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How to Place Cabinet Knobs and Pulls

Hardware placement often depends on the size and style of the kitchen cabinets.

Cabinet Hardware: Placement and Positioning

Knobs, pulls, and other handles are like jewelry for cabinets. The right kitchen cabinet hardware can complement and accentuate the lines, colors, and textures of your space. The placement and positioning of cabinet hardware also makes a kitchen more functional. Is there a correct placement for cabinet handles?

While hardware placement does affect the functionality of the space, it is a matter of personal taste. Looking at different arrangements of cabinet hardware will help you decide which styles and placements are right for you.

Tips for Placing Cabinet Hardware

  • Level and adjust your doors and drawers before drilling holes for hardware.
  • A template or “jig” makes it easy to mark the same measurement holes on each cabinet. Alternatively, you can build yourself a template using scrap wood.
  • Gripping and opening the cabinet should feel good in your hand. It’s not worth installing a handlebar that’s awkward or causes strain.
  • Re-use old screw holes if you’re replacing handles.
four gold cabinet hardware door pulls on cloud white cabinets

Cabinet Knobs

A cabinet knob is your most basic handle, suitable for doors and drawers alike. Knobs use a single screw and are traditionally round or circular. However, you can find them in shapes ranging from square to T-shape. When it comes to materials and finishes, there are choices ranging from wood to ceramic to crystal.

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.

On drawers and pull-out cabinets, knobs are typically centered on the drawer front. If you prefer, you can set your knobs on the upper part of the drawer front, as shown above. A knob in this position can provide additional leverage when opening a sink tilt-out tray. When installing knobs for pull-out cabinets such as a waste

If your drawer is 24” or wider, you may choose to place a second knob. Divide the drawer into thirds and place the two knobs at the one-third point and two-thirds point.

Bar and Wire Pulls

Bar pulls (also known as European pulls) and wire pulls have similar functionality in varying forms. They are easy to grasp and work well in modern and contemporary kitchens. Wire pulls are screwed into the cabinet at its two ends. Bar pulls are screwed in by two feet-like projections.

On doors, these pulls are typically installed with an upright, vertical orientation. Place the bottom hardware hole 2 1/2” to 3” from the bottom of the door front. Then center it horizontally on the door frame. Using the horizontal rail of the door frame, place your screw hole or orient the bottom end of the handle.

On cabinet drawers, these pulls lay in a flat, horizontal orientation. Off-center the handlebars for more of a contemporary feel for 3-drawer base cabinets. This makes for a graceful and proportioned look.  For pull-out storage such as this wastebasket cabinet, handles are often placed horizontally. They commonly centered on the top rail of the door frame. If the pull-out is especially narrow, e.g. a 3″ pull-out spice rack, you can also choose to orient handlebars vertically.

Cup Pulls

Cup pulls (also known as bin pulls) are an upside-down cup shaped pull popularized by Victorian-era kitchens. Instead of gripping a protruding knob, you slip your fingers underneath the ‘cup’.

Cup pulls have a wide appeal across a range of kitchen styles. They have a clean and timeless look that works with farmhouse, vintage, traditional, and transitional styles.

Edge Pulls

Edge pulls (also known as tab pulls or finger pulls) are a more contemporary style. They have a minimalist look that pairs excellently with slab-door cabinet styles. These pulls go on the top and bottom edges of your door or drawer.

Place edge pulls in the opposite corner of the hinge on cabinet doors. It is often best to center pulls on drawers.

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Showing 19 comments

  1. Jennifer Reply

    In response to Nancy’s question, the refrigerator looks like a Thermador.

  2. Ann Pfister Reply

    Very informative, thank you! I’m not sure what to call the “space” between a handle-type pull and the face of the cabinet. Some pulls leave more space for the fingers to get under without gouging your fingernails or ring into the cabinet! What is a good depth and what do I look for when searching for the measurements of the handles? Thank you!

  3. Abhinav Iyer Reply

    Thank you so much for this informative blog. Firstly, I would like to congratulate you on the amazing work that you are doing. I have also been purchasing a few hardware equipment from Decodeal. I have learned a lot about door pull handles and their types. Also where and how can they be used. I am glad that you guys are keeping people informed about your service.

  4. Barb Terrell Reply

    Site information and pictures were very helpful. Thank you for including options. Not everyone wants their knobs in the same location, your site clearly explains numerous options.

  5. Kathy Dean Reply

    Your thoughts on replacing 1 1/4 inch knobs with 2 1/2 inch knobs. The increase in size would bring the hardware to the edge of the cabinet door. What are your thoughts with that kind of upgrade? Thank You

    • Phyllis Reply

      we replaced our smaller handles with larger knobs and couldn’t be happier. They are more comfortable to use and less chance of nicks and scratches. I don’t mind them being closer to edge.

  6. Angel Reply

    I do not see any where the base cabinet pulls are across the top, horizontal, rather than vertical. For ease of use due to location of doors, is this uncommon? This also makes it easy to hang a towel on depending on the width of the pull.

  7. Susannah A. Reply

    Your site is really informational. Great photographs and ideas.

  8. Pip Reply

    Im using pulls on draws and knobs on doors, shaker style. I have 1 taller single pantry type door. Would it look odd or inappropriate to use a pull placed vertically on that door? If not, how far from the top should it be placed?

  9. Micky Belsheim Reply

    Thank you for your article. As someone else said other articles are vague and not helpful. I do have a question for you. I’m installing new cabinets and trying to figure out how many pulls I need for the drawers. They are 22” and 25”. The pulls are cups. The cabinets have recessed panels. How do I decide how many per door I need? 1 or 2? Thanks for your help.
    Micky

    • CliqStudios Digital Marketing Reply

      Hi Micky! We’re happy to help. For drawers 24” or wider, you may choose to place a second knob. Divide the drawer into thirds and place the two knobs at the one-third point and the two-thirds point.

  10. Carl Reply

    Nancy, I would say it could be a Sub-Zero brand fridge. You might want to start there.

  11. Brian Johnston Reply

    Should you place handles or knobs on the fake panels like under the sink

    • CliqStudios Social Media Reply

      Some homeowners choose to add handles and knobs to under sink areas for consistency. Though some choose not to so that they don’t get confused with what doors and drawers are accessible.

  12. Nancy Reply

    Very helpful, thanks. I would love to know the brand of the refrigerator in the photo directly above “Tips for Placing Cabinet Hardware.”

    • CliqStudios Social Media Reply

      Unfortunately, we do not have that information as the refrigerator was sourced by the homeowners.

  13. Tricia Wright Reply

    Thank you for this comprehensive explanation AND images about drawer and door hardware placement. I’ve wondered about knob and pull location for years. Most of the information I’ve found seems either wishy washy or leans to current trends. Your site provides all the options and answers. Thank you!

    • CliqStudios Social Media Reply

      Happy to help! Let us know if you have further questions or need assistance from our design team.

  14. Sue T Reply

    Your site has been very helpful. Really appreciated the images!

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