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When renovating your kitchen or bathroom, few design choices pack a punch like cabinet hardware. The hardware you choose will make your space elegant or casual or whimsical or bold. Hardware is so effective at transforming a space, many designers recommend replacing dated hardware for an instant, low-budget renovation.

When viewed as a whole, your cabinet hardware creates a visual pattern that ties your design together throughout the space. If just one knob or pull is misplaced, the entire pattern will be off. After you buy your door and drawer pulls and knobs from Van Dyke’s Restorers, use the following strategies to expertly place your cabinet hardware.


In the past, knobs were the most traditional cabinet hardware. Today, knobs are still a staple of the popular traditional style. But new materials, such as wood, glass and leather, give the ordinarily demure knob a modern twist.

The knob’s style versatility is good news for homeowners who want an easy-to-install hardware option. With only one screw, knobs’ placement is easier to get right than other cabinet hardware.


Many homeowners prefer installing pulls on their cabinet doors and drawers because they’re easy to hold and come in a variety of colors. Pulls are a good choice for large, heavy doors and drawers.

Pulls are commonly combined with knobs. Generally speaking, upper cabinets and drawers will always have knobs with lower drawers having pulls. In this combined scheme, lower cabinets can be knobs or pulls.

In modern design, pulls are used on both the upper and lower cabinet doors and drawers.

Cup Pulls

Cup pulls, shaped like an upside-down cup, are generally used only on lower drawers. They come in a variety of styles and instantly dress up the cabinets’ look.

interior modern kitchen gray and white

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Cabinet Terminology

While cabinets come in a variety of styles, there are two basic types of construction that affect cabinet hardware placement.

The first type of cabinet construction for traditional and contemporary cabinet styles. With this type of construction, cabinet faces have a center panel surrounded by a raised frame.

Rails refer to the horizontal pieces of the raised wood frame.

Stiles refer to the vertical pieces of the raised wood frame.

The second type of cabinet door construction is simply a solid door without the embellishment of rails and styles. Modern design favors the clean lines achieved by cabinets made with these simple cabinet doors and drawers.

Proper Placement of Your Cabinet Hardware

Like everything else in home design, you have more creative latitude in your cabinet hardware placement than in the past. Use the following guidelines for the most aesthetically pleasing look.

Knobs and Pulls on Upper Cabinet Doors

Knobs and pulls should be installed on the lower corner opposite the hinges. Position the knob on the stile (or where the stile would be if the door is a solid slab). Position the knob or pull between two and three inches from the bottom of the door.

Knobs and Pulls on Lower Cabinet Doors

Knobs and pulls should be installed on the upper corner opposite the hinges and positioned on the stile (or where the stile would be if the door is a solid slab). Position the knob or pull between two and three inches from the top of the door.

Knobs and Pulls on Drawers

If the drawer is less than 24 inches, place one knob or pull in the center of the drawer. Drawers that are longer than 24 inches should have two knobs or pulls. To find the correct placement, divide the drawer horizontally into thirds. A knob or pull should be placed in the center of the first and last “third” of the drawer.


gray shaker style kitchen

Source: Berkay Demirkan/

Tips to Get It Right

On the surface, it seems cabinet hardware is simple and straightforward. In reality, small mistakes are common, and you only get one chance to get it right. The following tips will help prevent mistakes when placing your cabinet hardware:

  • Hang the doors before attaching the hardware. If you attach the hardware while the doors are set on the floor, you run the risk of attaching to the wrong corner or side.
  • Check your placement before you drill holes. Use wall putty to attach your hardware to your doors and drawers in your desired position. Step back and take a look to make sure the hardware is placed in the best position.
  • Use a cabinet hardware jig to create a uniform look. With a cabinet hardware jig, you set your placement once. Then you use the jig to ensure each placement is identical to the first.
  • Measure, measure, then measure again. Avoid making careless mistakes by going slowly and triple-checking your measurements.

In many ways, your cabinet hardware takes center stage in your kitchen and bath remodel. The pulls and knobs you choose instantly alter the look of your cabinets. Choose wisely by purchasing your glass cabinet knobs and other hardware from Van Dyke’s Restorers.