The Best Place To Install Pulls Or Knobs Based On The Type Of Cabinet Front

The decision to install pull handles or knobs on your kitchen cabinets is a daunting one. While the type of cabinet hardware you install on your door fronts might seem to some like one of the most inconsequential decisions of your kitchen remodel, it's actually one of the most overwhelming. Why? Decision fatigue. There are simply too many choices bogging us down: whether to get them, what kind to get, what style, what finish, et cetera. In truth, even a grade school decision tree attempting to follow the possible paths would be frankly unmanageable. Luckily, House Digest has the definitive answer to one part of the equation, at least: where to place them based on your particular cabinet design. The middle spot of a drawer or lower corner of a hinged door isn't always the answer.

A basic Amazon search for cabinet pulls will provide literally tens of thousands of results, able to be filtered by finish, color, style, shape, size, and material. Whatever energy you have to dedicate to your cabinet hardware decisions, focus it here on the aesthetics. Not only do you want to make sure they match the interior design of your kitchen, but you also need to ensure their size will be appropriately proportioned for your doors and drawers and that they won't obstruct anything else in the kitchen when opened. Once that's settled, we've got you covered as to where exactly to put those adornments on your new kitchen cabinet facades.

Don't go dead center on drawers

It is traditional to put knobs and pulls in the exact middle of the drawer front — both horizontally and vertically centered, with pulls placed on the horizontal plane — and this is fine. It's functional and easy to install without requiring much thought. However, it might not be the best choice. There are essentially two types of drawer faces: paneled and slab. As you'd expect, a slab is sleek and flat with no embellishments. It's very popular in kitchens with a modern, minimalist look. If your slab-fronted drawer is a shallow one, center placement of the knob or pull may be aesthetically ideal. But, many cabinets today are deeper (a byproduct of trends like cookware drawers). Position the hardware higher on these. Aim for a halfway point between the center and the top line for better grip and accessibility. And if your drawers are particularly large or meant for heavy items, double knobs might be the answer — spaced as if cutting the drawer face into thirds — for greater balance.

On a paneled drawer face, a decorative recess tends to take up that center real estate, and depending how decorative it is, it might be challenging to put hardware there without obstruction. Placing the hardware in the middle of the top rail, above the panel, might allow for greater functionality. Just ensure all knobs and pulls are installed in the same spot on each drawer so everything is aligned. 

For cabinet doors, go high or low

As with drawer fronts, cabinet doors are also paneled or slabbed and will likely match the design across the kitchen, though some kitchen remodels are boldly choosing to mix facade designs. Unlike drawers, though, the cabinet doors can have pulls installed either vertically or horizontally, which introduces a new layer of options. For paneled doors, the instinct is often to put the knob along the bottom rail in line with the corner of the door. It makes for an easier grip if the knob is higher, perhaps in line with the panel bottom. And, if you're using pulls, installing them vertically allows for this same improved access.

For slab doors, on the other hand, revert to that bottom corner placement for both knobs and horizontal pulls. It's the position least likely to disrupt the clean lines you purchased these doors to create. For this reason, simple pulls are the popular choice here, but whichever kitchen cabinet hardware you choose — whichever suits your personal taste — will be the best choice for your kitchen because it reflects you.