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Cabinet Hardware Placement Tips

Are you installing new cabinets or refreshing your current hardware? 

Then you might be considering what hardware to add and how to do it. Cabinet hardware is usually the final touch to your kitchen design. These decorative accents complete your vision. There are many details to consider with hardware, including placement and what kind to use, but don’t feel overwhelmed. This blog will walk you through the basics of hardware installation.

Berenson Dierdra Brushed Nickel Knobs Berenson Hearthstone Modern Brushed Gold Pulls R. Christensen by Berenson Lips Polished Chrome Pulls

 If you are asking yourself if you should use cabinet hardware or not, the answer is yes!

 There are many reasons that it is better to have cabinet hardware than not. Here are just a few:

  1. Ease of use- It's much easier to open a cabinet using a handle or knob, then grabbing the edge of the door or drawer. Many cabinet doors and drawers have a curved edge that makes it all the more difficult to open without hardware.
  2. Hygiene- Hardware is more hygienic to use on cabinets due to the surface texture not being as porous. They will not hold dirt or germs as easy as the cabinet surface and are much easier to clean as well. You only need warm soapy water and a soft cloth to wipe down hardware. (Please note that you should not use cleaning products as they might be abrasive to the finish of your hardware)
  3. Cabinet longevity- Grabbing your cabinet door or drawer at the same spot every time you open it, will eventually cause staining and wear and tear to the paint. This is especially an issue while you cook and may have food residue on your hands. Hardware will not wear as easily.  

When it comes time to install hardware, a lot of questions will come up. Should I use knobs or pulls? What size do I need? Where should I place the hardware? While many of these questions are up to you to decide based on your preferences, there are some standard guidelines to follow for traditional and practical placement.

If you are unable to decide between knobs or pulls, here are some factors to consider:

Style- How will the hardware affect your design?

  1. Do you like simple shapes, clean lines, and minimal elements? If so, you may be interested in contemporary hardware. Contemporary designs will usually utilize longer length pulls, sometimes going most of the length of the drawer or door.
  2. For the clutter-free appearance of minimalist designs, you will want the slim look of edge pulls (also known as finger pulls). They install to come off the edge of your door or drawer and blend seamlessly with the cabinet.
  3. If your design incorporates more detailed and ornate design elements, you will want to consider a combination of knobs and pulls. This is common in traditional style kitchens.
  4. Rustic designs, such as farmhouse, often go for a look of reclaimed materials. Cup pulls (also known as bin pulls) are used to meet that need. You will need a knob or pull to complement your cup pulls, as they are typically only placed on drawers. 

Function- What hardware type makes the most sense for you functionally?

  1. Grasp- You should consider what the most practical hardware for your home is. If you need a hardware choice that is easy to grasp, then you want a pull with a taller height and wide length. Edge pulls and certain knobs are harder to grab and so may not be for everyone. It’s up to you to determine what is best for you and those in your household.
  2. Weight- For larger and heavier doors or drawers, it may be in your best interest to use appliance pulls. These have thicker screws for a stronger fit and have less chance of stripping from consistent, heavy use.


When you are deciding the placement of your hardware on your kitchen cabinets, there are some common and standard guidelines to follow:

Cabinet Doors- On upper cabinet doors, knobs and pulls will be placed in the bottom corner opposite the hinges. On lower cabinet doors- Hardware will be placed in the upper corner opposite the hinges. Pulls typically will be placed vertically. Knobs and the lower post of pulls should be placed 2” – 3” inches from the corner. Home centers like Home Depot and Lowes have templates available to make this process easier, but it can also be done with a ruler.

Pantry Doors- On a pantry door, or other tall cabinet doors, you should place the knob or pull opposite the hinges at a height based on your comfortability in using it. This should be about elbow height and will most times be the middle of the door height.

Drawers- On drawers, you should center the pull or knob, right at the length and height halfway points. Pulls are placed horizontally and should have the middle aligned over the center of the drawer face. If a drawer is 24” or longer, for functional purposes, you should use two knobs, or two small pulls spaced apart. This will distribute the weight and make pulling the drawer out a lot easier. These knobs should be placed at the third and two-thirds length point of the drawer front.

For drawers with a taller height, it is also common to place the pull or knob towards the top for better function. They can also be placed towards the top for regular-sized drawers if you like the look better.

Pull Out Bins- There may arise some situations that do not follow conventional hardware placement, such as cabinet pull out bins. These will have the appearance of a door on the outside but operate like a drawer. You can take two approaches with these.

  1. If you wanted to keep a uniformed look, you could match the other doors and place the knob or pull in the top corner. This will work but there may be issues with use due to the imbalance in weight distribution.
  2. For functional reasons, it would be best to place the hardware centered at the top as you would on a tall drawer.

The type of cabinet you have will not affect the placement of hardware.  Most types, such as shaker cabinets or raised panel cabinets will have trim around the edges. The top and bottom trim are called the rail. The sides are called the stile. Knobs and pulls should be centered in the middle of the width of the stile when placed on a door. If you decide to place a pull or knob higher on a drawer front of a shaker cabinet or other cabinet with trim, they should be centered in the rail. You can find out more information on cabinet types here.


When selecting your kitchen cabinet pulls, know what the measurements are.

If you are selecting hardware for the first time, you may not be aware of how cabinet pulls are measured. The measurement you will usually see in the product name and description is not the overall length of the pull. It is the center to center or CC. This is the distance between the centers of the screw threading. This measurement will be important when marking drill holes or when selecting replacement hardware. The center to center is given in millimeters or inches. If you need to convert between the two, you can reference our center to center conversion chart.

Before you start drilling holes, you should be sure that the hardware you choose is what you want. If you decide you like a different pull with a different CC after you have already drilled holes, then you will have to fill them in and paint over it. That is a hassle that can be avoided. Berenson includes a sample clip with all hardware sample orders. This clip fits around the edge of your drawer or door so you can attach your hardware and see how it looks in position before drilling holes.

Now that you are informed on the basics of kitchen cabinet hardware placement, you are ready to select your new knobs and pulls!

You can also check out our installation guide for info on replacing pulls.





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