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Where to Put Knobs and Handles on Kitchen Cabinets

Where to Put Knobs and Handles on Kitchen Cabinets - Proline Range Hoods

Cabinets are one of the most expensive furnishings to install in your kitchen. So you might want to do some of the installation yourself. Or maybe the handles and knobs on your current cabinets are out of date. If that’s the case, you don’t need to hire a professional to simply install some new hardware.

But you should know where to put knobs and handles on kitchen cabinets. Otherwise, they’ll look awkward or unfinished.

Cabinet knobs and handles should be installed in the corner of the cabinet opposite the hinges. The exact placement depends on a few factors such as the size of the cabinet and, most importantly, the style of the knobs or handles.

Measure about 1.5” to 2” from the bottom and the right or left edge to find the center point for your knob. On cabinets, knobs are almost always installed on the edge of the cabinet, outside of the middle panel.

The outer part of the cabinet is sometimes called a stile.

Install knobs and handles for upper cabinets in the bottom corner opposite the hinges. Conversely, install knobs and handles for lower cabinets in the top corner opposite the hinges.

You can change where you put the hinges on your cabinets as well to try a few different styles. You might choose to put the hinges on the left for one set of cabinets, and on the right for another set of cabinets.

Range hood over electric stove, white cabinets - where to put knobs and handles on kitchen cabinets

With two cabinets side-by-side, you can put hinges on the left for the left cabinet and hinges on the right for the right cabinet. Then the knobs or handles will be next to each other. In the photo below, three of the four sets of cabinets are designed with hinges on opposite sides. It also features some cool purple cabinet lighting.

White cabinets with purple undermount lighting in large kitchen

Another option is to install the cabinet hinge on the top of the cabinet and the knob on the bottom. This works best for smaller cabinets where you might keep spices or dry food. The knob or handle would sit at the bottom of the cabinet on the stile, horizontally centered. This is not a popular design choice, though.

You could also install a cabinet with the knob on top. Most cabinets installed this way don’t have a hinge on the bottom, but instead a track, like in drawers. This design is popular with pull-out compartments, like trash bins or refrigerator drawers.

The knob or handle would go at the top, horizontally centered. Check out the bottom cabinet in the photo below, to the left of the stove.

Drawers with cup handles and stainless steel range

Where to Put Knobs and Handles on Drawers

Knobs and handles for drawers are typically placed horizontally centered at the top of the drawer or in the exact center of the drawer on the panel. If horizontally centered, the center of the knob should be two and a half to three inches from the top – just like with cabinets.

Here’s an example of a drawer with the knob or handle on the top cabinet style. Check out the compartment to the left of the stove.

Black vent hood over stove with glass front cabinets

This picture also features drawers with the handles centered vertically and horizontally.

With drawer handles, the center of the handle should be at the center point of your cabinet. You should not have one end of the handle at the center point; otherwise, the handle will be off-center.

Let’s say you want to horizontally center a drawer handle. You have a 20-inch drawer and a four-inch drawer handle.

First, make a mark eight inches from the left edge, and eight inches from the right edge. That’s where the screws for the left and right edges of your handle will go. This way, the center of your handle will be in the horizontal center of your cabinets. It’s that easy!

White cabinets with long handles, vent hood over stove

Large cabinets and large drawers

If drawers are more than about two feet (24”) long, you’ll want two knobs or handles. To figure out where to place them, first divide the drawer into thirds. Place a knob at the center of the left third and right third. Or, if you have a handle, place the center of the handle in that same area. Take a look at the bottom drawers in the photo below.

upper and lower brown cabinetry in kitchen with vent hood over electric stove

If you have cabinets over two feet tall, you can place the knob or handle further down. The exact distance will depend on the size of your cabinet. But typically you can split it into thirds vertically and install a knob in the middle of the top third. Or, follow the same principle as standard kitchen cabinets: 1.5 to 2 inches from the bottom and edge. On four or five-foot tall cabinets, you can even put the knobs halfway up the cabinet if you like the look.

Here are a couple of examples.

Island hood in kitchen with white cabinets

In the photo above, the tall cabinet to the right of the island has its handle in the top left corner. This is how you’d install hardware on most lower kitchen cabinets.

Sleek minimalist kitchen with large blue gray cabinets

Don’t like knobs or handles? Try flat panel cabinets with no handles.

Flat panel cabinets in modern kitchen

Installing cabinet knobs and handles isn’t rocket science. But if you don’t want to deal with it, you can invest in flat panel cabinets with no handles. Instead of knobs, they have grooves on the bottom or side that make them easy to open and close. Handleless cabinets are becoming more popular as homeowners embrace minimalist design.

To install handleless cabinets, you may want a professional to cut them. Unless you’re quite savvy or have installed cabinets before.

4 Types of Cabinet Hardware

Knobs

 Modern kitchen with hood, stove, and white cabinets with knobs

Knobs are one of the most popular cabinet hardware today. They’re most commonly used on upper and lower cabinets in any room in the house. You can also use them on drawers.

Knobs are incredibly easy to install. All you need to do is decide where to place the knob. Typically it’ll go in the bottom corner opposite the hinge on upper cabinets. On lower cabinets, it’ll go in the top corner opposite the hinge.

Then you drill a hole and insert a screw from the back of the cabinet so it’s poking out the front. Screw the knob onto the cabinet and you’re done!

Handles

Vent hood with lights on over small stove

For a more elegant, luxurious look, you can invest in handles on your cabinetry. Handles are typically more expensive and harder to install than knobs. You need to be a little more careful with the measurements so the handle doesn’t look off-center. Obviously, you’ll need two screws per handle compared to just one for a knob.

Cup Pulls

Kitchen with island and cabinetry with cup pulls

Cup pulls are similar to handles – maybe not as luxurious, but that’s up to your personal taste. They’re a circular handle that you grip from the side to pull the cabinet open.

They’re more commonly used on drawers, where you grip the handle from the bottom to open the drawer.

Vent hood over stove, white drawers with stainless cup pulls

So, if you like the look of cup handles or cup pulls, then you should definitely install them.

Finger Pulls or Edge Pulls

Range hood over stove, edge pull cabinets

Edge pulls are a type of handle that’s flush with the top of your cabinet or drawer. They give your cabinets a unique look – not as minimalist as handleless cabinets, but they stand out less than a standard handle or knob.

Unlike traditional knobs and handles, edge pulls are installed at the edge of your cabinet or at the top of your drawer. They are much more commonly paired with drawers than cabinets, but the choice is yours!

Should I use cabinet knobs, handles, or edge pulls?

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to install cabinet hardware, knobs are the way to go. Knobs are more popular for cabinets, while you’ll see most drawers with handles. But there’s no right or wrong way to install your cabinet hardware. Edge pulls are not common on kitchen cabinets, but instead on drawers.

That’s all for our post on where to put knobs and handles on your kitchen cabinets. Hopefully, you found what you needed. Good luck with your installation. For more content on kitchen cabinets, check out the articles below.

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Should I use cabinet knobs, handles, or edge pulls?

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to install cabinet hardware, knobs are the way to go. Knobs are more popular for cabinets, while you’ll see most drawers with handles. But there’s no right or wrong way to install your cabinet hardware. Edge pulls are not common on kitchen cabinets, but instead on drawers.
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