knobs or pulls on cabinets - function vs. look

remodel-mamaJanuary 8, 2011

Hi all,

We are still slowly inching along with our remodel. It's finally time to order pulls/knobs for the kitchen cabinets. I was planning to use primarily knobs on the cabinets and a couple of pulls on the larger drawers.

But looking around at kitchen pics online I see that a lot of people seem to use more pulls on cabinets doors. Is it just a choice of what you like the look of better or are pulls more functional? We hve painted cabinets, and the only think I can think of is that there might be less wear on the cabinets with pull since your fingers will be farther away from the cabinet when opening and closing (??)

I am using with Amerock Revitalze knobs and pulls. Shanghaimom used these in her kitchen and they look great.

Shanghaimom: If you are reading this, just want you to know that I go back and look at your kitchen pics on a regular basis!

Here is a pic of our kitchen so far:

What are your thoughts on pulls vs. knobs on cabinets?

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I like the lines of the pulls from an aesthetic standpoint. I also have some knobs but will use those in a very limited way.
Try mocking up the pulls and knobs and see which shape and size work for you.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 4:19PM
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I prefer pulls for a couple of reasons. 1. aesthetics like Dianalo. They are more appealing to the eye because they look (to me) more proportional to the size of the drawers/cabs. 2. functionality is better for me with a pull--more room to grab for opening. I'm usually in a hurry and sometimes have dirty hands. I can grab a pull and open with my left pinky better than a knob.

I also agree with Dianalo to mock them up and evaluate.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 4:59PM
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I went through the same indecision with my cabinets. I ended up getting knobs for all the doors and coordinating pulls for the drawers. I'm really happy with the look and I felt better with the combo rather than all of one style.
BTW, your kitchen is looking great!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 5:19PM
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Universal Design principals would direct you towards pulls. They are easier for small hands and movement restricted hands. Knobs are difficult for many to use.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 6:09PM
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I have knobs everywhere (even my panelled DW), except for my fridge of course :-). I did like the look of bin pulls too but in the end the knobs just ended up working better for us:

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 7:39PM
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I ended up going with a mix of knobs, pulls, O rings and D rings. I like the variation. I used knobs on the uppers and pulls on the drawers. I was going to put knobs on the pull outs but my carpenter suggested the pulls are better with higher weight pull outs, so I did that. In my downstairs kitchen, there is wear near the pulls so I actually was concerned with that but in the end did use pulls on the drawers. They have a slightly higher profile than the ones in the basement.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 7:58PM
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thanks everyone! I'm glad I asked... I will try mocking it up and see what works best.

If anyone has pics of their kitchens with different pull/knob arrangements, please post 'em :)

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 11:34PM
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I notice that simple bridge pulls (moreso bin pulls), are in style. The utiiitarian look. Also, people are going with particularly long ones and less often doing two on one drawer front. Just a trend I notice....

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 11:43PM
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Re function, really big knobs with flat backs, ones you can put your fingers behind rather than gripping, are even more functional than pulls. :)

As to what you should use, that's entirely up to how you feel about them. So long as they work for all of your family members and yourself, function is taken care of, so it's down to looks.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 1:52AM
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hi remodel-mama,

Your kitchen is turning out so beautifully--looks like home stretch!

I feel strongly about how much I love the pulls, so thought I'd weigh in. If I had done knobs, of course I wouldn't know the difference, and wouldn't miss them--no big deal. I've had four previous kitchens with knobs, and I much prefer the feel of these pulls. They show no signs of loosening, either, which was a constant annoyance for me in previous kitchens.

My husband and one of my sons are both 6'3" with big clumsy man-hands. They like them, too!!

Lucretzia ended up using them in her to-die-for kitchen, if you want to see another finished kit pic with the Amerock Revitalize.

I'm so glad my pics have been a help to you! (-8


    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 10:48AM
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Thanks everyone. Still pondering this issue. I think I actually had a dream about knobs and pulls last night!

Amy - I found myself studying your kitchen photos once again last night!! I love everything about it. I also have 2 boys (10 and 4 yrs) - not sure if they will turn out to be as tall as yours sons - but they definitely are clumsy, so pulls might be good.

BTW, I am also using the pendants that you used in your kitchen! I just love the simplicity of them.

We are in the home stretch. I will post pictures when it's done!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 12:48PM
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I stole those pendants from mrslimestone's kitchen...I too, liked the simplicity and warm antique-y finish. But get this--I just covered the glass with paper yesterday!! LOL The naked bulb looks great when it is off, but is so glaring when it is on. (Mine are on a dimmer, which helps.) And, luckily, they are right next to some ceiling cans so they are more for looks than light.

The industrial-looking clear glass pendants I'm seeing everywhere look so cool but I wonder how many people will be as annoyed by them as I am?!

Can't wait to see your finished pics!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 2:10PM
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Ok - I'm still not 100% about my decision, but I finally decided to use mostly knobs and pulls on the larger drawers. I placed the order and just got an email that the knobs are on back order. Is it a sign?? Maybe I should have ordered pulls after all...

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 12:02AM
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I decided to use knobs on all doors and pulls on all drawers, in the same finish. We have been very happy with the combination-- it helps to signal what is a pull-out (with pull) and what is a cabinet door to open (with knob). Maybe that would be obvious anyway, but I have been surprised in strange kitchens by expecting something to swing open and having it pull out.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 12:58AM
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Your kitchen is looking fabulous!

I am having such indecision over the hardware as well! From the finish to the style! I believe that I will be going with a combo of knobs, ring pulls, and pulls although I really love the look of bin pulls.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 1:00AM
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We went with all knobs because it was the very last thing we did as the first set of cabinet doors had to be redone due to a dull router bit. Our builder told us most people just went with knobs so that was what we did. I figured we would upgrade down the road sometime. I would do a mixture if I had to do it again. Your kitchen looks GREAT! Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 7:36PM
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Ours is a working kitchen, so looks are important but function is more important.

Think eye-hand coordination--what does it feel like to reach for the knob/pull and how difficult is it to aim and land on the item without thinking very much? [for me this rules out the catches that are little locks]

How far does the finger area stand proud of the cabinet? [1 inch is probably insufficient.] Can it be used with other parts of the hand or are the fingertips essential to using it? Is a grip required? [hard for arthritic fingers]

Will it push the fingers and hand back onto the cabinet or is there sufficient clearance so cab is not touched? Would a ring on a finger scrape the cab?

If someone uses it with a glob of egg yolk or frosting on the fingers and this dries on the knob/pull, how hard will it be to clean it? [Extra points for knobs that are flat at back that can be opened with the side of a hand if fingers are messy (see posting above) or can be opened with fingers in V pattern.]

Does your body need to be directly in front of knob/pull or can you pull strategically from the side? [This is a problem with many bin pulls and is reason I have decided against them. I hope that I can hook a finger into one of two hoop pulls and guide a drawer open even when standing caddywompus to drawer.]

Knowing that I used to wash a 3-4 inch circle around the small ceramic knobs on my old cabs in order to remove the accumulating grime, I am hoping to keep my cabs cleaner by using open 5 inch pulls that rise 1.25 out from the cab. Wonder if it will work.

Out of nostalgia, just want to post one of the pulls I once lusted after:

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 12:15AM
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Gorgeous pull flo.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 9:28AM
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Richelieu Hardware. Found it when I was in my Gustavian mode. Comes in four finishes. Surely somebody will someday post a kitchen that uses it.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 10:22AM
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Five years later - I'm remodeling and have the same kitchen! I'm stuck on the same question on what hardware. If you are reading this please post your final kitchen pics and let me know if you are happy w your knob/pull choice, than you,

    Bookmark   8 hours ago
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Lily Spider

A couple of weeks ago someone started a thread on this very subject. Lots of great insights/suggestions. You might try to search for that thread.

    Bookmark   7 hours ago
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