Cabinet Hardware Placement Guide

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Cabinet Hardware Placement Guide

Talking about kitchen cabinetry hardware types, installation, and positioning in today’s hardware placement guide!

When it comes to home improvement projects, nothing is quite as satisfying as a low-cost, high-impact update. Updating cabinet hardware is a perfect example.

Much like lighting is the jewelry of a room, cabinet hardware is the jewelry of – you guessed it – cabinets. Hardware gives cabinets that pop, tying in other elements in the room and adding a layer of interest to the space. Think of hardware as a statement necklace. You could be wearing a basic, white T-shirt and jeans – but if you add the right statement necklace, you’ll elevate your entire outfit to the next level.

Whether you’re selecting cabinet hardware for a new build, remodeling an existing kitchen, or simply swapping out basic hardware for something fresh, you want to make sure you design selections fit the overall aesthetic of your home. Even more than that, you want to be sure to install the correct hardware for optimal functionality. Hence, today’s cabinet hardware placement guide.

Before we continue any further, let’s cover some basics that will be helpful as you continue reading: the stile and rail. The stile refers to the vertical framing of a cabinet door. The rail refers to the horizontal framing of a cabinet door. Keep that in mind as you read.

OK, moving on…

Cabinet Hardware Placement Guide

In the Greystone kitchen, I chose a mixture of knobs, cup pulls and latches from Belwith-Keeler’s Vintage 1900 collection to bring charm and interest to our white cabinets. The satin brass finish ties in quite nicely with the kitchen sconces and gallery railing on the floating shelves. The Vintage 1900 collection is also available in polished nickel, satin nickel and black iron.

So, I’ve mentioned knobs, pulls and latches. Do you know the difference? What other hardware options are out there? How should they be installed?

Cabinet Hardware Placement Guide


Knobs were traditionally reserved for cabinet doors, but in more recent years they’ve become quite versatile! You can install knobs on doors, drawers, appliance garages, tall pantry cabinets, pull-outs, and more! Knobs come in a variety of shapes and materials, but my personal preference is always round and metal, because it’s classic and timeless.

As far as function, knobs may not always be the best option for drawers if the drawers are wider than 24″. In that case, you can always install two knobs on one drawer for more functionality. When drawers are 24″ or wider, I like to double up on knobs – like I did in the Greenfield kitchen.

In the Greystone kitchen, I used knobs in four different places: 1) spice drawer pull-out, 2) garbage bin pull-out, 3) appliance garage, and 4) tall pantry cabinets.

On doors, knobs can be installed one of three ways: 1) centered on stile and rail, 2) centered on inner edge of rail, or 3) the knob edge flush with the inner edge of rail. In certain scenarios – like an appliance garage or a tall pantry cabinet – you can break those rules. On drawers less than 24″ wide, knobs should be centered both horizontally and vertically. On drawers 24″ or wider, divide the drawer into thirds, and place the cabinet knobs in the right and left thirds. If your cabinets are shaker-style, you can also center knobs on the top rail.

Cabinet Hardware Placement Guide


Pulls, traditionally used for drawers, can look super modern and sleek installed on both drawers and doors. It’s really all about the look you’re going for. As with knobs, you can double up on pulls if installing them on drawers wider than 24″.

Pulls come in almost any length and design you can imagine. One detail to keep in mind when choosing pulls is cabinet size. You want the pulls to look proportional to the cabinet door or drawer. It’s perfectly OK to use different sized pulls on different sized drawers or doors – just keep proportions in mind!

On doors, install pulls vertically in one of two ways: 1) with the end of the pull centered on stile and rail, or 2) with the end of the pull flush with the inner edge of rail. On drawers, install pulls horizontally and centered. You can also center the pull on the top rail if installing on shaker-style cabinets. As already mentioned, use two pulls for drawers wider than 24″.

Cabinet Hardware Placement Guide

Cup or Box Pulls

Cup, or box, pulls are a type of hardware that are designed with a cupped (or boxed) middle section. You insert your hand underneath the cup or box to open the drawer. Cup pulls are intended for drawers only – never doors. They’re highly functional and can add a lot of character to a space.

I used cup pulls on all of the drawers in the Greystone kitchen, which gave the kitchen a certain timeless charm and added lots of functionality – especially to the oversize kitchen island.

On drawers, cup pulls are generally installed centered on the rail for easier access and better functionality. They can also be installed centered on the drawer vertically and horizontally, like we did in the Greystone kitchen.

Cabinet Hardware Placement Guide

Tab or Finger Pulls

Next on the list of pull options is the tab, or finger, pull. This type of pull can work on both doors and drawers. As the name suggests, they feature a small tab that is pulled to open the door or drawer. Tab pulls are typically used in more modern spaces because they are sleek and minimal in their design.

Unlike traditional or cup pulls, tab pulls are installed on the top edge of a drawer. For drawers wider than 24″, use two tab pulls. On doors, install tab pulls vertically on the edge opposite the hinge.

Cabinet Hardware Placement Guide

Appliance Pulls

Then there’s appliance pulls, intended for built-in appliances like refrigerators and panel-ready dishwashers. Standard cabinet hardware is not designed to support the weight of appliance doors, which is where appliance pulls come in.

The placement and positioning of appliance pulls are generally straight forward. Mount them at a height that feels most natural and comfortable for you.

Cabinet Hardware Placement Guide


Last but not least are latches. Perhaps the most beautiful of options, latches add so much timeless character to a kitchen. Latches have become quite popular in designer kitchens in recent years because of their ability to add instant historic charm to a new kitchen. From a functional standpoint, however, latches make the most sense in an area meant for storage rather than everyday use. In the Greystone kitchen, I opted for latches in 3 locations: 1) above the refrigerator, 2) below the sink, and 3) above the oven range, in the cabinet that houses the vent hood.

Install latches on cabinet doors, never drawers. They are quite versatile in terms of placement and positioning – mostly because they are used sparingly. In the Greystone kitchen, I installed them so the latch edge lined up with the inner edge of the rail.

Cabinet Hardware Placement GuideCabinet Hardware Placement GuideCabinet Hardware Placement GuideCabinet Hardware Placement GuideCabinet Hardware Placement Guide

If you still have questions about where to place your hardware, leave a comment below!


Brass Knobs: Belwith-Keeler | Brass Cup Pulls: Belwith-Keeler | Brass Latch: Belwith-Keeler | Countertops: Quartz | Beadboard Backsplash: Home Depot | Brass Gallery Railing: Paxton Hardware | Brass Kitchen Sconces: Lowe’s 

Looking for more inspiration? Check out the following:



  1. We are using latches on our small upper cabinets in our kitchen in our new build. I have 3 pair of doors, but there are 3 individual doors. Would we hang the small piece on the strip of cabinetry dividing the doors, part of the cabinet frame or is there another answer. Your advice is amazing! Thank you so much!

    • Thanks so much for reading, Janet! I’m glad you found my advice helpful! You are correct, the small piece would go on the cabinetry — but it only works if your cabinets are inset. Both pieces of the latch need to be flush in order to function properly.

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