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Cabinet Knobs: Selection, Placement, Installation

Cabinet Knobs: Selection, Placement, Installation

Cabinets can do very well with cabinet knobs. How do you decide on the style and placement? Here's what to look for and how to install them, too.

Kitchens make a big statement about your home and personal style. They're also the focus of some of the most major and expensive renovations homeowners choose to do. In 2019, the average cost of a kitchen remodel was over $66,000!

If you're looking to update your kitchen or even take on a full remodel, you're probably looking at cabinet hardware. After all, your hardware helps make a big statement about your personal taste and style. There is a reason hardware is known as the jewelry of the kitchen!

You may be wondering what you should choose to elevate the look of your home. You might also be asking how to place your cabinet knobs, pulls, and handles. If so, read on for your ultimate guide to cabinetry hardware. 

Cabinet Knobs vs. Handles vs. Drawer Pulls

We have some good news for you: what you decide to use is up to you for the most part. There are no hard and fast rules for what you should choose and where you should place them. However, there are some guidelines that we recommend you consider when deciding on new cabinet hardware. 

When to Use Knobs

Cabinet knobs are traditional and classic for a reason. They're timeless and can be used on large and small drawers, doors, and cupboards and can even be doubled up. They're a great choice no matter what your style. 

Cabinet knobs can also be used throughout your home. Some interior designers recommended using knobs on all upper cabinets. Others suggest knobs on all doors. You can choose all knobs and double up on larger drawers. 

Knobs also have a lot of different looks to fit your personal style. Geometric shapes, such as square pyramid knobs and hammered ball knobs, have become increasingly popular in recent years. 

Whatever you end up choosing, make sure you like both the look and feel of the knob. After all, you'll be touching them several times each day! 

When to Use Drawer Pulls and Handles

A drawer pull is not the same as a handle, but they are similar. A drawer pull is usually has a pocket or moving grip and tend to look more elaborate than a handle. Handles are usually a more streamlined, modern look. But they can be decorative as well!

Again, your choice for when to use handles and pulls is personal. A modern look is to use all handles throughout your home. For this look, choose a smooth, minimalist design. 

It's also common to use pulls and handles on all lower cabinets. Again, you can double up on handles and pulls on larger, heavier drawers. 


Whether you decide on knobs or pulls, placement is one of the most important steps in updating your kitchen. If you're not consistent, it will cause your cabinets to look haphazard and sloppy. 

The good news is that you can purchase templates at any hardware store to help you be consistent with your placement. 

Cabinet Knob Size and Placement

Although there are many different sizes of cabinet knobs to choose from, a safe rule is to stick with a 1-1/4" knob. This allows for easy opening and a consistent look throughout your home. 

For paneled doors, you have two options: classic cabinet knob and modern cabinet knob. You always will place knobs on the opposite side of the door from the hinge.

A classic placement for cabinet knobs is on the stile between 2-1/2 and 3 inches from the top corners (for lower doors) or the bottom corner (for top doors). A modern placement will line up the top of the knob with the rail.

For drawers, it's most common to center the knob in the middle of the panel. But for larger drawers, you may need two knobs to help pull them out. In that case, divide the drawer into thirds and place one knob on each dividing line. 

Cabinet Handle and Pull Size and Placement

Handle and pull size can be trickier. A general guideline is to choose a length between 3-3/4" and 5".

For longer drawers, you'll need to consider using two handles or pulls to help make opening them easier. You could also buy a longer handle that's approximately one-third the length of the drawer if you don't want to double up. 

The placement of drawer handles and pulls on doors should always be opposite of the hinge. Handles should be placed vertically on doors. 

For paneled doors, the bottom or top of the handle should be level with the rail. You don't want your handle to extend below the edge of the rail. This means you may need to drill your holes higher, depending on the style you choose. 

If your kitchen doesn't have paneled doors, then plan on having your handle approximately two inches from the edge. 

Larger doors, such as a pantry, should have the handle centered on the stile. Choose a larger handle so that it looks aesthetically pleasing. 

When it comes to handles and pulls on drawers, you'll want to mount them horizontally. Center them in the middle of the drawers, unless you have a larger drawer, like for trash. If so, you should place the handle centered on the top rail. 

What Style to Choose for Each Room in Your Home

The type of cabinet hardware you go with for each room of your home will depend on your personal style and preferences. If you want a classic and timeless look, knobs work great in both bathrooms and kitchens. But if you want a more modern twist, then handles and pulls can create an updated look on furniture and an office. 

The best way to decide is to go with what you like. Again, the options are endless and entirely up to you!

Ready To Make Your Selection? 

There's no need to feel overwhelmed or confused about cabinet hardware and its placement. As long as you like the look of your selection, there is no right or wrong choice!

If you're ready to make some decisions about updating your home with new cabinet knobs, pulls, and handles, we have a great selection to choose from. No matter your style or preferences, we have something to help you elevate the look of your cabinets. 

Be sure to check out our website to see what we have to offer for your home!

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