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How to Install Cabinet Hardware the Easy Way

Learn how to install kitchen cabinet hardware and drawer pulls the easy way by following these 4 simple steps!

White Kitchen with Perfectly Installed Cabinet Hardware

I’m so excited because today marks the first project post in our new home, the home which we’ve lovingly dubbed “Orchard House.”

If you’re new around here, we recently sold the townhouse that we had lived in for 7 years and built a new house a few miles down the road. We are so excited to have a blank canvas to make our own!

As much as I would have loved to jump right into full on room makeovers, the reality is that there are some basic things we wanted to tackle first to make our day-to-day lives a little easier, so I decided to do a little “First Things First” series to focus on some of these small-but-mighty projects that make a big impact on the home.

Organized Garage

7 Simple Starting Points: A Guide to Starting an Overwhelming Organizing Project

Click the button below to request your copy of the free guide, and get ready to get organized!

Choosing Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

A huge thanks to D. Lawless Hardware for providing knobs and pulls for this post. My favorable opinion of gorgeous kitchen hardware is 100% my own. This post includes affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

First up: hardware! Our builder (Ryan Homes) has a standard set of hardware that they are willing to put on your cabinets before you move in. However, I am just a teensy bit picky and didn’t love the option they provided, so we opted to have them leave their hardware off.

an empty kitchen with all the hardware taken off

If you’ve ever tried to open cabinets and drawers without a knob or pull, you know it can be a huge pain, so before we even unloaded one box or began organizing one cabinet, Donnie took the time to install all of the kitchen hardware.

We used gorgeous knobs and pulls from D. Lawless Hardware in the townhouse kitchen reno, so of course they were my go-to source when we were looking for hardware for our new kitchen as well.


Things to Consider When Choosing hardware materials

  • Brass and bronze hardware are antimicrobial, making them perfect for kitchens.
  • Stainless steel is easy to clean and very durable.
  • For thicker wood, a bronze finish looks great and feels good once they are installed.
Beautifully renovated small kitchen in a townhouse.

our kitchen in the townhouse

We had cup pulls (and these knobs) in our last house, and while I loved them, I decided to go for something different this time around:

a kitchen with white cabinets and new hardware installed

These are actually called Palermo pulls, which is kind of ironic because the model of our home is also called Palermo. It was meant to be! And the pretty Capital knobs coordinated with the pulls perfectly and look great on the cabinet doors.


Choosing hardware finishes to Fit Your Decorating Style

  • Highly polished stainless steel or brushed are great for a contemporary kitchen.
  • Choosing a bronze finish is an easy way to go bold. Over time, it will patina, which would be the perfect look in a rustic or farmhouse kitchen.
  • Brass and pewter are more fitting for a traditional kitchen.

Knob Placement + Pull Size For Cabinets

Use the guide below if needed to determine what size pulls will look the best and how many knobs are needed.

Drawer and Door SizeHardware Guide
Drawer less than 16 inches wideOne knob in the center
Drawers over 16 inches wideTwo knobs in the outer thirds of the drawer
Doors less than 24 inches tallUse pulls that are 3-7 inches long
Doors between 24 and 36 inchesUse pulls that are 7-12 inches long
Doors over 36 inchesUse pulls that are 12 inches and longer

Keep in mind that if you’re changing hardware in a kitchen (rather than installing it for the first time), it will be much easier to go with the same size/type of hardware in a different style.

For example, if our cabinets previously had pulls but we wanted knobs, we would have to patch the holes– including sanding, painting, priming, etc.– before we could install the new hardware.

How to Install Kitchen Cabinet Hardware Step-by-Step

Tools You’ll Need

1. Mark the spot for the hardware installation using the template.

To install the hardware, Donnie first picked up some cabinet hardware templates from the home improvement store. We used both a door template and a drawer template when installing our hardware.

templates to use when changing the hardware on cabinets and drawers

door template (left) and drawer template (right)

Instead of using a tape measure, level, and pencil to individually mark and measure every door and drawer, the templates have a number of pre-defined options. Once we found the one that worked best for us, we used a marker to circle it, and it was easy to mark a drilling spot on all of the cabinets with a pencil.

using the template to mark the spot for a new cabinet knob

2. Tape the back of the cabinet door.

To prevent the wood on the back of our drawers and cabinets from splitting as we drilled, we applied some tape on the back of the cabinet door to hold things together.

Ordinarily Donnie would use blue painter’s tape, but that was in a moving box somewhere, so I found the next best thing — washi tape. (I mean, every creative blogger carries a roll of washi tape in her purse, right? 😉 ) It worked like a charm!

The important thing is to use a tape that can be removed easily, unlike something like duct tape, which will leave a residue.

tape on the back of a cabinet door

3. Drill the holes and add Loctite.

Next, we drilled all of our marked holes with a bit that was only slightly larger than our cabinet hardware screws. After drilling, the screws should slide easily into the hole without having to thread the screws into the wood.

drilling the hole for the new kitchen cabinet door knob

tips for drilling

  • Using a sharp drill bit will keep the wood from splintering on the backside when drilling.
  • When using a 3/16 inch drill bit, use 8/32 inch screws. Always use a bit that is a little bigger than the screw.

Donnie’s pet peeve is when he installs cabinet hardware only to have it loosen up a few months later. He hates to have to re-tighten it all the time. In the past he’s tried all sorts of techniques to prevent this.

He tried lock-washers, but they dig into the cabinet wood. To prevent the wood-gouging, he’s tried lock washers with a normal washer next to the wood. This keeps things tight, but having all of that extra hardware on the inside of cabinets doesn’t look great.

4. Screw the kitchen cabinet hardware into place.

For this hardware install, Donnie used a different method – Loctite.

adding Loctite to the drilled hole

Before attaching the knobs and pulls to the screw, he put a little dab of blue Loctite onto the end of the threaded screws and then attached the hardware.

using a screwdriver to install a cabinet door knob

Once it dries, Loctite will bond the metal together and keep everything tight.

Donnie repeated the same steps with the drawer hardware, using the drawer template rather than the door template, and our beautiful new knobs and pulls were good to go!

kitchen cabinets and drawers with new hardware
clean kitchen and island with new hardware installed on all cabinets and drawers

While we were on a hardware kick, we also decided to replace the white plastic switch plates and outlet covers with more substantial looking versions that matched our hardware.

front view of newly installed kitchen hardware

And it might seem like overkill, but we also replaced the vent covers on the floor with a prettier version. It’s just a tiny detail, but I think it improves the overall look and feel of the space.

top view of a new vent cover that was installed

So those were some of our first projects! Only about 967,493 more projects to go! Progress, however small, feels so good, and we’re making more and more headway each day!

finished kitchen after installing new hardware

Thank you so much for following along with our progress on Orchard House! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

Installing Kitchen Hardware: Frequently Asked Questions

This is really a personal preference and depends on what suits your particular kitchen best. We chose knobs for all of the cabinets and pulls for the drawers.

If we had a vertical pantry cabinet, we would have installed pulls, not only for looks but also for ease and comfort.

We used a sharp 3/16-inch drill bit. However, some hardware includes instructions along with the size bit that is needed, so reference the packaging of the hardware you purchased before drilling any holes.

How To Install Kitchen Hardware

Home decor- kitchen renovation, new countertops, Ryan Homes, Palermo, Caesarstone London Grey counters, quartz countertops

Materials

  • Loctite
  • Knobs and pulls
  • Tape
  • Pencil
  • 8/32" screws

Tools

  • Drill with 3/16" bit
  • Templates
  • Pencil (for marking)
  • Screwdriver

Instructions

  1. Measure and mark where you are going to install the knobs and pulls. We used templates, but you can also use a level and tape measure.
    Such a useful guide for installing hardware on drawers and cabinets! Click through to the post to get all of the tips and tricks!
  2. Place a small piece of tape on the backside to keep the wood from splintering.
    Such a useful guide for installing hardware on drawers and cabinets! Click through to the post to get all of the tips and tricks!
  3. Drill the hole.
  4. Such a useful guide for installing hardware on drawers and cabinets! Click through to the post to get all of the tips and tricks!

  5. Place the screw in and add a small amount of Loctite on the end.
  6. Such a useful guide for installing hardware on drawers and cabinets! Click through to the post to get all of the tips and tricks!

  7. Hold the knob (or pull) on the front and tighten the screw on the back.
  8. Such a useful guide for installing hardware on drawers and cabinets! Click through to the post to get all of the tips and tricks!

Notes

  • Using the Loctite is optional. We tried using washers before and they dug into the cabinets. Using Loctite will keep them from loosening over time.
  • Be sure to drill from front to back. If you do have splintering it will be on the inside where nobody can see it.
  • Tightening the screw from the back (versus twisting on the knob) helps to avoid messing up the finish.

Recommended Products

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Small Signoff

A huge thanks to D. Lawless Hardware for providing knobs and pulls for this post. My favorable opinion of gorgeous kitchen hardware is 100% my own. This post includes affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

30 Comments

  1. Sarah Eddins says:

    I wish I had researched cabinet hardware more before we installed ours on our new cabinets 4 years ago. I have knobs on my drawers and really wish I had gone for drawer pulls instead. It looks great!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Sarah! <3

      ~Abby =)

  2. Paige @ Reasons to Come Home says:

    My husband messed our pulls up so bad and they are so crooked! Yikes! Wish I had seen this before we installed them last year. Your new kitchen is beautiful, though!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Oh, no! They can definitely be tricky! Thanks so much and have a wonderful evening!

      ~Abby =)

  3. Sarah@The Orthodox Mama says:

    Did you name your home “Orchard House” in honor of Louisa May Alcott?

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I do love her, but that wasn’t the reason! 🙂 We actually have a peach orchard in our back yard and can see an apple orchard from the back of the house as well, so it seemed to make sense! Have a great day, Sarah!

      ~Abby =)

  4. Sorry to do this and normally I would’t but I would want to know. Anyways you said ‘One it dries the Loctite will bond metal together’….I think should be ‘Once’ but maybe I’m wrong. Anyways, please don’t post this, not that I think you will. And I love your kitchen I never paid attention to what hardware could do for a room but wow I really does make it. Thanks for this, now I really want to change some things (I really dislike my hardware ). Can’t wait to see what y’all do next.

  5. Beautiful kitchen! I hope that you are enjoying your new home.

    The Loctite is a good idea, and is recommended for keeping nuts and bolts in place.
    There are several strengths, and anyone who is going to use is for locking
    fasteners in place should use one of the lower strength products. If anything does
    ever loosen up (heaven forbid), you should still be able to take apart the fasteners.

    If I remember correctly, Loctite has a purple model (used for up to .25 inch fasteners),
    and a slightly stronger, blue model, used for larger sizes. They also offer products in
    higher strengths, but don’t expect to be able to get anything apart without a
    jackhammer and blowtorch.

    All kinds of new projects with a new house, but they are “Happy” projects.
    Good luck with the rest of your decorating.

  6. Susan Pearson says:

    Your house looks beautiful, I really admire how you are taking your time to make sure everything is perfect rather than rushing to start using it all. A lesson I hope I can follow when I finally get a house to live in.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      It is definitely challenging, Susan! Naturally, I just want to attack everything so the house is finished, but I know it will be so worth it to wait. Thanks so much for your sweet words and have a fabulous weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  7. Linda Muetzel says:

    Congratulations on your new home! It is beautiful!
    I’m new to your blog and I love it! I really like your way of breaking down the to-do list by starting with “First things first.”
    We also just moved into a new house and are in the process of choosing a refrigerator. Which one did you settle on? (I may have missed if you posted this somewhere else.) We have read so many reviews our heads are spinning.
    Thanks!!

      1. Thank you!! We’ll check it out.

  8. Candy Walsh says:

    Congratulations on your new beautiful home! We’ve built once before and I may be a sentimental sap, but it’s so nice that in your new home all the “first time” this or that will be yours and yours alone. Does that make sense? lol
    Enjoy~before you know it you’ll be all settled in and have that homey feeling!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Totally makes sense, Candy! It really is SO fun! Thanks so much and have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  9. Linda Pemberton says:

    what did the original floor vent cover look like? Also, moving into a new house, what light switch controls this spot? Figuring out all the light switches and electric outlets.

    1. I’ll piggy back on Linda’s comment and say I’d love to see the before and after pictures next to each other so I can really visualize the change. Thanks so much for sharing your light with us, Abby, it’s lovely!

  10. Your kitchen is so stunned. The templates, I never know about that because I tend to be measured without the templates. I would like to buy those for myself.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Brandy!

      ~Abby =)

  11. Sarah V. Chmelicek says:

    This is some great advice with the Loctite! This question is probably enough for a future post but I recently tried to update my kitchen with new hardware but the screws that came on my knobs were much too long for the doors/drawers and now I have no idea how to cut them down? Thanks! Sarah

    1. justagirlabby says:

      We’ve actually had that problem in the past too. We just go to the hardware store and buy screws that are the correct length. They are a pretty basic thread, so all hardware stores will carry them, and they are not expensive. I hope this helps!

      ~Abby =)

  12. I love the vent covers. What brand/model are they? We recently put in dark hardwoods and I bought wood vent covers but those are much more elegant

  13. Where did you get the new floor vent covers? They are gorgeous!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks, Sarah! They are from Lowe’s! 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  14. Heather Alexander says:

    Very nice! I think the details make it YOURS. Looking forward to seeing your other projects!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Heather! I agree!

      ~Abby =)

  15. Emilie Baublitz says:

    I just love your kitchen! We built our townhouse 5 years ago with Ryan homes and chose to buy and install the hardware ourselves also. It was CRAZY what they were going to charge us! We also tiled our backsplash ourselves. Are you planning on doing a backsplash at some point? If so, I can’t wait to see the post! I’m sure it will be beautiful. 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      We are doing a blacksplash! I can’t wait! 🙂 Thanks, Emilie!

      ~Abby =)

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