Where to Put Knobs and Handles on Kitchen Cabinets

Discover the right placement on the kitchen cabinets for knobs and handles

Kitchen cabinets with handles

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Cabinets and drawers are found in almost every kitchen, and they provide ample storage space for food, plates, pots, pans, cups, and cutlery. To access the cabinets, most have knobs or handles, and knowing where to put them is essential for a functional kitchen. Use this guide to learn where to put knobs and handles on kitchen cabinets and why placement matters.

Why Does Hardware Placement Matter?

Cabinetry takes up a large portion of the room, making it a natural focal point that can help to tie the decor together. Cabinets and drawers with evenly placed, properly aligned knobs and handles can improve the overall aesthetic of the kitchen.

Of course, there are several more practical reasons for accurate knob and handle placement. If you position the hardware too high on a wall cabinet door, some users may not be able to reach without relying on a stepladder. Positioning hardware too far into the center of a cabinet door makes it more difficult to open because you are limiting your leverage by not installing the handle closer to the edge. Similarly, installing knobs or handles too low to the ground on a base cabinet makes opening the door inconvenient and awkward.

The ideal placement of kitchen cabinet hardware depends on the type of hardware you are installing. There are two common options to consider, including knobs and pulls.

Knobs are common options for drawers. They traditionally have a round, metal design. Knobs are now available in a variety of shapes, materials, styles, and colors. While they can be used for cabinet doors, pulls are the more common option.

Pulls refers to the broader category of hardware that resembles traditional handles. This hardware option tends to be easy to grip than a knob and can offer more leverage, making them a great choice for kitchen cabinet doors or heavy drawers.

Where to Put Hardware on Drawers

Install one knob on a drawer that is less than about 24 inches in width or two knobs for drawers that are larger than 24 inches in width. Measure and divide your drawer into nine equal parts. If you are installing one knob, position it in the exact center of the second row and second column. You can also move this knob up to the exact center of the first row and second column if you are installing it on a lower drawer.

For drawers that require two knobs, install the first knob in the center of the second row and first column, then install the second knob in the center of the second row and third column. Consider moving the knobs up to the first row if you are installing them on a lower drawer.

Standard pulls follow the same process to divide the drawer into nine equal parts, clearly delineated with painter's tape. Find the center of the second row and second column. Center the pull at this point and mark the position on either side of the handle for the screw holes. Similar to installing a knob, you can move the handle to the first row, second column, if the higher placement will improve your leverage.

Cup pulls should be installed on the top third of a cabinet drawer, centered in the second column. This will make it easier for users to slip their fingers under the cup to grip and pull the drawer open. Finger pulls need to be installed on the top edge of the drawer, centered in the second column. If you have a drawer that is wider than 24 inches, consider installing two finger pulls. The first should be centered in the first column and the second should be centered in the third column, each installed on the top edge of the drawer.

Since finger pulls are always installed on the edges of cabinets or drawers, you have a little less variation in placement to play with. They are easiest to use when placed in the center of the top edge of your drawer.

Base Cabinets

For base cabinet doors, knobs and pulls should both be installed opposite the hinges in order to improve leverage. Typically, knobs will be placed about 2.5 to 3 inches from the top of the cabinet door and about 1 inch from the edge of the door opposite the upper hinge. This placement makes them low enough on the door to be accessible without being blocked by the overhang of the countertop. It also positions the knob close enough to the edge of the door to increase the user's leverage, making it easy to open the door.

When you are using finger pulls, make the hardware flush to the upper corner, opposite the hinges. If you are installing finger pulls on two cabinet doors that open in opposite directions, the position of the pulls, flush to the edge of each door, should create the appearance of a single, clean line.

Wall Cabinets

The position of the knob on a wall cabinet shifts to the bottom corner of the door. Install the knob about 2.5 to 3 inches from the bottom of the door and about 1 inch from the edge of the door opposite the hinges. Placing the knob lower on the door makes it easier to access, while having it just 1 inch from the edge improves the leverage when you are opening the door.

Measure about 2.5 to 3 inches from the bottom of the cabinet door and about 1 inch from the edge opposite the hinges. Mark this spot for your lower screw hole, then use the pull to measure and mark the position for the upper screw hole. If you are installing a finger pull, position the pull on the bottom of the door, flush to the edge opposite the hinges, so only the front edge of the finger pull is visible.