How to Locate Cabinet Knobs and Pulls


Cabinet knobs and pulls are essential hardware pieces that serve both functional and decorative purposes in any home. Choosing the right knobs or pulls can elevate the look of your kitchen or bathroom cabinets with just a simple swap. But with so many options on the market, how do you locate the best cabinet knobs and pulls for your needs? This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know to successfully locate the perfect cabinet hardware for your home.

Determine Your Style

The first step is deciding what style of cabinet knobs and pulls will align with your home’s aesthetic. Here are some of the most popular options:


  • Ornate, detailed designs
  • Materials like porcelain, crystal, aged bronze
  • Inspirations from European styles


  • Simplified traditional shapes
  • Stainless steel, satin nickel
  • Touches of vintage appeal


  • Geometric and minimalist shapes
  • Matte black, polished chrome
  • Sleek and streamlined


  • Wrought iron, unlacquered brass
  • Distressed and textured metals
  • Farmhouse or industrial vibe

Take a look at your current decor and think about the overall look you want to achieve. Bringing in photos of rooms can help when shopping so you can directly compare. Don’t be afraid to mix up knob and pull styles between kitchens and bathrooms.

Measure Your Cabinets

Once you’ve settled on a style, it’s important to measure your cabinets at home. This will determine what sizes of knobs and pulls you need to buy. Take the following measurements:

Distance Between Knobs/Pulls

  • Measure the horizontal distance between installed knob or pull holes. For single cabinets, measure the total width.
  • Standard distances are usually between 3-5 inches for knobs and 6-8 inches for pulls.
  • Write down the horizontal spacing needed for each cabinet type.

Drawer Front Measurements

  • Measure the height and width of each drawer front.
  • Standard heights range from 3-6 inches.
  • Make sure pulls will fit width-wise within the drawer front.

Cabinet Door Widths

  • Measure widths of doors and record separately for upper and lower cabinets.
  • The minimum cabinet door width for pulls is usually 5 inches.

Bring your measurements with you while shopping so you can hold up options to test for fit. Allow a margin of error of around 1/2 inch.

Choose Mounting Type

There are a few different mounting methods for cabinet hardware, and not all knobs and pulls can be mounted every way. Consider how you want your new hardware installed:

Threaded Shank

  • A threaded post screws directly into a pre-drilled cabinet hole.
  • Provides sturdy mounting.
  • Limits positioning flexibility.


  • Secured on backside of cabinet with a t-screw and cup washer.
  • Allows hardware to be placed anywhere on cabinet face.
  • Requires access to cabinet interior.


  • Screws tightly from the front without need for pre-drilling.
  • Best for cabinets without interior access.
  • Not compatible with all materials.

Determine Sizing

You’ll also want to decide what size knobs and pulls will look best with your cabinet dimensions. Here are some typical sizing guidelines:


  • Small: 1-1.4 inches – Best for narrow drawer fronts.
  • Medium: 1.5-1.75 inches – Versatile for many uses.
  • Large: 2-3 inches – Makes a statement on wide cabinets.


  • Short: 3-4 inches – For simple definition on doors and smaller drawers.
  • Medium: 5-6 inches – Provides a basic vertical line that fits most cabinets.
  • Long: 7-12 inches – Dramatic on large doors or wide drawers.

Consider the existing scale and proportions of your cabinets. Oversized hardware can look gaudy if the cabinets are narrow. Play around with different combinations of sizes for knobs vs. pulls.

Choose Materials

You can now narrow your options by selecting cabinet hardware materials that appeal to you. Consider the pros and cons of:

Stainless Steel

Pros: Very affordable, easy to clean, resist rust, polished/satin/matte finishes.

Cons: Shows fingerprints.


Pros: Classic and traditional, soft finish, develops patina over time.

Cons: Requires frequent polishing.


Pros: Timeless aged look, complements wood cabinets.

Cons: Can look dirty if not cleaned properly.


Pros: Shiny and contemporary, budget-friendly, easy maintenance.

Cons: Prone to spotting and water stains.


Pros: Elegant vintage vibe, intricate details and cuts.

Cons: Fragile material.

These are just a few of the most common options. More unique materials like ceramic, wood, and leather can also be found. Combine different metals and textures for a mixed media style.

Shop with Reputable Retailers

Now comes the fun part – shopping for your cabinet hardware! Here are some go-to retailers that offer quality knobs and pulls:

  • Hardware Stores: Home Depot, Lowe’s
  • **Kitchen & Bath Showrooms: **Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
  • Online: Wayfair, Amazon, Overstock, Houzz
  • Specialty Shops: Anthropologie, Rejuvenation, Restoration Hardware

Be sure to check consumer reviews and brand reputations. Bargain hardware may end up being cheaply made or defective. Pay close attention to specifications like installation type, dimensions, and materials. Buying in stores allows you to see and handle options in person.

Factor in Costs

Budget is often a deciding factor when purchasing hardware. Here are typical price ranges for quality knobs and pulls:

  • Low: $2-$7 per piece
  • Medium: $8-$25 per piece
  • High-end: $25-$50+ per piece

Sales and buying in bulk can help cut costs. To get an accurate total:

  • Count how many knobs/pulls you need for the entire kitchen or bathroom.
  • Factor in pairs for cabinets/drawers.
  • Multiply by per piece price.

Spending more on high traffic areas like upper cabinets and drawers often pays off in durability. Price doesn’t always equal design – focus on style first, then find affordable options.

Consider Convenience Factors

Beyond looks, several practical factors impact daily use of hardware:

Ease of Grip

  • Comfortable grip allows cabinets and drawers to open smoothly.
  • Look for rounded edges, beveled shapes and substantial weight.
  • Grips with rubberized coating provide extra grip.

Cleaning Issues

  • Opt for smooth, non-porous materials without crevices that trap grime.
  • Lacquered metals are easy wipe-clean options.
  • Stay away from unsealed metals like brass that require frequent polishing.

Noise Reduction

  • Cushioned bumpers can be installed to reduce banging and noise.
  • Felt pads applied to back of hardware absorb excess sound upon closing.

ADA Compliance

  • Curved and angled shapes make hardware difficult for some users to grasp.
  • Comply with guidelines by selecting straightforward lever-shaped pulls.

Keeping these practical factors in mind while selecting hardware can improve functionality.

Seek Professional Assistance

If you need help navigating all the options to find the perfect knobs and pulls, consider hiring a kitchen designer or interior decorator. They can provide services such as:

  • Suggesting styles tailored to your home’s design aesthetic.
  • Helping with tricky measurements.
  • Providing insider knowledge on high-quality brands and models.
  • Assisting with installation needs.
  • Troubleshooting hardware issues down the road.

Look for professionals with proven experience designing and remodeling kitchens and bathrooms. While an added cost, the right pro can save you time, money and frustration.

Order Extra Hardware

Be sure to order a few extra knobs and pulls beyond the number you initially calculated. Having backup pieces on hand allows you to:

  • Replace any hardware that gets damaged or lost.
  • Swap out knobs/pulls as desired down the road.
  • Extend your design to other cabinets or furniture.

Buy 10-20% more hardware than you think you need. Storing away properly labeled spare pieces preserves your options.

Allow Proper Installation Time

Installing new knobs and pulls demands careful measurement and drilling. Rushing the job risks holes being drilled inaccurately. Schedule enough time for meticulous and methodical installation.

Typical timeframe for installing hardware:

  • 10-15 minutes per knob allowing time to measure twice and drill once.
  • 15-20 minutes per pull allowing care to get placement and holes just right.

Work in small sections and take breaks to maintain concentration. Having an extra set of hands can speed up the process and increase accuracy.

Follow Best Installation Practices

Adhering to installation best practices helps ensure your new hardware looks beautiful and functions properly.

Prep the Cabinets

  • Clean cabinet surfaces thoroughly and remove existing hardware.
  • Fill any old screw holes with wood filler and let dry completely.
  • Use painter’s tape to mark drill locations if needed.

Drill New Holes

  • Clamp a block of scrap wood behind drill location to prevent splintering.
  • Use a center punch on the marked spot before drilling to prevent wanders.
  • Allow 1/8 inch clearance around the central shank.

Secure Properly

  • Attach any provided mounting plates or washers before installing knob/pull.
  • For threaded hardware, carefully start screw by hand before using drill to tighten.
  • Align hardware evenly and tighten screws just until snug.

Test Operation

  • Confirm adequate clearance and smooth motion of doors and drawers.
  • Adjust alignment of any problem hardware and tighten screws further if needed.

Taking time to install carefully will reward you with stunning results and make the hardware easy to live with.

Style and Maintain Thoughtfully

Your cabinet knobs and pulls will look lovely for years to come with proper styling and maintenance:

  • Consider mixing finishes, like pairing brushed nickel knobs with bronze pulls.
  • Arrange knobs in fun geometric patterns on cabinet faces.
  • Space pulls evenly across the width of doors and drawers.
  • Clean hardware regularly using only mild, non-abrasive cleaners.
  • Polish unlacquered metals gently to prevent damage to finishes.
  • Replace loose screws that could compromise stability.
  • Be cautious using hardware around open doors and drawers.

Adjust arrangements over time or swap out certain knobs and pulls to give your kitchen or bath an instant mini update. With careful styling and maintenance, your hardware will impress for decades.

Frequently Asked Questions About Locating Cabinet Hardware

Locating the ideal cabinet knobs and pulls involves lots of choices. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How many knobs/pulls do I need for a typical kitchen?

For a medium sized kitchen with 20 cabinets and 5 drawers per cabinet, you would need around 200-300 total pieces of hardware. Measure each cabinet’s existing layout to get accurate counts.

Should knobs match across a kitchen or bathroom?

Consistency creates a clean, cohesive look. Matching knobs and pulls throughout is the safest option, but mixing complementary designs in different zones can also work well.

What finish looks best with white cabinets?

Polished chrome, brushed stainless, and brushed nickel knobs and pulls pair beautifully with white cabinetry. Avoid brass finishes, which can look too warm against crisp white.

What are inset vs. outset cabinets?

Inset means cabinet doors sit flush within the frame while outset means doors slightly overlap the cabinet frame. Measurements and installation methods differ between the two.

How can I cut down on hardware noise?

Felt pads applied to the backside of hardware absorb sound. Clear silicone bumpers on the doors/drawers prevent banging that causes noise. Both are quick, easy solutions.

Should I hire a professional to install my new hardware?

Installing hardware yourself can save money with patience and DIY skills. But for complex jobs, busy homeowners, or worried novice drillers, hiring a carpenter or handyman could be worth the cost.

Can I clean brass hardware with regular cleaners?

Never use abrasive cleaners like bleach, Soft Scrub, or Comet on unlacquered brass – these will damage the finish. Use a mild soap and water only to gently clean brass knobs and pulls.


Installing new cabinet knobs and pulls that align with your home’s style provides an easy upgrade that makes a big visual impact. Now that you know how to effectively locate knobs and pulls tailored to your space, you can confidently choose hardware that perfectly complements your cabinets. Taking time to properly measure, install, style, and care for your new knobs and pulls will keep things functioning flawlessly for years of stylish use. Let your updated hardware become a beloved finishing touch that adds personality and polish to your kitchen or bath.