/ / The Right Length Cabinet Pulls for Doors and Drawers

The Right Length Cabinet Pulls for Doors and Drawers

Trying to determine what length pulls or handles to use on your cabinets can feel daunting! Luckily, I’m going to share the exact options you can use for each common size cabinet drawer or door.

Cabinet hardware is a major passion of mine right next to paint.

It’s also an area I have expertise in, after working for the major hardware brand Amerock and launching 200 new products!

Having to determine what sizes to develop for new product lines and then use in our cabinet hardware product photography / catalog was a major part of my job.

What I can tell you is, there is no “standard” length pull you SHOULD use.

I’m serious! Instead, I’m going to show you the variety of pull/handle lengths with guidance on what fits on common cabinet drawers and doors.

Understanding Cabinet Hardware Pull Lengths

Most importantly, when choosing cabinet hardware pulls you MUST look at the overall length.

Here is some basic lingo to get yourself familiar to what to pay attention to, when reading the product specifications online:

  • Center-to-Center– the distance from the CENTER of one screw hole to the CENTER of the other screw hole. This is the standard industry measurement for sizing cabinet handles.
  • Overall Length– the distance from one end of the pull to the other end.  This measurement is always greater than the “center to center” measurement.
  • Projection – measures how far the pull or knob sticks out from the surface of the cabinet door or drawer after it is installed.
  • Diameter– self-explanatory in a round knob, but the diameter of a pull or handle, if given, refers to the width or thickness of the bar portion of the pull (the part you grab).

128mm and 160mm cabinet pulls with different lengths on marble

You can see here the length is much longer than the center to center measurement – even though they are the same!

128mm cabinet pulls with different lengths on marble

The overall length typically will not be more than 2 inches greater than the center to center measurement.

The BEST way to test the length quickly and easily? 

Painters tape!

place-painters-tape-on-cabinet-decide-pull-length

If you currently have holes drilled in your cabinets, obviously for pulls that will dictate the length you must buy.

TIP: To determine current pull length:

Pin It for Later!

what-length-cabinet-hardware-pull-handle-by-door-height-and-drawer-width-kitchen-pin

Common Sizes of Cabinet Hardware

Now that you know the lingo around cabinet hardware measurements, let’s review the most common sizes of hardware.

Knobs

Knobs typically have one hole for installation and can be round, square, rectangular or a t-bar.

  • 1 1/2 inch is a regular sized knob
  • 1 3/4 inch and larger is an oversized knob

Pulls / Handles

Pulls also come in common sizes and as I mentioned earlier you need to pay attention to 3 measurements: center to center, overall length, and projection.

You order pulls based on these common center-to-center measurements (the industry goes metric the longer the pull – no idea why!). 

  • 3 inches
  • 96mm (about 3 3/4 inches)
  • 128mm (about 5 inches)
  • 160mm (about 6 1/4 inches)
  • 256mm (about 10 inches)

Cup Pulls are another options that are typically 3 inches or 4 inches.

Amerock-Ashby-Cup-Pulls
Image Courtesy of Amerock Catalog
Shop the Ashby Collection
Shop the Blackrock Collection

 

Bar Pulls, as shown below, come in WAY more lengths and also come very long. So if that is what you need, start with a bar pull.

They are the most common pulls you see due to their simple styling, narrow diameter, and affordable price. 

Amerock-Bar-Pulls
Image Courtesy of Amerock Catalog
Shop Bar Pulls

Common Cabinet and Drawer Sizes

So you have a real life example kitchen, I’ll use my own!

My kitchen is in a spec home and has some custom options, so there is a wide variety represented. 

gray-blue-kitchen-runner-between-island-and-cabinets

Shop the Sea Grass Collection

Cabinet Drawer Width

For this exercise and because I had the drawings, the widths of drawers found in my kitchen are as follows:

  • 9 inches
  • 16 inches
  • 18 inches
  • 24 inches
  • 30 inches
  • 36 inches

    Common-Cabinet-Drawer-Widths-kitchen

Cabinet Door Height

Again using my kitchen as an example, here are the variety of heights of cabinets:

  • 24 inches
  • 30 inches
  • 42 inches

Common-Cabinet-Heights

What Length Pull by Cabinet Drawer and Door Size

This is where you may be surprised by what I’ll say: do what you want! There is no “correct” recommendation of pull by drawer or door length are height.

However, there are limiting factors. You can’t put a pull on a drawer that is wider than the drawer 🙂

Purely common sense.

Amerock-Davenport-and-Oberon
Image Courtesy of Amerock Hardware Catalog
Shop the Davenport Collection
Shop Oberon Collection

In some instances, if the drawer is really small you will only have the option of a knob or a 3 inch cup pull. Easy!

The picture with the espresso stain is my son’s bathroom – lucky kid.

Common Cabinet Hardware Pull Installation by Size

The graphic below shows is a nice visual of approximately how each common size of pull will look on a cabinet drawer or door.

All of the sizes I mentioned above, so if you need to review that again.

what-length-cabinet-hardware-pull-handle-by-door-height-and-drawer-width-kitchen

When you get to the 36 inch drawer widths, it gets a little tricker.

Due to the long length and the limited pull lengths for sale outside of bar pulls, I’m recommending 2 pulls per drawer.

Here is a great picture of what I mean:

Amerock-Blythe
Image Courtesy of Amerock Cabinet Hardware
Shop the Blythe Collection

When you take everything into account, it all comes down to personal preference of the look you would like to create. 

Deciding on what length pull to use comes down to just a few questions:

  1. Do you want the cabinet hardware to be the most prominent feature on the cabinet drawers or doors?
  2. Are you going for a more stream line modern look?
  3. Is your style more traditional and you want the hardware to be more functional than decorative?

My advice since I can’t design your hardware layout for you is this:

  • Mix up knobs and different lengths of pulls to provide visual interest.
  • If you want a more modern look, doing all bar pulls is a nice option because there are so many finishes and lengths. 
  • To modify a kitchen that currently has all knobs, install pulls in some of those locations – that’s what I’ve done.

If you would like more information on choosing cabinet hardware in general, read this post. 

Here are more  beautiful pictures of different cabinet hardware options to inspire you!

Traditional Design

Amerock-Highland-Ridge
Image Courtesy of Amerock Catalog / Original Photo Porch Daydreamer
Shop the Highland Ridge Collection

Transitional Design

St-Vincent_Amerock
Image Courtesy of Amerock Catalog
Shop the St. Vincent Collection

Blending Traditional and Modern for a Transitional Feel

Amerock-Cyprus
Image Courtesy of Amerock Catalog
Shop the Cyprus Collection
Shop the Glacio Collection

Modern Design

Amerock-Esquire
Image Courtesy of Amerock Catalog
Shop the Esquire Collection

 

My hope is to have instilled confidence in you that you don’t need a kitchen designer and can choose plus layout hardware yourself!

Plus now you have a graphic that SHOWS you how different lengths of pulls will look on your cabinet doors and drawers.

You can easily refer to it as you plan and shop.

You are now armed with the lingo. 

It’s time to learn even MORE about the design and how to choose the perfect pair of knobs and pulls.

Read this new post…

Cabinet Hardware to Match Your Kitchen Style

how-to-match-cabinet-hardware-knobs-pulls

It’s time to go shopping for cabinet hardware you love! 

Matching Faucets to Hardware

Are you like me and want to match your knobs and pulls to the faucets in your kitchen and bathroom?

Luckily, Amerock also worked hard with the major fashion plumbing manufacturers to match their finishes.

Learn about the hardware finishes that match Kohler, Delta, and Moen faucets!

Pin It for Later!

50-Matching-Cabinet-Hardware-Faucet-Ideas

If you are on a budget, keep reading!

I’ve got installation advice as well because I want to share as much as I can to make your update a success!

Cabinet Hardware Installation

Are you a DIYer?

All of the hardware in my home I’ve installed myself.

You just need a simple template, a power drill, and the hardware!

This was the FIRST video I ever recorded, so when I say level it means “plumb” which is the vertical on the level.

I didn’t have all my tools ready, but hey you’ll get the idea of how to do this yourself!

As you will see, I do my best work in my slippers 🙂

Now that you have figured out the hardware, let’s talk about other kitchen upgrades! 

Organize Cabinets with Pull-Out Drawers or How-to Add Soft Close to Any Cabinet

Looking for great Kitchen cabinet paint colors?

Want more inspiration, education and design advice on a weekly basis? 

As my FREE GIFT to you, with email sign-up a detailed paint sheen project guide! 

You will know the right sheen for every project…

free-paint-sheen-download-porch-daydreamer

Please consider following me on Pinterest and Instagram for daily inspiration.

Until next time…

Porch Daydreamer

Tracey

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48 Comments

  1. So glad to have found this page.

    I just got new cabinets installed. Spent weeks thinking about knobs/pulls. Didn’t want something too modern. The upper cabinets are 42 inches (finally have some great storage after 18 years). I picked pulls that were 5 inches for the longer cabinets and 3 inch for the shorter ones. I taped them up in order to see how they looked. The 3 inch just kind of faded away o the taller cabinets). I picked a 3 inch bin cup drawer pulls for all drawers (adding some varitey. But I have to faux drawers under the skin.
    Do I need to put the cup pulls there as well or not? The pulls are a brushed nickel as are the pulls.

    1. I’m glad you found this page too! It’s a confusing subject for sure. The tape option really helps doesn’t it and yes 3 inch I shy away from due to how small they look. I’d say no. Most designers don’t put any hardware there because you lean up against it when washing dishes. Not comfortable! Get everything else installed and decide on that later…you can always add them.

  2. Hi Tracey, thank you for your insight on this confusing subject. I am getting ready for a kitchen remodel with gray shaker style cabinetry. I love the Amerock Cyprus collection in golden champagne. All of my drawers will be either 24” or 30” except for one 36” drawer. My question for you, will it look strange if I use the same size pull, 160mm, on all doors and drawers and then use the matching 305mm appliance pull on the 36” drawer? I believe the total length on that particular pull is 16 inches. Thanks.

    1. I’m so glad this helped you! Unfortunately, I can’t give specific design advise for your particular situation. Hopefully, with this post, some hardware samples and painters tape you can determine what looks the best!

    2. We did use the same size pull….all very long. However two cabs drawers were smaller so we did size down a couple of inches but used same pull…no knobs as I am not big on knobs…Good Luck!

  3. Great read, so very helpful..one question I have a cabinet with a lazy Susan and draw on top next to a cabinet that pulls straight out with a trash can and draw on top…. what the heck type of pull do I use on the lower cabinets since one opens and one pulls straight out. Any help, would be much appreciated!
    Thanks, Caryn.

  4. This was super helpful. It never occurred to me to use painter’s tape to help visualize different size options. Such an easy and useful tip. I have trouble visualizing the end result and it was super helpful. Thanks so much!

  5. Hi Tracey! Thanks for the wonderful post; you’ve helped me make sense of a surprisingly daunting set of decisions. Could you please help me with a couple questions? I’m sure you’re going to say “Do whatever you like!” 😉 but I’m just looking for a touch of guidance.

    1 – Is it ok to mix cups, pulls and knobs in the same kitchen? Maybe cups on the narrower <30" drawers and bars on wider bigger ones?

    2 – We have a new 24" wide 4-stack shaker base cabinet and had been looking at black bar pulls, but we can't center-mount them because the rails and stiles of the drawer fronts are so close that we'd only have 3/8" to get our fingers into the pull (not enough projection). Would you recommend mounting the bar pulls on the top rail, or using center-mount cups on those drawers?

    Manny thanks in advance!

  6. This is a great article! I am going back and worth with 4″ (3″ center to center) vs 6″ (5″ center to center) finger edge pulls. Some of my cabinets and drawers will be 33 – 36″.

    Based on you guide, I think the 6″ finger edge pull will look better with the 33-36″ wider cabinets/drawers. But i like the style of the 4″ pull as it is a thinner profile. We are going with flat European/modern cabinets, so i want it to look seamless as possible. And unfortunately, the 4″ pull doesn’t come in 6.” I am also not keen on putting 2 finger pulls on one cabinet/drawer. So not sure which ones to go with.

  7. This post was super helpful but I’m still lost about a couple things.

    Our uppers are 36 and losers are 34.5 (that’s including the drawer I believe so the cabinets are about 28?).

    Do you do the same size pull on both of these even with a difference in height?

    Also we have some 18, inch drawers, 24 inch and 27 inch. Would you recommend these all have same length as each other? same as cabinets ?

    Thanks! ,

    1. I’m glad this his helpful! I have different sized on my upper and lower cabinets. The best way to decide is using tape to see how it looks. I think variety is always better than all the same.

  8. Thank you so VERY much for this wonderful article !!!! I truly appreciate your advice. Your knowledge provided and helpful hints were so clear and simplified. I feel so much more confident in buying my knobs and pulls now for my new cabinets. I’m excited instead of apprehensive.

  9. So… We have a question. But, first, let me echo just how amazing this article and information is! It’s just what we needed. Especially the chart that shows sizes on the variety of cabinets/drawers.

    Our question is, to clarify, the width of the handles you show in the graph is representative of the screw location width, correct? So if we’re looking at handles where the bar is wider than the actual screw point locations, then proportionally they would look bigger than what you’ve mocked up in the graphic?

    Just want to make sure I’m using it as a guide with the right mindset. 😉

    1. Hey, Jason! I’m glad you found this helpful! Good questions…the measurements are referencing the drill holes, but the images in the chart would represent the look of a typical pull that size, which has some additional length. My best advice is to use painter’s tape to map out the total length before you buy to make sure you like it 🙂

  10. about to redo all cabinet doors and drawers in my kitchen. this article helped me a lot with the sizing part of my project, starting with a random google search lol.

  11. Hi, thanks for the helpful info. Our construction begins next week and the only decision left is cabinet hardware. We’ll have all white cabinets and counters, stainless appliances with a small brass accent (GE Cafe), and wood floors. I like the idea of mixed metals so I chose a matte black faucet and light fixtures in clear glass with black/brass. I’m leaning toward brass hardware but was wondering how you feel about mixing hardware finishes? We’ll have a 6ft island and was thinking of doing black hardware there and brass along the perimeter. Thanks!

    1. Cori, it’s really hard for me to give design advice for your specific project. If you like the look, it wouldn’t be “wrong” to mix finishes since you have other mixed elements in the room. It sounds cool! I’ve mixed finishes in rooms before and loved it.

  12. Do you have any advice for stacked cabinets. We are remodeling our bathroom and have stacked tower cabinets (24″ and 30″) on the vanity top, and a new linen closet with 3 cabinet doors. We are mixing pulls and knobs throughout, but should we keep them the same for the stacked cabinets? Our cabinet supplier suggested putting a knob on the 24″ cabinet door and a vertical pull on the 30″ cabinet door (on top). Would that look ok?
    Thanks,
    Jennifer

      1. Hello! Great article! Do you have any articles on cabinet hinges? I am painting my 1980’s cabinets and want to keep all same drill holes so I am not doing softclose, and the hinges I am replacing can be seen on outside of the cabinets.

        1. Hey, Mary! Hinges are tricky because of exactly what you mentioned. It’s really hard to replace them with an exact match. Amerock has nice selection of hinges that are “exposed” in a variety of finishes, but it’s hard for me to know exactly what type you have. Look through the pictures of options and order some samples of hinges similar to yours: here is my affiliate link to shop: https://amzn.to/2SPqq9i

  13. Would you please comment on finger pull for drawers? I’m really liking this minimal look but have no idea how small you can go.

    1. Doni, hi there! Ah, we called those edge pulls at Amerock and not finger pulls like online 🙂 Knowing that you have to be able to pull open a drawer you can’t go too small compared to the drawer. We only offered them in 3 sizes, so 3 inches was the smallest. I’d say error on the larger side for edge pulls so you have more surface area to grab. The nice thing is you can order each size online and test to see what looks best!

  14. Hi, I am getting new shaker doors and drawers. The upper cabinets are 42” and 22 in heights. The drawers are11.5”, 14.5”,17.5”,23,5”,32.5” and 35.5””. The 32.5 and 35.5 will be drawer stack. The three smallest have doors below. The 23.5” will have a trash pull out below. All top drawers will be 6”” high. The lower cabinets doors are 22” height. I would like to put pulls on all,but do not want a busy feel. What would you advise?

  15. I started with absolutely no knowledge of hardware and now I feel confident picking out the correct size pulls for my custom dresser. Thank you so much!!

  16. We currently have Amerock blackrock. We have the square knobs on our doors, and pulls on our drawers. We are extending our cabinets to the ceiling which will make the doors look super tall. Should we change the knobs to pulls or is it ok to have a knob on a really tall cabinet door? Thanks for the advice.

  17. Funny i have the Amerock & top knobs catalogs open as read this! My island has a set of 6 30″ wide deep drawers on the back . I am going with 3 3/4 transitional style pulls for my blue & white kitchen and my designer is telling me i need 2 for these big drawers but I’m thinking 1 7″ pull per drawer should be good for these . What your your thoughts?

    1. In the post, there is a picture of a closet with bar pulls on 30 inch drawers for reference. Those are what I recommend in the diagram: 256mm center to center and about 10″ long bar pull. For a single pull, I like doing a 1/3 of the width of the drawer if possible. So you may want to step up in size?

  18. We have white ikea cabinets and are using black pull handles. Would it be crazy to use the same hardware and size on everything?

  19. Best article about pulls and knobs. We just order a new set of kitchen cabinets so the next step will be buying the hardware. Thanks for sharing all this info.
    P.s. My kitchen will be super dark (half SW DOVETAIL and half SW CHARCOAL BLUE) and I’m reading everywhere to go brass and i dont like it. Other suggestion in the color?

    1. So glad this was helpful! Polished nickel would be beautiful. I just installed it in my master bathroom and love it. The fingerprints haven’t been an issue either (surprisingly). Or you can play it safe with satin nickel.

  20. Who knew there are guidelines for cabinet pulls! Such an amazing amount of information. Will pin so I can have it when I get to change my knobs and pulls in my house! Thanks!

  21. Great post. I love the Amerock hardware and I am using it in my kitchen. Amerock BP36655CBBZ Glacio 5-1/16″ Center Cabinet Pull, 5-1/16 in (128 mm), Clear/Golden Champagne.
    is what I chose to use. I would love your advice on a design dilemma. We are currently going through a remodel and will have a open floor plan with a Great Room. Should I use the same hardware on my built- in cabinets in the family room or go for a furniture hardware look. The cabinets are white in both rooms and I have walnut freestanding shelves.
    I appreciate your opinion and maybe a suggestion,
    Linda

    1. Glad the post was helpful! Not sure if you are wanting a more modern or traditional look. Since the Glacio pulls are clear and look more like a bar pull, it frees you up to do what you want. Search the Amerock site for Golden Champagne collections to see what options are available. Cyprus, Sea Grass, Bar Pulls, Mulholland -come to mind that may work. You can mix finishes – it depends on the look you want.

      1. Thanks for your quick response. The look I want on the built-in cabinets is more of a formal furniture look. My house is traditional but trying to get a more contemporary or transitional look.

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