White cabinets have always been my personal preference for dressing up my kitchen. Even 40 years ago, when dark natural wood was a thing in a traditional kitchen, I painted my cabinet doors in white, pink, or light blue. I found that white provided popular choices for updating styles by switching out kitchen cabinet hardware.
Choosing the best knobs for white kitchen cabinets is more difficult than you might think. Knobs and handles of wood, metal, stone, or glass can give a distinctive style to white cabinetry and completely change the look of your kitchen. Today’s choices of new hardware include a wide range of colors and finishes. From slim black cabinet pulls to shiny brass knobs, I had to learn what shape and size fit my next design.
Table of Contents
- The Best Knobs for Modern White Kitchen Kitchen Cabinets
- Best and Balanced Hardware
- Keeping Within a Budget
The Best Knobs for Modern White Kitchen Kitchen Cabinets
My friend was ready to switch from her raised panel dark wood cabinets to a more timeless look. Modern kitchens usually the demand the best in accents and style.. I made the recommendation of shaker-style cabinets for lower cabinets and glass-fronted upper cabinets. She didn’t want to replace her black appliances, so a neutral color in the cabinets blended nicely. This presented several options for kitchen hardware as accessories for a cohesive look.
Black hardware made a nice offset to my friend’s black appliances and created a contemporary/modern look. Matte black hardware gave a sophisticated appearance against pearl white cabinets. Straight, slim bar pulls for the bottom cabinets and square or round black knobs for the glass-fronted cabinets are a never-fail solution to a classic look.
Simple, yet elegant, die cast zinc or iron by a trusted manufacturer, Utopia Alley, guarantees a high-end lasting look. European designs, like Ravinte, have a slightly curved pattern if the straight design is too stark for your taste.
We took to the internet for examples of black pulls and cabinet knobs on white shaker cabinets. I could tell by the look on my friend’s face that this style contained too much sophistication for her active family. Switching to oil-rubbed bronze cup pulls brought a smile to her face that registered delight. Cup pulls of a shiny or matte finish of brass or bronze created a rich environment, but with less sophistication.
Once my friend realized what a difference that hardware decor styles made on wall cabinets, she slowed her pace in making a final decision. I also included matching cabinet hinges in our search for the best choices of small details. I felt that a trip to Home Depot was necessary to view the top knobs on each premium quality cabinet display.
We could also check out the different colors and different shapes of cabinets and knobs, which give cabinets a uniform look.
Best and Balanced Hardware
Besides the look and quality in searching for cabinet handles, there are a few rules that are important to follow. The first is the overall size of the drawer pulls in relation to each cabinet face. Have you ever looked at a kitchen and felt that something just wasn’t quite right? Everything seemed to have clean lines that lined up with the light fixtures and the kitchen design was attractive.
But, notice the size of the hardware and you will find the answer. There were small drawers and large doors mixed within the kitchen style. They all had the same sized handles. The overall picture was mismatched chaos. Even tiny details like cabinet hardware can make a vast difference in presenting a balanced appearance. Here is a cheat sheet for selecting the right knob for new cabinets.
- Small cabinet handles – 3 to 4 inch pull on drawers under 12 inches in width – hardware diameter is 1 inch.
- Medium-sized cabinet handles – 4 to 8 inch pull on drawers 12-30 inches in width – hardware diameter is 1-1/2 inch.
- Larger cabinet pulls – 8+ inch handles on cabinets between 30-48 inches across – hardware diameter is 3+ inches.
The industry’s most extensive line of quality cabinet hardware falls on the shoulders of a few key companies. Emtek is a hardware manufacturer that prides itself on providing a unique design for appliance pulls and cabinet hardware. I never knew that different styles of appliance handles were available until we began our search.
Changing out your appliance pulls is a great way to add a classy look to black or stainless steel appliances. For example, rustic modern rectangular appliances and cabinet hardware can be a great choice for creating a design style between modern and a more relaxed country look.
The sandcast bronze provided a more modern look than the brass hardware or the silver hardware. Everyone wants a touch of uniqueness and my friend is no different. The copper content in this hardware allowed the handles and knobs to age and patina gracefully. This clean look, presented in a farmhouse kitchen or an industrial look, gave us multiple choices of mixing design changes.
After seeing this shade of sandcast bronze, there was no turning back for my friend. I have to agree that this was a great option as opposed to brass pulls or silver knobs. Would satin nickel or satin brass also be an excellent choice? Our heads were swimming with hardware color and cabinet hardware finish and a much needed break was in order.
A cup of coffee sounded like a good idea while our minds attempted to sort out the best option for dressing up my friend’s type of cabinets. One point we had missed was the easier access that some cabinet pulls or knobs had over others. While shiny silver pulls were a trend in different shades of neutral finish of the cabinets, my friend felt the gripping action of a satin finish was more practical.
This was a point that I had never considered in a home filled with children that had greasy little fingers. The shiny color hardware would be harder to keep clean and look new. A brushed finish on bronze knobs would be the easiest ways of keeping fingerprints to a minimum.
Keeping Within a Budget
The perfect choice of matte bronze against white was a unique way to bring out the warm colors of nature in my friend’s modern kitchen. For future styles, the look could apply to country, rustic or even a minimalist look. The only thing left to do was to decide on mixing and match pulls and knobs, and the cost that we had set up in our budget.
Emtek sandcast bronze in center-to-center rod pulls for lower cabinets and square cabinet knobs for upper glass cabinets was the best hardware that we found that provided a rich, modern look and perfect for usability. However, the price was quite rich, as well. $21 for each knob and $33 for a pull would bring our total cost to over $700.
Liberty is a fine company that provides hardware for kitchen and bathroom cabinets. You might have heard of the Delta brand that is made by Liberty Hardware. They make bath knobs and kitchen knobs of quality metals and use copper highlights in the finish to deliver a lovely brushed tone.
Because copper is not a base material, the cost of Liberty is less than high-end Emtek. However, if changing your hardware every couple of years is part of your decorating updates, the cost can be more realistic to your budget. Knobs can run $30 for a 10-pack and handles range from $5 to $7 apiece.
There are several options for kitchen cabinet hardware that will suit your personal taste and present an aesthetic appearance. Whether you are looking for black cabinet hardware or pulls for new white cabinets, there are hundreds of options to choose from.
After reading reviews on different kitchen cabinet manufacturers for quality kitchen hardware and comparing prices, my friend chose Emtek as her favorite company. The longevity of 40 years and the list of awards in premium craftsmanship sold her on buying their product. Not one to change styles often, she was more quality oriented than price competitiveness.
The selection will last for years and is acceptable for different styles of decor. Once the kids are gone, the same new matted look will remain for easy care and a rich presence if a change in appliances, lighting, or cabinet color occurs for an eventual home sale or upgrade. Always think about the future when setting out to replace hardware for kitchen cabinets.
What you choose today can remain stylish for many years to come.
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Karen Garton, Senior Writer
Experienced Writer with 20+ years. Demonstrated writing experience includes technical writing, magazines, story writing, and journalist projects. Karen has a powerful media and communication background with academic training from LaSalle University (architecture, interior design) and business college courses. She loves editing novels and contributed to a national art journal. See her detailed profile on Our Team page.