The top 13 trends for kitchen hardware – cabinet pulls and handles, knobs, faucets and sinks
Kitchen hardware is just possibly the most overlooked finish in a kitchen makeover. Yet the choices you make can make a world of difference in the final outcome. But the story often goes like this:
You’ve picked your appliances, you’ve picked your flooring, countertops, backsplash and cabinets. The kitchen is really coming together but you’re simply exhausted from looking over so many options and making so many decisions. You’ve got one hurdle left, and that’s the hardware.
How difficult can that be? You stop by Home Depot on your way home from work and find row after row of options! It’s just too much. In the end, some just decide to slap on generic hardware and call it a day.
This is a common mistake that many homeowners make. But hopefully, this article will take some of the confusion out of the process and help you to narrow down your options. That way, you will be able to enjoy the process of choosing these elements and end up with a result you will truly enjoy.
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The top 13 trends for kitchen hardware for 2021
Here are some of the top kitchen hardware trends for 2020 into 2021. A lot of these trends revolve around finishes. Although finishes like brushed nickel and oil-rubbed bronze still reign supreme, they are facing competition from a bounty of other finishes. The finish can really change the look and feel of a kitchen as much as the hardware itself.
Trends for kitchen sinks and faucets
1. Copper sinks go mainstream
As the popularity of natural elements has increased, copper sinks are finding their way into more traditional and modern kitchens. Sinkology’s Orwell Grid and Strainer Drain Copper Sink is a stunning example of a seamless copper sink that can work its way into almost any decor.
Related: The most popular farmhouse sinks
2. Granite and quartz sinks
Once again, it’s a natural element that that can have a dramatic impact. This Undermount Black Onyx Granite Sink is a perfect example of this trend. It makes a stunning statement. It also emphasizes the growing popularity of black finishes for both appliances and hardware in the kitchen.
3. Workstation sinks do double and triple duty
There is finally help for those who never seem to have enough counter space, Many modern sinks have become kitchen workspaces. Not only do they eliminate the need for a separate dish rack, but they can also serve as prep centers.
This Apron Front Stainless Steel Sink by Ruvati does far more than hold your dirty dishes. It comes with a wood cutting board, colander, and dish drying rack. It also shows how apron sinks are expanding beyond farmhouse kitchens and embracing a more modern look.
4. Single-handle faucets dominate
For example, this Cassidy Single-Handle Faucet has a farmhouse look to it. And, it comes with a pull-out sprayer and magnetic docking. It toggles easily from stream to spray. So no one is sacrificing features for style.
5. Brushed Nickel is always a winner
it’s soft and sleek and chances are it goes with the other fixtures you have in the house. This brushed nickel faucet is Amazon’s best seller and it’s easy to see why. Brushed nickel is a favorite, it’s stylishly shaped, has a pull off sprayer and is super reasonably priced.
6. Matte black is trending for kitchen faucets
This Pfister Arkitek Kitchen Faucet would be a striking feature in any modern kitchen. Note that once again that there are no compromises in terms of function. The spout swivels 360 degrees for maximum flexibility and the pull-out spray head has two functions.
Overwhelmed by your kitchen remodel? I made these handy printables to simplify the process.
Trends for kitchen cabinet hardware
7. Oversized drawer pulls
Oversized drawer pulls are everywhere. By oversized, we are talking about pulls that range from 6-21 inches long. The longest pulls are often used on the vertical for tall cabinets and on the horizontal for large drawers.
A good example would be a drawer that holds heavy pots and pans. These pulls are generally very modern in style with a minimalist feel. They are often mixed with smaller pulls of the same style.
8. Flat black finishes
This trend is really catching on. As seen in the section of faucets and sinks, black finishes are everywhere. This finish has a very high impact on white or light cabinetry. Check these door pulls here
9. Gold and copper finishes
Gold-toned finishes are a new and compelling trend. The gold finishes that are being seen now tend to be rich and deep with a brushed finish. They look stunning against both light and dark cabinetry and add a formal touch to any kitchen. Here’s a great example.
Copper has been around for a long time but is rising in popularity. Like gold finishes, copper has a warm rich tone. However, it is thought of as a more “informal” look. It really shines in farmhouse style kitchens. Copper is also quite at home in more traditional settings. Check out these copper knobs.
10. Weathered nickel and brass finishes
Weathered finishes add extra depth to hardware.
Brushed nickel finishes are very popular and aren’t going anywhere. But weathered nickel finishes have a completely different look. They have more dimension and are perfect for farmhouse kitchens. They can add a rustic feel to more traditional Shaker kitchens as well.
Brass finishes always seem so 1990’s. But weathered brass has an entirely different character and it is becoming popular again with farmhouse and rustic kitchens. Here’s a great example of a new look.
11. Exposed screws
For years, we have been hiding the fact that drawer pulls and knobs are actually screwed into our cabinets! But there is a new trend on the horizon to show these screws in all their glory. It adds both a retro and industrial feel to have hinges and drawer pulls with exposed screws.
This look is most at home in industrial, farmhouse or Shaker kitchens. Formal and minimalist kitchens, not so much.
12. Glass knobs and pulls
Popular at the turn of the 20th-century all the way through to the Depression era, glass knobs and pulls had largely disappeared. But they have made a comeback and are growing in popularity due to their versatility and style. These glass pulls bridge the centuries together.
13. Mix it up with different hardware
Pairing knobs and pulls has always been OK. Most kitchens benefit from having both. But mixing it up between more than one type of pull or knob in the same kitchen was considered a no-no.
In some ways it still is. However, there is a growing trend to have colorful islands or different colors on upper and lower cabinets. In that case, introducing a new knob or pull is no longer taboo, in fact it is encouraged.
Frequently asked questions about kitchen hardware and cabinet pulls
What are the most popular cabinet pulls?
The most popular cabinet pulls tend towards the sleek and modern.
1. Simple tubular bar handle pulls in varying sizes (particularly in longer lengths) are probably the most popular. This is particularly true for modern and Shaker kitchens.
2. Flat bar handle pulls are an angular variation of the simple sleek tubular pull. The minimalist look is accentuated by the flat square style.
3. At the other side of the equation, bin pulls (or cup pulls) are very popular. They emphasize the trend towards a more country farmhouse look.
4. There is a new and more general trend towards exposed screws in all types of kitchen hardware. This look is being introduced in drawer and cabinet pulls. In fact, there is even a strong trend towards exposed hinges in cabinet doors. This trend is starting to be expressed in farmhouse kitchens as well as kitchens with an industrial edge.
What hardware works best in modern minimalist kitchens?
The contemporary style features clean lines. Think sleek, pared down and uncluttered. Modern looks are closely associated with the new trend towards minimalism.
For hardware to be successful with this style, it needs to combine utility and style.
There are several hardware trends that celebrate this style. Here are some of the most popular picks.
The AmazonBasics Euro Bar Cabinet pull is an example of the classic pull. Its clean minimalist look complements a variety of styles. This type of drawer pull seems to be most at home with modern, industrial or Shaker cabinets.
This drawer pull comes in a variety of sizes and finishes. The can be installed on the horizontal for drawers and the on the vertical for cabinets. This particular style has 10 sizes ranging from 5.38” to 21.25” in length. The range of finishes includes satin nickel, polished chrome, oil rubbed bronze and flat black.
There are many variations on this basic style which include AmazonBasics Modern Curved Cabinet Handle Pulls.
The flatter configuration and the curved handle creates a completely different feel. Nevertheless, this pull remains true to its contemporary minimalist style. Finishes for this kitchen pull include satin nickel, polished chrome, flat black, oil-rubbed bronze, and antique silver.
If you want to pair these drawer pulls with knobs, the AmazonBasics Rounded Square Cabinet Drawer Knob works easily with both of the above options.
This knob has a 1.29” diameter and comes in a variety of finishes. These include satin nickel, polished chrome, flat black, and oil-rubbed bronze. So they will work with a variety of styles and finishes.
For a more angular appearance, there is Southern Hills Brushed Nickel Cabinet Handles.
This very modern, flat bar comes in four sizes ranging from 3.75” to 8.75”.
This drawer pull pairs particularly well with Southern Hills Brushed Nickel Knobs,
The combination makes for a very discrete, extremely minimalist look.
What hardware works best with a Farmhouse style kitchen?
Farmhouse kitchens or country kitchens are a sharp departure from the emphasis on clean lines and modern simplicity. Nevertheless, modern farmhouse kitchens have all the modern conveniences of a 21st-century kitchen but do so with an appeal to a nostalgic era.
Bin or cup-style drawer pulls are a very popular option for farmhouse kitchens. They look sensational and they give a vintage touch to even the most modern cabinets.
The Kitchen Cabinet Pulls by Ilyapa shown in oil-rubbed bronze has a rustic look that harkens back to the Depression era.
These bin pulls are simple and sleek at the same time. They add a very distinctive yet functional look to your cabinetry. These bin pulls also come in satin nickel and flat black.
Bin pulls above can be paired simply with Kitchen Cabinet Knobs by Ilyapa which are shown in the same oil-rubbed bronze finish as the bin pulls.
For an additional farmhouse touch, you could also consider an old-fashioned latch for your cabinets. These Amerock latches, are also shown in oil-rubbed bronze.
This latch is also available in polished nickel, caramel bronze, and aged pewter.
Latches add a very unique touch to kitchen cabinets. This particular example even includes visible screws which are becoming very popular again for a rustic or industrial look. I have a personal affinity for latches since they were a major feature of my grandparents’ kitchen.
The only real downside to these is that it does take a bit more effort to open and close cabinets. But it’s a terrific look for cabinets that aren’t getting heavy-duty usage all day long.
One thing about finishes for a farmhouse look is that a little can go a long way. The temptation might be to overdo it. Don’t be afraid to pair major “statement” hardware with something simple and clean. The results can be very effective.
What hardware goes best with Shaker cabinets?
Shaker cabinets are very versatile. They have simple, clean lines and classic style. For that very reason, most contemporary, farmhouse and traditional hardware will complement Shaker cabinetry.
Literally, any of the hardware mentioned above would work with Shaker style cabinets. It all depends on the context and the other finishes in the kitchen. But here are some additional ideas that might work particularly well with Shaker Cabinets.
Antique style glass knobs are now making a comeback. They were very fashionable during the early part of the 20th century, but are enjoying newfound popularity. And why not? They add charm and an elegant touch. These Clear Diamond Shaped Crystal Glass Cabinet knobs are a perfect example.
Although clear glass is the most popular, glass knobs can also be purchased in a variety of shapes and colors. Colored glass knobs are a great way to add a pop of color to white cabinetry.
To continue with the glass theme, you could pair the above glass knobs with these Franklin Brass Victorian Glass Drawer Handles.
Taken together It’s a unique but classic look.
Ceramic knobs are something of an out-of-the box idea for Shaker cabinets. They come in a very wide variety of colors and patterns. They can be colorful and loud, or cool and subtle. They can add a certain personalized flair to that great Shaker look.
For a really unique and unexpected option, JGARTS Mix Vintage Look Flower Ceramic Knobs are a walk on the colorful side of life.
For a pop of color that has a slightly lower profile these Crackled Round Knobs by Mascot Hardware is a great option. (https://www.wayfair.com/home-improvement/pdp/mascot-hardware-crackled-round-knob-multipack-mohw1093.html) These would work wonderfully with a complementary backsplash to create an accent color for a white kitchen.
For those who like the idea of ceramic knobs, but prefer something more neutral these JGARTS Vintage Look White Cream Flower Ceramic knobs might be the perfect complement for your Shaker kitchen. I love the idea of these particular knobs with darkly stained or painted wood. But that’s just me.
Should you use knobs or pulls?
There is a fairly big debate about knobs vs. pulls. But at the end of the day, this is a personal decision based on practicality and personal taste. Here are some general principles to follow.
1. You can mix knobs and pulls, but you should generally NOT mix different knobs or different pulls in the same kitchen. The exception to that rule is when you have a bank of cabinets in a different color or style from the rest of our kitchen. For the most part, if you want a mixture of hardware, the best way to achieve that is to use both knobs and pulls.
2. If you are doing it yourself, knobs are simply easier to install and it is pretty obvious that a round knob will never EVER be crooked!
3. There is a larger variety of knobs. So, if you are looking towards making a color statement with your hardware, knobs might be the best way to go.
4. Knobs are easier to change out and they are also less expensive. So you might lean towards knobs if you want to frequently change out your hardware.
5. Pulls are easier to grab, so for cabinets and drawers that get a great deal of use day after day, a drawer pull can be far more practical.
6. Drawer pulls can be very distinctive. For example, bin pulls for a farmhouse look and long tubular pulls in modern kitchens can make a very strong statement. This doesn’t negate the fact that in terms of color and variety, knobs generally take the prize.
7. On lower drawers, knobs are more likely to catch on your clothing than drawer pulls.
8. For aging adults, especially those with arthritis, knob may be a bit more challenging and uncomfortable.
At the end of the day, this more a matter of personal taste than anything else.
Where should cabinet knobs be placed?
There can be a good deal of variation on exact placement, but here are some general guidelines for typical cabinets that have frames:
1. The most common placement is in the center of both the vertical and horizontal frame faces. For upper cabinets, this is obviously the lower horizontal frame and for lower cabinets, this is the upper horizontal frame. This puts the knob in an easily accessible place for both upper and lower cabinets.
2. Another placement is in the corner but slightly above or below the end of the horizontal frame. This places them higher for upper cabinets but lower for floor level cabinets. This is a subtle difference and a matter of personal taste.
3. The final alternative is to actually center the knob or pull in the middle of the vertical frame. This is a pleasing aesthetic for some; however, it is probably not the most practical placement for day-to-day use because they are going to be harder to reach and you have less leverage.
A note on drawer pulls:
Drawer pulls are somewhat easier as they are generally centered in the middle of the drawer. You can deviate to the center of the upper frame if this placement is awkward. So that’s pretty straight forward.
However, if you have a very long, heavy drawer for something like pots and pans, it might be more practical to have two pulls. In this case, most people divide the drawer into thirds and put the pulls on both outer thirds. Another solution for a contemporary kitchen is to have one very long drawer pull.
Is oil rubbed bronze out of style?
The preference for oil rubbed bronze has been on the rise. It will probably never go out of style because of it’s association with charm and is timeless. Now, many are opting for a more modern flat black which has become trendy for its modern looks.
Over time, oil rubbed bronze will rub off and get an aged look, which many love. But, if you want a consistent and modern look, consider flat black instead. Both work well, pending on your preference and style.
Also remember, that kitchen hardware is probably the easiest and least expensive change you can make in the kitchen. So if you change your mind or just want a change in 7-10 years, it’s easy to do.
Final thoughts on kitchen hardware trends in 2021
Kitchen hardware is perhaps the most overlooked style element in the kitchen. But it shouldn’t be. The hardware you choose for your cabinets, faucets, and sink can make a world of difference n terms of the final outcome.
The right hardware can cohesively tie the elements of a kitchen together. Also this is a simple way to give your kitchen an update without breaking the budget.
If you don’t let yourself become overwhelmed, you can actually enjoy the creative process.
Related kitchen articles:
- How to install kitchen cabinet hardware
- Wood look tiles vs real hardwood for your kitchen – pros and cons
- The most popular farmhouse sinks and where to buy them
- 20 Neutral backsplash tiles for kitchens
- How to paint kitchen cabinets the RIGHT way
- Most stylish paint colors for kitchen cabinets