Beginners Guide to Selecting & Installing Cabinet Hardware - 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 Schaub & Company likes to call them, 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 cabinet knobs and pulls, which come in various sizes and shapes, including round, square, t-shape, and many 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 and can even be used for full-size barn 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.

Understanding Standard Cabinets

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, personal taste determines the placement of your hardware. However, you may want to follow a few standard guidelines when installing cabinet hardware. For upper cabinets, you generally want to install cabinet knobs to make 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 portion 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

How to Install Cabinet Handles

Once you decide on placement, the next step is cabinet hardware installation, which includes measuring and drilling 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 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 use a measuring tape or a jig, a template with pre-measured holes punched into it.

ProTip for Measuring: Use masking tape to mark the spots where you’ll be drilling to avoid marking directly on the cabinets!

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 cabinet hardware. Hardware Hut provides 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 order from 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.