The Ultimate Guide for Cabinet Hardware Placement and Sizing



The Ultimate Guide for Cabinet Hardware Placement and Sizing

Hannah Haynsworth | 

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Some of the most common questions we hear about cabinet hardware are, “What size do I get?” and “Where do I put them?”. While there are no hard and fast rules of what is right and wrong, there are some general guidelines that can be followed to ensure your hardware is proportional and well placed on your cabinets.


The first decision you must make is if you’d like to use knobs, pulls, or a mixture. There are four options we recommend:


Knobs are typically small in size, giving them a more subtle appearance than pulls. If you have stunning cabinetry, or a beautiful backsplash that you’d prefer to have shine, you may want to choose knobs. Click Here to shop some of our favorite knobs.

All Cabinet Knobs


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Choosing pulls has a number of benefits. First, pulls are typically a little easier to use than knobs, making them an excellent choice for homes with weak or arthritic hands. Pulls also reduce the amount of contact your hands have with your cabinets, which helps to keep your cabinetry clean. Lastly, pulls are available in a wider selection of designs than knobs. With so many unique designs, it is easy to give your cabinets a designer touch. Click here to shop some of our favorite pulls.

All Pulls

All Pulls Kitchen


For the best of both worlds, use a mixture of knobs and pulls. To make the combination look harmonious, we suggest one of two options. The first suggestion is to put knobs on all upper cabinets and pulls on all lower cabinets.

Knobs on Uppers, Pulls on Lowers


The second option we recommend if using a combination of knobs and pulls is to put knobs on all doors and pulls on all drawers. Note that neither option mentioned is more superior than the other. It simply comes down to personal preference.

Knobs on Doors, Pulls on Drawers


For double stacked cabinetry, we typically recommend using knobs or cabinet latches on the top row of cabinetry. Their smaller size is proportional to the shorter door height and having a row of knobs or latches can add visual interest and character.

Double Stacked Cabinets
Kichen by Studio McGee featuring the Cotswold Ball Knob



So you’ve decided between knobs and pulls, now you must pick a size. So, which should you pick?


For knobs, 1-1/4″ is always a safe bet. For a minimalist look, size down. For an impressionable oversized appearance, choose something larger.


Pull sizing is where it can be tricky. There are many options for sizes and many configurations to choose from. Our go-to recommendations are below. Keep in mind that the longer the pull, the more contemporary the appearance.


One of the most popular options is to pick one size and use it throughout your cabinetry. There is no right or wrong size to choose, but we do recommend choosing pulls that have at least a 3-3/4″ center to center (the distance between the screw holes). This size looks pleasing on most cabinets, while still being large enough to grip comfortably. 5″ – 6.5″ pulls are also an excellent choice. Their slightly longer length offers a more updated appearance, while still being small enough to fit onto most drawers. If you choose to use a smaller size throughout, we highly recommend using two pulls on wide drawers.

Consistent Pulls Throughout

All Pulls Kitchen


Rather than using two pulls on wide drawers, you can use a single pull that is longer in length. This can offer a cleaner, more contemporary appearance and it also is easier to operate your drawers with. Using a pull that is approximately 1/3 the length of the drawer is a good rule of thumb. When in between sizes, size up.

Cabinet doors do not follow the 1/3 rule. Generally, pulls between 5 – 7″ for uppers are a safe choice – go larger for a more contemporary look. Use longer pulls for extra-tall cabinets such as pantries.

Longer Lengths for Longer Drawers


For ultra-modern cabinetry, you can use extra long pulls that span nearly the entire width of each cabinet.

Full Length Pulls

Full length cabinet pulls


Appliance Pulls are designed for paneled appliances. They are larger in scale than standard pulls and are fitted with larger bolts to accommodate the extra force required to open an appliance. Appliance pulls can also be installed on regular cabinetry if a bold look is desired.


You’ve picked out your cabinet hardware and it’s time to install. Where do you put everything? There are a few factors that come into play including the cabinet style, size, and use.



Most cabinet knobs today are installed by lining up the installation hole with the edge of the rail. This contemporary knob placement is both aesthetically pleasing and easy for installers. If you are using elongated knobs, such as egg knobs or T knobs, place the installation hole so that the top of your knob is in line with the rail. For a more classic look, consider offsetting your knobs from the rail a bit. You can cut circles out of painters tape to test placement.

Knob Placement on Paneled Doors

For pulls, you want the bottom of your pull to fall in line with the cabinet rail. Be sure to adjust your installation holes if needed. You do not want your pulls extending into the rail.

Standard Pull Placement


For slab doors, you will want the hole placement to be equidistant from the bottom and side of the cabinet. 2″ is typically a good distance. For pulls, you will want the end of the pull to be in this position. Adjust the screw hole placement accordingly if necessary.

Knob and Pull Placement on Slab Doors



For paneled drawers, the most aesthetic choice is typically to center the hardware within the panel. However, some prefer to install their hardware within the top rail where it is somewhat easier to reach and pull. This mounting location is recommended for heavy vertical pullouts like trash cans and appliances.

Paneled Drawer Pull Placement

Paneled Drawer Knob Placement


For slab drawers it is most common to center your hardware on shallow drawers and near the top of deeper drawers. This installation is both attractive and functional. For modern cabinetry, installing all of your knobs or pulls towards the top gives a sleek and streamlined aesthetic.

Slab Drawer Pull Placement


  • The above suggestions are not strict rules. It is okay to stray from the norm.

  • When in doubt, use painters tape to mark out ideas for hardware placement.

  • Be sure to express exactly what you want to your installer. Write down clear instructions.

  • If you have additional questions, contact us! We are always happy to help. We also offer a free sample program so you can see and feel cabinet hardware pieces in person before making your purchase.

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Interior Design by Design 4 Corners

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source sandiegohardware


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