Many years ago homes would go decades with the same cabinetry and certainly the same cabinet hardware. My how times have changed.
Today, new kitchen cabinets, counters and even a whole new layout for the space can make an old home seem brand new, not only increasing its value (when home prices do rebound), but functionality.
Older kitchens certainly weren’t made for the way we cook today. There weren’t microwaves, convection ovens, coffee and espresso makers and toaster ovens like there are now to crowd once spacious counters. And cabinets are overflowing with foodstuffs, glassware and dishes.
It you’re remodeling your kitchen, cabinet hardware is an entirely different decision you’ll have to make. Most cabinets either come with very basic hardware or none at all, leaving you on your own to find cabinet hardware that matches your décor and your personal tastes and style.
Luckily, manufacturers have been more than happy to fill the void out there with an endless variety of cabinet hardware, from pulls and knobs to door catches, hinges and backplates. If you’re a cabinet hardware novice, here are some of the basics.
Knobs and pulls. These are the easiest pieces of hardware to identify, as they allow you to open your doors and drawers with ease. However, you still have to decide whether pulls, knobs or a mix of the two are best and then figure out the style, design and finish.
Hinges. Out of sight and usually out of mind, you may want to change these out if they have any visible parts to them, as they should match the other cabinet hardware you’ve selected. If you have invisible hinges, you may not need to worry about replacing them.
Backplates. Grimy hands can stain and mar the fronts of your expensive cabinets and drawers. Backplates go between the knob or pull and the wood facing, adding an additional layer of protection. If you use backplates you’ll need to factor in their thickness when deciding how long the screw needs to be for each knob or pull.
Drawer slides. These are the runners that allow your drawers to open easily. You probably don’t need to worry about replacing these until they wear out, unless you really want to have the perfect kitchen where all the cabinet hardware matches exactly.
As you start your search for cabinet hardware you’ll be overwhelmed by choice. There are literally thousands upon thousands of options, not only in a specific style or shape, but in finishes. You can choose to go with a standard design or even get custom ones. For example, you can accent a country kitchen with western themed pulls, knobs and backplates or add a nautical flair to the kitchen with cabinet hardware that looks like starfish, shells and sea life.
If you’re a bit overwhelmed, you may want to start online in your search. Many online retailers offer cabinet hardware that is not only very stylish, but won’t be found in your local home improvement store. That’s because these retailers don’t have to cater to a one-size-fits-most approach to retailing and choose a handful of designs that everyone may like, or at least be able to settle on. Online retailers can work with smaller manufacturers to secure harder to find designs that will really give your kitchen a unique look that can’t be found anywhere else.
If you are planning to change out your hardware, take the time to decide on designs that won’t look tired or boring after a couple years. One of the best ways to avoid making a purchasing mistake is to select your favorites, install them on your cabinets and live them with a while, deciding which ones are perfect for you. This will not only save you time and money, but a lot of regret.