Every article I’ve probably ever read or written about rental hacks to “level up” your home style—and there have been A LOT—involves swapping out hardware in one form or another. Whether that means changing all the knobs in your kitchen, your bathroom vanity or just some DIY furniture rehab you’re working on, evidently, the key to all sad rental woes lies in a roughly 1-inch piece of metal. Ha. But for real, the difference new cabinet knobs and pulls can make in a kitchen or bath is MONUMENTAL and oftentimes, it’s one of the only things you have any control over when you’re beholden to an uptight lease agreement.
Let’s take Brady’s kitchen MOTO for instance (below). Yes, there were a ton of other night-and-day swaps (those floors, the paint, the light fixtures) but the brass knobs he added nearly instantaneously transformed his galley kitchen cabinetry in particular.
Jess also did a switcheroo in her rental kitchen and the matte black knobs serve to add a cool punch and edginess to an otherwise casual Cali vibe. She sourced hers from Etsy vendor Forge Hardware Studio for $8 a pop, so for under $50, her cabinetry got a totally reversible makeover. The best course of action if you’re a renter is to stick to using the same holes you’ve been endowed, that way when you’re moving out, you just need to screw back on the original handles (be sure to keep them safe and sound…I keep mine in a ziplock bag with the screws in a drawer either right in the same spot or wherever I store all my utility items). Granted, if you’re an owner, you have a blank check to do whatever you want (but you already know that).
The “jewelry” of the kitchen and bathroom feels like it can end up being a huge expense, and look, it can be. Once upon a time, I bought two $40 IKEA Rast chests to use as nightstands and proceeded to spend an additional $300 on brass campaign-style handles for a hack I had up my sleeve…it was like wearing Old Navy ballet flats with a Carolina Herrera gown. If the final look makes you happy (it did) then who cares, but it still feels a little…wrong. Anyhow, I don’t regret the decision, and still have those nightstands in my guest bedroom but the point is, you don’t HAVE to spend a ton of money on awesome hardware. There are so many great options in-store and online now, especially at very reasonable price points (there’s a set of 10 for under $20 in our roundups, for instance).
For the three roundups that follow (knobs, bars and pulls), we stuck to a $10 budget and many ended up coming in way under, plus all of these can work equally well in a kitchen, bathroom or on furniture. Let’s take a look.
Knobs Under $10
Knobs are awesome for one main reason: there’s no measuring center to center or making sure whatever holes you might need to drill are level. One hole and done, people. Knobs tend to come off a little more traditional in style, but Jess dug up a 30 that are a great mix of aesthetics no matter what you’re looking for. For instance, the knurled knobs from #1 are the cool kids in school right now…matte black, textural, diminutive (all of which are very “in” right now in hardware). Wood will always lend a warm mid-century style to your space/piece, so if you’re into that, check out #3, #13 and #20. #14 is very similar to what Emily used on her powder bath vanity (a set of 2 is $9!) and I’m pretty obsessed in general with the wood-and-brass mix of #27.
1. 3/4 in. Knurled Knob in Gloss Black | 2. Successi Round Knob in Satin Brass | 3. Mid-Century Modern Cabinet Wood Knob | 4. Cosmas Bar Knob in Brushed Brass (Set of 10) | 5. Cone Novelty Knob in Black | 6. Small Oval Cabinet Knob in Polished Nickel | 7. Gathered Knob in Black (set of 2) | 8. Hex Bar Kob in Shiny Copper | 9. Large Black and Brass Drawer Knob | 10. Quincy Concave Knob in Brass | 11. Faux Marble Knob (set of 2) | 12. Black Cabinet Knob 1.2 in. dia (set of 10) | 13. Wood Handle Dresser | 14. Mossaryd Drop Pull in Black | 15. Knurled Texture Bar Knob in Brass | 16. 30mm Knob in Gloss Black (set of 10) | 17. Domestic Bliss Circle Novelty Knob in Modern Bronze | 18. Jessina Knob in Copper (set of 2) | 19. Cosmas Hardware Finger Knob 3/4 in. in Brushed Brass (Set of 10) | 20. Walnut Wood Cabinet Knob | 21. Bagganas Knob in Black | 22. Constance Knob in Blackened Iron | 23. Solid Brass Slim Cone Knobs | 24. Classic Hardware Knob in Antique Brass | 25. Southern Hills Cabinet Knobs in Satin Brass (Set of 5) | 26. Tall Mushroom Cabinet Knob in Oil-Rubbed Bronze | 27. Wood Brass Door Knob | 28. Round Aerin Knob in Blackened Iron | 29. Saturn Cabinet Knob in Aged Brass | 30. Top Knobs Nouveau III Collection 1-3/16 in. Essex Knob in Flat Black
Cabinet Handles $10 & Under
Handles and bars tend to be a little pricier than knobs, but they’re larger so…makes sense. Note that most of the measurements you’ll see are center to center of where the screws go (not the total length of the piece of hardware. Of course, we love us some brushed/satin brass or matte black, but polished nickel is quickly becoming one of our favorite finishes for more traditional spaces. Emily used it in the Portland Project and every time I saw it, it made me question my dedication to brass. It’s warmer than chrome and has more depth then brushed nickel (you can witness that in #1). The simplicity of #2 and #15 are really nice while #10 seems so special. I think these would be particularly beautiful on a dresser or cabinet you’re re-doing. I have something similar to #11 on a console I painted a soft Swedish blue and the rose gold against the pale cool tone is pretty nice (IMHO).
1. 3-1/2 in. Bar Sash Lift in Polished Nickel | 2. Borghamn Handle (set of 2) | 3. Atlas Homewares Bradbury 3 in. Center to Center Handle in Warm Brass | 4. Knurled Steel Bar Pull in Amber Gold (varied sizes) | 5. Symm Etry 3-1/2 in. Center to Center Octagon Pull in Satin Nickel | 6. Bagganas Handle in Black | 7. Hickory Hardware Natural Woodcraft 3-3/4 in. Center to Center Cup Cabinet Pull | 8. 4″ & 5″ Center to Center Iron Cabinet Pull | 9. Cosmas 2-1/2″ Center to Center Contemporary Bar Handle in Brushed Brass (set of 10) | 10. Modern Square Drawer Pulls (varied sizes) | 11. Brainerd 3 in. Center to Center Rectangular Bar Pull in Brushed Copper | 12. Richelieu 3-3/4 in. Center to Center Handle in Matte Black | 13. Viborg Zinc Alloy Modern Cabinet Handle in Black (set of 10) | 14. Hickory Hardware Carbonite 4 in. Center to Center Handle | 15. Peggy Drawer Pull in Satin Brass (varied sizes)
Cabinet Pulls $10 & Under
While knobs and pulls dominate the hardware category, one of our favorite dark horses is actually finger pulls and ledges. Traditional cup pulls like #5, #10, #12 and #14 have long been a staple of the classic kitchen and bath, but more subtle and delicate flush pulls like #1, #9 (the price on these is SO GOOD) and #13 are becoming fast favorites in spaces of all styles. For instance, Emily’s rustic-yet-modern mountain house kitchen used a combination of black metal Schoolhouse bars and ledge pulls which have just enough visual presence without taking away the focus of those insane Ross Alan Reclaimed Lumber cabinet fronts. Something leather like #11 might be best left to furniture for longevity, and these come in a few different colors, FYI.
1. Richelieu Hardware 3-5/32 in. Center to Center Pull in Satin Gold | 2. Borghamn Handle (set of 2) | 3. Wood Drawer Pull Set | 4. 1-3/4 in. Rustic Rivet Knob in Matte Black (set of 2) | 5. Atlas Homewares Successi 2-1/2 in. Center to Center Cup Pull in Polished Nickel | 6. Luna Cabinet Knob in Polished Brass (varied sizes) | 7. Bail Pull in Brass (set of 2) | 8. 2-1/2 in. Half Moon Handles Set in Brushed Gold | 9. Concealed Cabinet Pull 13.86 in. Center to Center in Matte Black (set of 5) | 10. Tinksky Drawer Pull in Black (set of 4) | 11. Leather Cabinet Pulls in Orange (set of 2) | 12. Boulevard 4 in Pull in Brass | 13. Richelieu 3-1/8 in. Center to Center Finger Pull | 14. Eneryda Cup Cabinet Pull in Chrome Plated | 15. Larkin Finger Pull in Oil-Rubbed Bronze
Alright, thus concludes our roundup of some of our favorite budget hardware pieces out there right now. We hope this comes at a good time for any refresh/renovation projects you might have up your sleeves this summer, and again, if you’re a renter, DO NOT be afraid or shy in terms of swapping out hardware in some of your spaces. It’ll make your kitchen or bathroom feel so much more personal to you and your design tastes, promise (said from experience here). Good luck and as always, let us know what other roundups you need in your lives.