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May 27, 2021 6 min read


TO KNOBS OR TO PULLS...? THAT IS THE QUESTION

And what a great question it is! People want to know all about the cabinet hardware placement and what goes where.

We know that cabinet hardware placement can be confusing, and we get asked about it all the time.

  • Do cabinets doors get pulls or knobs?
  • What about the drawers - should they be knobs or pulls?
  • What if drawers have knobs? Can the cabinet doors have knobs too?
  • What if I want all pulls - can I do that?
  • I don't even know what to do with a cup pull!
Well, we have heard the cry and we are here to help!

 

Here is our how-to guide for choosing the type of hardware for the different applications in your kitchen.

Whether you are in need of hardware for your cabinet drawers, doors, islands or pull-outs, we hope that these inspirational ideas about cabinet hardware placement in your kitchen will get you pointed in the right direction.

 

FIRST - WHAT IS WHAT

Just so that we are all on the same page, let’s quickly define the three pieces of cabinet hardware that we are going to chit chat about...

If you already know all of this, you can just skip ahead....smarty pants!

A cabinet knob is a piece of cabinet hardware that attaches to your door or drawer through one hole. It can be round or square or t-bar, or oval, etc., but what really defines a cabinet knob is that it is attached by one screw and tends to be the smallest of the hardware family.

Round brushed brass cabinet knob

 

cabinet pull is sometimes called a cabinet handle or drawer pull, and it's function is in the name. They are used to pull open drawers and cabinet doors - hence the name. The cabinet pull is attached using two screws in two different holes.

Copper cabinet pull

 

A cup pull is sometimes called a bin pull, and it is similar to the cabinet pull where it is attached by two screws. However, it has a cup or half-moon shape.

Cabinet cup pull in oil rubbed bronze

 

 

So now that we know what is what, let’s figure out where to put them!

 

KEEPING THE TRADITION GOING

The standard in cabinet hardware placement has long since been that all of the cabinet doors have cabinet knobs and all of the drawers have cabinet pulls.

For this traditional cabinet hardware placement, all the drawers get a pull and all the cabinet doors get a knob.

 

Kitchen cabinet doors with knobs and kitchen drawers with pulls.

Photo: The warm wood floors and pretty white cabinets are accented by cabinet knobs on all of the upper cabinet doors and cabinet pulls on all of the lower drawers. The kitchen design is simplistic, functional and gorgeous!

 

THE REVERSE FLIP!

Now that we know what a 'traditional' cabinet hardware placement looks like, let's shake things up a bit. We call this look the reverse flip, and we are loving it!

Basically, the reverse flip is the traditional cabinet hardware placement - in reverse. In this design style, you would use knobs on drawers and then the kitchen cabinet pulls on doors

Functional and cohesive, the pulls on the upper cabinets rounds out this look and give the kitchen a more updated esthetic.

 

Kitchen with cabinet knobs and pulls featured - doorcorner
Photo: This lovely white and grey kitchen is accented with satin nickel cabinet knobs on the drawers and satin nickel cabinet pulls on the cabinet doors. The warm hardwood floors round out this bright, yet cozy kitchen. 

 

ALL PULLS - ALL DAY

We are head over heels about the more recent trend in kitchen cabinet placement that uses all pulls on every application. Yes, the all-pull look means exactly what you might think - all the drawers and cabinet doors get cabinet pulls.

We love how this look showcases some of the beautiful hardware finishes that are on the market today. Brushed brass cabinet pulls or antique copper bar pulls can be used for a truly sophisticated design.

 

White kitchen with some blue cabinets and brushed brass cabinet pulls

Photo: The warm blue cabinet drawers and cabinets doors are accented by luxurious brass cabinet pulls. The same pulls are continued on the upper white cabinets, providing cohesiveness between the contrasting cabinet colors.

 

PUSHING THE LIMIT

We are seeing the limits of design being pushed more and more, and it is exciting to see new trends emerging. 

One of those recent trends is the "anything goes" idea, where designers and home owners aren't following any rules when it comes to cabinet hardware placement.

In this trend, drawers, islands, cabinet doors - they are getting the hardware that works best for the application and that's that! So drawers in the same kitchen could have knobs and pulls, or both! Surprisingly, this design feature works very well, and looks fantastic in larger kitchens with multi-sized drawers.

 

White kitchen with antique brushed brass cabinet knos and pulls

Photo: Notice that the designer has used both knobs and pulls on the kitchen drawers. The antique brass cabinet hardware gives the white and grey cabinets a pop of color and ties in the warmth of the hardwood floors.

CUP IT UP, BUTTERCUP! 

Cup pulls aren't just for country kitchens and farmhouses anymore. These eye catching pulls are becoming increasingly popular in many different home decors, from city lofts to contemporary, to transitional home interiors.

The great thing about a cup pull is that it can stand on its own, but still pairs beautifully with both knobs and pulls!

For a fun change, try using cup pulls on drawers instead of the standard pull or knob. Cup pulls on drawers is a great look for kitchens with many drawers, and that use a simple color palette. In doing so, the cup pulls can be a featured design element.

Cabinet cup pulls on drawers and knobs on cabinet doors

Photo: This stunning transitional kitchen features satin nickel cabinet cup pulls on all of the drawers and coordinating satin nickel knobs on the cabinet doors. The tile floors and backsplash compliment the white cabinets and stainless steel appliances.

 

THE KNOB STANDS ALONE

Why should the pulls have all the fun? A cabinet knob's simplistic beauty, classic design, and easy function can be the star of the show.

Yup! We totally love the all knob design for cabinet hardware placement.

I bet you can figure out that in this design, all of the cabinet drawers and doors get a cabinet knob.

The simple - and often more economical - option of only cabinet knobs results in a clean design that works very well in smaller spaces, but shows beautifully in larger kitchens too!

Photo: The warm wood tones are the main attraction in this inviting kitchen. All of the doors and drawers on both the cabinets and the island have a simple round knob in the oil rubbed bronze finish. The 'all knob' look blends beautifully into this design motif, without stealing the spotlight!

 

PULLING DOUBLE THE FUN!

To put a bit of a twist on the "all pull look" - you can throw in some cup pulls for an up-to-date, cohesive style.

In this design, cup pulls are used on drawers and standard cabinet pulls are used on the doors.

For a really snazzy combo, pair the cup pulls with a coordinating euro-style bar pull on your cabinet doors! The design esthetic of combining the euro pull with the cup pull is simply stunning and oh-so up to date! 

silver cup pulls and standard cabinet pull in white kitchen

 Photo: The stylish kitchen cabinets feature pretty satin nickel cup pulls on all of the drawers and standard pulls on the cabinet doors. The warm tones of the floor, island and counters perfectly compliment the appliances, hardware and other silver fixtures.

 

TRIPLE PLAY ALL THE WAY!

For those design risk-takers out there, feel free to go all the way with a triple play! That's right!  Why not try using all three pieces of hardware in one kitchen?

In this design, you can use cup pulls, cabinet pulls and knobs on different applications. You can sort that out anyway that feels right to you. You can use cup pulls on drawers, knobs on cabinet doors, and pulls on pull-outs or appliances - or any variation of that!

Incorporating each type of hardware works very well in larger kitchens, or in kitchens that have an island feature.

 

Kitchen with cup pulls, cabinet knobs and appliance pulls

Photo: This large kitchen makes splendid use of cup pulls on the smaller drawers, long euro pulls on the appliances, and cabinet knobs on the upper cabinets. The end result is cohesive and charming!

Our Take-Away...

I bet you figured out by now that there are no set-in-stone rules when it comes to cabinet hardware placement. If you are trying to figure out if your drawer should have a knob, a standard pull or a cup pull, the short answer is - whatever you want!

So if you don’t like the cup pull look - don’t use them. If you lean towards all knobs, go in that direction. The choice is yours!

We always recommend that before you pull the trigger on cabinet hardware placement, try looking at inspirational pics - there are so many of them out there! See what you like, and then go from there.

Don’t worry - you really can’t go wrong - especially when it is something that you like!


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