Knobs, Pulls or Both on Kitchen Cabinets

Using all Knobs on Kitchen Cabinets.

If you’re getting ready to build a new home, or remodel a kitchen, one of the many things that you will have to think about is the hardware that you will be having on your kitchen cabinets. Pulls and knobs are the jewelry of the kitchen and selecting the right ones can really make a difference. This blog post covers different things to think about when making your selection.

Knobs… The above illustration shows a kitchen with just knobs used on both cabinet  doors and drawers.  Knobs are the simplest of kitchen cabinet openers, due to their size, but they can still make a visual statement.  Knobs come in all different styles from modern to traditional, and you will see them in metal finishes like black, polished and brushed nickel, polished chrome, aged bronze and warm brass to name a few.  Besides metals, knobs can be found in glass, ceramic, wood and Lucite.  Knobs are, in some cases less pricey than pulls and don’t attract as much attention as pulls do on cabinet drawers and doors.  When you use just knobs, its more about seeing the beauty of the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, and not looking at a lot of decorative hardware.  Knobs give a more simple look to a room filled with cabinets.

When selecting knobs for kitchen cabinets, it’s best to shop around, as each big box store, lumber yard, and cabinet company has different kinds and looks of knobs on display.  When it comes to knobs you want to touch them, and put your fingers around them to see how they feel and grab.  You want to know that there are no rough edges to the design and that you like their size and how much distance they stick out from the cabinet.

Even if you are the kind of person who buys things on-line, I suggest that you first see them in person and test drive them for look and feel.  If you can,  take down their name, model number, and a photo, and ask for a print out or catalogue showing the knob(s) that you are thinking of purchasing,  so you have an exact record of what you  want.  I find buying things from catalogues or online is sometimes hard to do.  Things don’t always photograph that great, and you might pass right by something in a photo, but that same thing might really catch your attention when you see it in person.  Also, some companies don’t accept returns on special orders, so make sure you know what you really want.

Using all Pulls on Kitchen Cabinets.

Pulls… The above drawing shows the previous kitchen illustration, but now all pulls are seen on the cabinet drawers and doors.  When it comes to pulls, which are larger than knobs, you have to be a bit more careful about your selection.  While pulls are, for some more easy to grab than knobs, they can be, if the wrong size, overpowering looking on the doors and drawer fronts of the cabinets.  When too large or too fancy pulls are mounted on cabinets, it’s not about the cabinets anymore, but all about the look of the pulls. Pulls, in most cases, being larger, also cost more than knobs.

If a person is thinking about using pulls, first consider their inside (the part you put your fingers in) and the overall outside dimensions.  A pull with 3 1/2 inches of inside space and a length of 4 to 4 1/2 inches is a nice size.  That size pull can be used singly on cabinet doors, or small drawer, and a pair can be mounted on a larger drawer for ease of opening.  When it comes to pantry cabinets, a pull that has 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 inches of inside space and is about 7 inches long would work well.

The color of cabinets and colors of pulls must also be considered.  If you have white or light-colored cabinets and you have large pulls, that are in a dark or bright finish there is more of a high contrast between the different elements, so the pulls stand out more.  If you have a medium to dark colored cabinet and you have a pull that is in a medium color like brushed nickel, some tones of bronze, darkened copper or black there is less of a high contrast and the pulls will not stand out all that much, so they will not be fighting the cabinets for supremacy.

Like with cabinet knobs, it’s best to shop around and see how the pulls feel when you put your fingers and hands on them.  When shopping for cabinet hardware bring along a sample of your cabinet color, your countertop color and flooring, and backsplash if you have it, so you can put those elements next to the pulls.  Also see if where you are shopping, they have a similar style of cabinet, like what you are going to have installed in your house, so you can put a pull that attracts you, by a door sample to see how they look together.

Using both Knobs and Pulls on Kitchen Cabinets.

Knobs and Pulls… The above drawing, once more shows the same kitchen, but this time there is a mix. Knobs are seen on all doors and pulls are seen on all drawers. I think this is, in a way, the best of both worlds.  The combination of knobs and pulls provides a bit of a visual mix, which can bring more interest to a kitchen, than just all knobs or just all pulls.  It’s easy to work with a mix of the two, because most makers of kitchen cabinet hardware have a companion pull for every knob they design/manufacture, which keeps the two elements looking good together.  Mixing knobs and pulls also affects the overall cost.  You have the lesser priced knob on probably most of your cabinet fronts, the doors. The more pricey pulls, are sprinkled here and there on drawers for visual interest, but you will most-likely need less of them so you can save a bit, and use the money somewhere else.

So there you have it, some thoughts on using knobs and pulls on kitchen cabinets.  To take what I’ve covered further, start examining kitchens in magazines and on-line.  Look at the link on Instagram for White Kitchen  and Kitchen Cabinet Hardware for ideas.

Look on Pinterest  for kitchen cabinet and knob ideas and I know you will be able to come up with other search words to find other pictures of kitchens and cabinets to look at for inspiration.

I hope this post was helpful, and good luck with choosing your pulls and knobs.

Companion Posts on
Pick (Use) Four Colors when Decorating a Room 3-7-2011,
When decorating a Beige Room, Think Tones, Texture and Sculptural Interest 3-16-2011,
Hanging Pictures Around a Room 8-3-2011,
Hanging a Collection of Plates/Dishes up on the Wall 1-19-2013,
TWELVE Reasons to buy WHITE DISHES 4-12-2012,
Color Theory..When Interior Decorating a Room, Remember Wood is a Color too 3-9-2013,
How to Pick the Perfect GRAY PAINT.. A popular Color Choice of the Moment 2-15-2014.


About fredgonsowskigardenhome

Your eyes deserve to view beauty. I hope Fred Gonsowski Garden Home helps to turn your vision, into a reality.
This entry was posted in Interior Decorating Principles, Kitchen. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Knobs, Pulls or Both on Kitchen Cabinets

  1. Joy von Glueck says:

    Once again, a Timely and fabulous Post! Thank you Fred for taking the time to discuss something that’s been confounding me for quite some time now. Appreciate Very much! I hope all is well with you and yours.God Bless! Joy

  2. Sunshinegirl says:

    Wonderful! Having wrestled with this decision myself, I think you are spot on! Thank you!

  3. I really love your illustrations. Do you sell any artwork by chance?

  4. Junebug says:

    Another great post! Your blog has been a fantastic discovery for practical decorating advice. Thank you and I look forward to your upcoming posts.

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