It’s as simple as replacing your hardware
By Nikki Luttmann, Interior Designer
One of the quickest and easiest ways to update a tired kitchen or bath is with the addition or change of cabinetry hardware. It seems like a small thing, but often small changes can make a big impact. If you, like so many people in the area, have a house from the building boom in the early 2000s, you may have a kitchen full of the ubiquitous “golden oak” cabinets. Popular through the 1980s and 1990s, here in the Northwest and beyond, the golden oak era reigned supreme well into the new millennium, as some local builders were slower to pick up on new trends.
If your cabinetry is in good shape, but just looks a little dated, switching or adding hardware will update your look. If your cabinets are newer, but lack hardware, I recommend adding it ASAP. Hardware—cabinet handles and pulls—extends the life of your cabinetry by protecting it from greasy fingers and dirt, but also from fingernails, which are particularly harmful to the finish on painted cabinets.
Cabinetry hardware is one of the most fun—but also daunting—finishes to choose for your home. There are so many options available in both finishes and style that it can be difficult to choose. Just remember, with this element of your home, go for function in your most used spaces, like kitchens or master baths, and have a little more fun in places that require less use, like a powder bath or wet bar.
For finish ideas, look to your existing light fixtures. Do you have oil-rubbed-bronze (ORB) pendant lights in the kitchen? Then ORB or black hardware might be the right choice for your cabinetry hardware. Satin nickel vanity light in your bathroom? Satin nickel or pewter might work for your cabinetry. However, that said, mixing metal finishes is usually just fine! One of my favorite kitchens included copper pulls on the painted dark gray perimeter of the kitchen, and black pulls on the cherry wood island. It made for a fun and playful contrast, but also balanced out the two looks.
My advice is to go to a showroom and take a look at the hardware in person. Wrap your hand around the pulls and knobs that you like to make sure they are comfortable in your hand. If you still aren’t sure, purchase one piece to take home, to see how it looks in your space. Remember, if you are replacing hardware, then it is easiest to match your existing drilled holes in your cabinet. Bring an existing pull with you to make sure you are getting the right size. It can be trickier to measure these than you might think, so making sure they match exactly is an important step.