HomeHome Updates: Tips & IdeasHome Update IdeasHow to Update Oak (Wood) Cabinets with Hardware that’s Budget Friendly (PART 3)

How to Update Oak (Wood) Cabinets with Hardware that’s Budget Friendly (PART 3)

Posted on July 14, 2022 by KylieMawdsley

The Best Handles, Knobs & Pulls for Cathedral, Arched or Shaker Style Cabinets 

Are you looking for ideas to update your kitchen or bathroom cabinets without spending a fortune? Or maybe you’ve ALREADY spent a fortune on your space and NOW you want to save! Regardless of whether you’re starting your journey or ending it, this hardware will give you some major bang for buck (non-street-corner style – sorry to disappoint).

Kitchen cabinets painted Sherwin High Reflective White, marble backsplash, white quartz, home decor on countertop. Pewter hardware. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour consulting

The first thing you need to do is figure out what type of cabinets you’re working with…



This type of cabinet has a square/rectangle door profile with a ‘frame’ around it. It can be fresh outta the 80s oak or a simple recessed maple panel, but the great thing about this profile is that it’s super timeless (it’s usually the finish of the cabinet that gives its age away).

Ideas to update oak, maple or wood cabinets, cathedral, arched, shaker. Hardware options. Kylie M blog and E-design

There are shaker styles that have more detail and some that have less. Some have a raised panel with a bit of detail, and some have a flat recessed panel. Regardless, the MAIN idea is that your door panel has a square or rectangular-shaped ‘frame’ around it.

Kitchen with warm gray, Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter cabinets and Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze painted island. White oak wood flooring. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, blog and colour advice online



Of the two, arched is an easier style to update than cathedral style. Arched is just a bit more subtle, a bit less…churchy. Cathedral-style cabinets are trickier to update as their shape is much more pronounced (passive-aggressive word for dated). In this case, regardless of the finish (wood or painted), it’s the STYLE of the cabinet that gives its age away. And while most of us get curves as we age, these aren’t the type of curves that are easy to camouflage.

And I’m not trying to be mean, I’m trying to be realistic so that I can help you embrace what you have and make the best choices moving forward (I swear)!

Ideas to update oak kitchen cabinets, cathedral, arch or shaker. Hardware. Kylie M Interiors E-design, e-decor blog.jpg

Left: Double Cathedral / Right: Single Arch

There is a single arch and double arch, a single cathedral and double cathedral and curse thee who has the double cathedral. The DC is just a bugger to update as its style is hard-pressed to step out of the ’80s UNLESS you want a more country look.

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But I digress; let’s stay on track here and start looking at hardware…

Let’s Give it a Name – Transitional

When I’m hardware shopping for clients who want to update their kitchen cabinets, I’m looking for styles that transition the cabinets from where they currently are to a more updated, modern version. I want flexible hardware, that can nod to one style while kindly humouring another – make sense? And we’re going to call this hardware style ‘transitional’.


Because shaker-style cabinets are transitional themselves, we can look at hardware with slightly cleaner lines, without being UBER modern and sexy – yes, I just called hardware sexy.

And, of course, you can get most of these styles in whichever finish you like; these are just the shapes to get you on the right track. And while some of these are a BIT pricier than I’d like, you can take the idea and shop at your local store to see if you can find a better deal.


Cabinet handles, also known as pulls, have come a LONG way. Gone are the dated plastic pulls of the ’80s and wood-metal blends of the ’90s. NOW we have handles that actually add function AND style to a cabinet door, such as these…

Click on the links below to see the different available finishes.

Best pulls for wood cabinets. Wayfair. Kylie M Interiors E-design, E-décor, online paint colour advice

  1.  Cup Pull – Black  |   2. Bar Pull – Black  |   3. Arch Pull – Black  |   4. Cup Pull – Polished Nickel  |   5. Bar Pull – Polished Nickel   |   6. Arch Pull – Polish Nickel   |   7. Cup Pull – Oil Rubbed Bronze  | 8. Bar Pull – Oil Rubbed Bronze  |   9. Center Bar Pull – Oil Rubbed Bronze  |   10. Cup Pull – Brass  |   11. Center Cup Pull – Brass   |   12. Center Pull – Brass 


Just joking. However, some cabinets look best with knobs, particularly when you only have one knob hole and aren’t inclined to bust out the drill.

Knobs are a bit more unisex when it comes to working with shaker and cathedral-style cabinets and one knob can often suit both profiles. And really, can you believe I haven’t made a rude joke about knobs yet? I know, it’s disturbing, isn’t it?

Click on the links below to see the different available finishes.

Best knobs for wood cabinets. Wayfair. Kylie M Interiors E-design, E-décor, online paint colour advice

  1. Classic Mushroom Knob – Black  |   2. Mushroom Knob – Black  |   3. Geometric Square Knob – Black  |   4. Square Knob – Black  |    5. Basic Mushroom Knob – Polished Nickel  |   6.  Mushroom Knob – Polished Nickel  |   7. Round Knob – Polished Nickel   |   8. Square Knob – Polished Nickel  |   9. Mushroom Knob – Oil Rubbed Bronze  |   10. Basic Mushroom Knob – Oil Rubbed Bronze  |   11. Detailed Mushroom Knob – Oil Rubbed Bronze  |   12. T-Bar Knob – Oil Rubbed Bronze  |   13. Mushroom Knob – Brass  |   14. Simple Mushroom Knob – Brass  |   15. Square Knob – Brass  |   16. Rectangle Knob – Brass

And you might be thinking, ‘umm Kylie, there are a lot of mushroom-shaped knobs in that image?’ That’s because I love you and am trying to save you from the freakin’ AGONY of oval and square knobs that inevitably loosen up and go off-kilter so you spend half your time in the kitchen tweakin’ your knobs so they all line up. I’ve got a few in there, but consider yourself warned. And no Mom, I’m not going to make a rude joke to finish the ‘tweakin’ your knob‘ sentence off but you KNOW I thought about it.

And I know you might have some questions about hardware finish, but that is an upcoming blog post (don’t hold your breath though as I have a few good ones in the meantime).

Want more?

5 Ideas to Update Oak Cabinets – (PART 1 in series)

MORE Ideas to Update Your Wood Cabinets – WITHOUT a Drop of Paint! (PART 2)

The 16 Best Paint Colours to Update Oak or Wood Cabinets or Trim (PART 4)

Need to get a ‘handle’ on things? 

Check out my affordable E-design, E-decor and Online Color Consulting Packages

E-design and colour consultations. Online color expert Kylie M INteriors. Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams specialist (1)

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  1. Hi Kylie, I just had my kitchen cabinets painted with BM White Dove. What color would you recommend for the walls. I want to keep the walls a light color. The painter is doing this next week so I’m in a panic! Any recommendations are appreciated , thanks so much!

    1. Hi Gale, thank you for the note! When it comes to wall colour it will be less about the cabinet colour and more about the countertop/flooring/backsplash (as White Dove is pretty versatile). I’d recommend you check out my e-design, it’s affordable and I do have the 3 day turnaround option. This way I can look at your photos/products and give you options that suit your space! https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/product-category/interior-paint-colors/

  2. Hi Kylie! I’ve found your blog invaluable as I’ve started the remodel process on our 13 year old home. Does the size of the bar pull matter? I noticed most of the ones you posted were 4-5″ but it seems 3″ is the most common sold. Thank you!

    1. Post

      Hi Liz, for cabinet handles, I’d say 4-5″ is the common one when remodelling, as that’s a common width for the old hardware (so the holes are already there). I find that with most new kitchens that when they have a choice, my clients are choosing 5-7″ more commonly 🙂

  3. What are your thoughts about knobs vs handles? Obviously I will do handles on the drawers, a curved handle (as I have dated cathedral doors). I am torn about the cupboard doors though…

    1. Post

      Hi Laura! I’ve always been a handle fan, but lately I’ve fully embraced knobs on doors (round ones for sure) – I say DO IT!

  4. I’m going for a whole new kitchen in our 35 year old home. I’m looking for something classic because we’re retired and this has to last until they carry me out! 😉

    I love white but worry that it will look dated in a few years. Can you address that? Same with. the shaker style. Which style is going to be the most classic? Has the white cabinets run most of its fashion cycle?

    Also, I like the look of dark knobs and handles, but everything else in our house is polished nickel. Can I have dark pulls and knobs in the kitchen without changing the rest of the hardware throughput the house. Or can I have polished nickel cupboard hardware but use dark curtain rods and light fixtures?

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