How to Upgrade to Soft Close Cabinets


Upgrading to soft close cabinets can make a huge difference in the feel and function of your kitchen. Soft close mechanisms prevent cabinet doors and drawers from loudly slamming shut, providing a smooth, quiet, and luxurious closing action. Installing soft close hinges and slides helps protect your cabinets from damage while also reducing noise and frustration. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process of upgrading to soft close cabinets, from choosing the right hardware to properly installing and adjusting everything for optimal performance. With just a few tools and DIY know-how, you can easily add this high-end feature to give your kitchen cabinets a satisfying ultra-quiet close.

Assess Your Existing Cabinets and Choose Soft Close Hardware

Before purchasing any soft close hardware, take stock of your current cabinets to determine the best type of soft closing system.

  • Hinges – For cabinet doors, you’ll need soft close hinges. Check if you have inset or overlay cabinet doors as different hinge systems accommodate each style. Measure the overlay of your doors from the cabinet face frame to the door edge to find the right size hinges.
  • Drawer Slides – For drawers, opt for soft close drawer slides or dampers. Side mount or undermount slides are common types that will work with most drawer boxes. Make note of your drawer dimensions to find slides that fit appropriately.
  • Brands – Look at reputable brands like Blum, Grass, Havsen, and Rev-A-Shelf for quality soft closing hardware built to last. Compare features, aesthetics, ease of installation and price point.
  • Style – Choose a finish like chrome, bronze or nickel to match your existing cabinet hardware. Soft close hinges and slides come in a range of opening angles and load capacities – select the appropriate type for each cabinet door or drawer.

Evaluating your cabinets and selecting the right soft close hardware for them is key to a smooth installation process and long-lasting functionality. Investing in quality hardware ensures the soft closing mechanisms will operate reliably for years to come.

Gather Necessary Tools and Supplies

Installing soft close hardware requires just a few simple tools and supplies:

  • Screwdriver – Phillips head screwdriver matching your cabinet hardware screws.
  • Drill – A power drill with a range of drill bits for installing screws and drilling new holes as needed.
  • Tape Measure – For accurately measuring existing hardware and cabinet dimensions.
  • Level – To ensure doors and drawers are aligned properly.
  • Pencil – For marking cut lines, hole positions or adjustments.
  • Wood Shims – For leveling doors and filling gaps if needed.
  • Safety Glasses – For eye protection when drilling.
  • Rags – For cleaning up dust or oil during hardware installation.
  • Replacement Screws – New screws specifically designed for soft close hardware are recommended.

Give yourself plenty of room to work by clearing counters and moving appliances that may obstruct cabinet access. Having all tools and hardware easily accessible will allow the upgrade project to move along efficiently.

Remove Existing Hinges and Drawer Slides

Before installing soft close hardware, existing hinges and drawer slides will need to be removed. Taking doors, drawers and pulls off the cabinets gives you open access for an easier installation.

Follow these steps:

  1. Open each cabinet door or drawer to access the inner hardware.
  2. Using a screwdriver, remove the screws from the portions of hinges attached to the cabinet face frame. Set screws aside if they will be reused.
  3. Carefully lift the cabinet door or drawer off the hinges or slides then set them aside in a safe location.
  4. Remove any remaining hinge or slide hardware from the door, drawer or cabinet box using the screwdriver.
  5. Clean excess dirt or grease buildup from cabinet and door surfaces using a degreasing cleaner and rag where new hardware will be installed.

Follow safety precautions and get help lifting heavy doors or drawers. Take your time disassembling existing hardware to avoid damaging components. Setting hardware on a towel protects against scratches.

Install Soft Close Hinges

Once existing hinges are removed, you can install soft close hinges for a smooth, quiet closing door. Refer to the manufacturer instructions for specifics on your model. In general, follow these steps:

  1. Position hinge cup or plate on the cabinet face frame where the old hinge was mounted. Use a pencil to mark holes.
  2. Use a power drill and appropriate bit to pre-drill holes in the marked locations.
  3. Attach hinge cup/plate to face frame with supplied screws. Repeat for all hinges.
  4. Position the hinge arm on door in correct orientation, parallel to door edge. Mark screw holes.
  5. Predrill holes then attach hinge arm to door with screws.
  6. Hang door on hinges, adjusting until evenly spaced reveals around door edge.
  7. Open and close door to test operation. Make alignment adjustments as needed using shims.
  8. Once correctly installed, cabinets should close smoothly and quietly from a slight push thanks to the soft close mechanism on the hinges.

Take care when drilling holes and mounting hinges. Follow any special instructions for inset cabinets to properly position hinge components.

Install Soft Close Drawer Slides

Upgrading standard drawer slides to soft close slides dramatically reduces noise and bounce when closing drawers. Here are the basic installation steps:

  1. Position one slide component on the drawer box front according to manufacturer instructions. Pre-drill then attach with screws.
  2. Install corresponding slide piece onto the cabinet interior side in alignment with drawer component.
  3. For side mount slides, position and attach a third slide piece to the bottom of the drawer box.
  4. Insert drawer and test operation. Slide should close slowly and quietly from its own weight.
  5. Make minor adjustments to slide position or tighten screws if needed to improve fit and function.

Soft close drawer dampers can also be added toupgrade existing slides. Attach a damper to the sliding surface or drawer front face based on the specific model.

Carefully measure and level components to ensure proper alignment. Check that drawer operates smoothly without rubbing to get the full benefits of the soft close feature.

Adjust Hinges and Slides For Optimal Performance

Some minor adjustments may be needed after installing soft close hardware to perfect the operation.

For hinges:

  • If door doesn’t fully close, tighten hinge to reduce play or shim hinge out from frame.
  • If reveal around door is uneven, shim under hinge plates as needed to level.
  • Adjust screw tension on self-closing hinges if door doesn’t catch.

For slides:

  • Ensure all slide components are parallel and rollers make contact.
  • If drawer is loose, tighten slide screws or use included adjustment wrench to take up play.
  • Check that stops are set so drawer doesn’t pull out too far when opened.

Carefully test motion of each door and drawer after adjustments to ensure proper soft closing action. Cabinet components should move smoothly into a closed position without the need to push the final inch.

Enjoy Quieter, Safer Cabinets

That’s it! A few simple installation steps can give you the convenience and luxury of soft close cabinets. No more slammed doors and drawers or jarring impacts that can damage contents and finishes. Soft close hardware operates fluidly and absorbs motion for the final seconds of closing.

Going forward, just gently open or push cabinets and they’ll finish closing quietly and effortlessly. Safety is also improved, especially in homes with curious pets or kids. Give your kitchen or bathroom a more upscale feel and reduce annoying noises throughout the day. Upgrading to soft close cabinets is an easy, affordable way to extend the life of your cabinetry while making everyday use much more pleasant.

Frequently Asked Questions about Upgrading to Soft Close Cabinets

Upgrading to soft close cabinets is a popular home improvement project. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the process:

How difficult is it to install soft close hardware?

Installing soft close mechanisms is a beginner-friendly project perfect for DIYers. The hardware is designed for easy attachment to existing cabinets using a screwdriver and basic tools. Just take care when removing old hinges or slides then carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Should I update all cabinet hinges and slides or just some?

For the best effect, you’ll want soft closing functionality on all cabinet doors and drawers where possible. Mixing some standard hardware defeats the purpose of reducing noise throughout the kitchen. Stick to one style for a seamless look and operation.

How much does it cost to upgrade cabinets to soft close?

On average, expect to pay $10-20 per soft close hinge and $15-30 per soft close drawer slide. Pricing can vary based on the quality, style and opening size you need. For a full kitchen, plan on a couple hundred dollars for materials.

How can I tell if my cabinets are inset or overlay?

Inset cabinet doors fit flush within the face frame while overlay doors sit on top, fully covering the frame. To check, open doors and look at the hinge style. Inset hinges are L-shaped brackets, and overlay hinges attach directly to door and frame.

Should I hire a carpenter or do it myself?

Handy homeowners with basic DIY skills can handle this project on their own in most cases. If you don’t feel comfortable fully removing doors and drawers or drilling new holes, consider hiring a carpenter for those steps then doing the rest yourself.

Can I soft-close old worn cabinets?

Yes, most soft close hardware can be retrofitted onto existing, older cabinets. Just check for level surfaces without large gaps or damage where new hinges and slides will mount. Repair or shim as needed to provide a stable mounting base.

How do soft close hinges and slides actually work?

Integrated dampers in the hardware slowly restrict movement as the door or drawer nears the closed position. This absorbs kinetic energy rather than stopping motion suddenly, providing smooth, quiet closure – even when given a firm push.

Upgrading your cabinets for a luxury soft close experience doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. With a Saturday afternoon and basic DIY skills, you can do this project and enjoy the benefits for years to come.


Installing soft close mechanisms on cabinet hinges and drawer slides is an easy upgrade that makes a big difference in the convenience and luxury of your kitchen. No more slamming doors or bounced drawers! Soft closing hardware absorbs motion for smooth, ultra-quiet operation. Just follow the steps to remove old components, install new soft close hinges and slides, and make adjustments for optimal performance. In a single afternoon, you can outfit your cabinets with this elegant feature that reduces wear and tear, noise, and frustration for just a fraction of full cabinet replacement cost. Enjoy the simple pleasures of gently closing your newly upgraded cabinets and drawers.