Choosing The Right Finishes For Cabinet Handles, Pulls, And Knobs - Christopher Scott Cabinetry (2024)

Christopher Scott Cabinetry and Design is a custom cabinetry, design, and remodeling company putting the master craftsman back in the driver’s seat again. While IKEA might have its place in home design, Christopher Scott Cabinetry is built upon the principles that guide every true master craftsman–incredible attention to detail, pride in craftsmanship, and excellent customer service.

This dedication to quality extends to all aspects of cabinet making, even down to the tiniest details like cabinet hardware. We take all the little things very seriously, and our cabinet hardware is no exception. And if you’re wondering how to choose cabinet pulls or knobs that are just right for your space, we can help you with that, too. Cabinet hardware is the proverbial “cherry on top,” so it goes without saying that selecting the right finishes for your cabinet hardware is extremely important. The difference between a well-sorted kitchen and a kitchen speaks volumes.

Understanding Cabinet Hardware Finishes

While a wealth of styles abound regarding cabinet pulls and knobs, a finite number of cabinet hardware finishes exist. The most popular metal finishes are chrome, brushed or polished nickel, antique brass, matte black or gold, and oil-rubbed bronze.

DISCOVER: Our Favorite Cabinet Hardware

At Christopher Scott Cabinetry, we strongly believe that cabinet hardware finishes significantly impact your space’s overall aesthetic. Cabinet hardware should be chosen based on the cabinet’s style, color, and the desired look and feel of the room. Whether you want to create a cohesive design, emphasize certain elements, or add a touch of personal flair, the right hardware finish can make a considerable difference in enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal of your cabinets.

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Factors To Consider When Choosing Finishes

Cabinet hardware should complement the cabinet’s style, enhance its visual appeal, and complete the look and feel of your space. To that end, carefully consider the following factors when matching finishes for cabinet pulls and knobs.

Style And Theme

Cabinet hardware finishes can and should reinforce the overall style and theme of the cabinets and the room. For example, sleek and modern hardware with finishes like brushed nickel or chrome complements contemporary-style cabinets. In contrast, antique brass or oil-rubbed bronze hardware can enhance the appeal of traditional or rustic-style cabinets. To create a cohesive look throughout your home, consider unifying your design using the same hardware finish and coordinating them with kitchen appliances and bathroom fixtures.

READ MORE: How To Install Cabinet Hardware

Color Harmony

The hardware finish color should harmonize with the cabinet color and the surrounding decor. Coordinating the hardware finish with the cabinet’s paint or stain color creates a unified and harmonious look. A well-matched color scheme can make the cabinets stand out or blend seamlessly with the rest of the space.

Depending on what kind of design style you want, there are some popular choices when choosing knob finishes or cabinet handles that always work well together: Using brass cabinet hardware alongside black pulls for an elegant yet contemporary look. Or pair wooden knobs with oil-rubbed bronze pulls to create a cozy, down-to-earth vibe. Try brushed nickel or chrome metal hardware with black knobs for a clean and classic look for modern or traditional kitchens.

Overall Cohesion

Consistency in hardware finishes throughout the kitchen, living room, or bathroom space can create a cohesive and polished look. When all the hardware, such as drawer pulls, knobs, and hinges, share the same finish, it ties the design together and prevents the space from feeling disjointed.

Texture And Depth

Different hardware finishes have varying levels of texture and depth, which can affect the tactile and visual experience of the cabinets. Polished finishes offer a smooth and reflective surface, while brushed or distressed finishes provide a more tactile and aged appearance.

Personal Preferences

Cabinet hardware finishes are a matter of personal preference, allowing homeowners to infuse their personality into the space. Whether it’s a classic, contemporary, vintage, or eclectic look, the right hardware finish can reflect the homeowner’s style and taste.

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Coordinating With Cabinet Style

Coordinating hardware finishes with the cabinet style is essential for creating a cohesive, visually appealing, and functional space. It combines different design elements, enhances the overall aesthetics, and adds a touch of personalization to your living space. Whether you’re remodeling your kitchen or updating your bathroom, paying attention to the details of cabinet hardware can make a significant difference in the overall look and feel of the room.

DISCOVER: Cabinet Handles, Knobs, And Pulls Types

For example, more traditional or rustic kitchens often look great with cabinet hardware that has texture or detail. In contrast, modern or contemporary kitchens or bathrooms look best with simple and sleek hardware.

Without a doubt, cabinet hardware should coordinate with the cabinet color. White cabinets look great with just about any hardware finish, but light- and dark-colored cabinets should be paired with contrasting hardware finishes that make the pulls and knobs pop. For example, a farmhouse kitchen with white or cream cabinets would pair well with matte gold door handles and matte black knobs on drawers. Or try brushed nickel on the upper cabinets and matte gold hardware on the lower in a modern or contemporary kitchen.

Coordinating With Other Kitchen And Bathroom Fixtures

Remember that while it’s best to coordinate hardware finishes in bathrooms and kitchens, you don’t need everything to match exactly. Subtle variations in style or design can add character and interest to your home while maintaining an overall cohesive aesthetic. Trust your design instincts and select fixtures that reflect your personal style and preferences while keeping in mind the rules of coordination.

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If you’re questioning whether or not you can mix gold and silver finishes in the same kitchen, read on for some coordination tips.

Consistent Style

Choose a consistent style for both the bathroom and kitchen fixtures. Keeping a cohesive theme will tie the spaces together, whether modern, traditional, transitional, or any other style.

Mix And Matching Finishes

While you don’t need to use the exact same fixtures in both rooms, try to match the finishes of the fixtures. For example, if you have brushed nickel faucets in the bathroom, consider using brushed nickel or a complementary finish for the kitchen sink and other fixtures.

Balance And Proportion

Pay attention to the proportions of the fixtures in both rooms. While the sizes may vary due to functional requirements, aim for a balanced look in scale and visual weight.

Stick To A Limited Color Palette

Avoid using too many different colors or finishes. Sticking to a limited color palette is generally best to maintain a cohesive and elegant look. Too much variation can create visual clutter.

Seek Professional Advice

If you need help with coordinating fixtures or need help selecting the right ones, consider consulting with a professional. They can offer expert advice and help you create a cohesive design.

Updating Cabinet Look through Hardware Finishes

You’ve probably heard that a cost-effective bathroom or kitchen remodel is as simple as updating the cabinet hardware. This can indeed be the case. Updating your hardware can transform the look of your cabinets for a fraction of the cost of a major kitchen or bathroom remodel.

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Begin by assessing your current cabinets. Look closely at your existing cabinets and identify the current hardware finishes. Consider the cabinet style, color, and overall aesthetics to determine the type of hardware finish that will complement the look you want to achieve. Once you know your desired style, select new hardware finishes that match your vision. You can go for popular choices like brushed nickel, chrome, brass, bronze, black, or even more unique finishes like matte gold or antique copper. Consider the finish’s texture and how it compliments your cabinet material and color.

Mixing And Matching Finishes

Nothing stays a rule for long when it comes to design. As such, in today’s home trends, mixing and matching cabinet hardware in modern designs is becoming increasingly popular.

Mixing and matching hardware finishes, colors, and styles can add depth to your design. For example, if your kitchen has black and chrome finishes, you might have a black faucet that ties in with your black cabinet pulls and a black fireplace. Or you could have chrome light fixtures that pair nicely with your stainless steel appliances and pendant lights over the island. There are many ways to mix and match hardware finishes. Have fun with the process, but if you are overwhelmed, here are some simple guidelines for mixing and matching finishes to achieve visual interest without sacrificing a uniform look.

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Mix hardware to highlight a focal point. Use distinctive hardware to help a particular kitchen area stand out (such as the hutch that holds your fine china).

Don’t pair similar materials. Avoid pairing similar materials, such as brass and gold. Similar materials will not give you the contrast you seek and will appear visually uninteresting.

DO mix opposites. Pair shiny finishes with matte finishes or warm finishes with cool finishes.

Use different styles for uppers and lowers. This is a nice way to organize mixed cabinet hardware visually.

Choose only two colors. Limit your mixed hardware to two or three colors. Hard stop! This is a firm rule. Too many metals can ruin even the most beautifully designed kitchen.

TRENDING: Cabinet Hinges Types And Styles

Cabinet Handles, Knobs, And Pulls Finishes FAQs

What types of cabinet hardware finishes are popular right now?

The most popular hardware finishes are satin or matte black, brushed or polished brass, and copper.

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How do I determine the right size for cabinet pulls and handles?

Use the ⅓ rule, which states that the best pull length is about ⅓ of the height of the cabinet door and ⅓ the width of the cabinet drawer. For knobs, 1-¼” is a good choice. For a more minimalistic look, size down. If you want to make more of a statement, size up.

Are there any finishes that are considered timeless and versatile?

Chrome, polished nickel, and unlacquered brass are all timeless and elegant finishes that work with nearly every interior design style.

Can I mix different finishes within the same room for a unique look?

You CAN do that, but we don’t recommend mixed finishes. Instead, play with different colors and hardware designs to bring your space an artistic and personalized touch.

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What are the best practices for cleaning and maintaining cabinet hardware finishes?

Just the basics: warm water with a drop or two of soap or vinegar. Apply with a spray bottle and wipe clean with a soft cloth. Weekly cleaning will prevent dirt and grime build-up, leaving your hardware looking like the day it was installed.

Are there eco-friendly options available for cabinet hardware finishes?

If you want an eco-friendly option, try recycled glass, bronze, cork, or antique pull, handles or knobs.

Can I change the hardware finishes without replacing the entire cabinet?

Yes! You can update your hardware at any time.

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Are there finishes that work better with traditional or modern cabinet styles?

Modern cabinet styles work well with polished brass or chrome. Brushed or polished nickel or satin black is popular for more traditional cabinetry.

How can I ensure the consistency of finishes throughout my entire home?

Avoid mixing different sheens, like polished and brushed nickel, within the same finish. Instead, choose two or more contrasting finishes for a cohesive design and use them throughout the home.

Christopher Scott Hardware–The Intersection Of Function And Beauty

The words “mediocre” and “for the masses” are just not in our vocabulary. We take enormous pride in designing and custom-building some of the most functional and beautiful hardware on the market.
At Christopher Scott Cabinetry, we design every cabinet handle, knob, or pull with real intent and an insane amount of attention to detail. We know that even though hardware is small, its impact is huge–and getting the right cabinet hardware finish is a big piece of the puzzle. Get it wrong, and your kitchen will never be the same. Get it right, and your kitchen will leave a lasting impression. So if you are looking to update your cabinet hardware in your bathroom or kitchen, and want quality design and construction, visit our online shop to seal the deal or our online hardware portfolio for more cabinet hardware inspiration!

Choosing The Right Finishes For Cabinet Handles, Pulls, And Knobs - Christopher Scott Cabinetry (2024)


How to choose cabinet hardware finish? ›

The hardware finish color should harmonize with the cabinet color and the surrounding decor. Coordinating the hardware finish with the cabinet's paint or stain color creates a unified and harmonious look. A well-matched color scheme can make the cabinets stand out or blend seamlessly with the rest of the space.

What is the most popular finish for cabinet hardware? ›

Satin/Brushed Nickel (Warm Undertone)

One of the most popular finishes, it is an available finish option for nearly every hardware design.

What is the 1 3 rule for cabinet pulls? ›

Cabinet pulls give a sleek visually appealing look to cabinet doors and drawers. What usually looks best is a pull length that is about 1/3 the height of the cabinet door and 1/3 the width of the cabinet drawer. Your eyes follow the length of the pull up the height of the door or across the width of the drawer.

How to decide on hardware color? ›

The cabinet hardware finish should coordinate with the cabinet color. White cabinets look great with just about any hardware finish, but light- and dark-colored cabinets should be paired with hardware finishes that make the pulls—and hinges if they're visible—pop.

What hardware finish is timeless? ›

Brass. Brass is a copper alloy that contains zinc and is resistant to corrosion. The matte or unlaquered finishes more popular in this decade than the shiny lacquered fixtures of the 1980s. A beautiful brass faucet or hardware is always a timeless addition to a kitchen or bathroom or as a lighting choice in any space.

Does faucet finish have to match cabinet hardware? ›

Does cabinet hardware have to match your faucet? No. But, traditionally kitchens and bathrooms will match hardware finishes to the faucet to tie the finishes in the room together. Matching cabinet hardware to your faucet creates a cohesive look.

What color door handles are timeless? ›

Brass brings a warmth and lustrous elegance, effortlessly aligning with the timeless design aesthetic. Nickel offers a touch of modernity in both satin and bright nickel.

What is the current trend for door hardware? ›

Simplicity and Minimalism: capturing understated elegance

The trend towards minimalist door hardware continues to grow, as architects and interior designers increasingly seek beauty in simplicity for their projects. This design approach emphasizes paring down to essentials, focusing on form and function.

Should you mix cabinet pulls and knobs? ›

Mixing different styles creates visual interest throughout the Kitchen and adds character. This is especially important in a large Kitchen where you don't want the cabinets to look too repetitive. It is also so important to consider the function of each cabinet when selecting the hardware.

What is the rule of thumb for cabinet knobs? ›

Cabinet knobs are placed opposite of door hinges. On wall cabinets, knobs are usually placed 2-1/2” to 3” from the bottom corner of the door. On base cabinets, they are placed 2-1/2” to 3” from the upper corner of the door.

What is the formula for cabinet pulls? ›

Using a pull that is approximately 1/3 the length of the drawer is a good rule of thumb. When in between sizes, size up. Cabinet doors do not follow the 1/3 rule. Generally, pulls between 5 - 7" for uppers are a safe choice - go larger for a more contemporary look.

How to decide on pulls or knobs? ›

Quick Guide: Knobs vs Pulls

When choosing between knobs and pulls for your kitchen cabinet hardware, consider cabinet pulls for a modern, sleek look. Pulls are also a great choice for big, heavy drawers. Opt for knobs for a more traditional feel and for use on cabinet doors.

Do cabinet handles and hinges have to match? ›

For your hinges, it is often best practice that they should match the finish of your handles and knobs if they are visible. But, with that in mind, you could opt for a blend of cohesive finishes instead of exact matches.

What is the most popular door hardware finish? ›

7 Popular finishes for door hardware
  • Matte black. Matte black is a stylish finish that adds a modern, dramatic touch to a house. ...
  • Satin nickel. Satin nickel has a smooth appearance that hides fingerprints and abrasions. ...
  • Satin chrome. Satin chrome has a contemporary look that complements most styles. ...
  • Polished brass.
Feb 7, 2024

What finish looks best on cabinets? ›

Semi-gloss is typically the most common finish used, making it a popular choice for your kitchen cabinets. If you're looking for a finish that will shine and reflect light once it hits it, opt for a semi-gloss finish.

What is the best color for cabinet hardware? ›

For a cohesive look, opt for hardware finishes that either match these tones or provide a contrasting accent. For example, cool-colored cabinets pair well with silver or chrome, while warm-toned cabinets shine with gold or bronze finishes.

How to choose metal finishes? ›

"Pick one finish to use as a focal point, and incorporate other finishes as accents to complement it." Start with a metal that reflects the overall aesthetic of the room. For instance, satin or polished nickel works well in traditional spaces, while matte black offers a more contemporary feel.


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