Cabinet Hardware: The Essential Guide

One of the recurrent queries concerning cabinet hardware revolves around the apt size to procure and their optimal placement. Although there isn’t an absolute rule defining correctness, a few broad principles can guide you to ensure your cabinet accessories are well-proportioned and judiciously positioned.

Table of Contents

Knobs or Pulls?

The initial resolution pertains to using knobs, pulls, or a combination of both. Here are four proposed strategies:

»Knobs Only

Knobs, given their generally diminutive stature, are less conspicuous than pulls. If you desire the aesthetic superiority of your cabinets or your ornate backsplash to dominate, knobs could be your ideal choice.

all knobs

»Pulls Only

Electing to use pulls comes with several advantages. To begin with, pulls are usually more user-friendly than knobs, making them an excellent choice for those with weak or arthritic hands. They minimize direct hand contact with cabinets, thereby maintaining the cleanliness of your cabinets.

Moreover, pulls present a broader range of design choices than knobs. With many unique designs, giving your cabinets a designer flair becomes a breeze.

all pulls

»Combination: Knobs on Upper Cabinets, Pulls on Lower Cabinets

A fusion of knobs and pulls can offer an ideal solution. For an aesthetically coherent look, we propose two strategies. One possibility is to affix knobs to all upper cabinets and pulls to all lower ones.

(Source: HGTV)

»Combination: Knobs on Doors, Pulls on Drawers

Another option, should you prefer a blend of knobs and pulls, is to install knobs on all doors and pulls on all drawers. Note that neither of these two strategies outclasses the other; the choice primarily depends on personal taste.

»For Double-Stacked Cabinet

We typically suggest knobs or cabinet latches on the top row for double-stacked cabinets. Their smaller size complements the shorter door height, and a line of knobs or latches can infuse visual allure and character.

Determining Size

As you have chosen between knobs and pulls, your next decision is the size.

»Knob Sizes

A 1-1/4 inch knob is a universally safe choice. For a minimalist aesthetic, consider a smaller size. To make a grand statement, opt for something more significant.

»Pull Sizes

Determining pull sizes can get complex due to the myriad options and configurations. The lengthier the pull, the more modern it looks. Here are our top recommendations:

»Uniform Size

A popular choice is to opt for a uniform size across your cabinetry. There isn’t a definitive right or wrong size, but we suggest pulls with a center-to-center distance (the gap between the screw holes) of at least 3-3/4 inches. This size is both visually pleasing and provides a comfortable grip. Pulls of 5 – 6.5 inches also look appealing, offering a contemporary look yet fitting most drawers. Consider using two pulls on wider drawers if you decide on a smaller size.

all knobs same length

»Longer Lengths for Longer Drawers

Instead of using two pulls on wide drawers, a single elongated pull could offer a neat, modern look and improved functionality. A rule of thumb is to use a pull around 1/3 the length of the drawer. When unsure, it’s better to size up. Cabinet doors do not adhere to the 1/3 rule. Pulls between 5 – 7 inches are generally a safe choice for upper cabinets – go larger for a modern appearance. For extra-tall cabinets like pantries, consider longer pulls.

»Full-Length Pulls

For an ultra-modern look, consider using extra-long pulls that stretch almost the entire width of each cabinet.

»Appliance Pulls

Appliance pulls are engineered for paneled appliances. They’re larger than standard pulls and equipped with larger bolts to endure the additional force needed to open an appliance. They can also be installed on standard cabinets for a bold aesthetic.

(Source: Amerock)

Installation Blueprint

You’ve selected your cabinet hardware; now comes the installation. Where should everything go? Several factors come into play, including the cabinet style, size, and functionality.

»Paneled Doors

Most contemporary cabinet knobs are installed by aligning the installation hole with the edge of the rail. This installation is visually pleasing and installer-friendly. Elongated knobs, such as egg knobs or T knobs, should be placed so that the knob’s top aligns with the rail. For a classic touch, consider slightly offsetting your knobs from the rail.

For pulls, ensure the pull’s bottom aligns with the cabinet rail. Adjust your installation holes if necessary to avoid pulls extending into the rail.

»Slab Doors

For slab doors, aim for the hole placement to be equidistant from the bottom and the side of the cabinet. Usually, a 2-inch distance works well. For pulls, this position should be the end of the pull. Adjust the screw hole placement accordingly if needed.

»Paneled Drawers

The preferred choice for paneled drawers is often to center the hardware within the panel. However, some find it easier and more accessible to install their hardware within the top rail. This placement is particularly recommended for heavy vertical pullouts, such as trash cans and appliances.

paneled drawers pull stylish

»Slab Drawers

For slab drawers, the standard practice is to center your hardware on shallow drawers and place them towards the top of deeper drawers. This placement is both visually appealing and functional.


These suggestions aren’t rigid rules; deviating from the standard is perfectly fine. Use painter’s tape to map out hardware placement ideas if in doubt. Express your desires clearly to your installer. Leave no room for ambiguity in your instructions.

For additional queries, feel free to reach out to us! We’re always eager to assist. We also offer a free sample program that lets you physically experience cabinet hardware pieces before finalizing your purchase. 

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