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Shaker Cabinet Hardware Placement Guide: Where Should the Pulls and Knobs Go?

Kitchen remodeling is a daunting job. From deciding on kitchen layout to selecting materials to matching the cabinet hardware accessories, it can be truly overwhelming. Indeed, you need to pay attention to the detail in order to achieve the most professional and aesthetically pleasing design possible. Many homeowners, however, tend to underestimate one key aspect of kitchen cabinet installation — hardware placement.

Cabinet hardware placement holds key to not only aesthetic value but also usability. Wrong placement of a door handle or pull on your cabinet can lead to regrets. Therefore, it’s extremely vital to understand how different cabinet hardware placement principles work.

In this guide, we’ll primarily focus on Shaker cabinet hardware placement although the tips are broadly applicable to any kitchen cabinet style.

Before we begin, it’s important to become a little familiar with different parts of a Shaker cabinet door and drawer. The Shaker cabinet door and drawer front typically feature a five-piece, comprising three elements such as center panel, stile (vertical frames) and rail (horizontal frames). Both stile and rail can have different width depending on Shaker cabinet style.

Shaker Cabinet Door Layout

Base Cabinet Drawers: Hardware placement on base drawers is a tricky job. With drawers of all shapes and sizes, you need to know the ideal alignment in order to amplify the aesthetics of your Shaker-style drawer fronts. Here are a few tried-and-tested ideas.

Option #1: Centered on All Drawer Fronts

Shaker Style Hardware Placement: Centered on All Drawer Fronts

If it’s a base Shaker cabinet, one of the common ways is to center the hardware in the middle of each drawer front. Being symmetrical, this will look visually pleasing. However, this placement also makes it harder for you to reach the bottom drawer.

Option #2: Centered on Top Drawer Fronts

Shaker Cabinet Hardware Placement: Centered on Top Drawer Fronts

Shaker cabinet doors and drawers come in all shapes and sizes. Therefore, you can’t follow a standard approach for hardware placement. In some cabinets, the top drawer can have a slab style while the lower drawers are Shaker face front.

In such a scenario, the hardware is placed in the center of the top drawer while for the lower drawers, it’s placed on the top rail. Such placement makes it easy for taller members of the family to open the lower drawers comfortably.

While this may look visually unbalanced to some, it’s actually the perfect balance between style and function.

Option #3: All Hardware on Top

Shaker cabinet hardware placement: All Hardware on Top

If all of your base cabinet drawers sport a Shaker style five-piece drawer fronts, place the hardware on each rail.

Shaker cabinet hardware placement: All Hardware on Top

However, if the base cabinet consists of both slab-and-five-piece decorative drawer fronts, the hardware should be placed on the top quarter of slab drawers and top rail of decorative drawers.

Option #4: Top One-third of Slab Drawer Fronts

Shaker cabinet hardware placement: Top One-third of Slab Drawer Fronts

If your base cabinets have slab drawers, you have the flexibility to place the hardware in the top one-third, one-quarter and even on center. It all depends on your sense of aesthetics. However, make sure they follow symmetry.

Option #5: Two-pull on Large Drawers

Shaker cabinet hardware placement: Two-pull on Large Drawers

The pull is another popular hardware accessory when it comes to Shaker cabinet drawers. If your cabinets have a combination of regular-size and large drawers, you want to make sure the pulls are placed correctly for symmetry and function.

The thumb rule is that for top regular-size slab drawers, the pull should be centered. But, what about the large Shaker style drawer fronts?

Well, that’s where you need math for perfect symmetry and balance. Split the drawer in half and place a pull right on the center of each half. Let’s say the large drawers are 36” wide — so it has two halves of 18” each. The pull should be placed in the on the center, i.e 9” from the left and right of the edge of drawer fronts.

Shaker Cabinet Doors: When it comes to Shaker cabinet doors, the hardware placement is largely subjective. There are no rules to follow as such. However, make sure the spacing of hardware for both wall cabinets and base cabinets should match for symmetry. Let’s take a look at the Shaker cabinet hardware placement options for cabinet doors.

Option #1: Horizontal

Shaker cabinet hardware placement: Horizontal

This is the most common way to place hardware on Shaker cabinet doors. With horizontal hardware placement on your wall cabinet doors, the kitchen looks modern and aesthetic.

Option #2: Vertical Ending Lower Rail

Shaker cabinet hardware placement: Vertical Ending Lower Rail

As an alternative to the previous placement, you can center the hardware on the top edge of the lower rail. Make sure the hardware placement on the base cabinets mimics the wall cabinets.

Option #3: Midway up on Stile

Midway up on Stile: Midway up on stile

If you’re opting for knobs instead of pulls on your Shaker cabinet doors, it’s a good idea to place them on the midway up on the stiles, especially on wall cabinets. The only downside to this hardware placement is that it makes it a bit hard-to-reach for family members that aren’t tall enough. However, that’s a tread-off.

Shaker Cabinet Hardware Placement: Great Pinterest Ideas

If you’re looking for inspiration with regards to Shaker cabinet hardware placement, here are some great examples from Pinterest.

Note: Click or tap on the images to enlarge them.

To Sum it Up

The hardware placement decision can make or mar the aesthetics of your remodeled kitchen. With the right choice of hardware accessories for Shaker cabinets, and thoughtful placement, you can infuse great vibes into your kitchen.

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