Where to Put Knobs and Handles on Kitchen Cabinets? | A Detailed Guide

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The placement of knobs and handles on kitchen cabinets may seem like a small detail, but it can greatly influence the overall functionality and aesthetic appeal of your kitchen.

The right placement ensures easy access and a comfortable grip while adding a touch of style to your cabinetry.

Whether you’re renovating your kitchen or designing a new one, understanding where to put knobs and handles on kitchen cabinets is essential.

In this guide, we will explore various factors to consider and provide practical tips to help you make informed decisions that enhance both the usability and visual appeal of your kitchen cabinets.

Types of Cabinet Knobs and Pulls:

Types of Cabinet Knobs and Pulls

Cabinet knobs and pulls come in various styles and materials, allowing you to customize the look and functionality of your cabinets.

Here are some common types of cabinet knobs and pulls:


  • Round Knobs: Classic and versatile, round knobs are available in different sizes and materials, such as metal, wood, glass, or ceramic.
  • Square Knobs: Similar to round knobs but with a square shape, they can add a modern touch to your cabinets.
  • Novelty Knobs: These knobs come in various whimsical shapes and designs, such as animals, fruits, or sports themes, allowing you to personalize your cabinets.


  • Bar Pulls: Also known as handle pulls, bar pulls are straight or curved handles that you grip to open the cabinet doors. They come in different lengths, finishes, and materials, such as stainless steel, brass, or matte black.
  • Cup Pulls: Cup pulls have a semi-circular shape, resembling a small cup or half-moon. They are typically used on drawers and offer a classic or vintage look.
  • Bail Pulls: Commonly found on antique or traditional cabinets, bail pulls consist of a handle attached to two decorative backplates, which swing up or down to open the cabinet door.
  • Appliance Pulls: These pulls are longer and designed specifically for larger appliances or pantry doors. They provide a substantial grip and can be matched with the other hardware in your kitchen.

Integrated Pulls:

  • Recessed Pulls: These are built-in handles that are recessed into the cabinet’s surface. They create a sleek, streamlined look and are often found in modern or minimalist designs.
  • Edge Pulls: Edge pulls are installed along the edge of the cabinet or drawer front, allowing you to open them from the side. They are discreet and offer a contemporary aesthetic.

Where to Put Knobs and Pulls in Kitchen?

Where to Put Knobs and Pulls in Kitchen

In the kitchen, knobs, and pulls are commonly used on cabinets and drawers to provide functionality and style.

Here are some specific suggestions on where to use knobs and pulls in the kitchen:

  1. Cabinet Doors: Install knobs or pulls on kitchen cabinet doors to make it easier to open and close them. This is particularly important for upper cabinets that may be harder to reach. Consider the size and weight of your cabinet doors when selecting knobs or pulls, ensuring they can handle the weight and provide a comfortable grip.
  2. Drawers: Use knobs or pulls on kitchen drawers to facilitate opening and closing. Depending on the size and design of the drawers, you can choose either knobs or pulls. Larger drawers may benefit from long pulls that provide a more substantial grip, while smaller drawers can work well with knobs.
  3. Pantry Doors: If you have a pantry in your kitchen with hinged doors, you can consider adding knobs or pulls to make them easier to open. This is particularly useful if your pantry doors are heavy or if you have large doors that require a more substantial grip.
  4. Appliance Panels: Some kitchens feature built-in appliances with integrated cabinetry panels. In these cases, you can install matching knobs or pulls on the appliance panels to create a cohesive look throughout the kitchen.
  5. Kitchen Island: If you have a kitchen island with cabinets or drawers, adding knobs or pulls can enhance both the functionality and aesthetic appeal of the island. Choose knobs or pulls that complement the overall design of your kitchen and coordinate with the other hardware.

When deciding where to use knobs and pulls in your kitchen, consider both the practicality and the visual impact.

Aim for consistency and coherence in your hardware choices, ensuring that the knobs and pulls align with the overall style and design of your kitchen.

Cabinet Hardware: Placement and Positioning

Cabinet Hardware Placement and Positioning

Proper placement and positioning of cabinet hardware, such as knobs and pulls, can significantly impact the functionality and aesthetics of your cabinets.

Here are some guidelines for cabinet hardware placement:

1. Cabinet Doors:

  • Knobs: When installing knobs on cabinet doors, they are typically placed centered horizontally and vertically on the door stile (the vertical part of the cabinet frame). For upper cabinets, place the knobs around 2.5 to 3 inches from the bottom edge of the door. For lower cabinets, position them around 2.5 to 3 inches from the top edge of the door.
  • Pulls: For cabinet doors, pulls are usually centered horizontally on the door stile. The vertical placement can vary depending on personal preference, but a common approach is to align the bottom of the pull with the top of the door rail (the horizontal part of the cabinet frame).

2. Cabinet Drawers:

  • Knobs: Similar to cabinet doors, knobs on drawers are typically centered horizontally. Place them in the top center of the drawer front for a single knob or in the top corners for two knobs.
  • Pulls: When using pulls on drawers, they are usually centered horizontally on the drawer front. For wider drawers, you can consider using longer pulls or installing two pulls, placing them equidistant from the center.

3. Large Cabinet Doors and Pantry Doors:

  • Pulls: For larger cabinet doors or pantry doors, longer pulls are often used to provide a more comfortable grip. Install pulls vertically along the center of the door, ensuring they are level and symmetrically positioned.

4. Kitchen Island:

  • The placement of hardware on kitchen island cabinets follows similar guidelines as for regular cabinets.
  • Ensure that the hardware is centered and positioned for convenient use, taking into account the size and design of the island’s doors and drawers.

Side Note:

Remember, these placement suggestions serve as general guidelines, and personal preference and the specific design of your cabinets can influence the exact positioning.

It’s a good idea to test the placement by using painter’s tape or removable adhesive to simulate the hardware’s position before permanently installing it.

This allows you to visualize how the hardware will look and ensure it feels comfortable and functional when used.

Preparation Tips for Placing Cabinet Hardware:

Preparation Tips for Placing Cabinet Hardware

Before placing cabinet hardware, such as knobs and pulls, there are several preparation steps you can take to ensure a smooth and accurate installation.

Here are some helpful tips:

1. Measure and Mark:

Use a measuring tape to determine the exact placement of the hardware on each cabinet door or drawer.

Measure the width and height of the door or drawer front to find the center point for positioning the hardware.

Mark the desired placement using a pencil or removable adhesive tape. Double-check the measurements and alignment to ensure accuracy.

2. Consider Templates:

If you have multiple cabinets or drawers with consistent dimensions, creating a template can save time and ensure consistent placement.

You can make a template out of cardboard or use a commercial hardware installation template, aligning it with the marked center points on each cabinet or drawer.

3. Check for Clearance:

Ensure that the placement of the hardware allows for proper clearance and operation of the cabinet doors or drawers.

Test the movement of the doors and drawers to ensure they open and close without obstruction.
Pilot Holes:

For cabinet hardware that requires screws, it is recommended to create pilot holes before attaching the hardware.

Pilot holes help prevent the wood from splitting and ensure a secure attachment.

Use an appropriate drill bit size for the screws you will be using.

4. Leveling:

Use a level to ensure that the hardware is installed straight and level.

This is particularly important for pulls that span across multiple doors or drawers, as they should align perfectly.

5. Test Fit:

Before fully attaching the hardware, do a test fit by temporarily holding it in place.

Check the positioning, alignment, and comfort when gripping or pulling.

Make any necessary adjustments before permanently securing the hardware.

6. Protect the Surface:

To prevent scratching or damaging the cabinet doors or drawers, place a soft cloth or a piece of cardboard underneath the area where you’ll be drilling or attaching the hardware.

Installation Tools:

Gather the necessary tools such as a screwdriver, drill, drill bits, and screws.

Ensure that you have the appropriate size and type of screws for your specific hardware and cabinet material.

Video Guide:

What to Use? Cabinet Knobs, Handles, or Edge Pulls?

The choice between cabinet knobs, handles, or edge pulls depends on several factors, including personal preference, the style of your cabinets, and the level of functionality you desire.

Here are some considerations to help you make a decision:

Style and Aesthetics:

  • Knobs: Knobs are versatile and can work well with various cabinet styles, from traditional to modern. They offer a classic look and can add a decorative touch to your cabinets. Knobs come in a wide range of materials, shapes, and finishes, allowing you to find options that match your desired aesthetic.
  • Handles: Handles, also known as pulls, come in various shapes, lengths, and designs. They can provide a sleek and contemporary look, especially when paired with modern or minimalist cabinet designs. Handles offer a more substantial grip and can create clean, linear lines on your cabinets.
  • Edge Pulls: Edge pulls are a popular choice for modern and minimalist designs. They are installed along the edge of the cabinet or drawer front, allowing for a discreet and streamlined appearance. Edge pulls work well with slab-style or handle-less cabinets, creating a sleek and seamless look.

Functionality and Comfort:

  • Knobs: Knobs are easy to grip and can be comfortable for opening cabinet doors and drawers. They are suitable for smaller doors and drawers where a compact grip is sufficient.
  • Handles: Handles offer a larger gripping area, making them practical for larger and heavier cabinet doors and drawers. They provide a more ergonomic grip and can be easier to use for individuals with mobility or dexterity issues.
  • Edge Pulls: Edge pulls are designed to be easy to grip from the side, allowing for the convenient opening of cabinets and drawers. They work well for cabinets without visible hardware and can be particularly useful in tight spaces or where a minimalist appearance is desired.

Cabinet Design and Layout:

  • Consider the design and layout of your cabinets. If you have a consistent design throughout your kitchen, using the same hardware type (knobs, handles, or edge pulls) can create a cohesive look.
  • Take into account the size and weight of your cabinet doors and drawers. Larger or heavier doors may benefit from handles or edge pulls that offer a more secure grip.

Final Words:

Ultimately, the decision between cabinet knobs, handles, or edge pulls is a matter of personal preference and the style and functionality you want to achieve.

You can also mix and match hardware types within your kitchen to create visual interest and add unique touches to different areas.

Consider experimenting with samples or visualizing software to see how each option looks in your space before making a final decision.

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