Where to Put Knobs and Handles on Kitchen Cabinets


The placement of knobs and handles on kitchen cabinets is an important design decision that impacts both aesthetics and functionality. With many possible configurations, it can be tricky to determine the optimal knob and handle placement for your kitchen. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about where to put knobs and handles on kitchen cabinets.

We’ll discuss proper height, spacing, alignment, and style considerations. You’ll learn placement tips for common cabinet types like doors, drawers, and appliances. We’ll also provide guidance on pairing knob and handle styles and finishes. With the insights in this guide, you’ll be able to confidently choose the perfect knob and handle placement to match your kitchen’s layout and design.

Where to Place Knobs and Handles on Standard Cabinet Doors

The most common place to install knobs or handles on standard cabinet doors is in the exact center, both vertically and horizontally. This creates a clean, symmetrical look.

Specifically, you’ll want to follow these guidelines:

  • Vertical Placement: Install the knob or handle directly in the middle of the door, centered between the top and bottom. Measure the door height and divide by two to find the midpoint.
  • Horizontal Placement: Position the knob or handle in the middle of the door, centered between the two sides. Again, measure the width and divide by two to find the center point.
  • Placement on Double Doors: If you have a double cabinet door, put a knob or handle on each door rather than spanning both with a single larger pull. Place them aligned vertically in the center of each door.

Centered placement provides the most accessible grip point for opening doors. It also balances the visual weight of the hardware. This conventional look works well for both traditional and contemporary kitchen designs.

Tips for Standard Cabinet Door Placement

Keep these tips in mind for installing knobs or handles on regular cabinet doors:

  • Make sure handles clear any adjacent doors or drawers when installed. Measure to avoid conflicts.
  • For extra visual interest, mix up knobs and handles on different doors rather than matching throughout.
  • Use knob or handle placement to create focal points, like an ornate handle on a display cabinet.
  • Align knobs/handles on doors that are near each other for consistency.
  • For glass cabinet doors, place knobs/handles slightly lower so they don’t obstruct views inside.

With standard centrally-placed knobs or handles, you can achieve both form and function for your kitchen cabinet doors.

Placement for Cabinet Drawers

For cabinet drawers, knobs and handles should also be centered vertically and horizontally. However, the placement differs slightly from doors.

Follow these cabinet drawer placement guidelines:

  • Vertical Position: Install centered between the top and bottom of the drawer front, like on doors.
  • Horizontal Position: Place slightly above the actual midpoint, around 1/3 of the way down from the top.

This high-centered position helps avoid conflicts between your hand and the pulling motion. Placing knobs/handles too low on drawers causes you to bump your hand when opening.

The same guidelines apply to multiple stacked drawers. Align knobs/handles vertically but position them higher on each drawer front. Make sure the handles clear one another and any adjacent doors.

For wider drawers, using two knobs or handles instead of just one provides more leverage when opening. Place one at 1/3 and the other at 2/3 across the width.

Special Considerations for Drawers

Keep these special considerations in mind for drawer hardware:

  • Very shallow drawers may not accommodate standard knobs or handles. Opt for low profile hardware.
  • For deep drawers, longer handles allow you to open them easier from the side.
  • Areas with children: use knobs instead of protruding handles to prevent injuries.
  • Use decorative knobs/handles to emphasize special drawers like for utensils or dishes.

With the right placement, you can easily access cabinet drawers while also complementing your kitchen’s style.

Placement for Corner Cabinets

Corner cabinets have a diagonal front face, requiring some special placement considerations for knobs and handles.

For standard corner cabinet doors, position the hardware in the exact center of each door front. This allows even spacing from the edges and creates visual balance.

For corner cabinets with multiple stacked doors, align the knobs/handles vertically in the center of each one. Make sure handles are high enough to clear lower doors.

If you have a blind corner cabinet with a device that allows the shelf to pull out, install the handle centered on the bottom section. Positioning on the device itself risks interfering with the moving parts.

Diagonal corner drawers also require centralized placement. As with other drawers, install knobs/handles slightly above the actual midpoint for easier opening.

For enriched visual interest, select a unique knob or handle design solely for the corner cabinet rather than matching the rest of the kitchen. This can make the corner a focal point.

Tips for Corner Cabinets

Some additional tips for placing knobs and handles on corner cabinetry:

  • Allow proper clearance from the wall and other doors/drawers.
  • If handles collide with the wall, use low profile knobs instead.
  • For angled cabinets, position hardware perpendicular to the floor for consistency.
  • Use handles on corner cabinet doors to provide sufficient grip space.

With centered installation and strategic style selection, you can make the most of your corner cabinet hardware.

Placement on Appliance Garage Cabinets

Appliance garage cabinets conceal small countertop appliances like a coffee maker or stand mixer. The cabinet fronts function as doors that lift up or slide open.

For placement on appliance garage doors:

  • Horizontal Position: Install knobs/handles centered between the sides to allow even gripping space.
  • Vertical Position: Mount slightly higher than halfway, around 2/3 from the bottom. This avoids conflicts between the door and contents when opening.

Since appliance garages open vertically, having the hardware placed high provides the easiest access. Horizontal centering balances the look.

For hardware on appliance garage drawers, use the standard guidelines. Position knobs/handles centrally with a slightly elevated vertical alignment.

Use long handles on appliance garage doors rather than small knobs. The extended grip point allows you to open the tall doors more comfortably.

Appliance Garage Placement Tips

Some extra pointers for placing hardware on appliance garage cabinets:

  • Opt for handles over knobs for easier lifting motion.
  • Make sure handles are high enough to clear appliances inside when installed.
  • Allow proper clearance next to walls or other cabinets.
  • Use handles to create visual framing on the garage door fronts.

With strategic knob and handle placement, you can access the contents of your appliance garage easily while integrating the look seamlessly.

Placement for Glass Cabinet Doors

Cabinets with glass panel doors require some modified placement practices to maintain their transparent aesthetic.

Follow these guidelines when installing knobs or handles on glass cabinet doors:

  • Vertical Position: Mount slightly lower than the exact midpoint, around 1/3 from the top. This prevents the hardware from blocking views inside.
  • Horizontal Position: Install centered just like regular cabinet doors.

The lower vertical position keeps knobs/handles from clashing with cabinet contents visually. Centered horizontal placement still offers an even grip point.

For glass doors with mullions or rails, make sure the hardware doesn’t overlap any framing. Also check for conflicts with shelves inside.

Tips for Glass Cabinet Hardware

Consider these additional tips when placing knobs and handles on glass cabinet doors:

  • Use minimal, streamlined hardware designs that don’t obstruct views.
  • Knobs with clear glass or acrylic elements integrate well.
  • Opt for handles over knobs to minimize interruption of visibility.
  • Place knobs/handles below eye level to maintain visibility for kids.
  • Use light colored finishes like brushed nickel that blend into the background.

With smart position choices, you can install functional knobs and handles on glass cabinet doors while retaining their transparent beauty.

Placement on Upper Wall Cabinets

The upper cabinets mounted on your kitchen wall also need knobs and handles for easy access. But their overhead location requires some placement adaptations.

For standard upper wall cabinet doors:

  • Vertical Position: Install knobs/handles centered vertically like on base cabinets.
  • Horizontal Position: Shift slightly to the right of center, around 55% from the left edge.

This right-biased position allows a comfortable grip point for opening the doors above. Centered vertical placement maintains alignment with lower cabinets.

For upper wall cabinet drawers, use the standard high-centered alignment. Just make sure handles are positioned conveniently for overhead reaching.

Choose smaller low profile hardware for upper wall cabinets to prevent protruding knobs/handles from bumping your head. Streamlined bar pulls integrate well into the higher location.

Special Considerations for Wall Cabinets

Keep these tips in mind when placing knobs and handles on upper wall cabinets:

  • Make sure handles are easily reachable when installing.
  • Position hardware so doors/drawers don’t collide with windows, lighting, or vent hoods.
  • Use decorative hardware to draw attention to special upper display cabinets.
  • Opt for longer handles to provide ample grip space.

With the right knob and handle placement, you can easily access even hard-to-reach upper wall cabinets.

Alignment and Spacing

Proper alignment and spacing of knobs and handles creates a unified, consistent look.

Follow these alignment and spacing guidelines:

  • Vertical Alignment: Install individual knobs/handles at the same height across cabinet fronts for visual consistency.
  • Horizontal Alignment: Place hardware in a straight line on adjacent cabinets to keep the look orderly.
  • Consistent Spacing: Maintain even gaps between multiple knobs/handles on the same cabinet.
  • Pairing Cabinets: Use equivalent spacing between paired cabinets, like uppers and lowers or on either side of a range.

Measuring ensures evenly spaced and aligned hardware installation. But you can also eyeball placement on framed cabinets since the recessed center panels provide built-in visual guidance.

Tips for Proper Alignment

Here are some additional tips for aligning kitchen cabinet knobs and handles:

  • Step back periodically to check alignment as you install hardware.
  • Use laser levels, Yardsticks, or framing squares as placement guides for precision.
  • Mark drilling points lightly in pencil before installing for accuracy.
  • Group smaller knobs/handles together and larger pulls apart for visual balance.

Keeping hardware uniformly aligned and spaced makes it disappear into the overall kitchen design rather than sticking out.

Placement for Different Cabinet Styles

Certain cabinet door styles like Shaker and Slab have modified placement best practices to complement their streamlined designs.

Shaker Cabinets

For the recessed Shaker cabinet style:

  • Install knobs/handles centered on the middle panel of the frame for a streamlined look.
  • Position horizontally on drawers above the actual midpoint, like standard cabinets.
  • Align hardware across cabinets along the top framing rail for consistency.

Keeping knobs and handles within the recessed cabinet frames preserves the clean Shaker aesthetic.

Slab Cabinets

With no door frames as placement guides:

  • Carefully measure to center knobs/handles horizontally and vertically.
  • Mark drilling points lightly in pencil to ensure accuracy.
  • Use laser levels or framing squares as placement guides.
  • Align hardware across cabinets along the top edge.

Accurate measurement is key for placement on Slab cabinets to achieve an orderly look.

Pairing Knobs and Handles

Thoughtfully combining knobs and handles creates interesting style contrasts.

Some pairing approaches include:

  • Use knobs on doors and handles on drawers for functional differences.
  • Mix knobs and handles on split upper/lower cabinets for visual interest.
  • Match knobs and handles finish/style on one cabinet run but use a different look on an adjacent run.
  • Pair bold oversized hardware on main cabinets with dainty knobs on display cabinets.
  • Choose knobs for upper wall cabinets and handles for lower base cabinets based on access.

Don’t be afraid to mix different knob and handle styles to make certain cabinets stand out or serve unique functions.

Finishing Touches for Installed Hardware

Once your knobs and handles are installed in optimal positions, finishing touches like these can elevate the look:

  • Clean: Wipe down hardware to remove fingerprints and smudges from installation.
  • Adjust: Tighten or realign any knobs/handles that appear crooked or loose.
  • Match: Make sure any filler pulls or hinges match the finish of the main hardware.
  • Review: Scan overall alignment, spacing, and placement consistency.
  • Reveal: Remove any protective wrapping on hardware.
  • Polish: Use metal polish or rubbing alcohol to buff finishes.

Taking time to clean, adjust, and inspect installed hardware ensures your kitchen makes the best first impression.

Frequently Asked Questions About Placement

Many common questions arise regarding the best practices for positioning knobs and handles. Here are answers to some of the most frequent inquiries.

Where exactly should knobs and handles be placed on standard cabinet doors?

The recommended placement for cabinet door knobs/handles is centered vertically and horizontally. Measure the height and width of the door and divide by two to find the precise midpoint for installation.

Should cabinet drawers have the hardware placed in the same spot as doors?

No, drawer hardware should be installed slightly higher than true center, around 1/3 of the way down from the top edge. This prevents conflicts with your hand when opening drawers.

How are knobs and handles positioned on corner cabinet doors?

Like standard cabinets, corner doors should have knobs/handles placed centrally in the exact middle both vertically and horizontally. This provides balanced access and aesthetics.

Where should the hardware go on appliance garage cabinets?

Position handles centered horizontally but higher vertically on appliance garage doors, around 2/3 from the bottom. This allows clearance when opening the tall doors.

Why are knobs and handles placed low on glass cabinet doors?

The hardware is mounted around 1/3 from the top on glass doors rather than true center. This prevents knobs/handles from visually clashing with cabinet contents.

How are knobs and handles aligned across multiple cabinets?

Align hardware in straight horizontal lines across cabinets for visual consistency. Also maintain consistent vertical positioning and evenly spaced gaps between pulls.


Determining the optimal placement for knobs and handles is key to creating a functional and cohesive kitchen design. Now that you know the guidelines for positioning cabinet hardware properly, you can confidently install knobs and handles to enhance both aesthetics and ergonomics.

Centered positioning on doors, slightly high on drawers, and aligned across cabinetry creates accessible hardware that appears neatly integrated. Adjust placement details based on cabinet type and style. Mixing knob and handle finishes and designs can add appealing contrast.

With the insights in this guide, you have all the information needed to place knobs and handles in exactly the right spots on any kitchen cabinetry. Choosing thoughtful hardware placement allows you to create a kitchen that is beautiful, easy to use, and perfectly fitted to your space.