A Kitchen Cabinet Hardware Primer

Kitchen cabinet hardware includes hinges, glides for drawers and inserts, racks, and, especially, knobs, drawer pulls and handles. Someone once called cabinet hardware the “jewelry of kitchen design.” Indeed, the hardware adds the finishing touch to beautiful cabinetry and kitchen design.

Hinges on cabinet doors may or may not be visible from the outside when the cabinet doors are closed. If hinges are visible, you will want to look for durability, strength and beauty. Visible hinges should match the knobs and handles whenever possible. In some designs decorative hinges are part of the style of the kitchen. In these cases, choose the finish and shape that is most appropriate for the style and design of the room. Look for high quality hinges that are heavy enough to bear up under frequent use and finished to prevent rust from steam and other moisture in the kitchen.

Much kitchen cabinet hardware today includes a variety of specialized glides for drawers, cabinet inserts, and cabinet or drawer accessories. These must be sturdy enough to support the weight of any items stored within them when fully extended. You will want high-quality hardware. It will be worth any extra cost now to avoid the need to replace it later. In most cases, drawers and pull-outs should be able to support at least 75 pounds when extended, they should glide smoothly, and they should be made of a rust-resistant material.

Kitchen cabinet hardware also includes a wide variety of racks, compartments and dividers for shelves, cabinets, drawers, and other specialty items. Look for racks made of metal and finished with a vinyl, plastic or chrome coating for durability and rust-resistance. Racks should be solidly installed and carefully positioned so they do not result in lost space or very difficult access to other items in the cabinet or drawer.

Knobs, drawer pulls and handles are truly the decorative cabinet hardware items. These should be selected first for match with the design and d├ęcor of the kitchen, next to be functional and sturdy, and finally, to be made of a material that is both appropriate and attractive in your renovated kitchen. Kitchen cabinet hardware is available in a wide range of metals and finishes, porcelain, glass, plastic, and even tile. You might choose a glossy finish or a softer matte or brushed metal finish for your kitchen.

As you choose kitchen cabinet hardware, consider any metals used for lighting fixtures, decorative items, etc. and try to match the metals or other items as closely as possible. Some homeowners used extra tile from a back splash or from the floor or counter tops to fashion unique knobs and pulls for their kitchen cabinets. This can tie everything together and create a nice “finished” appearance.

If you can think of kitchen cabinet hardware as the jewelry for your kitchen, you will be able to keep in mind all three considerations for the hardware as you make selections: strength, rust-free finish, and beauty.