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Cabinet Hardware: How to Choose the Jewellery of your Home

Selecting the perfect cabinet hardware for your home.  

When renovating, there are many decisions to make and the importance of selecting suitable cabinetry hardware is frequently underestimated. The truth is, cabinet handles, knobs and pulls are the touchpoints to your joinery, and can easily make or break the finished look and experience of your new home. With a multitude of hardware on the market to choose from, In Residence has compiled this guide to selecting the best hardware for your home.  

Quality Every Time

Your cabinet hardware is going to be a workhorse, absorbing the daily grind of your household. It is imperative your cabinet hardware is comfortable to use and durable. 

Fundamentally, you get what you pay for. 

Comfort vs Functionality

Invest in good quality, well designed and ergonomic hardware. Nothing is more frustrating than impractical hardware, no matter how good it may look.

The function of hardware is to open and close joinery with your hand. Any hardware you select will need to be easily gripped. Make sure your hands comfortably fit around or into the handles you choose. If specifying from a showroom, bring your partner in to ‘test drive’ the handles too.

  • Pay attention to the edges - are they sharp or uncomfortable in any way?
  • Does it fit your hand properly?
  • Will they be enjoyable to use long term?

At the end of the day, opt for ease & comfort, especially in high use areas such as the kitchen, and remember to always think about function over form. If it’s joinery you will infrequently use, but often look at, you can go a bit more ‘offbeat’.

Cabinet Knobs, T-Bars, Pull Handles or Edge Pulls?

The question will often arise as to what type of hardware to choose and this decision can impact greatly on the functionality of your space. There is no right or wrong answer.

Benefits of Pull Handles

Pulls Handles are a deluxe look, offering the chance for  statement hardware which is still easy to use. From a practical standpoint, pull handles are often necessary for integrated fridges so it may seem logical to tie this handle choice in with the rest of your joinery.

Benefits of Cabinet Knobs

Cabinet knobs are a simple solution and straight forward to install. Single fixing points allow knobs to be more easily replaced and can be swapped out if your personal taste or style changes over time. For square knobs, our premium brands offer a locating pin to stop them rotating – make sure your installer uses it!

Benefits of T-Bars

A modern version of a knob, the are also very easy to use.  They look great installed in a vertical or horizontal orientation. High-quality T-bars from Joseph Giles have locating pins to stop them rotating, allowing ever-perfect alignment - once again make sure your installer uses them.

Benefits of Edge Pulls

Edge Pulls Handles are a contemporary look, with your hardware rebated into the joinery along the top edge of your drawer or top of the door. When installing onto a door, they can be run on the horizontal or vertical edge. Test out edge pulls – our premium Joseph Giles edge pulls have curved, square, round or moon profiles and each will feel different in your hand.

Overall, all hardware has advantages and disadvantages, and often the best joinery has a carefully curated mix of function. Most importantly, choose cabinet hardware that is comfortable on your hands because you will use them often; rounded surfaces are much less likely to scratch you than a sharp square edge. Keep in mind that some post and rail handles or knobs with large overhangs or ‘sticky-out bits’ can annoyingly get caught on clothing when installed on underbench joinery. If this looks like being a problem, choose hardware with a smooth, curved profile.

No Handles

If you are after a streamlined look, it can be tempting to not install any hardware at all.

Keep in mind that touch catch, or push-to-open drawers and cabinets may look sleek but have some issues to consider. Drawers or cupboards can pop open when you lean against them to prep food or cook. You also need to quite carefully push them closed, which can be more effort than just manually pushing a drawer shut. Pushing on the surface to open will continually leave fingerprints, which will be more obvious on dark paintwork.

These edge pulls were retrofitted to push cupboard doors after the owner found that the cupboards were getting greasy where they were being pushed open.

Cut out handles also can become problematic as dirty kitchen hands will constantly be leaving surface marks. Remember these cannot be replicated  on an integrated fridge so a handle is still required.

Moulded finger pull handles along the top edge of your joinery are not ideal for the kitchen,  becoming a dust and crumb collector. To achieve the same function, edge pull handles along the profile of the cabinetry are a stylish and more practical option.

Style

Hardware should really be the last thing you choose to complete your design. Before selecting hardware, first think about what style you have chosen for your joinery.

Joinery fits into three main categories: contemporary, traditional and transitional.

Contemporary

Minimalistic cabinets with flat-fronted joinery call for simple, geometric handles or edge pulls which can uphold a sleek and contemporary look.

Traditional

Traditional-style cabinets often have doors with ornate profiles. This decorative style of joinery can accommodate a more intricate hardware design. Choose cup or pull handles for bin drawers, latches for under-sink cupboards and knobs or pull handles for overhead cupboards.

Transitional

This is about simplifying a traditional look and softening a contemporary one. Here we can find the middle ground of modern comfort. Consider Shaker profile cabinets paired with simple traditional hardware.

Select hardware that is consistent with the style of your design – this includes the shapes of your chosen tapware, joinery, lighting, cooker, countertop profile.

Materiality and Finishes

Choosing the materiality & finish of your hardware can be approached in a multitude of ways.

Brass

Unlacquered brass provides an anti-microbial environment to protect you and your family.

Bronze

Bronze is another level of luxe, that will patinate and season over time.

Glass

Glass adds a light reflecting playful layer to your detailing.

Leather

Leather brings another level of luxe – just keep it out of wet areas like kitchens & bathrooms.

Marble

Marble is a maximalist, confident and luxury look.

Cool tones

For a fresh, minimalist, modern look, pair timber, greys, blacks and whites with cool Chrome, Glass, Stainless Steel, Silver, Brushed Nickel and Porcelain finishes.

Warm tones

For an inviting, luxe, traditional look, pair timber, greys, blacks and whites with warm Gold, Nickel, Bronze, Brass, Copper and Porcelain finishes.

Textures

Add another layer of interest to your joinery with Hammered, Knurled or Molten textured handles.

Once you have chosen the materiality, texture and finish of your hardware keep those themes consistent throughout each space.

Size and Ratio

Most hardware collections offer a variety of pull handle sizes, to allow the perfect combination for your project. You want to specify a pull handle that is the most harmonious scale to the joinery and ‘looks right’.  We recommend consulting with your kitchen designer or joiner to suggest a size they would recommend, based on the scale of the cabinets in your kitchen.

To remain consistent, use the same length & diameter pull handle throughout, regardless of the width of the drawers to create a seamless look. The exception to this rule is on integrated fridges, where you will need to scale up to an Appliance Pull to provide enough leverage to counter the seal on the door.

The general rule of thumb is pull handles should be approximately 1/3 of the cabinet or drawer length.

Small Drawers that are 300mm or less typically work best with a pull that is 70mm to 100mm long or a knob that is 25mm in diameter.

Medium Drawers that are between 300mm to 760mm work well with a pull that is between 100mm to 200mm long or a knob that is between 32 to 40mm in diameter.

Large Drawers that are 760mm to 1220mm will require a pull that is longer than 200mm or a knob that is 32 to 40mm. Using two pulls or knobs for a large drawer is also a great option.

Position

Before installing, it is imperative to mark out the position of your handles.
Here are some general rules:

Drawers

Hardware should be centred left to right and orientated horizontally on drawer fronts. If you have a bank of drawers, consider if they will be centred top to bottom of the face too. If the bottom drawer is deeper, we recommend keeping the same distance down from the top as the other drawers; this requires less effort to reach the drawer handle.

Drawers that are wider than 600mm can look and open better with two knobs or pulls.

If you have shallow Shaker-profile drawers, this can make it tricky to install hardware. If the handle is positioned in the recessed centre panel, it can be hard to get your fingers in there. If the handle is installed on the rail, it can seem too close to the overhanging benchtop. Many designers prefer to specify plain-fronted drawers with Shaker profile doors.

Doors

Hardware is most ergonomic when installed vertically on the opening edge of a door, whether they are above or below the bench.

When placing knobs on traditional cabinet doors, the correct placement can be guided by the stile (vertical framework) of the cabinets.

If your knob has a square base, align one of the horizontal planes with the horizontal plane of the door.

When in doubt, always check with your kitchen designer or installer for expert advice. We recommend having a hardware placement consultation to mark out exact positioning, to avoid any surprises later. Often it is a matter of opinion and you will be the one using them, so have a voice!

Which Brand is Best?

With an overwhelming array of hardware in the market today, we have chosen to only offer the best we can source – from our authentic, quality manufacturers.

Joseph Giles - luxury designer hardware for residential, hospitality and commercial projects. Their hardware is hand-finished by artisans with luxury materials including machined and cast brass, cast bronzes, bridle leather, glass and marble. Joseph Giles cabinet hardware is extremely versatile and ties in beautifully with their architectural door hardware.

Perrin & Rowe – is renowned for their luxury tapware. They also offer a selection of beautiful handles and knobs to complement their taps for bathrooms and kitchens. Their hardware collection is ideal for those who prefer their handles to perfectly match their taps in style and finish. If you require a large number, these are an affordable luxury option too.

Armac Martin – solely designs and manufactures cabinet hardware. With their striking collections comprised of pulls, knobs, latches and handles, Armac Martin hardware allows for complete consistency throughout the home.

VISIT OUR SHOWROOMS

We compiled this helpful guide so you can adorn your joinery with cabinet hardware that best suits you and your family.

Our showrooms have dedicated displays where you can experience our extensive range of luxury cabinet hardware.

We are here to help so please consult with our friendly showroom consultants.

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