Selecting knobs and pulls for your kitchen, bedroom and bath can be tricky, whether decorating a new residence or updating an old one. Randall Shaw of Nordic Kitchens and Baths suggests customers first know the style of the room and cabinetry.
"Stay within the style of contemporary, transitional or traditional," he says. But that doesn't mean homeowners can't mix and match. "By taking a door like a Shaker door, that's more traditional, and putting contemporary hardware on it, you've got more of a transitional look," he says.
Knobs and pulls can be inconspicuous or the statement piece of an entire space. "Contrast would highlight the knob, but a monochromatic one will blend in," says George Saucier of The Shops at 2011 Magazine.
Changing the size or finish of hardware is a good way to switch up a room's look. Saucier recommends keeping the hardware proportionate to the cabinetry or drawer, but Shaw sees trends moving toward oversized hardware — a 7- or 8-inch pull on a kitchen cabinet, for example.
For homeowners replacing fixtures on an older piece, Shaw urges caution. "Old cabinetry pulls are measured in inches, whereas a lot of the hardware today is based in millimeters," he says. Saucier adds that the location of pulls and knobs can be moved. "If you're refurbishing, you generally want to put fixtures where they used to go, but you could change them if you sanded and painted over the old holes."
Sometimes the most striking looks are achieved when homeowners venture from the norm. Plumbing fixtures don't have to match cabinet hardware, Shaw says, citing a dramatic kitchen with stainless steel appliances and plumbing features and gold hardware.
"The satin gold hardware matches the style of the cabinetry," he says.