How to Choose Handles for Your Kitchen Cabinet


If you are building or remodeling your home, it is easy to get caught up in choosing the right cabinetry, flooring, countertops, and appliances for your kitchen. However, selecting the perfect hardware for your kitchen cabinets adds the finishing touch, reflects your personality, and strikes an ideal balance between form and function.

Decorative cabinet hardware comes in various styles, materials, and sizes. Learn how to choose the right handles for your kitchen cabinets.

Types of Hardware

The two main styles of cabinet handles are pulls and knobs. While personal preference is essential when it comes to whether you want a pull or a knob, the handles should be comfortable to use and fit in with the overall design of your kitchen.

You can even mix knobs and pulls to create visual interest, such as using knobs on the drawers and pulls on the doors or vice versa; just make sure you choose the same material and finish for both for a cohesive look.

Handle Materials

Kitchen cabinet handles are available in various materials, primarily antimicrobial metal alloys. Bronze and brass offer a substantial feel and look, especially for cabinets made from dense woods. Stainless steel, pewter, and nickel provide a streamlined modern look and are easy to clean. Whereas crystal, glass, and ceramic have a vintage charm and can add some bling to an all-white kitchen.

Handle Finishes

There are numerous types of hardware finishes to choose from for kitchen cabinetry. The style and finish you select may come down to your vision for your dream kitchen. Popular finishes include weathered, polished, painted, brushed, antique, matte, oil rubbed, burnished, and satin.

Try to choose the color and finish based on the tone of your kitchen. Note the lighting, appliances, and other metal accents before selecting your hardware. Go bold on white cabinets because the hardware steals the show. Choose black, bronze or gold handles for a warm tone and pewter, silver, or black for cool tones.

Whatever finish you choose, just ensure it complements your kitchen’s overall aesthetic.

Style of Handles

The handles you pick for your kitchen cabinets should reflect your kitchen’s overall design. You should also pick functional handles that feel comfortable in your hand.

Touch it, feel it and ensure you can fit four fingers around it comfortably. Check for ridges or pointy edges that press on your fingers that may hurt younger or elderly users.

The five main categories of kitchen cabinet hardware are traditional, rustic, transitional, electric, and contemporary.

Traditional kitchen

Traditional kitchens typically have elaborate moldings and embellishments. Knobs and pulls with a porcelain overlay or ornate drip handles are excellent choices for traditional furniture-style cabinets.

Rustic kitchen

Brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, or copper pulls and knobs convey a feeling of warmth, making them ideal for rustic or farmhouse kitchens. These finishes patina over time, creating a welcoming and homey kitchen.


Transitional kitchen

The perfect blend of traditional and contemporary, a cup pull with a matching knob provides a streamlined look. Oil rubbed brushed cup pulls on shaker-style cabinets harken back to a simpler design.

Eclectic kitchen

Choose hardware in different shapes, materials like vintage glass or ceramic, or colorfully painted knobs to spice up your eclectic kitchen and let your personality shine through.

Contemporary kitchen

Modern kitchens have a very neutral palette and minimal ornamentation. This makes stainless steel curved barrel handles, or linear bar handles a perfect choice. Opt for a classic brushed satin nickel mushroom knob if you have a smaller kitchen.

Position and Size of the Handles

An oversized drawer or cabinet needs a larger-sized handle. To ensure the cabinets look balanced while maintaining optimal functionality, drawers more than 18” wide may need more than one knob or pull. Contemporary designs typically have long pulls that are ⅔ of the drawer or cabinet length.

Pulls are typically positioned horizontally on drawers and vertically on doors. Knobs are installed with one screw, and pulls are installed with two. Ensure your hardware is installed on cabinet doors and drawers consistently throughout your kitchen.


Choose Function Over Design

As the heart of your home, the kitchen is a high-traffic area. From preparing family meals to hosting gatherings, your kitchen has to be functional. Our Motor City Granite & Cabinets specialists can help you find the perfect cabinet handles for your kitchen and budget.

Schedule an appointment to visit our showroom and explore our selection of kitchen cabinet hardware.