How To Install Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

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Installing cabinet hardware is a pain. It's easy to get frustrated and give up, but it doesn't have to be this way. If you’d like to know the best way to install kitchen cabinet hardware in the most efficient way, we've got the solution for you. Be sure to also check our guide on brushed nickel vs. chrome for your home hardware.

In this article, we'll teach you how to quickly and easily get this done – let's get started.

The best way to install your kitchen cabinet hardware

There are a few common pitfalls that make installing kitchen cabinet hardware difficult.  But with the right approach, you can avoid these issues and have your new hardware up in no time.

Here's a quick rundown of how to avoid the common problems involved with installing kitchen cabinet hardware.  We'll follow up with more detailed step-by-step advice below each tip.

1. Use the right tools and materials for the job

You'll need a drill, screwdriver, level, tape measure, pencil, and paper to make notes of how things go together. The best choice is a cordless drill with an adjustable clutch setting (to avoid stripping screws). 

If you don't have access to a cordless drill or want to save money there are other options such as using a hammer and screwdriver and tapping in the screws manually but this approach is much slower.

tool kit
Image Credit: Kitchen Infinity Photo

2. Measure twice before making any cuts on your cabinets

Measure: Dry-fit everything by attaching your knobs/knob sets before cutting anything.

This gives you the double benefit of avoiding mistakes and evaluating if items fit properly before cutting anything. Then take detailed measurements of each item so you know how much to cut off later.

You may find some things need to be adjusted a bit after they are screwed down and the cabinets are closed – make sure you adjust your markings before cutting anything. After taking careful measuring and marking, get ready to make one clean cut per hole on the cabinets (that is, if you want a high-quality hardware installation).

If possible, use a fine-tooth blade in your jigsaw – it'll help avoid splintering the wood around the holes.

3. Watch out for obstacles below cabinet mountings

Measure for obstacles & clearance. As we said above, it's important to accurately measure everything first and take a few notes. This will help you avoid mistakes later and get things in the right position. 

Don't forget to measure for clearance around each item as well.

4. Check for style/theme consistency

Before installing your new hardware, make sure all of it meshes with your cabinets. You don't want mismatched knobs or handles that clash with the existing design (unless that is the look you’re going for). Also, keep in mind that not every cabinet or drawer needs the same hardware – sometimes less is more.

5. Measure, mark and drill those holes carefully

As we said above, taking careful measurements (and double-checking them) is essential when installing kitchen cabinet hardware. This goes triple for drilling because it's much easier to take out a hole then add one.


6. Secure your hardware and you're done.

You've got it all together now, don't mess things up by forgetting to secure your new hardware.

A little bit of glue can go a long way here. Be sure to apply pressure in each direction when clamping everything down so that nothing gets loose while the glue sets.

Tools you need to install kitchen cabinet hardware



Most of the time you only need a few basic tools to do the job right. 

Don't be tempted to skimp out and not get what you need – it can lead to extra work in the long run or worse, an unsatisfying finished product.

Here's a quick list of what you need:

  • tape measure
  • pencil/pen
  • drill
  • jigsaw (or another circular saw)
  • a cordless drill is best but not essential

Some people also find that using a ruler to draw lines across the cabinet doors helps them mark straight where they should cut plus it avoids wear and tear on the knife when cutting multiple holes.

Can you mix knobs and pull on kitchen cabinets?

Yes. This is a common and popular design aesthetic. Mixing and matching don't have to be about uniformity but rather complementing the existing cabinets. It's also an easy way to save money if your goal is simply “better than stock.” Designers are constantly mixing and matching different elements in their kitchens to achieve the look they want.

However, we recommend that you stick to your theme/style – no matter what combination of hardware you choose, always make sure it fits your overall theme and style. For example, don't go installing old-fashioned brass handles (or anything else) if you don't have a vintage kitchen. 

Even better, keep a photo of your current color scheme handy and make sure to pick something that compliments it.

Does kitchen cabinet hardware have to match the faucet?

In most cases, yes. When doing kitchen renovation, it's considered a design faux-pas to not match up the faucet and hardware but don't worry, it's easy enough to fix either way.

Another point to keep in mind is that many modern sets are made with metal and come in chrome or stainless steel finishes which means they'll always match almost any style. Even if they don't, you can tackle this situation by painting your kitchen cabinets to make them match with the whole vibe of your kitchen. 

What hardware looks good on white cabinets?

Most people aren't sure what kitchen hardware looks good on white cabinets. In most cases this is because of the limited options available – there just aren't as many “white” cabinet hardware choices available as say, black or stainless steel.

Satin nickel – The easiest way to find the least expensive choice comes in the form of satin-nickel handles/knobs which are made out of plastic but look almost identical to their metal counterparts. 

This makes them a great budget-friendly solution for updating your plain white cabinets.

These come in both pulls and knobs but you can also choose from larger sets with all types of extras like towel bars, pull-out shelves, etc –  if you're looking to update more than just the drawers and cabinets, this might be a good solution.

Just a little FYI, white kitchen cabinets are a bit harder to clean so make sure you only get those if you know how to properly clean kitchen cabinets.

Final thoughts on how to install kitchen cabinet hardware

In conclusion, cabinet hardware is a great way to update the look of your kitchen for very little money and effort. 

We hope this article helped you understand what types of pulls/handles are available, what they mean, and how to make an informed decision when choosing them.

Dino Paccino

Dino Paccino

Dino is a lifelong writer and home improvement specialist. He enjoys bringing cutting-edge information on home renovation and remodeling to Kitchen Infinity.

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