Cabinet Hardware 101: Types & Placement

June 7, 2019

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Cabinet hardware is a small detail that can cause a lot of headaches because there are SO many options and decisions to make around them. But the perfect cabinet hardware can add SO much personality to your room (we call it the jewelry for cabinets)…so today we hoping to clear up alllll of your questions and simplify the selection process.

Let’s start with the basics. While there are a plethora of options, most cabinet hardware can be sorted into 4 primary categories. Cup pulls, knobs, pulls (also known as bar pulls), and latches. There are a few other ones, such as concealed pulls, pendants, and specialty knobs, but those aren’t as common, so today we’re focusing on three of the most common types: cup pulls, knobs, and bar pulls. And just as an FYI, if you see the term appliance pull floating around, those are basically larger versions of bar pulls.  They are usually more substantial because they are used for built–in paneled appliances, so you need something a little more heavy duty.

Sources: Knob | Bar Pull | Cup Pull | Latch

So now that you know what types of cabinet hardware there is, the next question is where do you use them?

Cup Pulls: Cup pulls are only ever used on drawers, and I like to center them in the middle of the drawer slab. If you have a 5 piece drawer (top and bottom rails, inside panel, and side rails) you want to make sure the hardware itself will fit (centered) in the middle panel before purchasing and installing.

The only times I won’t install cup pulls in the center of the drawer slab is if A) it’s a trash pullout, B) you have a really wide drawer or C) you have a really tall drawer. For trash pullouts, I will center the cup pull on the top rail of the door (make sure you center the overall cup pull on the rail, not the screw holes, or else you’ll end up with a cup pull that is too high). For really wide drawers, we always recommend using two cup pulls, and then evenly space them. As a general rule of thumb, if your drawer is 30″ or wider, I like to use two cup pulls. Lastly, if you have tall drawers, you can either center them in the overall drawer, or install them on the top rail.

Sources: Amerock Cup Pull, Amerock Bar Pull

Knobs: For the most part, we only use knobs on cabinet doors. And as far as placement is concerned, I like to imagine a line that extends across the bottom rail of the cabinet. Then, I center the hole on that line and that’s where I install the hardware.

BUT, (yes, you knew there was a but coming), there are times when we will use cabinet knobs on drawers. When we have really small drawers, (think 12″ or under), we may use a knob if a pull doesn’t fit. Also, I should probably point out that really simple knobs on drawers have been increasing in popularity lately. If you do want to use knobs on drawers, I usually use two per drawer.

Bar Pulls: These are arguably my favorite cabinet hardware, because they are sleek, and there are so many fun styles to choose from. These can be used on both doors and drawers, and while a variety of sizes look great, I love using a longer bar pull (think 5″ or 6″) on upper cabinets because they add some height.

For placement on drawers, I use the same guidelines as we discussed above with cup pulls. If you have wide drawers, you could always use one really long bar pull instead of two smaller bar pulls if you wanted.

For door locations, it can get a little trickier, and that’s where your judgement comes into play. As a rule of thumb, I extend that same imaginary line across the bottom rail of the cabinet, and that is where I line up the BOTTOM of the bar pull. So, you may have to measure if the screw holes are up higher than the bottom of the hardware. But sometimes it may look better shifted up a little or down a little, so I always start by holding them up and seeing what looks best.

Sources: Amerock Bar Pull

We’ll be posting a video walking you through all of these here next week, and we’ll be following up with a blog post and video on how to actually install them, as well as some of our favorite cabinet hardware, so stay tuned! If you found this helpful, we’d love if you tagged us on Instagram @almahomes as you’re selecting your hardware so we can see what you choose! Happy cabinet hardware hunting!

Sources for top image hardware: Amerock 3-3/4″ Bar Pull, Amerock 5″ Bar Pull

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