Nothing beats a home DIY project that is all at once easy, straight forward, and packs a major transformation punch. For me, that usually means a can of black paint (if you know, you know), but cabinet pulls and knobs also fit into this coveted project category. Switching out old outdated hardware (looking at you brushed silver turtle knobs) can be a 10 minute project that changes the entire feel of a space. But what about when there aren’t existing hardware holes? Then what? Well, it can seem daunting at first, but with a few simple tools and patience, it’s easy to install cabinet hardware!
The hardware installation is part of my bigger overall (and never ending) kitchen update. Along with a new sink, backsplash tile, and countertops, I had the cabinets painted with new door and drawer fronts made. (See more of the painted cabinet overhaul).
Ultimately, I’ll also be replacing the upper cabinets with open shelving. Check out my complete guide, How to Make Wood Shelves to see how easy it can be!
Supplies to Install Cabinet Hardware:
- Cabinet Pull Jig Template (total game changer! especially for longer pulls)
- Matte Black Long Cabinet Pulls (check out the end of the post to see more of my faves)
- Cabinet Knob Template (also works for smaller pulls)
- Matte Black Cabinet Knobs
- Cordless Power Drill & Bits (not shown but this one is my favorite that I use all the time!)
- Basics: pencil, measuring tape, screwdriver
1. Confirm Hardware Screws in Advance
Soooo, this one seems obvious but if overlooked can lead to major issues. Most knobs and pulls will come with their own screws, sometimes in two different lengths. It’s important to check *before* drilling that you use the correct size drill bit (too large of a hole and there is no going back!) – see a curated list of my favorite knobs & pulls at the end of this post
Also, you’ll want to make sure that the provided screws are long enough. My cabinet drawers have especially thick fronts so I had to source longer screws. Something I only realized mid-way through drilling and up to my eyeballs in templates, pulls, and pencils.
Note to self: next time, check this in advance! It was an easy fix at the hardware store but could’ve just as easily not gone as well if I my pre-drilled hole placement wouldn’t work…
2. Consider Hardware Placement
If there are pre-drilled holes in your cabinets, it may be an easy decision to just keep those same holes and go with it. Buuuut, if you’re feeling adventurous, you might want to fill/paint those holes and go for a more modern or better suited placement.
With my new cabinet doors, I had the excitement and burden of determining placement AND drilling the holes. Getting it right was nerve wracking for sure. I considered a lot of options and used this Cabinet Hardware Placement Guide from Emily Henderson to help me decide.
3. Use Cabinet Pull Jig
If you’re using pre-existing drawer pull holes, you’ll just want to make sure the new hardware you choose lines up. The holes are measured “on center,” meaning that you measure from the middle of one hole to the middle of the next hole.
The drawer pulls I used are 8″ on center, which is longer than average. Because I was drilling new holes, I decided to purchase a cabinet hardware jig (inexpensive for the the peace of mind it provides!) which is an adjustable template.
I set mine to the 8″ on center holes and then after identifying the middle of the cabinet, I adjusted the jig vertically for where I wanted to pull to be centered on the drawer. (I opted for the middle of the shaker style drawer faces).
Once the holes are drilled, simply use a screw driver to install cabinet hardware with the selected screws. *Extra tip, I actually prefer to insert the screw and hold it with one hand while twisting the knob. This can be helpful for tight spots or to prevent over-tightening the screw.
free home decor downloads
Lastly, sit back and enjoy the updated look of your new cabinet hardware! Replacing knobs and pulls is a big transformation for little cost and time. I’ve included it on my 9 Easy Home Updates Under $200 – check out for other DIY projects.