How to Place Cabinet Knobs and Pulls

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.

inside corner of kitchen has painted white cabinets in a shaker style with oiled brass pulls and knobs, granite countertop and built in microwave
Knobs centered in the corner of the door frame make for a timeless look.
aged brass knobs on light gray shaker cabinets
Traditional knobs in brass or gold finishes give a warm, polished look.
black cabinet knobs on contemporary slab door cabinets
Place knobs toward the top of the drawer, rather than centered, for a modern look
Order cabinet samples to choose the perfect door style and color for your favorite hardware.
Order cabinet samples to choose the perfect door style and color for your favorite hardware.
black knobs and cup pulls white shaker kitchen brick backsplash
Knobs can create a modern look. Line up the knob with the horizontal rail where the door frame meets the center panel.
crystal novelty accent knobs gold flower backplate
Beautiful crystal accent knobs placed in the door frame corners.

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.

Here, the top drawer pulls are centered while the bottom pulls are raised. The distance from the drawer's top edge to the handlebar is equal for all drawers.
Here, the top drawer pulls are centered while the bottom pulls are raised. The distance from the drawer's top edge to the handlebar is equal for all drawers.
Order cabinet samples to choose the perfect door style and color for your favorite hardware.
Order cabinet samples to choose the perfect door style and color for your favorite hardware.
You may choose longer pulls for wider drawers, rather than placing two short pulls on the drawer front.
You may choose longer pulls for wider drawers, rather than placing two short pulls on the drawer front.
You may choose longer pulls for wider drawers, rather than placing two short pulls on the drawer front.
Steel Euro-style bar pulls on a row of white Shaker-styled cabinetry.

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 cabinet styles. They have a clean and timeless look that works with farmhouse, vintage, traditional, and transitional styles.

Cup pulls are often combined with a coordinating knob. The cup pull is used on the drawer, and the knob is used on all doors and upper cabinets.
Cup pulls are often combined with a coordinating knob. The cup pull is used on the drawer, and the knob is used on all doors and upper cabinets.
A two-toned kitchen is ideal for trying contrasting hardware finishes and styles.
A two-toned kitchen is ideal for trying contrasting hardware finishes and styles.
Matching cup pulls and knobs on navy cabinet.
Matching cup pulls and knobs on navy cabinet.
Order free cabinet samples to choose the perfect door style and color for your favorite hardware.
Order free cabinet samples to choose the perfect door style and color for your favorite hardware.
Cup pulls are the perfect complement to farmhouse style kitchens.
Cup pulls are the perfect complement to farmhouse style kitchens.
Rectangular cups pulls blend traditional and modern styles.
Rectangular cups pulls blend traditional and modern 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.

Minimalist edge pulls work well with slab doors and bold designs.
Minimalist edge pulls work well with slab doors and bold designs.
Order cabinet samples to choose the perfect door style and color for your favorite hardware.
Order cabinet samples to choose the perfect door style and color for your favorite hardware.
You may choose a variety of edge pull lengths based on cabinet sizes.
You may choose a variety of edge pull lengths based on cabinet sizes.

3d rendering of cliqstudios kitchen design with white shaker cabinets and tea leaf kitchen island with seating

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