Where To Put Handles On Pantry Doors?

Your chosen hardware accentuates the lines, colors, and texture of your pantry door. Are there hard and fast rules in placing them? The excerpts below provide what most experts would recommend. 

Depending on which hardware you'll install, handles are generally placed between 1-4 inches from the corner of the pantry door. The hardware you can choose from includes cabinet knobs, bar and wire pull, cup pulls, and edge pulls. Your pantry design can determine which hardware to place. While there are no strict rules, a knob is often installed to a door while a pull to a drawer. 

Given that this is a make-or-break decision, we’ve expounded on when to best choose knobs over pulls. Continue reading for the best practices and ideas on putting handles on pantry doors.

A female hand open the cupboard doors, Where To Put Handles On Pantry Doors?

Knobs Vs. Pull Handles

The most straightforward answer to this will all depend on the style of your kitchen. The size of the hardware that you choose is, in turn, determined by the functionality that you would like to achieve. These two purposes go together—one is not more essential but may precede the other in the selection process. 

Enhancing Kitchen Style

Kitchen pantry door handle

Cabinet hardware is the jewelry to your space. It accentuates and makes the fixture more interesting. So, generally, when it comes to choosing the hardware, it should not only complement but, more importantly, blend well with the overall theme.

You have a variety to choose from for your preferred size (for knobs) or length (for pulls), shape, material, and finishes. 

If you go through most of the design articles tackling this topic, the following is a summary of the general considerations for hardware choice:

  • Traditional kitchens will strictly follow the knobs to the door and pull-to-drawer rule. So you will find a combination of both. 
  • Modern kitchens will usually stick to sleek pulls, sometimes breaking the rule of thirds. A more modern kitchen can showcase pulls that span up to 2/3 of the drawer length. 
  • Rustic or vintage tend to gear towards the cup or bin pulls, giving you a more homey feeling. Some will even install reclaimed materials to make them look more authentic.
  • Minimalists will feature more edge or finger pulls as this provides a cleaner visual line.

Achieving Functionality

Although the kitchen style significantly influences your choice, functionality can bend some of the rules. What use is visually appealing hardware if you find it difficult to open either the door or drawer. Thus, some additional points to consider will help when finalizing your selection: 

  • People using the kitchen – Grasp may be a concern since hand function is critical to utilize the hardware entirely. Arthritic hands would be more amenable to a pull than a knob. More delicate handles may trigger pain in the joints which may cause unnecessary discomfort. 
  • Intended contents – This is especially true for drawers. Heavier kitchen items may need sturdier hardware such that when you pull, there is a minimal chance of stripping. 

Are you finding it difficult at this point? Don’t fret. We are only emphasizing the importance of making thoughtful attention. Your cabinets or drawers will also be your most-used spaces. So more than being beautiful, they should be functional. 

Where Do You Put Handles On Tall Pantry Cabinets?

The general rule is that you need to place it in the middle of the cabinet door such that it should fall almost to your waist. 

Another school of thought is to install the hardware at the height approximating the elbow level of an adult. It would still be comfortable to use while allowing children to reach it. 

How Do You Install Pantry Handles?

View through the open door into the filled pantry

Again, are you installing knobs or pulls? The next question then would be, where are you placing it—door or drawer? 

Door Hardware Placement

Most hardware will be installed within 1 to 4 inches from the bottom or upper part of the door depending on the placement of the cabinet. If you decide to place pulls, note that it is more functional to place vertically in an entry for a more effortless opening.

The placement of hardware will not be affected by the type of cabinet. It is important to note that doors would mostly have trim around the edges. The top and bottom borders are called the rails, while the sides are called the stile.

In most cases, the selected hardware should be placed in the middle of the width of the stile, opposite where the hinges are placed. 

Front Drawer Hardware Installation 

Less than 12-inch drawers can be installed with 3-inch to 4-inch pulls or a 1-inch knob. Drawers between 12 inches to 30 inches would look better with 4-inch to 8-inch pulls or 1- to 1.5-inch knobs.

For drawers more than 30 inches, you can select a pull that occupies up to 2/3 of the width. Alternatively, two pulls or two knobs placed near each end may be installed.

In terms of distance from the rim of the drawer, most would be placed midway of the drawer height. But for drawers more than 12 inches in size, it is better to put the hardware more on the top third rather than midway for each opening. 

Pantry Door Handle Placement

The specific location in the middle of the stile, be it a knob or a pull, allows 1 to 4 inches from the top or bottom of the door. 

Another measurement that you must be familiar with is the center to center or CC for pulls. It is defined as the distance between the centers of the screw dressing. This determines the length of the two holes that you need to drill in the cabinet door for new installation. 

In case that you want to update your door pull handles, this is also the measure that you need to determine and bring to your local shop. You can either measure it in inches or millimeters. 

To get the CC, remove the hardware. Once exposed to the two holes, get a ruler and measure the distance between the two centers. Whatever measurement you get, this is the length that you would need to tell your Home Depot personnel so that you can procure the fitted upgrade. 

If you're the handy type who would rather go DIY, watch this video below for the detailed steps for the installation of pantry door handles and pulls:

Pantry Door Handle Ideas

Again it depends on the theme of your kitchen. You can go with commercially available handles or go DIY.

For commercially available handles, you can select from either:

  1. Cabinet knobs – probably the most versatile choice from both cost and design perspective. This hardware can come in ceramic, marble, glass, crystal, zinc, stone, brass, stainless steel, hard plastic composition from round to geometric to animal shapes. Each type is easy to install and replace as it only requires one screw. 
  2. Drop or Bail Pulls – 17th century feels where the pull is attached to a flat plate. The difference is that a drop pull only has a single knob while a bail pull distinctly has two pins curved inwards to form the handle.
  3. Bar Pulls – can either be round in share or flat. More associated with modern kitchens, they are generally sturdy and sleek. 
  4. Cup or Bin Pulls – they look half-moon more than a cup. It is closed on one side and opens on the other. They also come in various bronze, silver, pewter, glass, polished nickel, or chrome, which may be flat and straightforward to elaborate and ornate. 
  5. Edge or Finger Pulls - a perfect choice for the minimalist look and those not wanting to bore holes in cabinet door or drawer front. The hardware attaches to the edge of the door or lip of your drawer.  

If you want to go DIY, then the options are unlimited—your creativity determines the limit. Some ideas that we've gathered include:

  • Old utensils
  • Rope
  • Your kid’s or your old Legos
  • Leather pulls 
  • Upscaled rustic vibe (with a touch of your favorite branch)
  • Decoupage of ordinary knobs using your favorite print 
  • Forming your own knobs from clay, resin, marble, silicone, or ceramic
  • Industrial feel nuts and bolts pull
  • Copper pulls 
  • Wine corks
  • Old locks as pull handles
  • Old wooden clothespins as vintage handles

In Closing

You need to pay as much attention to the placement of your pantry door handles that are basically fixed 1–4 inches from the door's corner. The hardware may be a subtle feature, but an improperly installed one will stand out to the point that it can have an obscure visual impact.

On the other hand, well-chosen and installed hardware can further elevate your room, making everything look effortless. 

Style and functionality are two considerations that come in handy when deciding. Be it a knob or a pull— choose the style that works best with your pantry theme, a finish that adds contrast, and settle for a size that best suits your purpose. 

To know more about door handles, please refer to the following articles:

How Long Should a Door Handle Last? 

Do Door Handles Come with Latches? 

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