The Best Place To Put Pulls And Knobs On Your Cabinets (& Tips For A Seamless Installation)

Cabinet hardware is a tiny element in your bathroom or kitchen design that makes a huge impact. Stylistically, it can tie the room together, add a colorful accent, and is an easy change that renovates the entire space. Functionally, the handles make your cupboards more accessible and can reduce the distress on the cabinetry. However, to reap these benefits, the hardware needs to be in the right spot. Generally speaking, the best place for knobs or pulls is 1 to 4 inches from the edge of the cabinet door or drawer.

The exact handle placement depends on the cabinet front's style, the hardware's size, and your personal preference. The hardware positioning might seem like a minor detail, but if the handles are not installed in the proper location, you can end up with a visually unappealing space and cupboards that are difficult to open, which may put a strain on the inner mechanics. Whether you're using knobs, pulls, or repurposed old silverware as cabinet handles, we've got you covered on where and how to install them for a seamless finish.

The ideal cabinet handle placement

Pulls are a common type of cabinet hardware. For the greatest accessibility, they should be placed vertically in the corner of the cabinet. If you have paneled cabinets, in which the doors have a border frame and inside panel, then the pull should be centered in the border rail. For wall cupboards, the bottom of the handle should be in line with the lower groove of the panel. For base cabinets, the top of the handle should be in line with the upper groove of the panel. Slab cabinets, where the door is flat without any contours, are easier to arrange — the edge of the pull closest to the corner just needs to be 2 inches from both sides.

When it comes to drawers, the pull should be installed horizontally. You can place it at the center or top (at least 1 inch from the edge) of the drawer, depending on your personal taste. The center layout is more common for paneled fronts, while the top positioning is better for large drawers or slab fronts. The same arrangement applies to knob handles, which are more often used for small drawers.

You'll also find knobs in the top corner of base cupboards or bottom corner of wall cupboards. Cabinets with a slab style should have the handle 2 inches from the sides. If the front has paneling, you want the knob centered within the border and aligned with the edge of the panel's groove. These knob and pull placements are optimal for functionality and style.

How to install cabinet pulls and knobs

Accurately measuring where you want the pull or knob to be is the key to a seamless installation. There are tools, like this cabinet hardware installation template from Home Depot, that help with finding the ideal drill spot, but a measuring tape or ruler also does the job. You can use a pencil or painter's tape to mark where the drill holes will go. It is best to measure and mark all your cabinet doors and drawers before drilling any holes. Once all the painter's tape or pencil traces are in place, you'll have a better visual of how the finished design will look and if you have the right size cabinet hardware for the door or drawer. Further, it's easy to adjust anything you don't like.

Once you're satisfied with the placements, drill the holes for your handles. Mount the pull or knob over the drilled holes and secure it to the cabinet with screws. Then, give it a test run to ensure it's well anchored. Now that your hardware is perfectly placed, it will give the room a chic touch and you'll be able to open the cabinets smoothly.