Our post today needs little introduction. Charlotte’s own Lisa Mende, with Lisa Mende Design, is giving us the ultimate guide for understanding and selecting kitchen cabinet hardware. Whether you’re designing a new kitchen or simply renovating an existing one–Lisa answers all of your questions for how to choose, where to source and what are the current top sellers. Get your pen and paper ready, this post is noteworthy!

BACKGROUND: Lisa Mende is a Luxury Interior Designer who believes luxury is living the life you want with the things that make you smile surrounded by those you love. Her successful residential interior design firm has been creating beautiful homes for families since 1998.She is a nationally acclaimed interior designer and allied member of ASID, IDS and Withit. Lisa is known for creating classically inspired interiors with a modern vibe for clients throughout the southeast. Her vibrant social media presence is expanding through the popularity of her blog, also named Lisa Mende Design. She was chosen to participate on the High Point Market Style Spotter Panel for the October 2013 Fall Market. This will be her third time serving on the panel which she won in April 2012. Lisa is an alumni of Brizo Blogger19 and has participated in New York Fashion Week with Brizo. Lisa was also chosen to serve as an ambassador for the D & D Building in New York City during their Fall 2013 Market. She is a member of the Design Trust of New York City, under the direction of Steven Nobel. Lisa was recently chosen as a member of the coveted Blog Tour London Team sponsored Modenus in September of 2013. Lisa and her blog are regularly featured in local, regional, and national magazines.


Amy Meier Design

One of the easiest ways to update your kitchen is with a change of hardware. I like to think of hardware as the “jewelry” of the kitchen. Actually hardware in a kitchen can dress up a plain cabinet just like smashing earrings can dress up a little black dress. Hardware is such a small detail, but it can make a huge impact to the overall look and feel of your room. The options are endless, therefore choosing the right hardware can be a bit daunting for the novice. Unlike choosing hardware for a piece of furniture, which requires possibly 6 or 8 knobs at most, the average kitchen requires anywhere from 20 – 40 knobs or pulls. When you multiple an object in a room that many times, you better make sure you are choosing well. How do you go about choosing the right hardware for your kitchen? Let the personality you want your kitchen to reflect be your guide. Of course, there are a few practical things that must be kept in mind as well.


Guidelines for choosing hardware for your kitchen:



Phase #1 Basics:


1. Record the quantity of doors and drawers in your kitchen: Count your doors and drawers and write down how many of each you have. Even if your kitchen hasn’t been built, you can use the plans to do this.

2. Determine budget – Buying large quantities can add up quickly. Budget can be a huge determining factor in what you can consider. It can quickly eliminate using imported hardware from France making your choices a little easier. ( or harder if you had your heart set on the imported pieces.)

3. Decide if you are going to use all knobs, all pulls or a combination of both. Again, budget can come into play here, as it is typically cheaper to use knobs and less pulls. This is often determined by the amount of doors and drawers, as well as the layout of the space. If you aren’t careful the hardware you choose can cause visual business or on the opposite side of the design spectrum, lack of impact, if not properly chosen.

4. Choose your appliance hardware first. If you are concealing your appliances you may want to start by choosing that hardware first, since the options for appliances are more limited. Once you choose the appliance hardware then you can choose either matching or coordinating hardware for the rest of the kitchen.

5. Buy Quality- Buy the best quality you can afford. Kitchens get the most wear and tear of room in a house. The better the quality of hardware, the chances of it holding up are greater. There is nothing more unattractive than hardware which has lost its finish. Just by spending a few extra dollars per knob, you can get great quality, with a finish that will last. When possible, always buy solid hardware over hollow, it often last the life of the cabinets and feel good to the touch. The average homeowner doesn’t change out kitchen hardware, but about every 10 years. If you invest in high quality hardware and decide to move you can always take it with you to your next house.

6. Define your style – Look at places like Houzz or Pinterest for kitchen hardware you like. Bookmark the pages or start a pin board with ideas, you can share with your designer or the in-house salesman at your local store.

7. When possible visit a showroom – If you have a hardware distributor locally, by all means visit them and take one of your cabinet doors if you have one. They can help you with options. It’s always best to look at the hardware with the actual door.

8. Order samples – Always, always get samples of hardware to see in person. It is important to hold the hardware to see how it feels in your hand, as well as feel the weight and see the finish of the hardware as I mentioned above. Note: some online companies will allow you to order samples for a nominal shipping fee, which is often much cheaper than the actual hardware, so you can save a little money on one piece if you are buying multiples.

Decor Pad

Phase #2 Aesthetics

 New Kitchen:

1. Determine your style – Are you more traditional, contemporary, or transitional? These are the three most commonly identified styles. If you don’t know your style, look at kitchens online (as I mentioned above) and start a file to show a design professional or showroom sales person, who can help you identify your style.

2. Let the elements dictate the finish – Cabinet style,color and finish or faucet style/finish as well as appliances or countertops all come into play when choosing hardware. For example, if using a black granite, you might opt for a repeat of black for the hardware.

3. Determine what role the hardware will play – Do you have plain cabinets and nothing exciting in your kitchen, and need your hardware to be the star of the room? O,r do you want your hardware to play a supporting role to the other items in the room?

4. Work with a designer when possible – If your budget permits, work with a designer. He or she can save you time and money. They will narrow down the choices for you and still let you choose, if you want to be involved in the process. The designer knows what is available at the price that will fit your budget. They also know how to mix metals, to achieve a more custom look. Scale is really important when choosing hardware. If you go too small it can look cheap or unimpressive. The professional knows what will work best. Remember choosing the right hardware is imperative to creating the look you are trying to achieve in your room.

5. Take a photograph- If not working with a designer, take a photograph of your existing kitchen, to the in house designer at the showroom so they can help you with options.

Atlanta Homes Magazine

Existing Kitchen remodel:

1. Decide the look you are hoping to achieve with your update (as mentioned above)

2. Existing Hardware: Take into consideration what hardware you are replacing. Is it necessary to replace with the same type of hardware currently there? Will you simply replace the knobs/pulls with same size originally on cabinets or are you replacing pulls where knobs use to be, or vice versa?

3. Finish: To choose the finish for an existing kitchen, take into consideration your other finishes such as lighting, faucets, appliances, cabinet style and finishes.

4. Do you have exposed hinges? Are you planning to replace those? If not, you will need to make sure your new hardware matches. Take one with you to the showroom. It is important when replacing the hinges to get the exact size, so it fits perfectly and your doors operate properly.

5. Take the original hardware with you when searching for replacements. This is the easiest way to make sure you get the correct hardware, that will fit if you want to replace with the same style of knobs and pulls.

6. Painted Cabinets: With painted cabinets, often the holes can be filled and the type of hardware can be changed from knobs to pulls and vice versa. If you want to change the style of hardware, get the opinion of a professional painter and hire him if you aren’t a seasoned painter. Kitchen cabinets are not where you want to learn to paint. If you are handy with caulk, sandpaper and a paint brush, then proceed with caution. Just remember if the old hardware indentions are visible, the job won’t look new and fresh. Take the extra time and effort to make the cabinets perfect, before painting and applying the new hardware.

7. Check clearance – make sure the projection of the hardware works with the existing doors/drawers. Sometimes a lower profile hardware is in order.

Via Little Green Notebook

Rules Were Made to be Broken:

1. Don’t be afraid to mix metals: Things don’t have to be matchy- matchy. The metals in your kitchen just need to co-ordinate. I’ll show you some examples.

Trevor Tondro in House Beautiful

2. Don’t be afraid to go big – Tiny little knobs are no longer the only hardware option in your kitchen. Of course if that is your preference and you want small knobs, that is ok. Over-scale hardware is really on trend and makes an impressive statement.

Anthropologie Antler Melody Knob $14 in 5 Colors

3. Look in Unconventional Places for Hardware – There are endless places to buy interesting hardware. Check out places like Anthropologie, Restoration Hardware, Overstock, or Ikea or just Google the type hardware you are looking for. Make sure when choosing knobs from places other than hardware companies to check the quality. Always order a sample to check construction,finish and weight. If the hardware doesn’t feel study in your hand, it most likely won’t hold up on your cabinets. Do you like the hardware on a piece of furniture? Ask the furniture manufacturer about purchasing knobs from them for your kitchen.

4. Minimal or no hardware – In a sleek modern kitchen, you don’t necessarily have to have hardware. The cabinet can be routed out, so that the doors can be pulled open with the fingers or use of minimal hardware:

Allison Burke’s Kitchen on Apartment Therapy

Here are some examples of mixed hardware or mixed finished in kitchens. All quite beautiful.

Via Jeanne Roane

Christine Ralph’s House in Canadian House and Home. Photo by Virginia McDonald

Courtesy of House Beautiful

What are the most popular finishes?

The most popular finishes currently are chrome, satin nickel, polished nickel, and oil rubbed bronze, with brass making a huge comeback in both brushed and unlacquered finishes. These age naturally with use. I must say, I like the way brass warms up a kitchen.

 Courtesy of House Beautiful

Amy Meier Design

Want to Know What My Top Favorite Hardware Styles are?

There are so many choices for hardware out there. It is really hard to choose. I like to buy hardware, that will stand the test of time, so I tend to go with cleaner lines or traditional hardware, that won’t go out of style too quickly.

Here are some of my favorites:

1. Bar style Pulls – depending on the kitchen, the finish can vary. I like bar pulls in polished nickel, chrome, brass and pewter. They come in various sizes. Some styles are sleek and contemporary, while others are a little more transitional.

Lee Valley is one brand that sells bar style pulls.

More economical option: Bar style pulls in stainless – Overstock $52.99 for 25

Designed by Susan Apatoff . Photo by Olson Photographic

Designers Fitzhugh Karol and Lyndsay Caleo. Photography by Tara Striano for House Beautiful 

Bin Pulls by Rejeuvenation


2. Cup style – especially like it when it has a more interesting shape than the standard rounded cup pulls. Beautiful in polished nickel, brass and chrome finishes but also quite nice in oil rubbed bronze.

Polished nickel cup pulls – Schaub

Economical option: Overstock Cup pulls available in several finished

Young Huh in House Beautiful. Photography by John M. Shaw



Amy Meier Design


3. Glass knobs and pulls. Add a little sparkle and nostalgia to your kitchen, especially if cut glass. Most glass knobs are available in color, so this is a great way to add a little pop of color to your kitchen .

School House Glass Knobs $15

Economical option: Amerock on Knobs and Hardware – $5.97

Katie Brown Collection Glass Knob



4. Novelty knobs/pulls – I love to choose unusual knobs when possible for projects like second homes,cabins, lodges or beach houses.

Twig Hardware – Rocky Mountain Hardware

Economical option - DoorHardwareUSA twig hardware - $20.40 each



5. Latch hardware – Simple and nostalgic. This hardware isn’t cheap but it does provide a look you don’t get with any other hardware.

Schoolhouse latch $22

Economical option: HardwareHut: Latch $14.00


Via Westerbroek


6. Face Mount Sash Style Pulls – This is a very utilitarian style of hardware, but it works well for kitchens that have many elegant features therefore hardware needs to have simple, clean lines.

MyKnobs.com Deltana Pulls in Satin Nickel – $21.75

Economical option: Rejuvenation: $15

Design by Jeanne Rapone. Photography by James R. Saloman


7. Arched Mission Pull – A classical d-shaped pull with a pretty curved arch shaped. Available in 8 finishes, my favorite is the polished nickel shown above.

Rejuvenation: $15 each

Economical option: Overstock: $62.09 pkg of 25

Via Rejuvenation Hardware


8. Offset drawer pull – This timeless drawer pull with its curved angular styling has a sculpted look. This particular look though rotted in arts & crafts is simple enough to work in any decor.

Rejuvenation: $15 each

Economical option: MyKnobs.com Amerock = $3.43 each

Du Verre

Via Rejuvenation Hardware


9. Lucite Pulls – I love the look of lucite pulls. They are fresh, modern and add an updated look to the kitchen. A couple of years ago these were cost prohibitive, but now there are affordable options. Available through authorized dealers of Bird Hardware, First Impression Int. or custom order from The Paris Apartment

Try this for a more economical version: Restoration Hardware $17 -$24.  Polished Brass acrylic pull $9.26

 Via New England Stone


10. Interesting Knobs/pulls – Why use a boring little round knob when you can do something wow? Hardware can be like mini works of art. Nanz and Du Verre make beautiful, interesting hardware like what you see above. Not only is it beautiful, but it feels good to the touch. This type of hardware is in a league of its own but if you ever hold it in your hand you will instantly become a believer in the beauty and quality of solid, well made hardware.

Via Nanz

Via Nanz

Via Nanz

Du Verre Pomegranate

Du Verre Rio


I typically buy my hardware through qualified local dealers, but if I direct anyone to online resources these are my favs!


My top favorite online resources for cabinet hardware:

House of Antique Hardware

Liz’s Antique Hardware

School House Electric


My Knobs

Cool Knobs and Pulls



Can I share my absolute, insane current hardware obsession? Ok, so totally not practical but feast your eyes….

Anthropologie Precious Stone Knobs $128 each

Anthropologie Precious Stone Knobs $128 each

Could you imagine either of these on cabinets?

 Yes….I’m dying, are you?


 Wow, thank you Lisa for such a detailed and informative guide! Our readers are thanking you immensely for this!!! For more information about Lisa, see below!

Lisa Mende Design Blog

Lisa Mende on Pinterest

Lisa Mende on Instagram

Lisa Mende on Twitter

Lisa Mende Design on Facebook

Charlotte Interior Design Blog