With their clean lines and versatile design, shaker cabinets are always in style. But choosing the right hardware to pair with these simple cabinets can make all the difference in bringing your kitchen or bathroom to life.
Read on for advice on sizes, placements, materials, styles, and more to help you elevate your shaker cabinets from drab to fab.
Complementing the Shaker Cabinet Aesthetic
Also known as flat panel cabinets, the shaker style is defined by its fuss-free design. These cabinets forego ornate details in favor of a modest look with a flat center panel and a simple frame around the exterior edges.
When selecting hardware for shaker cabinets, you’ll want options that speak to the style’s humbler origins. The key is choosing pulls that enhance, rather than overwhelm, the cabinetry.
Finishes & Materials That Work
To truly allow your shaker cabinets to shine, stick to hardware finishes and materials that don’t steal the spotlight. Excellent options include:
- Stainless steel with a brushed or satin finish
- Oil-rubbed bronze
- Matte black
- Unlacquered brass
- Wood that matches the cabinetry
Meanwhile, ultra-shiny finishes like polished chrome tend to clash with the modest shaker style. Save those for your more traditional cabinets instead.
When to Forego Pulls Entirely
Part of the beauty of shaker cabinets lies in their fuss-free facade. If you wish to keep a flat, handle-less look, invisible options like push-to-open mechanisms or touch latches allow you to forego knobs and pulls entirely.
For a similar streamlined aesthetic, you can also opt for hardware integrated directly into the cabinet construction, like edge pulls or discreet finger notches carved into the door and drawer fronts.
Beyond their appearance, drawer and cabinet pulls serve key functional purposes. When selecting your hardware, keep these functionality considerations in mind:
Ease of Grasping and Operating
People of all ages, sizes, and abilities reside in homes. When choosing pulls, consider how easy they are to grasp and operate for those with limited mobility or strength, like the elderly or small children.
Issues to evaluate include grip diameter, clearance around the pull, weight, and any complex opening/closing mechanisms.
Opening & Closing Drawers
Along with being easy to grasp, your hardware should make opening and closing drawers an effortless motion. Carefully test candidate pulls you are considering by mimicking the push/pull movement on a drawer.
Ensure doors and drawers open smoothly without catching or rubbing. Also verify drawers close completely with pulls mounted–extended hardware can prevent this.
Weight & Durability
Hardware constitutes a high-touch area that endures frequent use and potential impact over its lifetime. Select a robust material like metal over more delicate mediums like glass or crystal that chip or shatter easily.
Heavier pulls in materials like stainless steel also convey a sense of quality and luxury.
Proper Mounting & Installation
Drawer pull installation is another essential functionality consideration. Choose options designed for easy do-it-yourself mounting without requiring specialty tools or skills.
Keyless mounting systems that use a threaded bolt into pre-drilled cabinet holes offer simplified installation. Or select pulls with hidden mount plates to eliminate visible screws.
Size & Placement
Beyond the style and material, the size and placement of your shaker cabinet hardware also deserves careful consideration:
Standard Sizing Conventions
For bar cabinet pulls, a standard grip diameter spans 3-4 inches. Though for bathrooms and tighter spaces like laundry rooms, a petite 2-inch scale pull often works better ergonomically.
Most collections offer a choice of sizes ranging from diminutive 4-inch pulls to statement-making 12-inch industrial styles.
When selecting and placing pulls, carefully measure your current cabinetry including door and drawer width and heights. This ensures properly sized pulls that align from drawer to drawer and door to door.
Centered vs Off-Centered
Convention typically places pulls horizontally centered on the drawer or door front. But don’t be afraid to break design rules with unexpected placements like pulling pulls slightly left or right of center to add interest.
Just maintain alignment across all drawers/doors so the placement looks purposeful versus haphazard.
Groupings and Scale
For kitchens or bathrooms with wider drawers, you can cluster 2-3 smaller pulls together rather than 1 oversized pull that appears awkwardly large.
Scale pulls appropriately so that they don’t overpower the drawer front they adorn. The hardware should artfully accent the cabinetry, not overwhelm it.
Location Based on Usage
Let the contents of the cabinet inform pull selection and placement. For example, position pulls a little lower on closet doors housing towels or cleaning supplies to facilitate access.
Or allow small hands to easily open playroom storage by mounting pulls nearer the bottom of lower kids’ cabinets.
Settling on the Right Material
From stainless steel to crystal, shaker cabinet pulls come in a bevy of materials. Consider the pros and cons of each when making your selection:
Affordable, durable, and easy to clean, metal pulls rank among the most popular options. Painted iron showcases charming distressed patinas. While stainless steel and brushed nickel convey modern refinement.
Warm wooden pulls infuse spaces with organic texture. Opt for unfinished wood crafted from oak, walnut, or teak that coordinates with your existing cabinetry. Or make a statement with contrasting ebony or bamboo.
Glass & Crystal
Intricate glass and glimmering crystal pulls elevate simple shaker cabinets with hints of glamour. Just take care to avoid chips and breaks by mounting in low-traffic areas away from rambunctious kids.
For a sleek touch, leather-wrapped pulls add supple texture. Stick to vegetable-tanned leather for exceptional durability–it develops a handsome patina over time.
With their hand-thrown imperfections, ceramic pulls offer artisanal charm. The handmade quality nods to traditional craftsmanship suiting farmhouse decors. Just take care to dust regularly as grout lines can collect grime.
Top 5 Shaker Pulls on the Market
Searching for the perfect shaker cabinet hardware to bring your space to life? Here are 5 top-rated pulls that exemplify high quality and considered design.
Emtek Ashfield Rectangular Stainless Steel Bar Pull
- Finish Options: Polished Chrome, Brushed Nickel, Oil Rubbed Bronze
- Price: $8-$16 per pull
- Pros: Timeless style, multiple sizes, easy installation
- Placement Tip: Align pulls horizontally centered 6″ down from the top of the drawer front for ergonomic access
Rejuvenation Lydia Stainless Steel Wire Pulls
- Finish Option: Brushed Stainless
- Price: $6 per pull
- Pros: Minimalist yet sleek, available singly or in designer packs
- Placement Tip: Cluster 3 pulls evenly spaced vertically down kitchen drawer fronts
Richelieu Hardware Wrought Studio Round Knob
- Finish Options: French Gold, Graphite
- Price: $7 per knob
- Pros: Unique shape adds sculptural flair, easy self-installation
- Placement Tip: Use knobs on shaker doors and pulls on drawers to differentiate
Amerock Anvers 6 5/16 Inch Center-to-Center Satin Nickel Pull
- Finish Option: Satin Nickel
- Price: $7 per pair
- Pros: Integrated return prevents catching, reversible mount
- Placement Tip: Pulls extend nearly full width of narrow pantry drawers without overwhelming
Liberty Copper Cove 3-Inch Center-to-Center Drawer Pull
- Finish Option: Oil-Rubbed Bronze
- Price: $10 per pair
- Pros: Made in USA, heavy duty yet with intricate coastal styling
- Placement Tip: Pulls align perfectly along the bottom edge of bathroom vanities
See how the unique shapes, fretwork, scaling, and finish options of each set allows for customized looks? Use the comparison chart below to help select your favorites.
|Price Per Pair
|Polished Chrome, Brushed Nickel, Oil Rubbed Bronze
|Classic rectangular bar pull in multiple sizes
|Streamlined steel wire pulls
|Richelieu Wrought Studio
|French Gold, Graphite
|Globe-shaped knobs with dimensional distressing
|Discreet neutral pull with handy integrated return
|Liberty Copper Cove
|Nautically inspired drawer pull
Getting the Right Pulls for Your Budget
Part of the beauty of shaker style lies in its Budget-friendly nature. Fortunately, it’s easy to secure quality pulls without breaking the bank. Here’s how:
Expect to invest around $5-$15 per individual pull, depending on the material and detailing. Buying pull multi-packs brings down the per unit price considerably. For example, a set of 20 oil rubbed bronze pulls can cost under $4 per pull.
Strategies for Saving
To slash pull costs, opt for affordable materials like metal over pricier picks like crystal or leather. Simple bar pull shapes also cost less than intricate or custom pulls.
Check big box home improvement stores where mass quantities bring down per unit pricing. Also keep an eye out for pull sets eligible for bulk purchase discounts when you buy 10, 20 or more.
Recommended Brands by Price
Trusted value pull brands to look for include Liberty Hardware, Richelieu Hardware, Amerock, and Rev-A-Shelf. For more premium designer pulls, Emtek, Rejuvenation, and Restoration Hardware offer gorgeous styles at mid-tier price points.
Signs of Low vs High Quality
Cheaper pulls may sport thinner gauge metal prone to bending or rely on plastic components that easily crack and warp. Shoddy finishes quickly peel or flake as well.
Quality clues include hefty steel construction, smooth motion glides, and flaw-free, consistent finishes. Brand, warranty length, and manufacturing country also signal quality.
Achieving Different Looks
Beyond the standard rectangular pull, shaker cabinets support an array of aesthetics. Use pulls to transform your space’s style:
Heavy wrought iron pulls with exposed bolt heads and distressed, hammered finishes give off rugged warehouse vibes. Black is the natural color choice, but don’t overlook galvanized steel or unexpected pops of crimson either.
For contemporary edge, lean into geometric angles with triangular or trapezoidal pulls inmaterials like matte black lacquered stainless steel or smoked gray glass. Offset placements also dial up the modern factor.
Antiqued bronze, rubbed oil brass, and textured porcelain pulls infuse traditional refinement. Or select crystal cut glass knobs for a touch of vintage luxury. Group multiples for ample glitz.
Evocative materials like weathered driftwood, sea glass in oceanic hues, and ceramic with braided rope inserts channel breezy seaside style. Unlacquered brass and copper develop salty patinas over time too.
Installation Best Practices
Once you’ve selected the ideal pulls, proper installation is key to keeping your shaker cabinets–and your new hardware–looking their best. Follow this step-by-step guide for flawless results:
1. Measure Carefully
Before drilling any holes, meticulously measure doors, drawers, and pulls. Note height, width, depth, screw placements, and desired positioning. Planning prevents poor alignment or other visibility issues down the line.
2. Mark Hole Placement
Based on your measurements, mark cabinet fronts using painter’s tape at precise pull locations. Use a ruler and level to ensure straight horizontal or vertical alignments.
On drawers, make sure pulls clear interior contents when fully opened. Door clears should account for potential appliances like dishwashers as well.
3. Pilot Holes & Drilling
Drill pilot holes at your marks approximately 5/8″ deep using a bit slightly narrower than your mounting screws. This allows easy screw insertion without risk of wood splitting.
Use progressively wider drill bits if installing into hardwoods like oak or hickory. For metal cabinets, skip straight to driving screws.
4. Secure Pulls
Align pre-drilled pull holes over your pilot marks, then drive screws using a manual screwdriver or drill/driver. Take care not to overtighten, as this can warp delicate hardware or pull cabinet fronts out of alignment.
Conceal visible screws with optional finish caps to complete the polished look.
5. Test Operation
Ensure your newly installed hardware opens and closes doors/drawers smoothly without obstruction or rubbing. Make any necessary adjustments before loading cabinets.
Over time, tighten any loosening screws to maintain proper installation and prevent damage.