If cabinets are the star of a kitchen, hardware is the unsung hero. Think about how many times a day you yank open the silverware drawer, or how often you pull the knob to your coffee mug cabinet. Those little drawer pulls and cabinet knobs do a lot of heavy lifting—both practically and aesthetically.
If you're looking to freshen up your kitchen without overhauling the cabinetry—which is a serious investment—start with overhauling the hardware. Don't worry about covering up holes either. You can install backplates behind your hardware to give it a polished, elevated look all while covering up any wear from your cabinets' previous lives.
When selecting hardware, remember that they're an often-touched surface. You won't want to skimp on the quality of material for something so integral to the function of your home's (arguably) most important room. Shop for hardware that looks good now and will patina beautifully over time.
Ready to redo your hardware? Scroll on for 17 kitchen cabinet hardware ideas that you can easily recreate in your own home. Some are sleek and streamlined, some are bold and colorful, and some totally unexpected. Choose your own hardware adventure.
Mix and Match Hardware On Your Island and Cabinets
“This stunning kitchen deserved interesting and show-stopping hardware," designer Marie Flanigan says, and we agree. Her game plan: use various hardware to highlight the difference in the design of the island versus the built-in cabinets, yet magically pull it all together.
Here's how: the pulls on the island mimic the brass edging to the cabinet fronts, while the knobs on the cabinetry seamlessly mesh with the stained wood cabinets also found throughout.
Don't Be Afraid to Go Oversized
If these round ring pulls remind you more of a wardrobe than a kitchen cabinet, that's what Katie Paulsen, interior design at Maestri Studio was going for. The custom storage piece between the kitchen and living room needed to bridge the two rooms, and the hardware does just that.
"The oversized pulls added the unexpected furniture feel that we were going for, and they gave the piece that special touch that it needed to appeal to both spaces," Paulsen says.
Try Sleek Hardware for a Statement
Claire Staszak, the principal designer and owner of Centered by Design, considers hardware one of her favorite details to curate. "It can be sleek, minimal, and intentional—or fancy, sweet, and statement-making," she says.
For this kitchen, she opted for the former: streamlined inset campaign-style (referencing old military luggage) hardware, all in polished nickel, to make these drawer boxes extra special.
Experiment With Bold Colors in a Small Space
If the idea of going bright and bold in your kitchen is too much, how about in a bar nook instead? Mel Bean Interiors did just that in this space, where Bean wanted to feature a standout design while keeping functionality at the forefront.
"The contrast of the malachite stone hardware with the mulberry cabinet color offers a surprising, yet complementing combination that works well in small spaces," Bean says.
Opt for Touches of Metallic
Leave it to Marie Flanigan Interiors to know just what hardware would add depth and intrigue to this kitchen. "The ornamental bolts and custom back plates give the room added metallic touches and draw the eye to the gorgeous millwork," Flanigan says.
Use Antique Brass to Add Warmth
Designer Joshua Smith has some words of wisdom regarding kitchen hardware: "When you’re working with a neutral color palette, think of cabinet hardware as jewelry for the kitchen."
Here, Smith opted for elegant yet minimal hardware that echoes the clean and modern lines of the kitchen, choosing an antique brass finish to add some warmth to the white lacquer cabinetry.
When you’re working with a neutral color palette, think of cabinet hardware as jewelry for the kitchen.
Take Inspiration From Your Favorite Movie
For her cozy cottage kitchen, Liz Marie Galvan was inspired by one of her favorite movies (and probably one of yours too): The Holiday. "Painting large wooden knobs that are the same color as the cabinets were such an easy and affordable DIY to create for our kitchen," she says.
Stun With Contrasting Black and White
What is black and white and gorgeous all over? You guessed it. Designer Lindye Galloway, the founder and chief creative officer of Lindye Galloway Design Studio + Shop, kept it classic for this enviable all-white kitchen.
"Within this project, we opted for matte black linear hardware on the perimeter of the cabinetry to give a subtle yet modern look to the kitchen," Galloway says.
Select Hardware That Won't Date Itself
Anna Franklin, interior designer and founder of Stone House Collective, selected this kitchen's hardware with one goal in mind: to look both modern yet timeless. Mission accomplished.
"It will look neither too trendy in present date, yet won’t become dated in the years to come," says Franklin.
Note That Sometimes Imperfect Is Perfect
Designer Marie Flanigan sings the praises of the incredibly versatile selection of hardware from Rocky Mountain Hardware, which she used in the serene kitchen above.
"I love how the fluting is slightly imperfect, which only serves to highlight the elevated craftsmanship," Flanigan says. "With so many finishes, the hardware is perfect in any palette.”
Mix Modern and Traditional
Rumor Designs' lead designer, Lindsey Jamison, didn't shy away from all sorts of colors, patterns, and textures in her own kitchen.
"With an eclectic kitchen design, you have an opportunity to be playful in different areas," she says. Since her cabinets are traditional shaker-style, she paired them with modern, clean-lined pulls.
And since her pendant has a brushed stainless finish, she continued the hardware pulls with the same finish. The continuity in the small details pulls together the various design ideas.
Lean Into Older Cabinetry
Blessed (or cursed) with having older cabinetry? There's an upside, says Caron Woolsey, Founder and Principal Designer of CW Interiors.
"Time has breathed into it a character that's only earned with age," she says. "As such, older cabinets and the patina that accompanies them lend themselves to decorative hardware that leans into their nonconformity, proving that newer isn’t always better."
Do the Twist
"We love adding a little jazz with beautiful cabinet hardware in our custom kitchens," Liz Lapan, VP of Operations at In Detail Interiors says. "It's like jewelry, really."
These twisted pulls, part of a collection from Emtek, have "enough of a bling feel to be really special against the deep Basalt colored cabinetry," according to Lapan. If you want to opt for hardware that feels a bit more refined and luxe, Lapan suggests a soft brushed champagne bronze finish in your kitchen.
Contrasting Colors Make for a Cool Kitchen
For a subtle, sophisticated contrast in your kitchen, put metallics on the back burner and choose a primary color for your hardware. For example, how about brightening up black cabinets with red knobs? That's what Naked Kitchens oh-so brilliantly decided on here, and the risk pays off.
Be Brave and Go Bold
This kitchen is all about bold statements and fun color, so Ashley DeLapp Interior Design didn't shy away from standout hardware when it came to these cabinet pulls.
"I love a pink and green color combination, and this wallpaper provided the perfect backdrop to experiment with a mulberry cabinet," DeLapp says. "I added a tiny touch of green in the hardware to really liven things up without being too overpowering."
Hardware Doesn't Have to Be Hard
Think hardware, you likely don't immediately imagine soft leather pulls, but if you're looking for something different for your kitchen, they could be just the fit. Naked Kitchen opted for leather drawer pulls in this kitchen. They're unexpected, they're cool, and they're sure to draw attention.
For Affordable Hardware, Shop Vintage Options
Charlotte Evans Russel of Charlotte's Happy Home had two requirements for her kitchen's hardware: they must be affordable and must be vintage. She checked both of those boxes with these slim pieces that perfectly match her SMEG range.