What Size of Bar Pulls Work for Kitchen Cabinets

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Last updated: March 25, 2023

Modern kitchens have a tremendous selection of modern cabinet hardware from cabinet doors, different types of knobs and hardware finishes. Each style can offer a personal preference of a classic look or a contemporary look by the look and size of the perfect cabinet hardware.

A common inquiry asks, What size of bar pulls work for kitchen cabinets?” Read on as new drawer pulls may not usually be the standard knob sizes you might have seen used in most applications at 1.25 inches to 1.375 inches. Those are general guidelines but as a general rule, get your tape measure or iPhone app ready.

Because of the different sizes in cabinet fronts and cabinet drawers, cabinet pulls are designed to fit vertically or horizontally. The overall length measurement of the base cabinets also has an impact on how lower and upper cabinets can be perceived. For example, wide drawers may line one side of your lower cabinets and two single pulls may be necessary for balance and comfort to open. A center measurement would not apply to this situation, but instead, have large pull sizes on either end of the drawer.  

Different positioning of kitchen cabinet hardware can be found anywhere within the borders of the front of the cabinet door or drawer, adding a stylish presence to your kitchen cabinets. Appliance pulls may dictate a certain style, but they are basically general so that mixing and matching with decor is possible. Modern, contemporary, and transitional are the three most common styles of appliance handles seen on popular choice appliances. Stainless steel bar pulls are popular on stoves, refrigerators, and dishwashers. Selecting new appliances for your new kitchen is a good starting point before deciding on the right size of cabinet hardware, correct style, and best finish.

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Cabinet fronts and drawers are not delivered with a screw hole because of the different options of placement. Along the side door stile, the bottom corner of the door, or even an upper corner of a door are suitable areas for setting hardware for cabinet knobs and finger pulls. Depending on the hardware and the length, there may be one or two holes needed. Shaker style cabinets accept pull style hardware (cabinet latches) in different areas of the door front for a unique look.

The drawer’s pulls are centered from the left and right of the drawer fronts by 9-inches. The clean lines of shaker cabinets are stunning when the following top hardware styles are used:

  • Modern: Tube-shaped bar pulls
  • Vintage: Bin pulls
  • Elegant: Glass knobs
  • Classic: Ceramic knobs
  • Simple: Brass or Nickel knobs

Pulls, Knobs, and Proportion

For a while, design knobs were used only for traditional upper cabinets and pulls were reserved for lower cabinets. However, the placement of cabinet hardware has become intermingled with style, making standard knob sizes a generous way of adding luxury with material and shape or simplicity with natural wood and metal. Knobs and cup pulls can deliver a simple and charming appearance on regular-sized slab drawers or those with a stile, popular with the clean lines of shaker cabinetry.

The Importance of Placement and Size

Knobs are delightful to see when placed on both upper and lower cabinets for contemporary or cottage decor. Making a small change to the size and material, though, can deliver a completely different look and feel to include a modern look or sophistication. 

Using knobs on the upper and lower cabinets and doors is now acceptable when you flow with the style of the base and wall cabinets. The mounting is important on cabinetry doors with placement being made 2 1/2-inches to 3-inches from the upper corner on the base cabinets. Drawers should be 24-inches centered. If the drawer front exceeds 24-inches in width, two knobs should be considered and spaced accordingly.

what size bar pulls for kitchen cabinets -- white_and_brown_wooden_kitchen_cabinet

Kitchen Cabinetry Hardware Size Pulls

Fast rules say that a great design will feel intentional and balanced when it comes to the size and positioning of your door and drawer pulls. The pulls on your cabinetry should be 1/3 the size pulls of your drawers. However, never use this equation if the bar or simple bar pulls just feel too big. Try 1/4 the size and step away for a properly proportioned look. A 4-inch pull sounds perfect for 12-inch kitchen drawers, but trust your judgment in this particular space. Bar pull sizes can make a world of difference in creating a cohesive look.

Full cabinet drawer fronts with two separate pulls on each interior cabinet stile can give off the appearance of one hardware piece instead of two. This is no mistake but an optical illusion of the combining of two doors in symmetry as one. This makes a beautiful statement in modern and contemporary designs. Before deciding on pulls or knobs, make sure that your budget will allow for the more expensive bars or pulls They far exceed the price of knobs. Bin pulls are another option that works great with a contemporary or a vintage look.

what size bar pulls for kitchen cabinets -- white_and_brown_wooden_kitchen_cabinet

Narrow Drawers and Oversized Cabinetry

The size of the hardware can make different styles stand out, appear too small, or seem absolutely perfect. A good rule of thumb is to measure from the bottom of the door to the top and take into account where the cabinet hinges are located. Cabinet hinges also have a place in being balanced in the overall attraction of a cabinet front. Larger hardware will measure 36-inches or longer and require long pulls of 6-inch to 12-inch from center to center. Many modern appliances will have drawers that match the width of the appliance, making them wider than regular cabinets.

Narrow drawers and cabinets can also be tricky in fitting a smaller size of a knob with a single screw. Be sure that your hardware is of a similar style as that of your other cabinetry and oversized drawers and doors are of the same style for your dream kitchen to appear perfect.

Mixing Cabinet Hardware

The type of hardware that most homeowners look to is commonly used in the center of the drawer, the upper corner of the door, or along a top rail. There is no perfect choice in decor when it comes to merging a different type of hardware to form a classic or chic look. A good idea for mixing pulls and knobs on cabinetry is to use the same material of different shapes and not mix the material source. This can create an unattractive and unbalanced appearance. Symmetrical placement is another great way to keep clean and even look with your hardware. In a modern kitchen, knobs are commonly found on doors while pulls are found on drawers. This is only a matter of taste, however. Go with whatever suits your chosen style and decor to make your kitchen stunning.

what size bar pulls for kitchen cabinets -- white_and_brown_wooden_kitchen_cabinet

Common Questions

Should a length pull be a full 4-inches long to create a traditional look?

Cabinet fronts and drawers that measure 1/3 to 1/4 the width of the cabinetry will make a nice proportionate look for a traditional look. Brass hardware gives a further rich luster.

Does an upper hole or a bottom hole in the front of the door ruin your chances of moving the hardware later on?

It is imperative that the holes drilled in a cabinet front be made only once the decision of placement has been made. Your cabinets and hardware need to be as professional-looking as possible. So hold off on the drill bit until you’re sure or get a professional contractor that will have experience with cabinetry pulls, smaller handles, and the ease of use depending on the length of the pull.

Are simple designs in hardware better for lighting from light fixtures than glass knobs or shiny stainless steel?

Depending on the type of lighting and the slant of ambiance, almost any light fixture can be used to bring highlights to your cabinet fronts, or dimmer, if need be.

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