Knobs vs. Pulls – Which One Is Better?

You’re remodeling your kitchen or bathroom, and you’ve finally picked out the cabinets and finishes. But, now it’s time to decide which is better: knobs or pulls? These seemingly minuscule pieces of hardware can make all the difference in the functionality and look of your space. Nevertheless, if you’re caught up in the knobs vs. pulls debate, here are some factors to consider.

This transitional kitchen features a contemporary style with the use of golden knobs and silver pulls. Image Source: Houzz

Consider the Interior Design Style

The first stop on our mission to determine who wins the knobs vs. pulls debate? Your interior design style. So first, ask yourself, “What is my design style? Traditional? Contemporary? Mid-century modern?” You may be surprised to find out that different design styles can affect your decision.

Take this transitional kitchen for example (pictured). You’ll notice a mix of knobs and pulls, with knobs being affixed to the upper and lower cabinets and the drawers featuring pulls. The raised panel cabinet doors are simple and traditional. However, the ultramodern gold knobs and pulls bring a fresh, contemporary feel to the space.

Contrast the transitional design with this classic Tuscan kitchen. You may notice that there’s not a single knob in sight. While the cabinets feature very similar raised panel doors as that of the transitional kitchen, the elegant pulls maintain a traditional aesthetic.

Overall, to cut a long story short, contemporary and modern cabinets work in harmony with simple knobs and pulls. You can also mix and match them to create a complementary look, like the transition kitchen. Traditional-style spaces demand much more intricate hardware, making pulls the more common selection.

Take Cabinet Placement into Account

The design style isn’t the only thing you should think about when deciding between knobs and pulls. Next, consider the placement of the cabinets. In many instances, knobs make it easier to open upper cabinets. Pulls, on the other hand, offer easier operation of lower cabinets.

Just take a look at this Victorian kitchen. You’ll notice that all the upper cabinets have knobs, while the majority of the lower cabinets feature pulls. This traditional kitchen is another great example. Nearly all of the lower cabinets and drawers have pulls, while knobs adorn the upper cabinets.

This coastal-style bathroom utilizes mismatched clear knobs for the cabinets and silver pulls for the drawers. Image Source: Houzz

Cabinet or Drawer Difference

Knobs and pulls have a place on both cabinets and drawers. However, as you thumb through inspirational photos, you may notice a pattern. Cabinet doors typically use knobs. Conversely, drawers usually make use of pulls.

For instance, in this coastal casual bathroom, you can see how the designer used knobs for the under-sink cabinets. Pulls, however, were installed on the drawers. The same goes for this eclectic kitchen, where mismatched pulls adorned the lower cabinets and knobs embellished the uppers.

So Which is it?

Knobs vs. pulls – do you know which types of hardware will go with your new cabinets? Ultimately, we recommend knobs for upper cabinets and pulls for lower cabinets. And, you can choose from a wide selection at the Friel Lumber Kitchen and Bath Design Center. Our experienced designers will help determine the right cabinet hardware based on your style and functionality needs. Call us today at 410-827-8811 to set up an appointment. We work with both homeowners and contractors to help make sure your home remodeling project goes smoothly.

Scroll to Top