plan for cabinet pulls -- all the same length? opinions, please!

eastbaymomApril 28, 2010

So, I know that placing cabinet pulls is an art and a matter of taste, but I wanted to hear how others have approached this.

We are getting Cherry cabinets in a Shaker door style with a solid wood reverse panel. Stainless appliances.

I don't want to go too modern, but I don't like the look of a mix of knobs and pulls, and there are a few places where I would not want to put pulls -- like on the tilt-forward shelf under the sink, and on the pullout trash.

I'm thinking that I will go with all pulls, and it would be easiest of I could use the same width of pulls on all the drawers and cabinets. Except for on drawers and the two spots mentioned above, I think I will install vertically.

Here's the question, though -- my drawers range from 12" to 18" wide, and the tilt-forward under the sink is 33" wide. Can I use 128 mm pulls everywhere? Or would that look funny to your eye, with more space on either side of the pull on the 18" drawer, compared with on the 12" drawer? Would you put two pulls on the tilt-forward under the sink?

Would you put the pulls in the center of the drawers (in the middle of the recessed panel) or in the center of the top stile of the cabinet? I have read that it's not wise to put pulls in the recessed panels, but these are solid wood panels and not plywood with veneer.

All opinions welcome!

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I think it's pretty difficult to figure out hardware, I just did this myself. For the wider drawers (anything 18' inches and wider, I went with two 4 inch pulls, this is what I did with the front of sink tilt-out.
It's a matter of opinion about placement on the drawers although I think most people put pulls in the middle area of the drawer. There must be some functional reason, maybe just for comfort, I went with the middle vice the top stile because I thought it looked better. As for the cabinets, unless you're into a larger sized pulls (it's been pretty popular for a while), I don't think you can go wrong with all 4 inch pulls.
Have you checked out the kitchen pictures on You might get some real visuals to help you decide. Houzz has tons of great house photos.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 3:09PM
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Have you picked out your pulls yet? When I was choosing mine, I brought home a few different samples (also different sizes). I thought I would use knobs for the doors and pulls for the doors, but ended up using all pulls because that looked best. If you can't get samples, you can use blue painters tape to mark the location and size of the pulls. I used 4" on almost everything. Your 5" (128mm) would also work, but if you do a mock up, you'll get a better idea.

I put the pulls in the center of the drawer, but it'a a matter of personal preference. The only thing I'd change is the recycling pullout. The cabinet guy put the handle so that it would match the drawers on each side, but I'd rather have it a little higher so that I wouldn't have to bend to grab it. Function over form :-) BTW, the recycling pullout is 18" wide and the drawers on each side are 30", just to give you an idea of proportion.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 5:02PM
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Thank you both. I just noticed a typo in my first post -- I meant to say that I wouldn't want to put *knobs* on the sink tilt-out or the trash pullout.

Julie -- gorgeous kitchen! I appreciate the sense of scale you provided. Just from holding up a few samples in my kitchen today (picked them up at Lowe's at lunchtime!) I think that 128 mm will be too big.

I'm off to take back the ones that my DH didn't like....

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 5:11PM
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Fori is not pleased

Julie--your pulls are perfect. (And I'm so short I bet the low trash pull wouldn't even bug me--but you could probably retrofit a kick pedal and not even use the pull.)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 5:23PM
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Myself, I like the look of all the same length on Shaker cabinets, it makes the lines cleaner. I think varying lengths has a more "homey" or "furniture" feel, and all the same length more of a "Craftsman" feel.
Just my 2 cents!

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 5:41PM
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I have 9-foot ceilings with cabinets that go all the way up, so I found that longer pulls looked better. I put only one pull on each drawer, even the ones that are 36 inches. That way they can always be opened with one hand.

I got several samples and had my son hold them up to the cabinets while I took pictures to help me decide.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 5:47PM
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Sally, Can you give us the scale as Julie did? i.e. How wide are the drawers and cabs we're looking at and how long are the pulls? Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 5:53PM
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I saw on a different thread that Sally wrote the cabinet to the left of the range hood is 15" wide.

Sally, that is a gorgeous kitchen! Do you by any chance remember the color of your walls? It's really nice and soft up by your clock.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 6:37PM
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Timely thread. I just went through this same thing. I picked up a number of inexpensive pulls in different colors and sizes to get an idea of what it would look like - and ended up using one of those styles - Amerock Westerly in SN. My kitchen is going to be finished up in a few days and I'm planning on putting in all pulls, but like eastbaymom, I thought the larger cabinets deserved larger pulls - so I'm planning using 128mm pulls on my tall upper cabinets and 96 mm pulls on the lower drawers. I'll post pictures when I'm done - here's a picture of my cabinets. (Note - not putting any pulls on the very top glass cabinets - they're just for display.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Westerly Pulls

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 6:39PM
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sally123 - can you tell what color your backsplash is and who is the manufacturer. thanks!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 6:56PM
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Thanks, eastbaymom. The pulls are 8". The cabinet on the far left is 15". The hood 42". The next cabinet is 39" with 27" exposed, the rest continues on into the blind corner. I have a pot rack in that cabinet and it is 36" wide. The pans I use less frequently go back into the corner. Here it is:

The drawers under the cooktop are 36", the drawers on either side are 18". The paint is called Limestone (Dunn Edwards #6233).

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 7:39PM
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As others have's all a matter of personal preference aesthetically. Functionally, it doesn't matter. If you have good hardware on your drawers, you can open even 2-pull drawers with one hand. I do it all the time and have not yet had a problem...even the heavily loaded drawers.

While I did do a mix of knobs and pulls, all my drawers have pulls. I like the look of 2 pulls on the wider drawers and put 2 pulls on all drawers 30" or wider. My pulls are 4" on center.

On all drawers except the double-bin trash pullout, I put the pulls in the middle of the drawers. For the trash pullout, I put the pull in the frame b/c I thought there might be an issue of weight when both bins were full and I thought the frame would be stronger.

Some cabinet closeups so you can see how I placed my pulls.

24" drawers - 1 pull/drawer

33" drawers next to 18" trash pullout w/18" drawer above

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 7:55PM
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sally - can you tell me about your backsplash? Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 8:05PM
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This is definitely another one of those "Tough Struggle within my Mind". I have gone back and forth on this decision.

Buehl mentioned he uses the double--one of the reasons that I like this look is that it makes the lower cabinets look more like a bureau or chest of drawers, a finished piece of furniture. But, I wasn't sure about too many pulls and I was already buying 72 pulls for the kitchen--if I doubled the lowers, oh my the cost. In the end I went with three different sized pulls, all uniform on the lowers (medium), and all uniform on the uppers (smaller). Had no idea I would spend so much time on this too--but finding that perfect piece of hardware that you LOVE is like the cherry on top--it makes the whole room :)

This is the med, but I ended up with the small:
From Menlo Farmhouse From Menlo Farmhouse

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 10:33PM
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Sally123 - I love your drawer pulls! Do you happen to know who makes them?

Julie94062 - Can you give me some more info on your backsplash?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 11:40PM
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malhgold - my backsplash is from Waterworks. It's from the Cottage Collection called Cottage Running Bond Mosaic. The color is Devonshire Cream. They are glass tiles, sized 1-7/8"x7/8".

jessrae - my pulls are from Amerock and are from the Essential'Z collection. The product number is BP9362-G10 and they are 128 mm center-to-center.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 12:39AM
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One tip I got from a GWer (I wish I remember who, so I could give credit!), is use 'museum wax' to temporarily hold the pulls or knobs in place. I got 'museum putty' (not sure if it's the same as wax) at the container store, and it holds my RH ephram 4" pulls in place quite well (fell off over night). It allows you to stick the pulls on, and then stand back and see how they look, with only a tiny white bit of putty showing. And at least for me, there is no residue left behind.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 2:20PM
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Sally123 - I love your drawer pulls! Do you happen to know who makes them?

Julie94062 - Can you give me some more info on your backsplash?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 8:02PM
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Sally123 - Thank you for the info on the drawer pulls. I was actually looking at those online, but the online picture doesn't do them justice. Your kitchen is just fabulous!!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 10:00AM
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I am installing my hardware, and ended up getting knobs for the doors, and 196 mm Pulls (5 inch) for the drawers. The pull out trash got a pull instead of a knobs, and for my tip out tray below the sink, the manufacturer had an 18 inch appliance pull, so I used that. It also doubles as a towel bar.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 10:07AM
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I have to laugh....if you were to see my kitchen right now, with strips of blue tape in various lengths on all the drawers you would know I am having the same dilemma! Just yesterday I was asking myself why I can't just go to HD and buy a pull. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 1:59PM
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Fori is not pleased

Take Pudgybaby's tip of the museum wax/putty (and if you're in the east bay you really ought to have your nice things stuck down with it anyway) and go to Restoration Hardware. Buy a bunch of sizes in a style that is similar to something you like. Play stickup. Return them, after cleaning, of course. RH has many sizes and a good return policy.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 3:57PM
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We went with all pulls, placed horizontally across all doors and drawers. We tried to make them 3/4 of the width of the door. We were going for a slightly more modern look so it probably wouldn't be to your style. Figured I would mention it though because we have had a lot of compliments from people on it.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 5:48PM
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jessrae - my backsplash is Carmel Stone Imports, "Time-Worn" series, light travertine. The colors on the sample boards were very uniform. IRL, a lot of variation. That's the nature of natural stone :-)

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 6:20PM
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I have shaker cabinets too (white) and went with the Amerock Mulholland pulls for drawers, knobs for cabinet doors. I went with 96mm pulls on the 15 & 18" drawers, 128mm pulls on the 24" and larger drawers. The 96mm ones looked too small on the bigger drawers, and the 128mm pulls looked a little crowded on the smaller drawers (especially because of the shaker stile/rails all around the drawer fronts).

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 9:18PM
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We are also looking for a more modern look. What hardware did you use? We are still trying to decide if we will use all pulls or pulls and knobs. And how to find appropriate pulls for the Liebherr fridge, dishwasher, trash compactor, and under counter Sub-Zero fridge.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 12:39AM
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oldcarrot, we did the Princetonian model by Top Knobs. We did not replace the pulls on our appliances though. Doesn't bother us that they are slightly different but I can totally understand wanting them all to match.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 7:48AM
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I think we will go with TopKnobs Princetonian also. Considering knobs for upper cabinets. But there are no Princetonian appliance pulls...and even though they come in long enough lengths, don't seem sturdy enough.

Does anyone know if Topex Hardware Italian Designs Wide Aplliance Pull (Satin Nickel) would be a close enough match. Style-wise, I think they would go together.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 7:37PM
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