If you are looking for a quick, effective, yet inexpensive way to change the appearance of your kitchen, forget about repainting the walls or replacing the tiles. All you need is a few minutes and you can totally update your kitchen’s look by simply changing the hinges and pulls of your cabinets and drawers. By choosing the correct cabinet hardware, you can focus your guests’ attention to the total design of the kitchen. This guide will help you choose the best hardware, remove the old hinges and pulls from your cabinets and drawers, and install the new hardware.
- Remove a sample of the hardware. To avoid having to repaint all your cabinets, you should consider buying new cabinet hardware that has exactly the same size as the existing handles. You can also purchase new ones that are large and long enough to cover the old mounting holes. In order to purchase the best fitting hardware, take out a sample handle and bring this to the hardware store or home improvement shop. To be able to do this, you need to pull out a drawer or open a cabinet door and loosen the bolts that go into the wood and into the hardware.
Once this has been unscrewed, simply detach the handle. If you plan to replace the hinges in your cabinet, be sure to buy ones that are exactly at the same type and size as the old hinges. Otherwise, your cabinet doors may not open and close properly, if at all. If you do not want to bring the old cabinet handle with you to the store, just measure the size of the handle. Begin measuring from the center of the hole to the other center rather than from one end of the handle to the other. Hardware stores carry templates that aid in measuring the length of the space between handles.
- Prepare the surface for mounting your new hardware. The doors of your kitchen cabinet may have escutcheons. These are brass, wood, or porcelain plates that are used to protect the cabinet surface from wear and to keep the wood from cracking or splitting. These plates are attached to the surface with brads. To remove these, you will need a cat’s paw or brad puller. If these are not available, pry off the escutcheon with a putty knife. Do this carefully in order to avoid damaging the cabinet’s surface.
- Purchase one piece of the new hardware that you plan to install. After choosing the handle or pull that you think would best complement your existing kitchen décor, buy just one set and attach it to the mounting holes that was left from removing the sample hardware. Check if the handle fits not just size-wise but in appearance as well. Try using it for a couple of days to check if it feels comfortable.
- Remove the rest of the handles and knobs. Once you have decided to keep the sample handle, go back to the store and purchase the remaining handles and knobs that you will need. Take off all the existing pulls and put aside all the old screws. You can use these in case the ones packaged with the new hardware do not fit exactly.
Small existing mounting holes are easy to work with because all you need to do is to enlarge the hole using the new screws. If you find that the mounting holes are too big and the new screws cannot be tightened, get a small bottle of white glue and squirt a small amount into the holes. Push in a thin piece of wood such as barbecue skewers or toothpicks. Once the glue completely dries, trim the wood flush with your cabinet’s surface and then try inserting the screw again.