freshly painted kitchen cabinets

Kitchen Hardware: How to Replace It

It took me forever to paint our kitchen cabinets. The hardware was my excuse for waiting to paint our cabinet doors. I didn’t want to drill new holes and spent forever hardware shopping trying to find hinges with the exact same holes. Don’t let that stop you. Drilling new holes was not hard! This post is all about updating your kitchen cabinet hardware.

Our kitchen has a footprint that works well for us, but was not at all what I wanted it to look like when we bought the house. Orange oak cabinets, bright yellow walls, and antique brass hardware are not looks that I enjoy. I knew I wanted teal cabinets so we made that happen!

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The Prep Work

I painted all of the cabinet frames first and ensured they had plenty of time to dry and cure. In the meantime, shopping for hardware took forever. I have spray painted hardware before but I didn’t like the existing kitchen hardware. Nor did I think I’d ever get it clean enough to spray paint. Kitchens get super grimy.

We started looking for kitchen cabinet hinges. I looked at Lowes, Home Depot, local hardware stores, and online trying to find something that had the exact same holes. After a few trial runs, returns, and failed online orders I settled on these 1/4″ overlay Amerock hinges. They did not have the same hole placement as the old ones.

new kitchen hardware

The handles on our cabinets are 3″ long which is a standard size and very easy to replace. I got these simple nickel handles at Home Depot. Our drawers didn’t have handles, but I knew I wanted to add them for functionality and cohesiveness which factored into how many we’d need. The vanity cabinets in the four bathrooms in our house are the same as the kitchen cabinets, so I bought enough hardware to update them as well. The powder room vanity served as a hinge test spot since we don’t want to keep it forever.

Drilling Holes in Kitchen Drawers

For marking holes in the drawer fronts, I drew lines bisecting the width and height of the fronts to find the center of each one. Then I marked for 2 holes, each 1.5″ to the left and right of center to give the 3″ length of the new handles.

With the drawer front attached to the drawer we drilled holes all the way through the drawer front and drawer. The screws that hold the handle go on the inside of the drawer, not in between the front and the drawer. My fiance used a drill bit with a slightly smaller diameter than the screws for the handles. After holes were drilled, I removed the fronts and painted both sides before reattaching and affixing handles to them.

Drilling in the Cabinet Frames

To ensure that all of the hinge holes were marked the same way in the cabinet frame, my fiance used a charging block as a spacer. It bumped the hinge up a reasonable height, was easy to hold the hinge against and mark through the holes with a pencil.

To drill the holes, he again used a drill bit smaller in diameter than the screws for the hinges. This time he wasn’t drilling all the way through so these drill bit stops kept him from drilling too far. (Just set the stop so the drill bit is a tad shorter than the screws.)

For the upper frames, a few of the would be hinge holes (using the charging block spacer) lined up against the screws that held the cabinet frames to each other. For these he used one of the existing hinge holes and the hinge to mark where the second hole would go.

It’s a good idea to ensure that whatever system you use to space consistently can be done in all of your hinge locations. Those screws holding the cabinets together almost threw us off, but where there’s a will, there’s a way!

Hanging the Cabinet Doors

In order to hang the cabinet doors, we attached the hinges to the frames. Then we held each door over the opening, pushed against the hinges. For the uppers we used a level that was the right thickness to sandwich between the top trim of the cabinets and the door. Using the level as a spacing guide ensured consistent top to bottom spacing of the doors covering each opening. You don’t have to worry about left to right spacing, since you’re sandwiching the doors against the hinges.

For the lowers we didn’t have something consistent on all of them to measure against so we just eyeballed it (we also have far fewer lowers compared to uppers, aka 1 cabinet with a door).

For all cabinet doors held this way we marked the top corner of the door on the side with hinges on the cabinet frame with a pencil.

Then we opened the hinges and held the door up again, lining it up against the mark on the frame in order to mark the hinge holes on the door. Double check that everything is aligned against the hinges and the mark you made before marking hinge holes. Once holes were marked, we drilled pilot holes (still using the drill bit stops). Then I held the door up to the hinges while my fiance secured them to the hinges.

OTHER HOME PROJECTS TO TRY: Painting Kitchen Cabinets | Under $100 Powder Room Update | Spray Painting Closet Hardware

Finishing Up

Once all the doors were mounted to hinges, I screwed on the new handles and added the small foam circles that keep the cabinets from slamming. Vacuuming up dust, rubbing off pencil marks and restocking your cabinets are all that’s left. Oh and beer of course. See how stylish I look when I do home projects?

Do you have some cabinet hardware than needs updating?


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