How To Install Cabinet Handles And Drawer Pulls

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One of the quickest and most inexpensive ways to give your kitchen or bathroom a face lift is with new cabinet and drawer pulls. They stand out from your cabinets, drawing the eye to them as they add accents of color and texture that correspond or contrast attractively with the rest of your room. One great aspect of these accents is that even the boldest, most dramatic pulls spruce up a room without overwhelming it. The variety of shapes, colors and materials available are just about endless:

  • Brightly colored and clear glass or plastic that sparkles in the sun
  • Metals such as cast iron or stainless steel in gold, silver, black or bronze color, with shiny or matte finish
  • Warm woods naturally finished for a classic country look or painted with whimsical designs and colors for a unique eclectic style.

Ready for Planting

Tools Needed for Installing a Cabinet/Drawer Pull

You don't have to buy lots of special tools to install cabinet and drawer pulls. Chances are you already own everything you need. Before getting started, be sure you have:

  • Electric drill and drill bits
  • Masking tape or painter's tape
  • Pencil
  • Protective goggles
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Screwdriver and screws.

Most cabinet and drawer pulls come with the appropriate screws, so you probably won't have to buy any new ones.

How to Install Cabinet & Drawer Pulls

Relax! Installing cabinet and drawer pulls is easy. Even if this is your first renovation project, you'll do just fine. If you've never used an electric drill before, you may want to practice on some scrap wood first just to get comfortable with the feel of this tool. For your safety, be sure to wear protective goggles whenever you work with power tools. Here are some simple steps to install your cabinet and drawer hardware:

1. Find the correct size drill bit: Start by sticking each drill bit into the hole in your cabinet or drawer pull until you find the largest one that fits tightly inside. This is the drill bit you should use.

2. Choose your placement: Try moving a pull around on the drawer or cabinet to see where it looks best. Or you can use vertical and horizontal measurements to determine the exact center if desired. Once you have made your decision, measure to be sure double screw pulls will sit level and even. Then cover the area with a little piece of masking or painter's tape and mark the spot or spots for drilling. Measure and mark all drawers and cabinet doors in this way to make sure all hardware placements will match.

3. Recheck your measurements: Rather than be sorry later, take a moment to recheck all your measurements and marks.

4. Drill: With masking tape in place to protect your cabinets from splintering, drill holes where you have them marked.

5. Install your pulls: Remove the masking tape and screw in your cabinet and drawer pulls.

Finished Product

Tips for Success

To help your installation go smoothly and achieve a professional look, consider these simple tips:

  • Positioning is more of an art than a science: Sometimes centering looks great, however it is not always the most pleasing placement. Experiment and trust your eye when deciding where on the drawer or cabinet your pulls will go.
  • Look at the big picture: You're not just installing a single pull, so you'll have to think about how each pull looks with the others. Generally they will lie in a horizontal row or a vertical column, so be sure everything lines up neatly before drilling any holes.
  • Don't panic if you make a mistake: If your drilling was just slightly off, you may be able to enlarge the hole slightly to make your pull sit where you want it. For a major blunder, if you have solid wood cabinetry it should hold up with a second hole drilled close to the first. Take caution with particleboard, though, as two holes drilled too close may cause this material to crumble.
  • Take your time drilling: Even with masking tape in place, you can still damage your wood if you drill too fast. Drilling slowly and carefully will further protect your wood drawers and cabinets.

If you're a beginner, you may prefer single screw hardware to pulls with two screws. Single screw pulls are easier to position because you don't have to worry about whether they're hanging straight or level. Additionally, this option cuts the amount of holes you have to drill in half, so you'll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor that much sooner.

What a Difference a Day Makes!

In a single day, you can completely transform the look of your kitchen or bathroom cabinets by installing cabinet and drawer pulls. You'll be amazed at the striking difference this minor change brings to your room.

Last Updated: March 14, 2013
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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