Watch How This Simple Change Makes a Dramatic Cabinet Difference

updated Jul 17, 2020
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Notice how different hardware creates a whole different look (Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

They may be some of the smallest details in a kitchen, but a change (or addition) of cabinet hardware can totally update a room’s entire look. Available in a disorienting array of finishes, shapes, sizes and materials, the sky’s the limit when it comes to choosing what to adorn your cabinet doors and drawers with.

But perhaps you’re not entirely convinced that a few knobs can make a big visual difference in a kitchen? Check out the Photoshopped images below. I added in a variety of different types of cabinet hardware to these already beautiful kitchens to showcase how easily a room can look refreshed…just by adding, updating or eliminating cabinet hardware!

You’ll have to consider scale, function and in some cases, where the hardware screw holes are, but it should really start with asking yourself what kind of change you want to create:

(And while I did my best to eyeball, be aware that these are not to scale, so make sure you check measurements carefully before purchasing any of the hardware shown below.)

Want to make your kitchen feel less cluttered? → Consider no hardware or hardware the same color as your cabinets.

In this New Orleans home above, the kitchen features round wooden knobs painted the same deep blue as the cabinets. Compared to say, cream-colored knobs, you can see how blue knobs blend in. In the image with no knobs at all, the cabinets are just a hint more minimal, which would strongly affect the feel of the entire kitchen.

If your cabinets look inexpensive → opt for something with shine

Notice how dramatically different a change of material and finish can affect a space. The trendy brass metallic finish and the shiny luster add a touch of elegance to an already beautiful space.

In this Brooklyn apartment‘s bright kitchen, simple silver door pulls add detail and balance out the other stainless steel elements in the room. Whereas eliminating cabinet hardware altogether doubles down on the kitchen’s minimal vibes.

Kitchen not your style? → Choose hardware that is

It can be tempting to stick with hardware that “matches” the style of your kitchen cabinets. But what if you don’t like the style of your kitchen cabinets? Lead with your own style first, and you’ll move the kitchen more into the direction you want it to go. I swapped the more traditional hardware in this San Francisco kitchen above with two patterned, shapely styles.

By adding hardware you like, you’re literally installing your style into the room — and this will make any accessories you want to add in feel like a part of the kitchen’s design, and not out of place. Of course, not every cabinet + hardware combo is going to work, but see how far you can take it when it comes to choosing hardware outside the traditional style of the cabinets.

Want a big difference without a ton of money or effort? → Paint it black

A simple coat of black paint — even on existing hardware, can add contrast, elegance and a whole new feel to a kitchen, as seen in this San Francisco kitchen and this Dutch kitchen.

Does your kitchen just feel boring? → Add something dramatic

Oversized hardware or hardware in unusual and unexpected shapes can immediately grab attention and make a kitchen feel upgraded.

Not sure how to go about physically switching out your kitchen’s hardware? Here’s a great resource: How To Upgrade Drawer Knobs, Pulls, and Handles

Robyn and Sam’s home in Toronto is an all-white, minimal lover’s dream. Intentionally kept simple and streamlined, it has just the essentials. Their kitchen is a great example of a minimal and modern space done right. It’s also a great blank canvas to play with to show you more examples of how just making one small change to your kitchen can make a huge difference!!

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

I added a simple vertical metal pull to the kitchen because they reminded me of the kind of hardware you might see in a rental…and they’re affordable. You can see how they reinforce the straight lines of the already minimal kitchen, adding detail but not necessarily decoration.

Buy this hardware from

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Playing off the over-sized, dramatic matte black hanging pendant lights, I added some matte black hexagon-shaped knobs. The black of the knobs echoes and strengthens the black of the light fixtures, and the modern, unusual shape adds a high-end feel to the room.

Buy this hardware from Schoolhouse Electric.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Never underestimate the visual effectiveness of adding just a hint of metallic to a room. These sleek round knobs are a shiny brass, which would glint beautifully in all this kitchen’s natural light. The super-flat front and simple round shape complement the modern design of the other elements. And the brass hue actually echoes the natural wood tone of the stools, warming the room up visually.

Buy this hardware from Super Front.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

I have been obsessed with extra-long cabinet pulls lately. I think they’re so unusual looking and dramatic, without being overwhelming. I had spotted this hardware used in this Boston carriage house, and I was also very in love with the hardware I saw used in this Australian house. You can see what a difference it makes in this home.

Buy this hardware from Schoolhouse Electric.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

I’m not sure that these green Anthropologie knobs fit my personal style, but there’s no denying the big impact they make on this minimal room. Don’t forget to think outside the box when considering what kind of knobs or pulls to upgrade your kitchen with.

Buy this hardware from Anthropologie.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

I think the GIF above is proof that DIY can look good, even in a super minimal, sleek kitchen. These leather cabinet pulls are something you could make yourself as a way to upgrade the look of your kitchen without spending a ton of money (or find a wide selection on Etsy)!

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