How to choose cabinet handles

Navigating your way through a renovation can feel like a minefield at times, where one wrong move can spell doom for your ultimate end goal.

You would think that making an insignificant decision like, what to do for your cabinetry handles, would be fairly fail-safe.

Once you starting to look at your options, however, you quickly realise that, like the other renovating decisions you need to make, there are too many options.

In recent years, the cabinet handles of choice have been no handles at all and instead many have opted for shark-nose handles for a clean, seamless look.

With endless inspiration images at our fingertips, many people are now becoming immune to the norm and are stepping outside the box to create spaces with character.

What better way to do this than with interesting cabinet handles.

Hardware can be sexy and the right cabinet handles can really help to lift a room. Picture: Mindi Cooke

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Knobs have been making a big comeback in cabinetry design. From boutique retailers to your large chain hardware stores, it’s becoming easier to find a good range of aged-bronze, brass, and copper knobs in classic styles.

In our own recent home renovation, we opted for small, modern brushed-brass knobs for all of our wardrobe doors.

The brass catches the light and throws the subtlest gleam, making them a subtle yet effective addition to the space.

Done right, knobs can be a good example of less is more.

These small brushed-brass knobs add the perfect amount of bling. Picture: Mindi Cooke

Leather pulls

Leather handles became very popular about five years ago. Having never used them personally, I can’t vouch for their functionality, but they sure do look good and can be used in most styles of home.

I don’t recommend white leather in any context because whilst they may come with a protective coating, bolognaise sauce and white leather will never be a good pairing.

In the kitchen, use them on the lower cabinetry. On the overheads, they wouldn’t work aesthetically or functionally.

They’re certainly not the most cost-effective handle on the market but if you reign in the budget elsewhere you may be able to justify splurging on your leather handles and making them the hero in the space.

Leather handles feel great and age beautifully. Picture: Pottery Barn

Classic style

I have a soft spot for ornate, decorative-style pull handles but that’s probably because I am partial to all things classic in modern design.

These are an ideal choice if you have a classic-style kitchen or nod to classic design elsewhere in an otherwise modern-style home.

Whether it’s the tried-and-tested shell handle or a decorative knob, classic-style handles are surely the most enduring handle and always make a statement whether in aged bronze, brushed brass, polished silver or matte black.

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If in doubt, go for classic tried-and-tested shell handles. Picture: Carly Brown

Like with many things in design, there are few rights and wrongs. The right handle will always depend on the space so take your cues from your home, your style and be true to what you love.

Originally published as How to choose cabinet handles by Carlene Duffy. Author at