where to place pulls on drawer fronts, centered or not?

jessie21October 10, 2008

Well, at least 5 months after my cabs were finished (some built custom, most refaced with new doors/drawers) I finally picked, ordered, and received my hardware!!! Believe me, it wasn't from a lack of trying.

My question is regarding placement. On my drawers, I was thinking I may like them better if they are a bit higher than center, but I'm just not sure. Do you think you could post pics of how you did it (centered or not centered)? If they are not centered, how far from the top of each drawer are they? thanks!

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I"ve seen both. They tend to be centered on shallow drawers and placed a bit north of center on deeper drawers. It's an aesthetic question that can vary from kitchen to kitchen.

Mine are all centered, but none of my drawers are that deep.

I put blue painters tape on the cabinets/drawers where I was not sure where I wanted to place the knobs. It was very helpful to visually 'see' the different placements and this helped me to make that decision.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 12:07PM
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thank you, ma-bookreader...

anybody have pics to show?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 12:24PM
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Mine are all centered vertically and, if one pull, horizontally.

Best picture of centered pulls:

Centered vertically, but not horizontally since there are 2/drawer:

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 12:51PM
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I thought maybe I'd like them up a little from center, but DH was installing and he has less of an artistic eye, and wouldn't really have wanted to mess with that from drawer to drawer, room to room. I figured I really wouldn't notice or care in the long run, and I was right. Ours are centered and look great to me. As with everything else we commiserate over, you almost always see these types of things from different angles, so the illusion is different from each.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 12:54PM
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My shallow ones are centered vertically and my deeper ones are the exact same distance down as the shallow ones. I think it looks fine and it means bending down less far to open the drawer.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 2:23PM
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Mine are all centered with one exception. I have a cabinet that has two small stacked drawers next to one taller (bread drawer) drawer, over a short double door cabinet. I centered the pull on the small drawers but then lined up the pull on the taller drawer to line up with the top small drawer.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 2:30PM
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That looks great, Kev. Good idea, and works well with the slab drawer fronts. What style of drawer fronts do you have, Jesse21?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 2:31PM
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I just read on the Amerock hardware website that instead of centered, pulls should be a 1/16 inch or so higher than center. The reasoning was that you look at the cabinets from above and the 1/16 inch will give the optical illusion of being centered.

Here is a link that might be useful: Amerock hardware mounting tips

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 4:36PM
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I think you should center them unless you put them all down the same amount from the top (I have seen where the knobs are above the raised panel on that type of cabinet). I personally don't love when the knobs are at the top of the drawer, but I think if you aren't going to center them, then choose a certain amount down and then put them all at that same point. Just my opinion. I don't know much about this stuff!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 4:42PM
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Thanks everyone. All your pulls look great and I appreciate the advice.

omg, bbstx, after reading more of the suggestions amerock has, I'm totally confused. Not only that, but I am planning to use all pulls, not a combo of knobs and pulls as they suggest. Man, I hope the all pulls will work.

buehl, can I ask how wide your cooktop drawers are? I have a stack of 36es and am wondering also how to decide where to position 2 pulls per drawer. Yours look great.

rhome, the "discussion" about the pulls not being centered started here this morning. My dh keeps saying "REEEly?" as though it were an outrageous suggestion. I may do as you did, let it go and probably be fine with it. My doors are raised panel and my drawers are semi-slab. (Semi, because there is just a simple little edge treatment around the perimeters to match the doors but the faces are plain.)

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 8:10PM
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If Amerock is suggesting putting them 1/16th of an inch up from center, I'd stick with center. Really, 1/16th? I'm detail oriented, but strongly doubt that would make a visible difference. I might even consider that to be within the margin of error for placement anyway. DH, who is very exacting, might not, but I sure would if I was putting them on. :-) (That's why I'm the designer and he's the builder)

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 8:43PM
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Jessie, I just went to the Southern Living Idea House today and every cabinet door and drawer had a pull on it...no knobs! Can't find pictures to post, but below is a link to the website where there is a virtual tour of the kitchen.

Sorry that I added to the confusion! :-)) Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Southern Living Idea House

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 10:57PM
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Ours are centred too. Our GC and cabinetrymaker recommended it, and it just looks best to my eye.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 11:30PM
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"If Amerock is suggesting putting them 1/16th of an inch up from center, I'd stick with center."

We all need a good laugh. How about if one of you working on your kitchen takes a photo of the carpenter when you tell him you want the pulls precisely 1/16" up from center. I bet the look would be priceless.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 11:40PM
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we centered our narrower drawers and did the same distance down on the deeper ones.. the same idea as chefkev.. thou our pulls aren't as wide.. i think it works with slab fronts but not so much with any others.. like redroze's drawers.. you definitely want to center those

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 11:50PM
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LOL! My reaction to that 1/16" was....sheesh...that's less than the width of the screw and, yes, I expect that for "margin of error as well"...who could tell??

Jessie, my cooktop drawers are also 36".

  • My pulls are 4" on center (4" b/w the center of the screws on either end)

  • On the 36" drawers, the pulls are approx 8" from the outside edge.

  • On the 33" drawers, the pulls are approx 7-1/4" from the edge.

  • On the 30" drawers, the pulls are approx 6-1/2" from the edge.

  • Cabinets

Here's a pic of the 36" cooktop drawers:

Pull sizing:

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 12:47AM
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Same approach as chefkev:

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 12:55AM
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Okay, you know what's funny? I remember obsessing over this same issue when we had our kitchen put in 3 years ago, but I had to go into the kitchen and look 'cause I couldn't remember what I decided on.

We went with the same as chefkev. And obviously happy since it doesn't seem to be bothering me at all.

Love threads that ask for pics. Get to see such amazing kitchens.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 8:08AM
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Again, thank you all again for responding.

bb, don't worry about it. I can be easily confused! The main kitchen on Southern Living is showing one with knobs on uppers. Do you know the name of the one you saw so I can check it out?

sue, LOL! I could just see the look on my old timey cabinet maker's face! He already thinks I'm a little nuts.

As always, thanks buehl. You've given me a great starting point. I would do them EXACTLY as you did, but my pulls are longer, about 6 inches tip to tip and I don't want them to appear too close together, so I will see how maybe six or seven inches from the edge will work.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 8:47AM
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jessie.. you might not have noticed but my kitchen is all pulls.. no knobs anywhere.. more pictures in the link below..

we struggled with the knobs and pulls vs. all pulls ourselves.. and settled on all pulls... and we are happy with it.. thou i have seen other kitches with both and think they look great too..

you might want to buy the pulls you know you need.. then buy a knob... hold them/tape them.. whatever to the door and see which you like better..

Here is a link that might be useful: all pulls pics

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 9:41AM
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I used the same scheme as described above by chef kev. Small drawers centered top-to-bottom, for larger drawers, spaced down from the top the same amount as on the small drawers.

Since all my drawers are recessed flat panel, I made a template the same width as the recessed panel of the widest drawer, and the same height as the top-most/smallest drawer, with two 3/8" holes centered top to bottom and spaced the correct distance out from the center for the pulls I chose.

With this template I would set it in place in the recess for the widest top drawer, and drill two holes using a self-centering drill bit. Then set it in the recess for the larger lower drawer, slide it all the way up to the top, clamp and drill there. When I finished all of the drawers of that width, I cut the template to fit the next narrower drawer, and continued in this fashion until all of the holes were drilled in the drawers.

Using this technique, there is no measuring and marking required to achieve the all-pulls-the-same-distance-from-the-top scheme.

Additionally I went with all pulls everywhere, I'm not a fan of knobs at all.

Here are pictures:

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 11:37AM
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The 1/16" thing, here's my thoughts. If I want the pulls to appear centered, I place them 1/8" above the centerline, because mostly you see them from a higher angle than straight-on, so your perspective will see them as lower than they really are. Raising them 1/8" forces the perspective enough to compensate for the viewing angle. It's just a little optical trick learned through experience.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 12:34PM
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Thank you, fava...you're right, I hadn't noticed. They do look great!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 12:54PM
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bob, VERY cool. Thank you. Glad to see how great the all pull look is, especially since my pulls are extremely similar to yours, only ORB. Mine are also the skinny ones, can't really tell how thick yours are but boy do they look the same!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 12:58PM
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I got out the Southern Living Idea House Resource book and looked at the pictures of Taylor Creek. I only remembered the pulls, but when I looked at the pics, I saw the glass fronted cabinets have round glass knobs. But all the other cabinets have pulls. Did you notice that the pulls on the upper cabs were placed so that they look as if the doors were hinged at the top...at least that is how it looked to me. But when I opened the cabs, the hinges were in the usual side location!

Here is a link that might be useful: pics of Southern Living Idea House Taylor Creek (click on pic of house)

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 1:07PM
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Wow! That's one busy-looking kitchen! All those doors at the ceiling look very busy!

I think the pulls in the Taylor Creek house help make the kitchen look more "modern" even though, to me, the finishes seem more traditional (or maybe transitional...I'm not very clear on the differences b/w them).

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 3:16PM
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buehl, as you can tell from the pale yellow Wassiliy chairs juxtaposed against the slipcovered wing-back chairs in the living room, there was a lot of eclectic mixing through out the house. Although I'm not a fan of matchy-matchy or rigid adherence to a single period, I found this house a little too eclectic.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 4:31PM
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This is an old thread but I found it really helpful. We have slab drawer fronts as well, and centered the handles on the top set of shallow (6" high) drawers and then used the 3" offset from the top on the rest of them. We like the look and its somewhat more ergonomic for lower drawers.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 2:52PM
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Two Pulls vs One Pull...It's been almost 6 years and even though I frequently use just one pull to open a drawer, I have only had to adjust a couple of drawers once or twice - and all I did was release the glides, push the drawer back in completely, and I was done (Blumotion glides). The majority of the drawers have had no issues at all in 6 years. The ones I've adjusted: the top drawer under my cooktop (36" wide) and the middle drawer in my 33" cabinet (Tupperware storage) - no other drawers have needed adjustment in 5+ years. Even if they all eventually need adjustment, it's so rare that it's a non-issue and, to me, two pulls look much better in a traditional or transitional kitchen. I think one pull, though, would look better in a "modern" kitchen.

Vertical Alignment...Keep in mind that trying to adjust for perspective is a somewhat futile effort. Perspective varies depending on how tall the observer is! Someone 6' tall will have a different perspective than someone 5' tall. You would need to have adjustable pulls to make them "look" centered for everyone.

I would either center them or do what ChefKev did - that way they are consistent and look "right" regardless of who is observing the drawers and their pulls.

That said, this is so TKO!!!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 11:08PM
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