Learn From Vern: Knobs and Pulls

Vern Yip of Live in Vern’s House shares his best tips with HGTV Magazine for finding hardware that suits any style.
By: Vern Yip Bio

Photo By: Ben Goldstein and Philip Friedman

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer; Ben Goldstein/Studio D

Photo By: Markop Metzinger/Studio D; Courtesy of the manufacturer

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer; Ben Goldstein/Studio D

Photo By: Ben Goldstein/Studio D

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturers

Photo By: Philip Friedman/Studio D

When to Simplify

People tend to use knobs on cabinets and pulls on drawers, but in a kitchen, I prefer to do all pulls. Mixing and matching breaks up the look too much for me. Many styles, like the one shown at top, come in both pull and knob versions. Top: Stassi 3 3/4" enamel and brass pull, $14, potterybarn.com; Bottom: Boomerang 3" cast zinc alloy pull, $8, rejuvenation.com


When replacing hardware, bring the old pieces—especially pulls—with you. Since many sizes are considered “standard,” you’ll want to know the distance between the screws so you can use the holes that are already drilled. Top: Atlas Homewares Tangeres 4 1/2" glass pull, $22.50, wayfair.com; Bottom: Traditional Amber 3" glass pull, $17, rh.com

Hardware 101

Most hardware comes with 1- to 2-inch screws, but they may not work if you’re dealing with especially thick or thin wood. If the screws are too short or too long, make sure to get different ones at the hardware store. Left: Atlas Homewares Vinci 1 3/4" ceramic knob, $13.50, wayfair.com; Right: Hexagonal 1 1/4" glass and nickel knob in forest green, $4, houseofantiquehardware.com

More on Hardware

Not sure if your drawers need one piece of hardware or two? If you’re using pulls, you’ll need two for drawers wider than 30 inches. If you’re using knobs, use two for drawers wider than 18 inches. Left: Glass Confetti 1 3/4" ceramic and brass knob, $6, urbanoutfitters.com; Right: Striped 1 1/2" ceramic knob in orange, $6.50, charlestonknobcompany.com

Keep Budget in Mind

Hardware can range from less than $1 per piece to $200 a pop (really!). If you think you’ll switch it up at some point—it is, after all, one of the easiest ways to update a space—err on the less pricey side. Left: Antique Brass Owl 1 1/4" metal knob, $8 for a set of 2, worldmarket.com; Right: Dottie 1 1/4" resin knob in blue, $10, pbteen.com

Go Glam Where You Can

Pulls and knobs are like jewelry for furniture—they’re a fun place to take a risk. The bigger your room, the more colorful you can get. But save decorative hardware, such as knobs shaped like flowers, for rooms other than the kitchen, since they’re harder to clean. Agate 4 1/2" handle in green, $49, westelm.com

What Always Works

Polished nickel is a great no-fail finish. It’s neutral but has a gleam, and I’m a sucker for anything shiny. It also works on any style of cabinet or drawer. Left: THS-039 1 1/4" metal knob, $10, knobco.com; Right: Silver Beaded 1 1/2" acrylic and brass knob, $7, pier1.com

Different Finishes

Satin and brushed finishes are also good because they rarely show fingerprints. They look more subtle, so use them in a small space or on eye-catching furniture. A more adventurous but equally durable option is crystal or glass. Left: Lulu 1 1/4" stoneware knob in multi, $8, anthropologie.com; Right: Gold-Tone Mushroom 1 3/4" bronze knob, $6.50, michaelaram.com

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