Project: Replace Cabinet Hardware

This is such a minor project, anyone could do it.  But, I am hoping it has an impact larger than the effort required.  They say changing the hardware on cabinets can completely change the feel of a room.  I’m going to find out.

Ever since moving into the house, the cheapness of the cabinets has always irked me.  The cabinets are simple laminate, white in the kitchen and master bath, and kind of a plum color in the guest bath.  The handles are cheap plastic, either black or white, rounded or square.  I can live with the cabinet material and the colors (the plum will be the first to go), but those handles…

So I quickly chose some nickel metal pulls and will be installing them shortly.  I have 37 pulls in the kitchen, 8 in the master bath and 7 in the guest bath.  I bought 45 pulls, since that’s the best multipack purchase available.  That means I can do the kitchen and one bath.  More than likely, it will be the white cabinets in the master bath and I’ll find some black pulls for the plum cabinets.  My investment so far is just under $70.  That’s less than half what I’m spending for the ceiling light in the master closet (which was the original order; the pulls were an impulse add-on).

I have been trying to keep in mind that I need to consider the entire house when making changes.  The end result is that I want the whole house to look like a freshly-built house.  You don’t get that look when upgrading one room at a time over a long period.  When a new house is built, the entire houses’s hardware is purchased at once and it makes the house appear consistent throughout.

In the case of the pulls I purchased, I have had them in my wish list for a while.  But serendipitously, the curves in the pulls echo the lines of the replacement door handles I purchased – and had evaluated completely separately.  That’s fortunate, because the pulls I chose aren’t exactly the ones I would have purchased on first sight.  The pulls I ended up with have a little embellishment at the ends that isn’t as sleek, modern, and minimalist as I normally like.  But, like I said, they tie in with the door handles, and I think that’s a really good thing.  It may actually influence the bathroom hardware choices I make when that time comes.

But of course the screws are too long, so I either need to cut them down or buy new ones in the proper length.  Probably will be the latter.

I went to Home Depot and couldn’t find the size screws I needed.  I did learn that the screw heads had different names.  Cabinet screws are called Truss head screws.  So I decided to cut the existing screws down.  But then, I learned an awesome tip.  While I was searching for the best way to cut screws while not messing up the threads, I read a comment about wire strippers.  That’s not what I expected.  Apparently, most wire strippers have screw cutters built in for some common sizes of screws, in my particular case, I was dealing with 8-32, which they supported.


That part labeled “E” is the screw cutter.  The holes are threaded and you thread the screw in there to the depth you want it cut at, then squeeze and cut.  Because my hands couldn’t handle cutting 50+ screws, I ended up putting the pliers on the ground and hammering them closed with a rubber mallet.  but it worked extremely well, with no messed up threads.  So much easier than the first three screws I cut with a dremel.

With the success of the screw cutting, I was able to install the pulls in the kitchen.


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And after:

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For the guest bath, this is what I was working with there (phone camera+fluorescent light=blah):

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With about $18 in new pulls, here’s the before and after:

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Moving on, I got to the master bathroom with the spares from the kitchen.  Wait. They don’t fit.  Damn it.  These cabinets have 3.75” pulls.  Arrgh.  Now all three rooms are going to have different cabinet pulls.  That sucks.  As far as the leftover pulls, I can probably use them when I install cabinets in the laundry room.  Then I can have the kitchen and laundry room match.

But now, what to do with the master bathroom?  I should keep the color scheme the same: nickel on white, while the guest bath is bronze on plum.  Off to Lowe’s again…

After being disappointed at the selection of 3.75” pulls, I compromised and spent another $34.  That night, I finished the master bath.  And finally…


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And after:


I’m underwhelmed by the master bath result, but it doesn’t have to be permanent.  This project had a total cost of a little over $120.  On to the next project.

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