Like putting on a silk tie or diamond earrings, changing kitchen cabinet hardware is an easy way to freshen existing space without a lot of expense. Installing new knobs, pulls, and hinges is a project anyone can do, once you’ve found cool replacements. You’ll love the unlimited variety of shapes, sizes and colors: Every type of metal finish, colored glass, even hand-painted porcelain.
For relatively inexpensive ($2-4 per knob), you can enhance the look of your kitchen cabinets without the expense of new cabinets.
Here’s what you need to know to dress up doors and drawers with new kitchen cabinet hardware.
Measuring for kitchen cabinet hardware
Replacing kitchen cabinet hardware is easy. But note there’s a wide range of sizes when it comes to the spans between screws on kitchen cabinet hardware. You’re in luck if your doors feature a knob with a single screw that secures to the door or drawer front, and you want to replace it with the same.
Otherwise, you’ll need to measure precisely the spread between screws. Use a measuring tape to measure from the center of one screw hole to the center of the other. Write the measurement down and count the number of pulls and/or knobs that you need. If you’re making your purchase at a home center, bring the handle and dimensions with you.
If you opt for handles that don’t match up with existing holes, fill holes with wood filler and camouflage the repair with fresh stain or paint. Or you can cover the fix with a backplate that fits behind the new handle.
Hinges can be tricky
Hinges can be difficult to switch out because there are so many different types and sizes. If your hinges match the finish on the new hardware or if the hinges are hidden anyway, you can keep the originals.
Otherwise, before removing all the hinges, remove just one and then shop around—online or at a home center—to make sure you can find one that will work for your installation.
Installation tips for kitchen cabinet hardware
- If you need to re-drill your cabinet drawers and doors, speed up the project either by making a jig or buying one online. You can make a jig from scrap plywood following directions available online. Or purchase a plastic jig from a home center or online for about $7.
- As you drill, keep the bit perpendicular to the door or drawer face. You can position an 8-inch tri-square next to your drill as a visual guide. If you’re inexperienced using a power drill, there are a number of drill guides available, starting at about $17.