An Uncomplicated Way to Upgrade Your Kitchen: New Hardware

Kitchen Cabinet Hardware Upgrade
Image: Siro Designs

Ditch the builder-grade hardware to get your own look

Like putting on a silk tie or diamond earrings, changing kitchen cabinet hardware is an easy way to freshen existing space without a lot of expense. Installing new knobs, pulls, and hinges is a project you can do in a weekend, too, once you’ve found cool replacements.

You’ll love the unlimited variety of shapes, sizes, and colors available: Every type of metal finish, colored glass, even hand-painted porcelain. You’ll find fun, custom-forged shapes — pulls that look like forks and spoons, or frogs, dogs, and even butterflies

Expect to pay between $2 and $20 per knob or pull. For an average kitchen of 200 square feet with 30 lineal feet of cabinetry, you’ll need approximately 40 pulls/knobs, so you can expect to spend anywhere from $80 to $800. 

Measuring for Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

Replacing kitchen cabinet hardware is a job you can do yourself. But note there’s a wide range of sizes when it comes to the spans between screws on kitchen cabinet hardware. You’re in luck if your doors feature a knob with a single screw that secures to the door or drawer front, and you want to replace it with the same.

Otherwise, you’ll need to measure precisely the spread between screws. Use a measuring tape to measure from the center of one screw hole to the center of the other. Write the measurement down and count the number of pulls and/or knobs that you need. If you’re making your purchase at a home center, bring the handle and dimensions with you.

If you opt for handles that don’t match up with existing holes, fill holes with wood filler and camouflage the repair with fresh stain or paint. Or you can cover the fix with a backplate that fits behind the new handle.

A Tip About Hinges

Hinges can be difficult to switch out because there are so many different types and sizes. If your kitchen cabinet hinges match the finish on the new hardware or if the hinges are hidden anyway, you can keep the originals.

Otherwise, before removing all the hinges, remove just one and then shop around—online or at a home center—to make sure you can find one that will work for your installation.

Installation Tips

If you need to re-drill your cabinet drawers and doors, speed up the project either by making a jig or buying one. You can make a jig from scrap plywood following directions available online. Or purchase a plastic jig from a home center or online for about $7.

As you drill, keep the bit perpendicular to the door or drawer face. You can position an 8-inch tri-square next to your drill as a visual guide. If you’re inexperienced using a power drill, there are a number of drill guides available, starting at about $17.


Jan Soults Walker
Jan Soults Walker

Jan Soults Walker Nationally published home improvement writer Jan Soults Walker has more than 30 years' experience, remodeling several of her own homes and reporting on everything from kitchen sinks to luxurious mansions. Even now, a deck of paint chips still makes her heart sing.