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Install decorative kitchen cabinet hardware

The Home Depot
September 17, 2012

Replacing kitchen hardware can instantly create a new look for your cabinets, and can help focus the overall design of the room. You can buy beautiful premade pieces or even create your own drawer pulls from found materials like old silverware, alphabet blocks, yo-yos or even copper plumbing fittings.

Here are some pointers as you consider the project.

Be sure to count the number of doors and drawers that will get replacement hardware. Plan ahead, and make sure you have a new cabinet hardware piece for each piece you replace. You may be surprised at how many pieces you need.

Also use caution when replacing your cabinet hardware, as sharp tools easily can scratch cabinet and countertop finishes.

To do the job right, consider both the fit and the appearance. When you remove a piece of hardware, replace it with one that requires the same mounting holes, or one that is big enough to cover the old holes. If you like the way the hardware looks, it's the right hardware. Try a knob on a door and a drawer, and live with it for a while. If it works, install the rest.

When your project is finished, go green and consider recycling or donating your old cabinet hardware to a local charitable organization.

Tools and Materials
Moulding puller
Putty knife
Cabinet hardware

Step 1. Begin by removing a sample piece of the cabinet's hardware. To remove a drawer handle, open the drawer, and remove the bolt or bolts that go through the drawer front and into the handle. Then open a door, and remove the bolt or bolts holding the handle.

Step 2. Door or drawer handles may have plates, called escutcheons, behind them. They may be made of brass, porcelain or contrasting wood, and they are held in place with brads. Depending on the door, you may be able to pull the brads with a brad puller or small "cat's paw." If not, work a narrow putty knife under the center of the escutcheon and pry. When prying, always make sure the end of the knife is under the escutcheon. Putting it elsewhere will leave a mark.

Step 3
. If any of the hardware had two bolts holding it in place, you need to know the distance from the center of one bolt to the center of the other. Special templates help measure the distance or lay out new holes. If you can't get a template, measure the distance between the centers of the bolt holes. Accuracy to the nearest 1/8 inch is sufficient here.

Step 4
. Take the hardware and the measurements to the store. Most hardware comes in a few different sizes. Find something you like, and then find the size that matches your center-to-center measurements. Double-check by measuring and by holding the old hardware next to the new hardware to compare the spacing for the bolts.

Step 5. Buy a sample piece of hardware, and install it to make sure it fits properly. If the new bolts aren't the right length, you can usually substitute the old bolts or buy replacements. Use the new hardware for a few days to make sure you really like it. When you're sure, buy and install the rest of the hardware.  

Need expert assistance? Visit your local Home Depot store to ask associates about products or how-to instructions. Can't make the trip, but need answers now? The Home Depot expert associates are also available to answer your questions online. Visit them here.