Where to put kitchen cabinet knobs & handles? Hardware placement chart & guide

You just spent a lot of time making your outdoors nicer by upgrading the deck railing. Last night, you put on your favorite shirt and enjoyed a bottle of wine outside in the middle of a cozy evening. 

You’ve been undertaking this massive home improvement overhaul, including installing hydronic heating and painting the cabinets. You even replaced all the light bulbs with dimmable ones. 

After you finished the round of painting, you found out that something wasn’t right. The old hardware and its placement on the cabinets seemed off. 

It no longer reflected the ultra-modern, sleek atmosphere you wanted to create. So rather than putting it back up, you decided it’s time for a change. 

Then it hit you.

Where should you put kitchen cabinet knobs and handles? 

Door knobs

It’s not like you kept the old instructions that came when the cabinets were originally constructed and installed. It seemed off anyway. It also hit you that you weren’t sure what you wanted to put up. 

You know you want modern kitchen handles, ideally ultra-modern. Your friends had just installed these cool edge pulls on their upper cabinets.

Maybe that is something you considered as well. 

Before we get on to how you should be placing them, let’s talk about something else. Let’s talk about some of the products that are being installed today. These will help give your kitchen a facelift. 

And frankly, doing so will not be very expensive. It will add significantly more value to your kitchen than it will cost to implement. That’s a good tradeoff if you ask me. 

Sleek, modern kitchen cabinet pulls

When it comes to modern cabinet pulls, no one beats Amazon’s own brand. They’ve got a perfect 5-star rating with thousands and thousands of reviews. 

They’re available in several colors, but our favorite is golden champagne. It fits great in most kitchens but is particularly good in a farmhouse setting. The great thing is also they come in several different lengths for you to choose from. 

At the current price they’re being sold at, there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t get the Amazon brand and upgrade the look of your kitchen. Check them out to see if you think they’d look good at your house. 

If you want to go very contemporary, consider opting for their longer models. It’ll give a more oversized appearance but in a good way.

Another pressing question is probably also what size cabinet pulls you need. Don’t worry. We’ll cover that in a minute. 

There are some very big mistakes you could be making. By the end of this article, we’ll have made sure you won’t be making any mistakes.  

Ultra-modern kitchen handles

Another product we’d like to highlight is these beautiful products by KOOFIZO. They’re made out of polished chrome, and they’re stunning. There’s no saying that you need to limit these in where you place them. You can also use them for your bedroom dresser or even in the bathroom wardrobe. 

Edge pulls on upper cabinets.

When it comes to putting edge pulls on the upper cabinets, Jetland is our recommendation. Wow!

I’m not sure I would personally get edge pulls because I prefer having a better grip than they provide. However, they’re stunning. 

If edge pulls are what you’re after, there’s nothing better on the market. There’s especially nothing better at the price tag.

Rule of thumb for drawer pulls

The rule of thumb is to get drawer pulls one-third of the length of the drawer they’re being installed on. When installing on something more than 18 inches wide, one may not be enough. 

Maybe you’re installing hardware on an oversized door with a lot of weight. You will want to make sure what you’re installing makes it easy to open the door despite the weight.

Modern designs often encourage getting handles at least ⅔ of the cabinet door. However, it’s ultimately up to you. 

You must make the decisions regarding their size and placement at this point before you have them installed. 

Choosing the right pull sizes

Kitchen pros agree on some basic fundamentals that will make your house look great. Let’s quickly cover them. 

  1. Go longer if you’re unsure.

Longer options will give a high-class feel to your kitchen. They’re heavier-duty and are easier to grab. When opening a heavy cabinet or drawer, you don’t want a flimsy knob. You want something substantial. 

  1. Stay consistent

If you’re not staying consistent with the design, it will start looking bad. Combining different lengths and designs will easily create a cluttered look.

Is that what you’re after? We didn’t think so. 

Sizes and designs should be kept the same, even if your drawers and cabinets have different sizes. 

  1. Explore different options with the design.

Cabinet handles are both refreshing and cheap. Many of them cost no more than $2-3 per handle. It can freshen up a boring space and have it seem more lively in no time. 

Your house deserves to have a personality that reflects who you are. 

What size cabinet pulls do you need & how long should they be: A chart

Here’s a quick chart that shows what size cabinet pulls you need to choose and how long they should be. Again, it’s not a definitive rule. However, it’s a good guideline.

Size of drawers & cabinetsSize of the pulls
12″ or less3″ to 4″
12″ to 30″4″ to 8″
30″ to 48″8″ to 12″

It can be tricky depending on the design you’re trying to create. The most popular option is choosing a size and sticking with it. If they’re at least 3-4” long, they should be easy enough to grip, and it will still look good wherever you choose to install them. 

Where will you put kitchen cabinet pulls? Hardware placement explained

They can be put in a myriad of different ways. There’s no one correct placement for this hardware.

By reading the following section, you can learn some of the underlying principles concerning the placement of kitchen cabinet pulls. It ensures a level of consistency in the house that will look good.

Knobs

Door knobs on cabinets

Knobs are smaller in size compared to pulls and will relatively take up less space. Their appearance will be more subtle, but their function is still required. You can use knobs when you’re not trying to detract from or draw attention away from the cabinets. 

Maybe you’ve spent a lot of money on a beautiful marble backsplash. Knobs won’t overpower the whole experience in the kitchen as a consequence.

Pulls

As mentioned before, I am a person who prefers pulls because they’re a bit more functional. I prefer how they feel and that they’re easier to grab onto. They can help keep the cabinetry clean because it means you’ll be touching the actual surface less. 

In addition, they offer more fun regarding the whole design process. They’re built to be more, and more is what they offer. They’re your preferred choice when you want a design that feels like more. 

You can either go with a design that fully uses knobs or fully uses pulls. However, there are also ways to mix the two without making them look cluttered. When you do that, it’s important that the designs match and that they’re from the same company. 

If you’re placing knobs anywhere, do it high up.

A mixture of the two types requires a little bit more strategy. We’re generally fans of putting knobs at the top, while pulls can be on the lower parts. It still makes it look clean. 

If you’re putting knobs on the lowers, you’ll also want to put them on the uppers. That’s how we feel. 

Pulls on drawers

Pulls are always good on drawers since they’re often heavier. It’s a reason you can get away with knobs on doors. You’re also getting the weight of the drawer out when you’re opening it. 

Pulls on drawers should reflect their width. You can either choose to use two smaller ones or one longer one. It will look weird if your chosen model is very narrow, yet your drawer is very wide. 

Using one longer moel rather than two shorter ones keeps it clean looking. Your drawers are easier to open rather than having two individual handles to grab onto.

Modern cabinetry can allow you to use super-wide pulls, but it can also be too much. Before screwing them in, try getting someone to hold them up and take a picture. You’d rather return them before you find out you don’t like them. 

Now it’s time for their installation. Finding the right location on the drawers and cabinets will also impact how the space feels. 

Where to place knobs on cabinets

Door knobs on lowers

Besides the length, the placement of knobs affects how the kitchen is perceived. You can test out placements before installing them with the help of painter’s tape. 

It’s more normal that kobs are installed on the edge of the rail. You may not want a contemporary feel if you’re doing the remodel for a log cabin. It can be achieved by moving the knobs up a bit rather than having them on the edge. 

3 door knobs

Where to place pulls

The bottom of the pull should align with the rail to ensure a consistent look. They should not extend into the rail if you want it to look good.

Slab doors

Slab doors are a bit different as they give you more freedom to choose how you’ll attach knobs and pulls. You’ll want to ensure they’re the same distance from the cabinet’s side and bottom. 

For instance, the bottom of your pull should be 2 inches above the edge and away from the side. It is not the installation hole we’re talking about.

Slab drawers

The most common look for modern kitchens is to put the pulls towards the top where it achieves a more clean look. In older kitchens, it’s more common for hardware to be centered. We like the sleeker look of putting them near the top. 

Paneled drawers

Paneled drawers are different from slab ones. The common option is to center it on the top rail rather than putting it where it’s more modern. It makes it easier to pull and gives good, strong vertical pullouts. 

For a more modern look, hardware is centered within the entire panel. It does not go on the top rail.

Important thoughts on the location

You can always try out ideas by putting up tape and seeing what you think. When the holes have been made, it will take work to cover up again if you change your mind. 

Maybe you’re not installing the new hardware yourself. You must clearly communicate to the person doing the work where it’s going. 

It’s important to understand the math going into putting them up, so they look the best way possible. Again, for pulls, you will want them to go down no further than the rail. 

Time needed: 5 minutes.

How to measure for cabinet pulls

  1. Draw a small pencil dot at the center of the vertical rail that is perfectly aligned with the bottom of the rail.

    It is the point you want the pull to come down to. 

  2. Figure out how far away from the bottom of the pull the installation hole needs to be. 

    If the pull length is 6.5 inches and the hole-to-hole center is 4-inches, there’s a total of 2½ inches combined outside the hole-to-hole area. 

    Divide the 2½ by 2. It gives you 1 ¼ inch from the bottom of the pull to the bottom installation hole. 

  3. Move up 1 ¼ inch from the first dot and draw another dot.

  4. Move up the distance of the hole-to-hole center and draw another dot.

  5. Measure the distance to either side of the rail to ensure the dots are properly centered.

    It will ensure the pull is vertical when installed.

  6. Put up the pull to see if it looks correct. 

FAQ

What size pulls do you need for 36-inch drawers?

For 36-inch drawers, you’re looking for handles of about 12 inches. 

What size cabinet pulls do you need for 42-inch cabinets?

You’ll want to get them longer than 12 inches to ensure they look good. Ideally, they should be a third the size of the cabinet. 

Should cabinet pulls all be the same size?

Not necessarily. However, it’s a good idea to play around with it before you start installing anything. Follow the guide we’ve written, and you’re more likely to get something that looks good. 

What are the most popular cabinet knobs?

The most popular knobs out there are black stainless steel knobs by Pobrico. They’re a great combination of affordable and timeless. 

What kitchen hardware is in style?

Golden champagne is very popular right now. It fits in a range of different styles and will make your kitchen look high-end.