Cabinet Hardware: Styles, Colours, and Upgrades

Jul 21, 2023

Upgrading Cabinet Hardware

One of the key aspects of painting kitchen cabinets is having to remove cabinet hardware like handles, hinges, and drawer slides. Because of this, many clients take the opportunity to upgrade the quality of their hinges, or change the style of their door handles.  These are commonly referred to as pulls in the design world.  Some places to check out when looking at cabinet hardware are specialty shops such as Richelieu or Marathon Hardware.

Front-facing cabinet hardware can provide an excellent opportunity for accent colours.  Upgraded hinges and slides add a premium feel to your cabinets. For many projects, no upgrades are needed and some clients simply want to change the style or colour of their door handles.

In this article we will briefly cover some common issues with hardware and go through some of the popular styles and colour choices that our clients frequently go with. This aspect of a cabinet painting project is understated but important, as upgraded hardware and handle colours can add a level of refinement and creativity to an already elevated space.

Cabinet Hardware, Styles Knobs and Pulls

A brand new painted kitchen can be accentuated that much more with a bold modern handle design or colour choice.  Popular trends for cabinet hardware include “sizing up”.  This can involve increasing the amount of space between the cabinet surface and the handle where your hand fits through. As well as increasing the overall size to feature the handle more prominently on the newly painted cabinet door or drawer. Replacing the double-handle drawer pulls with one large pull is also a very common practice.  Luckily, filling holes for cabinet pulls and drilling new ones in a cabinet door or drawer front is a relatively simple process prior to painting.

Cylindrical or rectangular shapes with right-angled posts and minimal detail feature very well on your newly painted cabinet doors.  These seem to be the most popular choice when replacing older, more stylized handle sets.

Cabinet Handles and Pulls: Colours 

More of our clients are choosing unique colour combinations and accent colours that add a certain dynamic to their interior space. Dark blue cabinets featuring modern brass or champagne gold hardware, or white and grey cabinetry with all black handles, or oil rubbed bronze on cream and off-white.

The common brushed or polished nickel pull is still popular for a reason – they work well on just about every backdrop and cabinet colour scheme you could think of.  Although the polished option may show a few more finger prints that you’d like.

Changing your handles is rarely necessary, as they tend to last a long time. However there is a whole range of creative design elements for our clients that are interested in using their hardware as an opportunity to add more personality to their space. 

Cabinet Hardware: Hinges 

Another type of cabinet hardware to consider is the door hinge.  Door hinges are the piece of hardware we most commonly replace for faults or damage, as they undergo significant use over time. Matching door hinges is, for the most part, not a problem.

The vast majority of homes we work in use concealed European-style hinges, with a cup plate inset in the door and the arm of the hinge mounted to a bracket screwed into the cabinet box. These hinges are the easiest to upgrade to include a soft-close feature, which can be both mounted on or built into the hinge.

For older style cabinets that use an overlay hinge with a flat door wing, upgrades can include improved colour and soft-close features but it is harder to find these hinges to match exactly to how your specific cabinet door is drilled, so new pilot holes are often needed when changing this style.  This style is getting increasing harder to replace due to limited availability.

Changing the old-school exterior mount to the more popular hidden style hinge is usually possible.  But this is a finicky and time consuming process.  Recent quotes we’ve seen to do so have been in the $100 per door range due to the time it takes to get it right.

Cabinet Hardware: Drawer Slides 

Drawer slides have a lot of moving pieces and will wear over time.   Some may fail if the removal process includes unscrewing the mounted slide and taking the drawer slides apart.

The majority of kitchens we work in use the standard side mounted two-part rolling slide mechanism. These are often easily matched and replaced.

Sometimes clients want an upgraded drawer slide.  Whether or not this is possible is based on the drawer style, how it’s mounted and distance from the side of the cabinet.

Of course, we are usually able to match and replace issue pieces if your home already features upgraded hardware.  We are happy to make a referral if you’re interested in changing the style and mount of your drawer slides if it required more carpentry knowledge than our in house team.

Do I Need to Upgrade?

The vast majority of projects we work on feature cabinet hardware that is in fine working order and for most of our clients, handles and door hinges are a costly added expense. We will however, always take an opportunity to show our clients the potential of a new style or colour of door pull, and the overall difference it could make in the grand scheme of their project vision. At the end of the day, it is your home, and we want you to be satisfied with knowing all your options and choosing the best design outcome for you.

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