installing cabinet hardware

Putting the finishing touches in your home renovation project usually involves the installation of hardware. Hardware for doors and cabinets are commonly placed last to wrap everything up. If you have no experience in doing the cabinet hardware installation yourself, let me tell you right now that it is not as simple as you may be thinking.

Installing Cabinet Hardware

What makes installing cabinet hardware a tough task? It’s because it’s crucial that you get it right on your first try. This is especially true for cabinets that didn’t have hardware previously installed, because getting it wrong could permanently damage the cabinet, which can possibly lead to completely removing its suitability for future for hardware installation, which will consume more of your time.

Nobody wants to damage their own cabinets or brand new cabinet hardware, so it’s important to know how to do it properly. Put your cabinet knobs and pulls in place correctly on your first try. Here’s a guide to installing cabinet hardware the easy way.

Measure Door Stile Or Use Door Rail As Guide

There is no rule that says where to position knobs or pulls, but there are standard practices. One good rule of thumb is to line up a knob with the top of the bottom door rail. For door pulls, line up the bottom of the pull with the top of the door rail. See to it that either piece is centered on the door stile.

You can also opt to measure the flat area of the stile and divide by two to find the center. The measurement is typically two-and-a-half or three inches from the top or bottom of a door and centered across the width of the stile. This procedure is also applicable for measuring cabinets that don’t have rails and stiles. Position the knobs an equal distance from the bottom and the top edge, and do the same on the cabinet door’s side edge.

Attach the Hardware Temporarily

If you’re not sure where the cabinet hardware should be installed, you can temporarily stick them in your cabinet to try out spots. Or for reference, you could check out Magnificent Marketing’s blog posts for more DIY tips and ideas. Put putty adhesive on the hardware piece to stick it in your cabinet. Mark the spot that you like with a pencil and install the rest of the hardware accordingly.

If you prefer hardware that is easy to install, then you should go for knobs. If you prefer a more sleek-looking and versatile design, then you should go for pull handles.  It’s highly suggested that you put knobs on elevated cabinets and drawers and pulls on the lower ones in terms of mixing and matching your cabinet hardware.

Use Templates

You can purchase a template from a hardware store to help you with your installation or you can make one yourself. Templates are useful especially if you are going to install multiple pieces of cabinet hardware. It gets the job done faster, increases uniformity, and reduces the chance for errors across your cabinet set.

You can use a piece of cardboard to make your own template. Measure two-and-a-half or three inches in from one edge of the cardboard and half the width of the stile from an adjacent edge. Mark where the two measurements intersect by sticking a nail through the cardboard then remove it once you’re finished. Now you have your own DIY template.

For marking where you will install your hardware, position the template on the door flush with the side and the top or the bottom edge, either horizontally or vertically, depending on if you’re placing a knob or a pull. Mark the cabinet door by pushing a finishing nail through with a single tap from a hammer for knobs.

Cover Unused Template Holes

Both store-bought and homemade templates have a bunch of holes that you won’t use on every job. Avoid using the wrong hole by sticking masking tape over the template and poking through only the holes that you need. Use an awl to mark the location of the hole on your cabinet so your drill bit won’t skate off in the wrong direction when you drill.

Drill the Hole

Most knob screws require a 3/16-inch diameter hole. It’d be better if you drill a test hole in a scrap of wood to make sure that you don’t need a different size. Drill the cabinet door at your pencil mark.  Hold the door open while doing it to avoid drilling holes into the cabinet.

When you begin drilling, start with the smallest drill bit that you have. Keep in mind that once you drill, you can’t un-drill. Once the hole is there, it’s there permanently. Using a smaller drill bit will help ease drilling through your cabinets and prevent any splintering on the backside as you do so. For extra protection, you can place a strip of masking tape over your marked spots before drilling in.

Speaking of holes, if you’re replacing a hardware piece on a cabinet where one was previously installed, you can cover the old hole with backplates.

Install the Hardware Piece

After you’re done drilling holes, you can now install the hardware piece. You may consider applying a dab of thread sealant in every screw you put in to ensure that they won’t get loose.


And that’s it! You’re done installing your cabinet hardware. You can now use your cabinets and store items inside. Be sure to follow this guide again when you need to install new ones.

Finding Help with Moving Professionals

We hope you found this blog post on Installing Cabinet Hardware The Easy Way useful. Be sure to check out our post Style Your Cabinet in a Balanced Manner for more great tips!

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