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Ask a Designer: Hardware Styles & Colors


Is there a rule of thumb for mixing and matching cabinet hardware styles, materials and colors?

Gladys: A knob is usually used for doors and drawers or pulls just because of how you’re opening the unit. Have we switched them? Rules can always be broken. But generally knobs belong with doors and drawers have pulls. If you have a pretty large kitchen and there’s a lot of decorative things, we’ll mix ring pulls, sometimes for glass doors, different back plates on the knob to accent certain cabinets that might have a wire mesh. Mixing and matching keeps it more lively than just being so uniformed. Again, it depends on the style. A lot of a French country, Tuscan, old world European uses that type of mixing the hardware pieces, but you can do it in contemporary as well, maybe accent the refrigerator and put something really cool. Everything else has the straight stainless steel, 10-inch long type of a handle. Generally, you have to think about the function and what you’re doing with it, and will it hold up. Is it strong enough to open those refrigerator doors and not fall apart?

Christine: A lot of my clients, I have … tell them to think of it as jewelry for their kitchen. If you want to go a little bit simpler on the cabinets, again, hardware is something you can always change over time. To do something a little bit jazzier, I like mixing hardware up a little bit, putting some pulls, some knobs, putting different types of knobs within there, because I think it really gives a little bit of a wow factor when you come into it. It definitely can match your faucet. Some people think, “Well, I’ve got stainless steel appliances. My hardware has to match that.” It doesn’t necessarily. I wouldn’t mix … if you’ve got a chrome faucet, I probably wouldn’t necessarily put brass hardware in. If you’ve got stainless steel appliances, I would put chrome or polished nickel hardware in. I think it’s something that’s very personal to pick something that you really like and give it a little bit of a jazz factor to your kitchen.