Guide to Choosing Cabinet Hardware

Summer is the perfect time for home upgrades. You may have more time off work and the weather is often ideal. While you might lack the budget and resources for a full home renovation, small changes can make a big difference! If your cabinetry is the same as the day you moved in, refresh the look with new decorative hardware. How do you choose the right styles for your home?

Decorative Cabinet Hardware

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Know the Different Types

Top Knobs cabinet hardwareThe first step is to familiarize yourself with the various options available. You typically see knobs and pulls on cabinets, but there are so many sizes, shapes and styles. To start, what should you know about the basic hardware categories?


The most basic type of hardware, knobs have many different applications, from small knobs for pull-out bread boards to large knobs for tall cabinets. Knobs are also popular for their simple installation, so any homeowner can switch them out with a single screw.

Handles or Pulls

Cabinet pulls function best with taller, larger cabinets because of their own long shape. They are often used on wood-panel layovers that hide refrigerators and other big appliances. Pulls are mounted with multiple, thicker screws than knobs, but are also easy to install.

Latches & Catches

These two types of hardware are often confused, but have different looks and functions:

  • Latch: A two-part piece installed on the outside of the cabinet. The turn or lever manually operates the “tongue” of the latch, which goes inside an open cavity receiver.
  • Catch: A piece of hardware that keeps the cabinet closed from the inside with magnetic force.

Specific Cabinet Types

While personal preference is always a factor in the decision-making process, certain hardware pairs better with certain cabinet types. Do you know what style cabinets you have in your home? We explore the six most common types and which hardware works best.


One of the most popular styles, a five-piece door with a recessed center panel creates clean lines and a minimalist look. Due to the simplicity of their design, shaker cabinets often pair well with different styles of cabinet knobs.


Solid slabs of material – hardwood, plywood, fiberboard – are used to create these flat, frameless cabinets. They have a more modern look than traditional shakers, so flat-paneled cabinets are best paired with slim bar pulls.


Inset cabinet doors are set directly into the cabinet frame. Their seamless construction makes any style of cabinet hardware a perfect fit. The hinges are often exposed, so you’ll want a knob or pull that complements this rustic look.


This type of cabinet refers to the finish on the doors, often painted with antiquing glaze or wax. Like inset, distressed cabinets can pair with either knobs or pulls – but the look of the hardware should be just as rustic as the finish.


Also known as wood shutters, louvered cabinets have slats that add texture and charm to a living space. While knobs or pulls can be used, simple knobs are most commonly seen. You want to choose hardware that does not distract from the unique look of the cabinets.


Often made from fiberboard or plywood, beadboard adds a slight paneling effect to cabinet doors. Like louvered cabinets, you want the focus to be on the beadboard, so a small cup or bin pull – an enclosed handle with opening at the bottom to grip – would do the trick.

Pick Your Finish

Once you have decided which type of hardware to choose based on your cabinet style, it’s time to choose the finish. Some pair well with any color stain, like polished chrome and brushed nickel. If your cabinets are dark, consider a stainless steel or iron finish. For lighter cabinets, make a bold statement with oil rubbed bronze or black hardware.
Our hardware experts are waiting to speak with you about your next home renovation project. To learn more about our hardware brands and products, visit our Hartford or Southington showroom today!

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