A Guide to Replacing or Updating Your Cabinet Hardware A Guide to Replacing or Updating Your Cabinet Hardware

Replacing the hardware on cabinets and dressers is an inexpensive way to give your kitchen, bathroom, or even an old dresser a brand new look. It is also an easy way to update an old style and add a personal touch. All you will need is an accurate ruler and a screwdriver. Before going shopping, here are few things to take in consideration.

How Many and What Size
You need to know how many knobs (which have one screw) and pulls (which have two screws) you need. Most kitchens have a combination. It is important to double- and triple-check this count. You will need to know how many are on cabinet doors and how many are on drawers. The typical cabinet door is 3/4" thick while the typical drawer is 1 1/2" thick, and you'll want to be sure that the screws are the right length.

You will also want to measure each pull to avoid having to redrill and patch existing holes. Typically, pulls are either 3", 3 1/2" or 4". Rather than assuming that all the pulls are the same size, it is better to double check. The measurement is from center to center of the holes, not the total length of the pull. If you discover your pull is an odd sized, you might consider looking for an "adjustable" pull.

Cabinet hardware comes in almost every type of finish; copper, chrome, brass, nickel, bronze, iron, ceramic, and wooden are the most popular. If you have a face-frame cabinet where the hinges show, you will either need to pick hardware that matches the current hinges or replace them. This might be a good idea if you are having trouble with cabinet doors sticking or sagging.

Once you know how many you need, decide on a budget. Pulls and knobs start at around $1.00 each. Hinges will start at around $2.00. If you have a very limited budget, you might consider purchasing nicer hardware for high-traffic areas and cheaper hardware in the same finish for less-active areas. You can then upgrade the other hardware as your budget allows.

Style and Theme
Knobs and pulls come in every style from contemporary to traditional to vintage. You might also consider going with a theme. Knobs come in all shapes and varieties: starfish, leaf, rope, branch, animal shapes, stars, western, sports, and more.

If you have children who share the same dresser or bathroom, consider using different drawer knobs and pulls to indicate which drawer or cabinet belongs to each. For younger children, you could go with knobs that have your child's favorite character on them such as Sponge Bob, Mickey Mouse, or Batman. You can also use different colors or styles if you want a more traditional look.

Backplates are placed between the door or drawer and the knob. They are not necessary but might be desirable because if you need to cover existing holes or scratches in the surface. They also protect the surface and can enhance the hardware.

Going Shopping
If you are looking for options, the best place to shop for hardware is online. If you are trying to match a color or wood finish, make sure the store you purchase from has a good return policy. Monitors can display colors differently. If you're unsure about the size or the color, check with the store and order only one as a sample first.

Replacing the Hardware
Once you've purchased all your hardware, it's time to replace the old with the new. This is also a good time to give the outside of your cabinets a thorough cleaning. If you discover that one of the new screws won't tighten, squirt a little white glue into the hole and insert some broken wooden toothpicks into the hole. After the glue dries, use a utility knife to cut the toothpicks flush with the surface.

Now all you have left to do is sit back and enjoy! Don't be surprised if people ask you if you refinished your cabinets or even if you recently replaced your cabinets. Replacing drawer pulls and knobs might seem like a little thing, but it can make a dramatic difference in the look of a room.

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