls so as long as they are within the same design family. Keeping the same finish throughout is preferred but you can mix in some cases. For example, You may want glass knobs mixed with some brass pulls. Glass knobs typically have a brass seat so make sure to select the same finish for the seat as the pulls you select. Consider ordering samples in advance. It may be worth your time.

There really isn’t a rule of thumb for this. It is mostly visual. Much has to do with the size of the drawer or door and the actual design of the cabinet drawer or door. For example a drawer or door without any stiles (side and top rails) will have a flush surface and you may be able to select something a bit larger. Cabinet drawer or door designs may have a large, wide or narrow stile and this can affect the size selection as well. The visual examples below are reference points only. You will see that some examples do not look appropriately sized. Also, you will see that a large drawer with a single small knob in the center may not look (or function) nicely as well.

Knob or Pull Placement:
Cabinet knobs and pulls are typically installed between 2-1/2 and 3 inches from the corner of the cabinet doors furthest from the hinges. For upper cabinets, this is the lower corner; on base cabinets, this is the upper corner. Knobs and pulls installed on a kitchen drawer front are typically centered in the middle of the drawer, both top-down and side-to-side. However, some people prefer that a pull be installed bias to the top a bit. For wide drawers consider 2 knobs or 2 pulls separated comfortably. Despite these rules, there’s some room for variance, particularly depending on personal preference of the homeowner and how they look. Oversized knobs or pulls may look better placed lower down on a cabinet, or geometric knobs that mirror the lines of the cabinet might work better placed slightly closer or further from the edge.

Knob or Pull Installation:
For new cabinets, DO NOT pre-drill holes for your hardware before receiving your hardware.

This is for 2 reasons:
1) You may find that you do not like the hardware you have ordered or the sizing just isn’t quite right.

2) Oak Park Home & Hardware sells many handcrafted cabinet knobs and pulls It is inherent in handcrafted products, that they are not precise.

Handcrafted pulls may have center to center dimensions that
vary 1/32” to 1/8” from piece to piece. Handcrafted knobs may have centers drilled 1/32” to 1/16” off center from piece to piece as well.

Make a template or purchase a template:
You can make your own paper template and position it at the corner of the drawer or door with clearly marked drill hole locations. You can also purchase a cabinet hardware template which will have a wide variety of center to center sizes as well as drill hole sizes. Templates are typically see through plastic and can be used multiple times.

Drill the Holes:
Once you know where you want the handles or knobs to be installed, holes need to be drilled for them. Use a drill bit that is the same size as the screws being used with the knob or pull. Drill from the front of the cabinet toward the back. Hold the drill level and drill very slowly, without a lot of pressure placed on the cabinet. This will keep the drill from splintering the back of the door as it pushes through. Make sure to use a sharp drill bit and go slowly. You do not want to chip the wood around the hole.

Install the Knobs and Pulls:
The knob hardware itself is held in place on the front of the door while the screws are inserted into the hole in the door from the back. While most knobs and handles come with screws, if your doors are very thick or very thin, you may want to get new screws so your pulls fit properly. Screw from the back into the pull or knob until it is snug against the door and doesn't rotate when you attempt to turn it. The screw head should be flush to the backside of the door.

Oak Park Home & Hardware has been offering cabinet hardware online since 2001. Although we specialize in Craftsman and Tudor style hardware, we also offer hundreds of cabinet hardware in contemporary
styles. We are always available to assist in your selections. Contact us about possible volume discounts on large orders.