Close up of woodgrain thermofoil cabinets with contemporary pulls

Design Your Room

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Cabinet Pulls

Selecting cabinet door and drawer pulls

Cabinet pulls, sometimes called cabinet handles, can give kitchen and bath cabinetry a special flair, enabling you to accessorize your space and make it uniquely your own.

Because cabinet pulls come in sizes that range from about 3" to 5" or more, they occupy a bit more space on the doors. Therefore, choosing a style is impacted as much by your personal design preference as by the amount of space you have to work with in a particular room.

Choosing a Cabinet Pull Style

Close up of cabinet with matte black pulls

Consider both aesthetics and the room's configuration when choosing a style. For instance, you may be drawn to kitchen cabinet handles in a striking design to showcase your home décor. However, if you have a lower cabinet door that opens close to a corner cabinet door, you may want to choose a smaller profile handle so the two doors don’t bump into each other when both are open at the same time.

Selecting Cabinet Pull Materials

Three cabinet pulls in various materials

There's no shortage of beautiful choices when it comes to the materials used in today's cabinet hardware. You can find just about any style to meet your design whims, from blackened bronze pulls that create an authentic blacksmith look, to cabinet door handles and cabinet drawer pulls covered in luxurious leather.

Cabinet handles are also offered in a wealth of other materials, including contemporary chrome, silver stone or stainless steel, industrial sandstone, satin nickel and hammered or refined bronze, all materials that are well-suited to today’s sleek, minimalist kitchens and baths.

Mixing and Matching Cabinet Knobs and Pulls

Close up of cabinet with matching pull and knobs

If you're choosing between cabinet knobs and cabinet pulls, don't overlook the opportunity to use a combination of both. This also applies to cabinet hinges, in which case you could combine all three styles in one space to create a distinctive look.

When making these selections, consider the profile of the door and drawer fronts. For example, while you may love a bin-style cabinet pull, it may not function well on a five-piece drawer front, which is better accented by a straight-bar cabinet pull.

Functionality of Cabinet Pulls

Cabinet with cup pulls in chrome finish

Cabinet pulls are typically large enough to grasp with most of the fingers on a left or right hand to literally pull the door open. Some are shaped like the handles on a carrying bag, while others may feature a cup-shaped design, allowing fingers to fit inside the handle to pull the cabinet door open. The cupped-shaped cabinet drawer pulls offer more strength, making them convenient for lower-level drawers that store heavy or hard to reach items.

Installation and Positioning Cabinet Pulls

Pulls or handles are attached to cabinet door fronts or drawers with two or more screws, as opposed to cabinet knobs, which feature a single screw. Because they need multiple screws, using a set template to install the hardware will be an important factor ensuring they are level and in alignment with other cabinets.

Here are some tips for positioning cabinet pulls on your doors and drawers:

  • On a wall cabinet with a raised center panel-style cabinet door, set the bottom of the pull (or top of the pull on a base unit), directly across from the flat part of the center panel.
  • On a flat center panel door – 2" to 2-1/2" is a good starting point – hold up the hardware piece and let your eye make the final choice. With a mitered door, never position the hardware in the lower corner where the mitered joints meet.
  • For cabinet drawer pulls, if the hardware is of average size – 3" to 3-1/2" wide – a good rule of thumb is to position one piece of hardware on drawers that are less than 24" wide, and two pieces per drawer front on those that are over 24" wide.