The Devil's in the Details: How to Coordinate Hardware for a Fresh Look in the Kitchen

Yesterday while walking up the steps to my kids' school I noticed a purple sock peeking beneath my rugged, not so pretty but very practical snow boots. I meant to grab black socks so they wouldn't be noticed, but clearly got dressed in the dark. I really didn't care, but it got me thinking about how the unexpected often elevates something basic.

Truthfully, I am not so much of a matcher. There's always a time and place for it. It's rare though that any of us dress from head to toe in one color, but we're often pulled to match every color, finish and wood-tone in our homes. Breaking things up a bit and learning how to strike a coordinated balance can make our homes feel more lively and comfortable.

This is especially a good idea when designing high-functioning, utilitarian spaces like kitchens.
This is a space full of hard surfaces where matching sets abound. Why not mix it up a bit and inject some character by choosing more than one style of cabinet hardware? It's a great way to update your kitchen when a renovation is not in the cards.

Here are some great examples of coordinated looks that work beautifully.

Kitchen remodel using Ikea cabinets  Counter tops are white quartz cashmere, a less expensive and more durable option than Carrera marble
In a gleaming white kitchen, polished brass bar pulls coordinate nicely with streamlined rectangular bin-pulls on the drawers. They add warmth to the elegant and sleek space and complement the tones of the wood floor.

Knobs and Handles: Design for Lifestyle
Here, lovely polished nickel bamboo-like pulls are mounted in two different directions for drawers and doors. The shiny knob would coordinate beautifully on a few or all upper cabinetry.

the nest. a one-bedroom apartment redesign in halifax, ns. the kitchen. mix and match vintage drawer & cabinet hardware.
This kitchen is a good example of working with what you have.  Based on the cabinetry, the floors and the lip of the counter, it looks to be a kitchen that might have been original to the house. Instead of fighting its vintage quality, the homeowner embraced it whimsically.  Although each pull is different, they work together because there is repetition of shape, style and color.

I thought it would be fun to put together three different kitchen moodboards 
for you which mix hardware.

My take on the country kitchen: a mix of upper and lower cabinetry, a classic backsplash, butcher block for warmth, and a great quartzite island top for modern polish. I love how the pattern in the stone resembles a wood board's grain. Here the hardware adds warmth, a reference to country-style but with modern lines, and a bit of vintage whimsy. 

Here the Carrara Marble inspired the design: I went for high-contrast black and white with shades of grey and a pop of the "client's" favorite color, green. The pulls are both modern, but classic and the sleek nickel keeps the cool space just that, cool and crisp. The accent knob is just for fun and could relate to a piece of artwork, a rug in front of the sink, or a roman shade.

This is perhaps my favorite design, and the one that is most "me": It all started with the gorgeous Mediterranean inspired tile from Fireclay. It would be used sparingly, as an accent or focal point and the other tile would be its balance. I chose a mix of cabinetry again for interest, a concrete island top for a touch of something modern and butcher block counters for warmth. The pulls could be used in two directions (vertical for doors, horizontal for drawers) and the knobs as an accent on a few upper cabinets or all.

So what's the key to mixing and matching hardware (or anything)?
  • Repetition (think color, finish or shape)
  • Don't overdo it
  • Balance and contrast (try to balance masculine with feminine, streamlined with curves, dark with light, etc.)
Are you a mixer or a matcher? Do you have a favorite look?

Stop back tomorrow for a preview of my own coordinated kitchen hardware.

* To find sources for the images on each moodboard click on the board which will take you to Olioboard. You can find the links or shop the looks by clicking on each item.