Can You Mix Knobs and Handles on Kitchen Cabinets? – Combining Hardware Styles Guide

Last updated on October 29, 2023

Discover the possibilities of combining knobs and handles on your kitchen cabinets for a unique and stylish look that suits your taste.

When it comes to kitchen cabinets, choosing the right hardware can be a daunting task. With so many options available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and end up with a mismatched look.

One common question that homeowners often ask is whether they can mix knobs and handles on their kitchen cabinets. This may seem like a small detail, but it can have a significant impact on the overall aesthetic of your kitchen.

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of mixing knobs and handles on kitchen cabinets and provide some tips for achieving a cohesive look in your space. So let’s dive in!

What's Inside

Pros and Cons of Mixing Knobs and Handles

Dark blue country kitchen Gold Knobs and Handles Kitchen Cabinets

Mixing knobs and handles on kitchen cabinets can be a great way to add visual interest and personality to your space. However, before you start swapping out all of your hardware, it’s important to consider the pros and cons.

One advantage of mixing knobs and handles is that it allows you to create a custom look that reflects your personal style. By combining different shapes, sizes, finishes or materials in creative ways, you can achieve an eclectic or cohesive design scheme that suits your taste.

Another benefit is practicality: using pulls for larger drawers makes them easier to open than small knobs would; while smaller doors may only need one knob instead of two pulls which saves money on hardware costs.

On the other hand, there are some potential downsides as well. Mixing too many styles could result in a cluttered appearance if not done correctly; also choosing incompatible finishes might clash with each other rather than complementing each other resulting in an unappealing look overall.

Choosing the Right Hardware for Your Cabinets

Rustic Blue Kitchen Cabinets

First and foremost, you want to make sure that the hardware is functional and easy to use. Knobs are typically easier for children or those with limited mobility in their hands, while handles offer more leverage when opening heavier drawers or doors.

Another important consideration is style. The hardware you choose should complement the overall design of your kitchen and reflect your personal taste.

If you have a modern kitchen with clean lines, sleek stainless steel handles may be an excellent choice; if you prefer something more traditional or rustic, brass knobs might be a better fit.

Think about durability and maintenance requirements when selecting cabinet hardware. You want something that will hold up over time without showing signs of wear-and-tear too quickly; at the same time though it should not require constant cleaning either as this can become tedious over time.

The Role of Hardware Finish in Mixing Knobs and Handles

satin nickel hardware on white cabinets

The finish can either complement or clash with the overall look of your kitchen, so it’s crucial to choose wisely. One way to ensure a cohesive look is by selecting hardware finishes that are in the same color family or have similar undertones.

For instance, if you’re going for a warm-toned kitchen design, brass and copper finishes would be ideal choices for both knobs and handles. Similarly, if you prefer cooler tones like silver or chrome accents in your space, then stainless steel or nickel-finished hardware will work well together.

Another option is to mix different textures within the same finish family. For example, combining brushed nickel pulls with polished chrome knobs creates visual interest while maintaining consistency in terms of color tone.

Combining Knobs and Handles: Aesthetic Considerations

cool white kitchen lights

One of the most important factors is ensuring that the hardware complements the overall style of your kitchen. For example, if you have a modern or minimalist kitchen design, sleek and simple hardware may be more appropriate than ornate or decorative pieces.

Another consideration is balancing visual interest with practicality. While mixing different styles can create an eye-catching look, it’s essential not to sacrifice functionality for aesthetics.

Make sure that each piece of hardware feels comfortable in your hand and provides easy access to cabinet contents.

Consider how much contrast you want between knobs and handles when selecting finishes for each piece of hardware. If you choose two vastly different finishes (such as brushed nickel vs oil-rubbed bronze), they may clash rather than complement one another.

Deciding Where to Put Knobs Vs Pulls

Assessing Kitchen's Current Condition - Thinking Remodeling

Knobs are typically used for cabinet doors, while pulls or handles are more commonly used for drawers. However, this is not a hard and fast rule; you can mix things up by using knobs on some drawers or pulls on some cabinet doors.

One thing to consider when deciding where to place your hardware is the size of the door or drawer. Smaller doors may look better with smaller knobs, while larger ones may require larger handles for ease of use.

Another factor that comes into play when choosing between knobs and pulls is accessibility. If you have elderly family members who will be using the kitchen frequently, it might be best to opt for easy-to-grasp pull handles instead of small knob designs that could prove difficult in terms of grip strength.

Material Options for Cabinet Hardware

warm white kitchen lights

The most common materials used for cabinet knobs and handles include metal, ceramic, glass, wood or a combination of these materials. Each material has its unique advantages and disadvantages that can affect both the look and functionality of your kitchen.

Metal is one of the most popular choices due to its durability and versatility in design. Brass is a classic option that adds warmth to any space while stainless steel offers a sleek modern look.

Ceramic knobs come in various colors with intricate designs making them ideal if you want something more decorative.

Glass hardware provides an elegant touch but may not be as durable as other materials since they can break easily when dropped or hit by hard objects accidentally. Wooden knobs offer natural warmth but may require regular maintenance over time due to wear-and-tear from daily use.

Mixing Hardware Styles for Visual Appeal

cool white kitchen lighting

It’s important to do so thoughtfully and intentionally. One approach is to mix different types of hardware finishes, such as brushed nickel knobs with oil-rubbed bronze handles or brass pulls with chrome knobs.

This can create a layered look that adds depth and texture.

Another option is mixing different styles of hardware altogether, such as pairing sleek modern handles with vintage-inspired glass knobs or combining rustic iron pulls with elegant crystal accents. The key here is finding pieces that complement each other in terms of color scheme, shape, size, and overall aesthetic.

When mixing hardware styles for visual appeal on your kitchen cabinets keep in mind the style you are going for; whether it be traditional or contemporary design elements should work together cohesively rather than compete against one another.

Tips for Mixing Knobs and Pulls Successfully

kitchen with flower decor

First, consider the overall style of your kitchen. If you have a modern or minimalist design, sticking with one type of hardware may be the best choice for simplicity’s sake.

However, if you have an eclectic or traditional space, mixing hardware styles can add visual interest.

Another tip is to stick with one finish for all of your cabinet hardware. This will create consistency throughout the room and prevent any clashing between different metals or colors.

When deciding where to place knobs versus pulls on your cabinets and drawers, think about functionality as well as aesthetics. Knobs are easier to grip than pulls but may not work well in areas where quick access is needed (such as near stovetops).

Pulls are more practical in these situations but may not provide enough grip strength for those with arthritis or other hand conditions.

Stick With a Single Finish

Kitchen Lighting Basics

While it may be tempting to mix and match different finishes for a more eclectic look, sticking with a single finish can create a cohesive and polished appearance.

Choosing one finish for all your hardware will help tie together your cabinet design while also making sure that nothing looks out of place or mismatched. If you’re unsure which finish to choose, consider the overall style of your kitchen as well as any other metal accents in the space such as light fixtures or appliances.

For example, if you have stainless steel appliances in your kitchen, choosing brushed nickel hardware would complement them nicely. Alternatively, if you have warm-toned wood cabinets then oil-rubbed bronze might be an excellent choice.

Ultimately though there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to selecting finishes; what matters most is that they work together harmoniously within their surroundings.

Use One Style for Upper Cabinets and a Second for Lower

U Shaped Kitchen White and Green Cabinets Two Different Hardwares

This approach can create a subtle contrast that adds visual interest without overwhelming the space.

For example, you might choose sleek modern handles for your lower cabinets while opting for classic round knobs on your upper ones. Alternatively, you could use long bar pulls on bottom drawers and shorter T-bar pulls or cup-shaped bin pulls above.

When choosing different styles of hardware for upper versus lower cabinetry, it’s important to keep in mind how they will complement each other as well as the overall design scheme of your kitchen. You may also want to consider factors such as ease of use (for instance if someone in the household has arthritis), durability over time (especially if there are young children around) or even cost considerations.

Use Different Hardware for Cabinets and Drawers

Different Hardware for Gray Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers

This approach can add visual interest to your space while also providing a practical solution for opening different types of storage units.

For example, you might choose to use knobs on your cabinet doors but opt for handles on your drawers. This combination allows you to easily pull out the drawer with the handle while still maintaining a cohesive look throughout the kitchen.

When choosing hardware styles, consider how they will function in each area of your kitchen. Knobs may be more suitable for smaller cabinet doors or upper cabinets that are harder to reach, whereas handles may work better on larger drawers or lower cabinets where more force is required.

Balancing Style and Practicality in the Kitchen

Assessing Pull Depth - Wooden Drawer Cabinet

After all, the primary function of cabinet hardware is to make opening and closing cabinets easier. When choosing hardware for your kitchen cabinets, consider factors such as ease of use, durability, and maintenance requirements.

For example, if you have young children or elderly family members living in the home who may struggle with grip strength or dexterity issues when opening drawers or doors on lower cabinetry units – then opting for larger handles that are easy-to-grasp might be more practical than smaller knobs.

Similarly if you cook frequently in your kitchen then selecting hardware that is easy-to-clean will save time on cleaning chores later down the line. Stainless steel pulls are popular options because they’re durable enough to withstand frequent use while also being relatively low-maintenance compared with other finishes like brass which require regular polishing.

Considering Functionality in Mixing Knobs and Handles

Holiday Greenery Kitchen Cabinet Christmas Decor

While the look of your hardware is undoubtedly essential, you also want to ensure that the pieces you choose are practical for everyday use in your kitchen.

For example, if you have a lot of upper cabinets that require frequent opening and closing, using knobs instead of handles may not be the most ergonomic choice. Knobs can be more difficult to grip than pulls or handles and may cause strain on hands over time.

On the other hand, if you have lower drawers with heavy pots and pans inside them, using larger pulls or handles will make them easier to open without putting too much stress on your fingers.

Ultimately when choosing between knobs vs.

Effect of Mixing Knobs and Handles On Kitchen Accessibility

Kitchen Cabinet Drawers Not Closing All the Way

Mixing knobs and handles on your cabinets can have an impact on how easy it is to access the contents of your cabinets. Knobs are generally easier for people with limited hand mobility or grip strength to use, while handles are more comfortable for those who prefer a larger surface area to grasp onto.

If you’re mixing knobs and handles in your kitchen, consider placing knobs on upper cabinets that contain lighter items such as glasses or plates. Handles may be better suited for lower cabinet doors where heavier pots and pans are stored.

It’s also essential to ensure that the hardware you choose doesn’t interfere with any appliances or fixtures in the kitchen. For example, if a handle protrudes too far from a cabinet door next to a refrigerator door, it could make opening both doors at once difficult.

Cost Considerations in Mixing Knobs and Handles

kitchen backsplash cost

While some hardware options may be more affordable than others, the overall cost of mixing knobs and handles will depend on several factors such as the number of cabinets in your kitchen, the type of material you choose for your hardware, and whether you plan to hire a professional installer or do it yourself.

If budget is a concern but you still want to achieve a mixed look for your cabinet hardware, there are ways to keep costs down. For example:

  • Choose less expensive materials: Opting for cheaper materials like plastic or painted metal can help reduce costs.
  • Shop around: Look at different brands and retailers before making a purchase. You might find that one store has better prices than another.
  • Mix high-end with low-end: Consider using higher-end hardware on certain areas like upper cabinets while using lower-cost options elsewhere.
  • DIY installation: If you’re handy with tools, installing cabinet hardware yourself can save money compared to hiring someone else.

DIY Tips for Installing Mixed Hardware

Measure Base Cabinet Drawer

Here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Measure Twice: Before drilling any holes, make sure to measure the distance between each hole accurately.

2. Use Templates: To ensure that all of your knobs and handles are installed at the same height and level, use a template or create one yourself using cardboard or paper.

3. Mark Your Drill Holes: Once you have determined where each piece of hardware will go, mark the drill holes with a pencil before drilling.

4. Start Small: Begin by drilling small pilot holes before using larger bits for screws to avoid splitting wood or damaging cabinet doors/drawers.

5. Test Fit First: Before attaching any screws permanently test fit all pieces in place first so that if there is an issue it can be corrected without causing damage.

6.Use Proper Tools : Make sure that you have proper tools such as drill bits , screwdrivers etc., which match with size of knobs/handles.

Choosing Buying Kitchen Cabinets at a Local Shop

What’s popular today may not be in style tomorrow. So, when considering mixing knobs and handles on your kitchen cabinets, it’s important to assess the longevity of this trend.

While mixed hardware is currently a popular choice among homeowners and designers alike, there is no guarantee that this trend will last forever.

However, many experts believe that mixing hardware styles can create a timeless look if done correctly. By choosing high-quality materials with classic finishes such as brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze and sticking with simple designs rather than trendy shapes or patterns can help ensure your mixed hardware stands the test of time.

Consultation With Kitchen Design Experts

Interviewing Kitchen Designer

These professionals can provide valuable insights into what will work best in your space based on factors such as cabinet style, overall aesthetic, and functionality.

A consultation with a designer can also help you avoid costly mistakes that could arise from choosing hardware that doesn’t complement the rest of your kitchen’s design elements. They can guide you through selecting finishes and materials that will enhance the look of your cabinets while ensuring they are practical for everyday use.

Designers have access to resources like showrooms or online catalogs where they can help you find unique hardware options that aren’t available at big-box stores. This means you’ll have more choices when it comes to finding just the right combination of knobs and handles for your cabinets.

Consulting with a professional designer is an excellent way to ensure success when mixing knobs and handles on kitchen cabinets.

Examples of Successfully Mixed Knobs and Handles in Kitchens

Black Countertop with Wooden Kitchen Cabinets Stainless Exhaust Hood

One popular trend is to use one style of hardware on upper cabinets and another on lower cabinets. For example, you could use sleek bar pulls on lower drawers and cup pulls or round knobs on upper cabinet doors.

Another approach is to mix different finishes within the same style of hardware. For instance, using brushed nickel knobs with polished chrome handles can create an interesting contrast that adds depth to your kitchen design.

You can also experiment with combining different styles altogether for a more eclectic look. Try pairing vintage glass or ceramic knobs with modern stainless steel bar pulls for an unexpected twist.

Brass Accents kitchen Hardware

Some of the most popular brands include Amerock, Liberty Hardware, and Top Knobs. These companies offer a wide range of styles and finishes that can complement any kitchen design.

Amerock is known for its high-quality cabinet knobs and handles that come in various shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. They have been in business since 1929 and have built a reputation for producing durable products with innovative designs.

Liberty Hardware offers an extensive collection of decorative hardware options ranging from traditional to modern styles. Their products are available in different finishes such as brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze.

Top Knobs is another brand that has gained popularity among homeowners due to their unique designs made with high-quality materials like brass or stainless steel. They offer both knobs and pulls suitable for mixing on cabinets.

While these three brands are just some examples of what’s out there when it comes to cabinet hardware manufacturers; they all provide quality pieces at varying price points so you can find something within your budget while still achieving the look you want.


What are the rules for mixing knobs and pulls?

To mix knobs and pulls, maintain the same finish, use different styles for drawers and doors, and follow a consistent pattern throughout the cabinetry.

What looks better on kitchen cabinets knobs or handles?

Knobs may look better on kitchen cabinets for a more traditional or classic look, as they evoke a warm character reminiscent of rustic or farmhouse styles.

Do door handles need to match cabinet hardware?

No, door handles do not need to exactly match cabinet hardware, but should blend together for a harmonious space and cohesive aesthetic.

How can one effectively combine knobs and handles to create a cohesive kitchen design?

To effectively combine knobs and handles for a cohesive kitchen design, one should select complementary styles, materials, and finishes that match the overall aesthetic as well as the existing appliances and cabinetry.

What are the key factors to consider when selecting the appropriate mix of cabinet hardware for your kitchen?

When selecting the appropriate mix of cabinet hardware for your kitchen, consider key factors such as style, size, finish, functionality, and budget.

Are there any specific material or color combinations that work especially well when mixing knobs and handles on kitchen cabinets?

Mixing knobs and handles in complementary finishes, such as brushed nickel handles with crystal knobs, can create a cohesive and visually appealing combination for kitchen cabinets.

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