Find out how and why to choose knobs and pulls for your kitchen

Knob and Pull combination - Nicolette Patton, CKD

Knobs and Pull combination – The best way to design hardware.
Nicolette Patton, CKD

Knob or Pull?

There are no strict rules to follow when choosing whether to select a knob or a pull, or both.  

My preference is to use knobs for all doors.  And pulls for all drawers.  Any large door such as a pantry and any pull-out door (such as pull-out base pantries or trash pull-outs), use a pull.  

It is much more comfortable to open a drawer using a pull.  This allows the whole hand to grab, instead of only your fingertips.  This is extremely helpful since drawers can get very heavy with all of our pots, pans, dishes, etc.

You can also stick to only knobs or only pulls.  

The use of all knobs is a fad of many older kitchens.  Before there was a variety of hardware to select from.  I don’t recommend it now, because it can look dotty and generic.  

The use of all pulls is a more contemporary look, but is also seen in more traditional kitchens with a more traditional pull style.  

When deciding to use all pulls, you must consider how they will be mounted?  All horizontal (contemporary) or horizontal for drawers and vertical for doors.  If you choose the latter, find a pull that is not heavy, as this tends to add weight to a kitchen.

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All Pull Kitchen - Nicolette Patton, CKD

Square Contemporary Pulls on all Drawers and Doors.
Nicolette Patton, CKD

Square or Curved?

Take note of your cabinet style, countertop edge, lighting fixtures and any other important design elements.  Do they have square or curved lines?

Choose hardware that is consistent with the type of lines in your design.

Examples of Square Cabinet styles = shaker, flat panel or any “modified” shaker door with a flatter, squared look.

Square style hardware can still be round in shape, with square contours.  These are more contemporary.

Examples of Curved Cabinet Styles = traditional raised panel doors, pillow-top doors, recessed panel doors with ogee edges or beads on the inside or outside profiles.  

Curved style hardware has soft edges and more detail.  These are more traditional or transitional.

Mix hardware and fixture finish - Nicolette Patton, CKD

Black Iron Knob and Pull Finish with Brushed Nickel Faucet.
Nicolette Patton, CKD


While most homeowners will choose chrome or brushed nickel, there are numerous other finishes available to add interest to your kitchen.  

You don’t need to match to your faucet, as long as the finish compliments other finishes in the design, including the faucet.

Finishes that go well with a brushed nickel or brushed stainless faucet: antique pewter, bronze (light to dark), satin brass (this one can get tricky), oil-rubbed bronze, aluminum, black matte and rust.

Finishes that go well with a chrome faucet are more limited, such as: white, black, dark bronze, pewter or clear glass.


Personally try out the knob or pull before you purchase the entire kitchen. 

Touch it, feel it, fit your hand inside the pull.  Does it fit?  Does it feel nice?  Or does it cram your fingers and feel sharp around the edges?

I have seen many beautiful pulls that I can only fit 2 fingers in comfortably.  You should be able to fit 4 comfortably.  

When you grab the knob or pull, does it have pointy edges or ridges that press on your fingers?  That can get pretty annoying when you use them 1000 times per day.  

Many companies, such as Top Knobs (one of my favorite hardware suppliers), offer a sample program where they will send you the knob or pull you are interested in, and only pay the shipping.

Try them out, it will be worth the extra research.


Seriously!  There are a handful of companies that shall go un-named, that I will never suggest to you because they are hollow.  These are the inexpensive brands.  Their finishes are also sub-par and look cheap.

More about staying on budget. 

Instead of going to the big-box stores or Target, look for hardware thru your local plumbing or cabinet showrooms, as they will have a larger variety and salespeople on hand to assist you.

A good price range for knobs is $6 – $10 and for pulls $7 – $12 and up.  Price is based on finish and design.  Solid stainless steel or bronze are going to be much more than my range.  The longer pulls will also run more in cost since there is more materials used.

Whatever you choose, always order a few extras just in case a screw breaks or the finish starts rubbing off.   

Jewelry of the Kitchen

Cabinet hardware is the jewelry of the kitchen, so just like in a wardrobe, it must coordinate, be comfortable and enhance the design of the outfit. So before you buy, do your research, order samples and check finishes with your kitchen materials to get the perfect fit.