5 things to consider when choosing handles and knobs for kitchen cabinets

PHOTO: 2ID by Aspire Renovation & Design

Hardware for your kitchen cabinets isn't usually something we think about when planning our kitchen. But you definitely should.

Besides changing how your cooking space looks, it also plays an important role in determining how functional your kitchen is. When shopping for handles and knobs, consider the following before making your decision:

1. Consider your interior design style

When choosing handles and knobs, keep in mind your interior design style. For contemporary kitchens, choose handles and knobs with clean, minimalist silhouettes like bar handles.

Farmhouse style kitchens or cabinets with shaker profiles will go well with handles like bin pulls, which are handles that look like caps.

If your kitchen leans towards a transitional, traditional or vintage style, consider more ornate handles or even drop pulls.

The type of finish on your handles and knobs will also affect the overall vibe.

Polished finishes, and finishes in matte black, chrome or stainless steel do well in a modern setting, while more antique finishes, as well as gold, brass, nickel or bronze finishes, will work better in a kitchen that is more old school.

For a more seamless look, match your hardware with the rest of your kitchen fittings.

2. Think about ergonomics

Make sure your fingers can fit in comfortably around the handles.
PHOTO:  Icon Interior Design

Don't just consider how your handles or knobs will look; you will want to make sure they are also ergonomic to use since you will be constantly opening and closing your kitchen cabinets. When shopping for handles, make sure your fingers (four of them!) can fit around the handle nicely.

You don't want any sharp edges or tight spots that will make your cupboards uncomfortable or difficult to open. This can be frustrating in the long run.

If your kitchen has more drawers, go for handles since they will help to spread out the force needed to pull them open. Otherwise, knobs will work better with cabinet doors.

Sturdy handles or knobs that allow a firm grip are especially important if you are placing them on heavy drawers.

Living with the elderly? Pulls are generally easier than knobs on the older folks, with D-shaped ones the best in ergonomics.

3. Don't neglect size

Create visual consistency with similar sized handles across all your cabinets.
PHOTO:  Inspire ID Group

Choose the same length of handles throughout so that you will get a more consistent look that won't feel overly cluttered or messy.

If you have cabinet doors that are full-height or taller than standard height, invest in longer handles to make it easier to pull them open.

Drawers that are wider than 80cm will also work better with longer handles than knobs.

You can also go with two shorter handles on extra-wide drawers or drawers where you are planning to store heavy pots and pans, but make sure you don't end up using just one handle to pull the drawer open as that will damage your cabinet carpentry in time to come.

4. You don't have to match

Understand that you don't have to get the same handles or knobs for every drawer or cabinet door. You can go with handles for drawers and knobs for cabinet doors.

Or you can go with one type of hardware for top cabinets and another for your bottom cabinets. If you are mixing and matching, a good design tip is choosing them in the same finish and colour so that they still feel like they belong together in the same space.

5. Check to ensure enough clearance space

When testing out handles or knobs, make sure they don’t hit against one another when you’re opening your cabinets.
PHOTO: Third Avenue Studio

You will also want to make sure you get handles or knobs aren't so bulky that won't hit against one another or catch each other when you open several cabinet doors at once.

Depending on the type of finish, this might chip away at your hardware, or it can make it really annoying to open your kitchen cabinet doors.

As such, plan for the placement of your hardware before sourcing for your handles and knobs so you will know how much space you have.

This article was first published in Renonation.