Selecting and Installing Cabinet Hardware for Beginners - The Hardware Hut
Cabinet Hardware for Beginners
Cabinet Hardware for Beginners

Selecting and Installing Cabinet Hardware for Beginners

If you’re looking to change out your cabinet hardware DIY style but aren’t sure how to go about choosing the right size or type, don’t call a handyman just yet! We’re here to break it down to the basics.

Let’s say you’re taking on a total room remodel (whether that be your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, etc.) and you’re elbow-deep in sawdust and paint. You may have new and undrilled cabinets waiting to be adorned with cabinet knobs and pulls, or, as we like to call them at Schaub & Company, jewelry for the home. If that’s the case, then you have total freedom to choose which kind and size of cabinet hardware to install.

You can choose knobs, which come in a variety of sizes and shapes including round, square, t-shape, and a multitude of unique decorative styles. Knobs are a great choice for cabinet doors.

Cabinet Hardware for Beginners

There are also cabinet pulls, which come in many shapes and lengths. These are great for cabinet drawers.

Emtek, Cabinet Pulls

Appliance pulls are pretty handy (pun intended) for larger cabinets. The larger appliance pulls help distribute the weight for heavier doors.

Four Cabinet Bars, Emtek, Cabinet Hardware

As you can see, you have many options to choose from. The sky is the limit! Once you choose which hardware you want to install, you need to figure out where on the cabinets you’ll place the hardware.

Let’s Start

To start us off, here is the basic makeup of a standard cabinet:

Emtek, Stiles, Cabinet Hardware, The Hardware Hut

The vertical pieces of the border (stiles), the horizontal pieces (rails), and the interior (the panel) are the key pieces to know. Ultimately, the placement will be determined by your taste. However, you may want to follow a few standard guidelines, which help facilitate your decision. For upper cabinets, you will want to place them in a way that makes them easy to reach. Many folks opt for placing their knobs or pulls on the lower corners of the cabinets—typically along the stile, the vertical piece of the frame.

For lower cabinets, knobs and pulls are often placed in the upper corners, again, for ease in accessibility.

Emtek, Instructions, Cabinet Hardware, DIY, Do It Yourself

For small to medium sized cabinet drawers, you can use either knobs or pulls. You can choose to center the knob or pull on the panel of the cabinet. Or, you can align them near the top along the rail, or the horizontal piece of the frame. For larger cabinet drawers, you may choose to install two pulls or knobs distributed across the panels. On the other hand, you may opt for an appliance pull instead, which would typically sit centered on the cabinet panels.

Emtek, Drawers, Graphic, Cabinet Hardware

With the placement decided, the next step is to measure and drill holes into your cabinets. When you purchase cabinet pulls or appliance pulls, take note of the center-to-center length. The center-to-center length is going to be the space measured from the center of one drill hole to the center of the other. That way you know how far apart to drill the holes into your cabinet. To measure, you can either use a measuring tape or a jig, a template with pre-measured holes punched into it.

Quick Tip for Measuring

Use masking tape to mark the spots where you’ll be drilling to avoid having to mark directly on the cabinets!

In All

Finally, before picking up the drill, quickly double-check your measurements. Then, carefully begin drilling, using the smallest drill bit, while holding the drill as straight as possible. Once you drill the holes, begin installing the hardware. At Schaub & Company, we ship all of our cabinet hardware with the necessary screws to make installation a breeze. If your cabinets are pre-drilled, don’t fret! You still have plenty of room for creativity and choice. Simply measure the center-to-center length of the existing cabinet holes and use that information to guide your purchasing decision.

That’s it, folks! For more cabinet hardware inspiration and technical information visit and be sure to order from The Hardware Hut.

ASSA ABLOY is the parent organization of Schaub & Company, along with Emtek and other hardware brands.

About the author
By Amy Biller Switzer, Marketing Communications Manager at ASSA ABLOY, Emtek Products Hardware, and Schaub and Company.