Never underestimate the power of cabinet hardware in transforming the appearance of your kitchen. Even if the cabinet doors and drawer facings have lost their star power to aging and abuse, a fresh set of pulls, knobs and hinges can perk things up in a flash. Want to change the style or decor while on a tight kitchen remodeling budget? Have a look at re-used, inexpensive and decorative hardware that can be swapped out in no time at all.
Your first step is in identifying the theme, color and materials that already dominate your kitchen style. It's easy to find wood pulls and knobs if your cabinets and walls accent fine woodwork. There are also attractive brass, ceramic, brushed steel, copper, glass and porcelain hardware in a variety of shapes and colors to match or complement your decor.
Be sure to inventory your existing pulls and knobs before shopping around for hardware. You'll want to create a full set, rather than a hodgepodge assortment of replacements.
Shopping for kitchen hardware
While there are boutique and national suppliers of restored or high-end hardware, it's just as easy to find local used furniture or salvage shops with affordable - or downright cheap - materials. My local Goodwill Store had a matched set of donated bedroom chests with just the right number of knobs for my pantry cabinets.
I took a spin through the listings for cabinet hardware at eBay and found a set of 50 brass knob pulls and screws for $29. Of course, you're taking a chance that the photo shows the true colors or patterns. Still, there were 88 listings on eBay for used kitchen cabinet hardware.
Genuine metal replacements for brass and copper will take some work if you hope to find them at a reasonable price. On the other hand, you can find new hardware made of pewter than looks great and costs less than recycled metal pulls and knobs.
As of this writing, Ikea has more than 50 sets of handles and knobs running from $1.99 for a set of 6 Satta knobs (plastic) up to a pair of aluminum (brush nickel-plated) handles at $8.99.
If you're a dedicated DIYer, you can make your own knobs from dowels. Yahoo writer Ann Siper has made wooden pulls by cutting up broomsticks and other wooden handles.
If you're wondering how to personalize your kitchen renovation, think hardware!