Will knobs and pulls help me like my oak cabinets? What size?

juddgirl2August 5, 2010

PO completely remodeled the kitchen just before we bought our house and I like everything except the oak cabinets, which I think are just too shiny and too orange. They are, however, great quality (definitely not builder grade) and only 10 years old so they're staying (plus, I have no $$ left from our remodel to replace them anyway :-D).

Once my bank account recovers, I'd like to either stain them darker or paint them an off-white with glazing. If I paint them then I would also want to replace the 10 yr-old black appliances w/stainless steel, so it may be awhile.

In the meantime, I thought that adding hardware might be a less expensive way to tone down the great expanse of uninterrupted orangish wood. I like Restoration Hardware's Felicity hardware and was thinking of using pulls for the 12 drawers and 3 large pantry doors, and knobs for the 27 doors.

I like the smaller 1" knobs for the doors, but have no idea what size pulls I should get for the drawers and pantry doors. The drawers vary from 16" - 18" wide and the pantry doors are 68" tall. The pulls come in 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12" sizes. I've seen more contemporary kitchens with large pulls, but my house is definitely more rustic and not at all modern.

Also, I have ORB hardware and light fixtures throughout my house, including 3 pendants over my kitchen island, and granite counters and slate floors are earth-toned, so I was thinking ORB knobs and pulls would be best. Would this finish work with stainless steel appliances?

One last question - has anyone used RH hardware and consider them to be good quality for the price?

So many questions but these are the things I obsess about now that I'm not thinking about floors, walls and trim :-D

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Forgot to add the link

Here is a link that might be useful: RH Felicity pull

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 1:57AM
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I had the same situation in my kitchen, with the orangey oak cabinets. I did everything including painting the walls, new flooring, new appliances, hardware, and quite honestly at the end the only thing that finally made me like the cabinets was painting them a creamy white. That was the single most important thing that really pulled my kitchen together.

I have the Felicity pulls in ORB, and they look great with my stainless appliances. I do consider them good quality, especially compared with some of the other hardware in my house. I have a combination of knobs and 6" pulls most everywhere, and I think the 6" is a nice size. I have the 10" pulls on several pull-outs that are frequently used.

I got the hardware from RH using one of the 25% off coupons.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 11:19AM
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onecatonedog - thanks so much for answering my questions and your advice on the cabinets. I was just going to visit RH today to look at the Felicity and Ephram pulls, and perhaps get the 4", 6" and 10" to sample.

If you don't mind, do you have any pictures of your kitchen that you'd be willing to post? I'd love to see your cabinets and the hardware.

Also, how does one get a 25% coupon? I've bought the trestle table and a large entertainment unit from RH in the last year, and they've never offered me a coupon.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 11:50AM
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Just a thought -- If you can use the same size pulls that you already have, you'll save yourself quite a bit of work (measuring, drilling, patching and camouflaging old holes). Bear in mind that it may be impossible to completely hide the old holes without painting the cabinets, which you're not ready to do just yet.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 11:51AM
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Thanks, dilettante. I didn't mention that there is no hardware on the cabinets. I'm hoping adding knobs and pulls might detract from the tone of the wood a bit.

I went to RH and actually came home with samples of the Hanson style. It's similar to the Felicity, just a bit less detail.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 9:54PM
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Hi juddgirl, I've spent a fortune on RH hardware! I used the aubrey pulls and gilmore knobs in my kitchen. For the pulls, I used all of the sizes. The easiest thing to do was buy one of each and hold it up to each drawer and see which size worked the best.

RH has a friends and family sale every fall-20% everything. Once in a while they have email coupons $100 off $500 purchase. I waiting for the F&F sale-I've got a few items I need to purchase!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 11:08PM
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Hi pps - how are your table and chairs coming along?

I think I'll wait for the fall sale so I can get the 20% off. Unfortunately, I'll probably spend the $500 for all the hardware that I need. It's expensive when it all adds up!

I brought home the 4", 6" and 8" pulls. They didn't have the 10" in the store, but said I wouldn't have to pay shipping if I ordered them online from the store.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 11:42PM
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Here's some pictures, I hope this works!

Here is the before picture. The cabinets photographed well, since in real life the cabinets were more drab and orange.

Here's the after. For some reason this looks washed out, in real life the white cabinets are really warm looking. The color is BM Linen White. We also changed the hinges, that made a big difference too.

This picture is more true to the real life color.

Here's the best shot I have of the pulls on the doors.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 12:01AM
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Your cabinets look beautiful - what a transformation! I noticed that you changed the hinges right away. Thanks so much for the close-up of the pull. The ORB looks perfect against the off-white cabinets.

Your before cabinets look just like mine, except my upper cabinets have the arched detail for the inset (I wish they were straight like yours). I really like the beadboard on the sides of the cabinets. Did you also add trim on the bottom and in between the cabinets?

The finish looks so nice - I can't even see a wood grain. Did you brush, spray, roll, DIY, use oil or latex, a sealant? Sorry for so many questions but seeing your after pictures has me inspired to paint!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 12:13AM
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"I'm hoping adding knobs and pulls might detract from the tone of the wood a bit."
In my opinion it will only draw more attention to the cabinets. I'd spend the money on some gel stain and stain them darker. I think dark stained oak is gorgeous.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 12:59AM
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Hey onecatonedog,
Ditto everything juddgirl2 asked.
Wonderful job on your kitchen.The open cabinets over the fridge is such a good use of a space I never use because it's just to high to reach...

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 1:48AM
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Probably not.
New hardware might just get lost in the oak woodgrain.
I hated my cabinets (outdated pickled finish) until I had them painted. It made a huge difference; replacement was just not an option for my budget.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 9:35AM
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I loved both the before and after on your kitchen! My kitchen is actually similar to your before - I even have a lamp with the same fabric as your red shades. Anwyay, I was wondering about your wall color - is it the same in both photos? It is very beautiful and I was thinking it would look nice in my kitchen as well ;). Would love to the name of the paint color!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 10:01AM
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Onecatonedog....WOW!!! juddgirl2....Do what she did.....yes!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 10:22AM
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I'd definitely wait to paint/stain and then get the pulls because you may decide you want something different by then.

I have to say Onecat, your "before" kitchen was beautiful! I'm not a fan of orangy cabs but they worked in your room. I think it's because of your granite. The "after" picture is pretty too!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 11:40AM
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Thanks everyone!

Yes, we added trim to the top and bottom of the cabinets. We stacked a bigger crown moulding and a decorative trim on the top, then added moulding to the bottom where there was none before. We also added the beadboard to the cabinet sides and to the back of the open cabinet above the fridge, this is my favorite part.

Here's a better shot of the side/bottom of the cabinet:

We got the cabinets professionally painted, but in retrospect it is something I could have done if I had the time. The paint is Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo (oil based), and it is super smooth. I was worried about seeing the wood grain, but now I'm not sure what I was worried about! It was all brushed on. The painter used two coats of the Satin Impervo, and it looks great and has held up extremely well.

The wall color is the same in both photos, even though it looks so different against the white cabinets. The color is Laura Ashley Pale Gold 2, mixed in Sherwin Williams paint. I like it because it's warm but yet is not SO yellow. When I have to repaint this room in the next year or so (it connects to the family room where the paint is not in great shape) I will probably repaint this same color again I like it so much. I'm about to re-do my formal dining room (which is right next to the kitchen) in either SW Restrained Gold or Mannered Gold, and they look great next to the Pale Gold kitchen color.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 11:42AM
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Thanks so much for posting the details on your paint application and the trim. The close-up really helps. Our before kitchens are very similar, including my granite counters. I think this is something my DH could handle DIY but I have the painters coming next week to paint all my trim so I'll get a quote from them.

Oakley - that's a good idea to wait until I paint to get the hardware. I was just hoping that I'd either like my oak cabinets better with the knobs and pulls and decide not to paint or at least it would make me more satisfied with them until I have the time and money to take on another project. I know you went through a remodel similar to mine and now that we're done with the structural work I'm itching to work on the fine details!

I brought some samples home to see how they look but I'll probably return them until I'm ready and they're on sale. I don't want to pay full price if it can wait. You'd think with all the money I've spent at RH on my table and media unit they'd send me a coupon or offer some discount!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 12:11PM
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Where did you buy the blocks on your window sill? They spelled "welcome friends' & "think spring". They are so cute!
Thank you.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 8:21PM
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That is a great transformation onecat/dog. Your kitchen is beautiful.

Hope all the inspirational ideas will help you juddgirl2. I think the ORB hardware on creamy white cabinets would be fabulous.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 9:06PM
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I loved reading this thread!!! I saw a reference to orangey cabinets and was glued to it because I have the same problem! And I've been looking at hardware for weeks trying to decide on new stuff. I replaced them a couple years ago but I don't know what I was thinking- I got a polished brass color, and now in hindsight, I realize it accentuates that orange color! Must be changed. I love those pics, I won't be painting the cabinets though. There's no going back! I've toyed with the gel stain idea but I've heard varying reports on how well it turns out.... also, our cabinets are not high end, and I'm afraid there will be some places with wood-looking-paper on it that will not stain, so I don't want to tackle that now, I'll just wait until new cabinets are an option!

BTW, I had a 'duh' moment when I saw those small lamps in the corners of the cabinets. I never thought of that. What a great idea! I love the look!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 9:56AM
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I have orange maple cabinets. I hated them when we first moved in - we wanted to get white but the cabinets were practically new, good quality, the drawers have rolls outs and I would only be replacing them with something cheaper so we decided to leave them in. We thought about painting them (we would go the professional route) but we figured we'd save the money for new counters or a new kitchen in the future.

I ended up painting my kitchen walls, adding glass to four doors and I added oil rubbed bronze knobz and pulls. What a difference!

It was the best thing I ever did - it made a change for me and it dressed up the cabinets. Yes I still wish I had a bright and white kitchen but I think I did good with what we had and we saved a ton of money! The kitchen is now one of my favorite rooms in the house - it still needs counters and a backsplash but I'm happy with the progress I made.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 12:55PM
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I just wanted to add onecatonedog that I love your use of lamps in the kitchen, especially over the fridge. Your kitchen looks so warm and inviting. Love everything about it :)

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 1:17PM
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hi juddgirl2---you mentioned above that you are having all of your trim painted this week; is the trim the same "orange" color as the cabinets??

I have the same cabinets and trim/doors, etc. all through my house and am interestes in your project! I keep trying to convince DH but it's getting me nowhere...


    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 1:46PM
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I replaced my existing 3" awful gawdy 1970s brass pulls with Restoration Hardware Spritz pulls (3"). My cabinets are a dark-stained oak. It made a big difference in the kitchen, and I am very pleased with spending a couple hundred dollars on the upgrade. Eventually I will replace the cabinets and hope to keep the pulls for the new cabinets. If you have existing hardware, you'll want to measure them unless you want to drill new holes. I would say that I find the quality of the RH pulls to be fantastic. They feel solid (more so than those I felt at big box stores) and they look beautiful.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 3:14PM
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I completely agree with all the great comments about onecatonedog's kitchen redo. It's gorgeous and will probably convince my DH that painting is a good decision.

nick211 and pricklypearcactus (wow - that's a long one!) - it's good to know that adding new hardware helped you like your "orangey" cabinets better. I've changed the wall color already, and won't consider painting until the appliances are changed out, so this might help.

DH thinks hardware will enhance the orange, but I'm not so sure. I think if I knock down the sheen on the cabinets and add gorgeous hardware it might help? I did pick up a RH ORB pull and knob the other day but it's hard to tell since we have no hardware there now and I'm not going to drill holes just to test them out. They're not on sale right now anway and my total for all knobs and pulls would be near $500 (ouch), so it can wait a bit.

cathrugg - my cabinets reach the ceiling and have matching oak crown molding, which won't be painted until/unless the cabinets are painted. We just installed new baseboard, crown molding, trim, pillars, etc. throughout the house and it's going to be painted this weekend, but it's all either unfinished wood or preprimed. Our old molding and casing was just standard builder grade and painted an off-white.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 12:49AM
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Nik211, what color did you paint your walls?? I know that color will affect how orange the cabinets look. I read that blue will make them look more orange and green will help them look less orange but I'm not 'color wheel' literate so I don't know.

Cathrugg's question about the trim color brings me to one. I will be putting crown molding and the bottom molding on my 'orange' cabinets in the weeks to come. (reminder: I'm not painting them) I've already picked out the crown in oak, but any ideas on how the get the color to match the cabinets?? I've brought home stain samples and taped them to the cabinets but there is no exact match for 'Construction Grade Cabinet Orange' it seems. I've narrowed it down to two of them, I'm thinking of going with the darker one. Any hints on this?? On a different thread it was suggested I have a cabinet maker match my stain, that was a great idea. Also, my plan is to use a cranberry/pomegranate stain color for the strip of dentil molding withinin the crown molding to bring my accent color into it. Has anyone done this?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 4:29AM
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I painted my walls BM Ladyfinger (hard to describe, I see it as a golden, yellow, tan color - a guest would probably say I have a yellow kitchen but it isn't "yellow" if that makes sense, to me it's more creamy).

To be honest I'm not sure if it counteracts the orange in the cabinets or brings it out but what I can say is that it compliments the cabinets and the existing countertop (which I'd like to eventually change to a dark or black granite). I was concerned with finding something that complimented the cabinets and for me that wasn't easy since I despised them LOL.

It's hard to find a before and after picture of the paint - in this photo you can see the difference next to the unpainted white backsplash area.


And in this photo you can see the hardware I added to the cabinets (please ignore the mess in my glass cabinets, I was playing - I realize now I had too much going on in there!). I also changed out all the hardware on my doors from brushed nickel to ORB.


I tried to find photos where the colors were the most true to the way they appear in real life - my kitchen doesn't get much natural light and it isn't the easiest to photograph with or without a flash :(

My kitchen is far from my dream kitchen (which would be all white cabinetry, dark wood floors, white subway tile backsplash, black granite counters) but I managed to do what I could with what I had and my kitchen makes me happy. It's not what I ever imagined my kitchen to look like - LOL - but it's been a work in a progress and each step of the way I am more pleased with it, I just embraced what I had and went with it.

I hope that helped.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 12:20PM
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I came across this post and just wanted to add that in our old house, we had the cheapest of cheap builder grade 80's oak cabinets that were a terrible shade of orangish. DH, like a lot of men, has an issue with painting "the wood!" "You'll never get the same finish!" Well, actually, yes you can as long as you use a good oil based paint.

But anyway...so we comprimised and picked up some "Liquid Sandpaper" from Home Depot or Lowes (can't remember which). You put it on with a rag, wait a bit, and then you can apply a new stain--though it should be darker or brighter (cherry) to cover whats there. It works by opening up the surface and allows the stain to penetrate into the finish...then after 2 hours it "closes" back up and holds in the stain. It took us all of a night to do the entire kitchen. We took the doors off and all the hardware of course to get the best finish on the door fronts. Total cost...about 30.00 with plenty of leftover product.

And we too had what looked like "wood paper" on the sides of the cabinets but it took the stain just as well as other areas. I believe thats because the stain doesn't actually get all the way down to the wood, but rather gets encased just under the top coat. But I'm not sure, because it certainly looked like the cabinets had always been the new color--the wood grain was apparent and the finish retained a beautiful shine after.

I'm not saying its necessarily a permanent fix but the ease and inexpense created instant gratification. And in our new house when we remodeled the kitchen...it was off-white cabinets or else! :) They are just so timeless...

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 1:41PM
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nik - I used a very similar yellowish tan color on my kitchen walls (SW Believable Buff) and I do think it complements the cabinets. It's definitely better than the previous white walls, which had more contrast with the oak. I like your cabinets! They don't seem to have as much noticable wood grain as mine do and they're not as orange or shiny. Your ORB hardware and the new glass doors look great.

barelythere - I was thinking of staining the cabinets darker but the thought of stripping them or using a gel stain over the existing finish scares me a bit. I'd probably end up with a huge mess, and at least right now I have quality oak cabinets with a hard finish. I may consider it, if I think that I'd like the cabinets much more if they were darker.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 12:21AM
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onecatonedog: Where does one get Laura Ashley paint or at least the formula for another company to make pale gold. I have the same counter tops as you and similar cabinets. I've tried painting the walls a couple of different colors and realize that I just can't live with these shiny honey cabinets. And instead of driving myself crazy trying to pick out more colors I think I'll just use the ones you chose. BTW, I don't have backsplash under my cabinets like you. Do you think the pale yellow will work there as well?

Thank you so much for this post. Your title was exactly what was on my mind. This is thread has helped me soooo much! Would love an update on your progress.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2014 at 9:53PM
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