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Placement of Cabinet Hardware?!

Posted by sarapamela (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 24, 12 at 9:25

I'm excited to be at the "selection of cabinet hardware" stage of our renovation. As some of you know, it's been a project filled with twists and turns. Think we are up to Plan M or N by now : )

Anyway, I've read many questions and answers about pulls vs. knobs, but am looking for guidance about where on the doors/drawer fronts they'd look best on our cabinets.

I like a combination of knobs and handles, unless just one kind is better for a small kitchen? I originally was thinking of knobs on top and handles on bottom, but am reconsidering because I'm thinking that knobs might look lost on the taller upper cabinets. Would handles break them up a bit more than knobs, and if so, do you think they should they go vertically or across the bottom piece of trim?

The biggest question concerns placement of hardware on the beadboard drawer fronts. Should knobs and/or handles go on the upper, smooth part above the beadboard or right in the middle of it? Afraid handles might look crowded on the smaller drawer fronts, but good on others? Would knobs look better on the drawers, and if so, where on the drawer front?

Since it is way heavier than a regular cabinet door, should we use a handle on the 8" pull out pantry (to left of DW) or are knobs "strong" enough?


Haven't found handles I like yet, but may use decorative knobs on the glass doors on the corner cabinets that will be in the attached dining area.... For what it is worth, here are some of the decorative knobs we are considering. Afraid it would be too much to have them in kitchen, too, but hope to find handles that would look good with them... Thoughts? (Sorry I couldn't resize these photos even though I tried 3 times!)

Photobucket Photobucket


I'd use a pair of the fish on the glass doors, but I think they should be facing each other, and they only seem to come "swimming" to the left, which would probably look odd next to each other!? Photobucket

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Placement of Cabinet Hardware?!

How coincidental! Labbysmom just asked the same question, so I'll repost the same answer:

When we were making this decision not long ago, I came to the conclusion that you can do what you like, there is no standard for what and where. We went with pulls on the lowers and knobs on the uppers, but knobs on the pantry and a pull on the utility closet.

You even have to deal with where on a door/drawer to put a knob/pull. Breezy's decision to put her upper pulls horizontal isn't the most common choice, but not bizarre either. Some people put a drawer pull in the middle of the drawer, others go with a pull at the top. We put ours in the middle of the shallower drawers and at the top of the deeper ones.

See the 4 knobs on the 4 pantry doors? We could have put the 2 lower ones down towards the middle of the door somewhere, but we liked them in a group of 4, so that's what we did.

There is no right or wrong here, so just do what you like.

Here is a link that might be useful: Labbysmom's thread

RE: Placement of Cabinet Hardware?!

Perfect timing!
Susannah - Are those Brookhaven cabinets?
How long are your pulls and drawers
I have a variety of drawers from 15-42 inches, so trying to figure this out. Our drawer style is similar - but I am sure a lot of cabinet companies make the same variety.
Thanks and hope I am not hijacking too much.
Will check out the thread!

RE: Placement of Cabinet Hardware?!

No, a2gemini, my cabinets are framelss or "Euro-style" from InnerMost (Home Depot). The longer sets of drawers are 30" and the pulls approx 5". They were actually measured in cm, and I forget what that was. Hope that helps.

RE: Placement of Cabinet Hardware?!

Glad my hardware isn't "bizarre". ;) My cab maker called me "not traditional". (His words.) Here's what it looks like for reference. Many apologies if you've seen this too many times.


Willtv thought all knobs looked better in his kitchen due to the smaller room size. I think you can do whatever pleases *you*. As for specific placement on drawers, I did mine on the inset of the panel. Again, your choice, but take ease of use into consideration. Can you easily wrap a finger or three around the pull/knob?

Hey, if you're not finding pulls you like, maybe just use knobs? I highly recommend buying some samples and trying them before purchasing the entirety.

RE: Placement of Cabinet Hardware?!

Thanks Susannah- that helps.
Breezy - how long are your drawers and pulls?
Are you liking the horizontal pulls on the doors?

RE: Placement of Cabinet Hardware?!

A2-- I copied these dimensions from the thread with all my pics. I hope this answers your sizing questions.

30" wide stacks and wider have 8" pulls
18-24" stacks have 6" pulls
17" drawers have 4" pulls

Upper Cabs (very few):
all pulls are horizontal on cabs
11" doors have 4" pulls
15" doors have 6" pulls
glass cabs will have some sort of knob when I get around to looking ;)

I love how the visual of horizontal pulls, and using them is easy, especially the uppers. The sink base doors are the only ones that don't feel 100% completely natural, but even still at 99.457% they are easy to open. I'd do it again in a nano second!

Here is a link that might be useful: More pics of the pulls

RE: Placement of Cabinet Hardware?!

Breezy - I just noticed your open shelves in the corner to the left of the sink! What a clever solution to the inaccessible corner issue. I also love your sparsity of uppers in general-makes everything feel so airy and uncrowded.

RE: Placement of Cabinet Hardware?!

sarapamela, since you have the bead board panel in your drawers I think it would look best if you put your pulls in the top rail portion of the drawers. Normally I am an all pull person but in your kitchen I really think that decorative or whimsical knobs on the uppers might look really nice. Of course there are a ton of possibilities for knobs. If you look hard enough you might even find those fish swimming towards each other.
On my drawers I used longer than normal pulls. My 18 inch drawers have 10 inch pulls. The 24 inch drawers have 13 inch pulls and my 36 inch drawers have 19 inch pulls. Using extra long pulls is a more contemporary look. I put my pulls on the upper rails of all the drawers, even the shallow ones.
Good luck with your hardware hunt.

RE: Placement of Cabinet Hardware?!

I forgot to say, sarapamela, that I really like the fishy pulls, but you're right, they need to be swimming in opposite directions. Are you sure they don't make a right swimmer? If not, that's a big oversight on the part of the manufacturer.

RE: Placement of Cabinet Hardware?!

I haven't seen any that are the reverse... I saw some upscale ones you could order from another manufacturer, but I didn't like them as much, and they were $$$ because they have to make a mold of them going in the opposite direction??? Sounds like an excuse to me, as I wouldn't be the only one wanting both orientations! Disappointing, but I think I will use the fishy ones on the single glass doors on a pair of corner cabinets. I actually will have 3 angled top cabinets (2 in DR and one on opposite side of entrance to K) so I'm trying to figure out whether to use 3 fish or 1 fish and 2 turtles. The turtles can be going up or I could twist them in opposite directions since they are pretty symmetrical-looking....

A few more decisions to go. We're getting there, though!

RE: Placement of Cabinet Hardware?!

My cabinets were all installed but hte doors hadn't been hung yet, when the hardware I ordered arrived. So I laid out all the doors and drawer fronts on the living room floor, and positioned the handles all sorts of different ways. We did all handles for the lowers, and though considered knobs on uppers, went with handles in the end. For reference, I have shaker frame cabinets similar panel-shapes to yours. We don't have any 4-drawer stacks, it's all 3-drawer, so one narrow top drawer (7") and two deep bottom drawers (11"). Anyway, I tried three different layouts, took photos, and showed my friends.
1. each bar goes close to the top edge, in the center of the smooth frame. (2.25" frame, so ~1.125" from top of drawer)
2. each bar goes in the center of the drawer panel (~3.5" for top drawer, 5.5" for bottoms)
3. Look at the top drawer to get 3.5" from top edge, same placement on each drawer. So the top handle is centered, the bottom handles are offset toward the top but still on the panel, not the frame.

Option 3 was the universal favorite. The high handles of 1. looked crowded and awkward to me. Someone commented on #2 that it "looks like a dresser instead of kitchen drawers", which I found really illuminating, a good articulation of why I didn't like it, even though that was the one I wanted to like. Although the logic of choice 3 felt kind of silly when we were measuring it out, it turned out looking really nice.

The door handles were turned vertical, and placed on the frame, not the panel, so not at all lined up with the heights of hte horizontal handles. Does it sound like it doesn't match at all? I was surprised at how natural it looks. And the trash pullout with the horizontal handle doesn't bug me at all.

In short, pick the hardware you like, and don't sweat the placement until you can test it all out in person and take some photos. Also, different cabinet door size/shape may want the handle in a different place, so don't get bogged down doing it by the numbers.

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