How To Accessorize Your Cabinets
Accessorizing is too important a concept to be confined to just dressing up. The fact is that many things, from the perfect Christmas tree, to the perfect patio come together because of the little touches that pull it all together. If you think of a newly made-over room as a little black dress, the hardware details you add are akin to elegant pearl earrings -- subtle, classy, must-have accessories. And when it comes to updating the kitchen, pulls, knobs, and handles are truly the jewelry of the kitchen cabinets.
Ahdee, our Jane-in-training, had a kitchen that needed a lot of work. Not only was it outdated, her appliances were on their last legs. She wanted to make over the entire kitchen, but didn't really have the time or money to take on everything at once. We helped identify the key place to start: a kitchen island with a tired tile top and some 80's vintage. To get her started on the larger remodel, we began sprucing up her kitchen by working on its most visible asset: the island. We added a new stone countertop and refinished the cabinets. But the finishing touch was the hardware we added to the drawers and doors. For about $3.00 per piece, we were able to give her cabinets a beautiful, finished look.
Ahdee's drawers didn't have existing pulls and knobs, so it wasn't like we could just remove the existing ones and replace them with new ones. Accessorizing Ahdee's kitchen meant that we would have to drill new holes in each cabinet door and every drawer.
Although adding new hardware isn't all that difficult, it does require taking incredibly precise measurements. So, with this project, be extra sure to double-check your measurements before you drill to get a result we know you'll love.
First, remove the drawers and place them on a flat surface. If you are working with cabinets, you can remove them from their hinges if you think it will make it easier for you. Just be sure to keep all of your hinge hardware in a safe place.
Depending on what kind of knobs you are installing, you will want to determine the center of the drawer as well as the proper placement on the cabinet door. Simply eyeballing the placement won't give you an accurate assessment. Remember, to get a completely uniform look, your measurements will need to be exact. Use a tape measure, being sure to measure from all sides. If you are installing a pull rather than a knob, be sure to take this into account as it will have two points of installation rather than one.
Make a template for your knob or pull, based on your measurements. We used a store bought template, but we recommend you make your own with a piece of paper for free! First, find the spot where you want your pulls to go on the cabinet, and mark it on a piece of paper. Then use it on every cabinet, marking the door with a pencil. (Don't use pen—it stains!) The pencil markings should come off pretty easily, unless you have white cabinets.
Jane Tip: If you come across a cabinet that opens from the opposite side as your template, simply flip the paper over.
Pulls with two holes are trickier than those with just one screw. The key to mastering them is by doing one hole at a time. Again, take measurements and make a template by placing the pull face down on the paper and making holes where the screws will go. This is to get the exact distance between the two holes of the handle.
Screw a hole for one half of the pull into the cabinet. Insert half of the pull, but not all the way. Then, find the rough position of where the other half of the handle will go and mark it on the cabinet. Check this positioning with a level. Pull out the half of the pull you have inserted. Place the paper template over the spot where your existing hole is. Then, drill the hole for the second half of the handle.
Determine the drill bit size you will need to install the hardware. It will probably be in the neighborhood of 3/16". Another great way to figure out how big of a bit you need is to measure the pointy edge of the screw against the flat end (the end you aren't using) of the drill bit. The drill bit should be slightly larger than the screw. If they are the same size, the fit will be too tight.
Wearing your safety glasses, slowly start to drill through the drawer or cabinet from front to back. Be very gentle as you do this! You don't want the wood to split. Remember, if you have a double handle, alternate screws. Otherwise, the handle will not go in evenly.
Complete the installation by insuring that your knob or pull is on securely and get cracking on the others!
It may not seem like much, but the right hardware can add that finishing touch that will give any room that extra "umph!" It's a fantastic project to boost your confidence for the home improvement year ahead. Remember, the key to completing this successfully is precise measurements, so take your time and you will be golden!
See a list of all the materials and tools we used for Ahdee's complete kitchen makeover here