Light cabinets have never been more popular — and it’s no mystery why. From their design versatility and relaxed ambiance to their ability to enlarge the feel of a room, they deliver a singular warmth and glow wherever installed — one that’s timeless and effortless.
Yet the look of a kitchen or bathroom doesn’t rest entirely on cabinets. In fact, the best designers and do-it-yourself remodelers alike know the importance of nailing the details. When it comes to light cabinets, few details run as important as hardware.
Hardware for light cabinets is more than an accent. They’re the pieces that bring together these airy and sophisticated installations. They provide depth and character to a room filled with light cabinets — something to catch the eye and increase the value of a remodel project.
Selecting the best hardware color and finish for light cabinets doesn’t take an interiors designer’s certificate or hour after hour of memorizing retail catalogs. It should be simple and — well, fun — allowing you to be in command of your space, mixing and matching pieces, colors, textures and sheens.
With a little knowledge and creativity, you can easily match the best hardware for your light cabinets.
Hardware for Light Cabinets
Cabinet-hardware design has seen a trendy boom in the past few years. Wholesale to consumer retailers alike have met heightened consumer expectations, placing more attention on quality materials and craftsman-like detailing in their hardware lines. Even the most mass-produced and commercial hardware is stepping up, making it easy to find a range of unique hardware products, colors and specialty finishes.
This news is great for the customer. Never before have there been so many options for cabinet hardware regarding functional types, styles and customizable features. Aptly nicknamed “the jewel of cabinets,” your kitchen, bathroom or storage solutions would be remiss without the following pieces of hardware.
Knobs are your clean and classic cabinet hardware. For cabinets that get the most use, knobs are a small but practical adornment for easy opening and closing. Pay attention to the size and color of knobs for light cabinets, as well as if you prefer a shiny, glossy finish or one on the matte side.
You’ll find more knob designs by stepping outside of round molds too. Antique oval shapes are a subtle yet distinct touch. Or go modern with sleek square and rectangular knobs.
Cabinet handles merge form with function. For cabinets, drawers and kitchen bins, they’re a must-have inclusion in your set of hardware. Handles for light cabinets allow a full and steady grip to easily pull open or close any sized cabinet door. They don’t compromise a room’s look, either, because they have plenty of styles, shapes, lengths and embellishments available to mix and match. Plus, handles have the added feature of vertical or horizontal installation, allowing further detailing for your light cabinets.
Pulls take the functionality of handles to the next level. From oversized storage bins to pulls for appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators and trash compactors, there isn’t a hardware type more suited to the task than a pull. Their larger width and load-testing means they stand up to the weight of these appliances, with the same range of styles and craftsman details you want in your completed look.
Hinges are often relegated to an afterthought in your cabinet hardware set. Yet the same eye that goes into matching knobs, handles and pulls must spill over hinges. Otherwise, you run the risk of sloppy or poorly fitted hinges.
Designing and finishing the perfect hinge is especially important if you select a visible hinge type, or if your cabinets themselves reveal the hinge when opened. There’s a surprising variety of cabinet hingeson the market, from traditional wrap-around to semi-concealed to vertical surface mounts and some versions in between. Match their colors and finishes to your other hardware to keep cabinets looking cohesive.
Light Hardware Colors
Once you’ve selected your line of cabinet pulls, knobs, handles and hinges, the next design step brings those pieces together: hardware color.
Choosing the best color for your hardware blends a few needs. You want your color to complement your light cabinets, yet what that means ranges from person to person. Some prefer an eclectic pop or a unique splash of the rainbow — something they’ve never seen in the kitchens or bathrooms of friends and family members. Others want the color of their hardware to blend subtly into their cabinets or pick up and enhance the grains and striation patterns of the cabinet wood itself. Still others want to strike a note somewhere between flashy and finely stated.
We recommend the following hardware colors across tastes for your light cabinets.
The clean refinement of silver is a hardware look that works regardless of cabinet shade. It creates a delicate ambiance that pairs well with light cabinets, yet it’s bright enough itself that it won’t get lost.
Silver hardware can be found readily available in many product lines. Nickel and chrome-colored hardware will come with their own natural silvery sheens, while stainless steel is a bold and ultra-contemporary hardware material with similar silver luminescence. Even custom iron and antique-treated products will carry pops of silver, providing that metallic detail to you want.
Brass is a rich and warm hue to select as a hardware color. Its gold coloration and the range of lacquering finishes it can take mean you’ll have one-of-a-kind pulls or handles for your cabinets. Brass hardware stands out as room a feature all its own.
The color wheel that makes up brown hardware is easily one of the most varied and versatile on the market. Brown hardware can range from the deepest, darkest taupes to nutty chesnuts to rich, red-hued umbers. Brown hardware makes a beautiful accent for nearly any colored light cabinets in your home.
Hardly any other cabinet hardware color matches the sophistication and refinement of gold. These amber and honey hues not only warm up cabinets but also instantly enliven the entire room. Many gold hardware pieces can come in translucent varieties as well, meaning they’ll catch sunlight and brighten a space entirely on their own.
White or cream-colored hardware is a ready accent for many light cabinets. It brings a pearly sheen and marble-like character to your hardware, plus includes a range of crisp porcelain glazes and finishes and accenting knob bases.
Copper deserves a color category all its own. The rich sepia hues can go antique or contemporary depending on hardware shape and finish. Copper hardware is also relatively durable, even given its more matte appearance.
A blend of tin, silvery bases with copper and gold matte hues, pewter adds a rustic touch to hardware. Pewter hardware is a singular-looking finish on hardware and can enhance many bold cabinet types.
Crystal or glass hardware is as luxe as it is timeless. You can go Victorian vintage with crystal cabinet knobs, or add a pop of glamor that will sparkle from across a room.
The bold statement made by black hardware against light cabinets is one your house guests will remember. Black hardware works particularly well if there are other black accents in a room, such as dark countertops and black appliances. Plus, by its nature, black matches and emboldens nearly any color it’s near, making it a go-to hardware accent for light cabinets.
Light Cabinet Hardware Finishes
There have never been more choices for hardware finishes than what exists on the market today. Finishing surface treatments are in high demand, and many hardware dealers have taken note, offering a wide selection of brushes, lacquers, glosses and more.
Finishes not only enhance the look of your hardware — they actually seal and strengthen it. Finishing your hardware means longer life and value for the piece, prevents stains and damage from oils and reduces the general wear and tear hardware receives.
With light hardware as a blank canvas of sorts, the lacquer and finishes you add transport pieces to the level where they should be. Here are some of the best hardware finishes for light cabinets.
1. Polished Chrome
The ultra sleek, ultra-shiny finish of polished chrome delivers an end product exactly as the name suggests — a super glossy, mirror-like surface treatment for your knobs, handles and pulls.
Don’t be intimidated by the intensity of the reflection, though. Even on the brightness of light cabinets, polished chrome stands on its own feet, contributing to a room’s open, inviting atmosphere. What’s more, rooms that are cabinet-heavy, such as kitchens with wall-to-wall fixtures, can use the light boost polish chrome gives off, all without being glaring or gaudy.
Why it works with light cabinets: Polished chrome is as expensive-looking as it is durable. Its polished metallic sheen won’t clash with even the lightest and brightest wood cabinet colors — especially those with cooler undertones. You can get creative with polished chrome hardware too. Its neutral silver polish won’t make a mix of hardware shapes and sizes appear busy.
2. Nickel Chrome
Few finishes harmonize hardware quite like nickel chrome. It’s the Goldilocks of finishes — not quite as shiny as polished chrome, but not as opaque as a pure matte treatment.
Nickel chrome treatments can also come in a range of application shades. Some can take your hardware to charcoal or smoky tones, while others maintain a more pearly, cream translucence with neutral metallic undertones.
Why it works with light cabinets: The ease and sophistication nickel chrome adds to a space complements the light wood around it without causing too much distraction. Its smokiness also adds a different texture and dimension to surfaces — one hard to achieve with the simplicity of cabinets.
3. Satin Brass
Satin brass can add gold accents to more neutral or earthy light cabinets. They can also complement white cabinets, adding a rich and expensive-looking flair.
There are a number of satin finishes that can be applied to cabinet hardware, but none do quite what satin brass does. With brass’ existing warm auburn notes and golden sheen, the satin finish is brushed on to create a more subdued but chic look compared to polished or raw brass.
Why it works with light cabinets: Because of satin’s simplicity, it allows for versatility in a room filled with light cabinets while adding a richer dimension to the existing, airy color scheme.
4. Oil-Rubbed Venetian Bronze
Venetian bronze is a favorite among interior designers and remodelers alike. The oil-rubbed application results in a darkened, burnished bronze with clear umber notes that’ll complement all shades of brown. It also holds a near-matte finish to let your light cabinets sing.
Why it works with light cabinets: Venetian bronze is one of the best pairings across the board for light cabinet colors. It grounds the tans, beiges, creams or khakis common in light woods and plays well with slightly darker stains. What’s more, Venetian bronze’s elegance lends itself to more detailed hardware, such as art-deco knobs and ornamental pulls.
Old antique finishes are a broad name for a surface treatment that can be applied to many hardware metals. From tawny browns to syrupy golds, oil-rubbed antique finishes can include aesthetic rust marks, tarnishing and even water spots to achieve a lived-in or farmhouse-chic look.
Why it works with dark cabinets:Antique oil rubs’ finishing process means each hardware piece is as unique as a fingerprint. This kind of detailing is the perfect partner to the noticeable grain patterns of many lighter wood facades while still maintaining a trendy, one-of-a-kind coloration detail.
Light Cabinet Basics
What material you select for your light cabinets is just as important as the hardware itself. In fact, the best design decisions are those made holistically. Every cabinet detail should be mapped from the beginning — from room placement and lighting to how shiny you want individual handles.
Yet you can’t go far in a kitchen or bathroom cabinet project if you don’t have your base materials picked out. Consider the following basic materials when crafting your light cabinets:
- Solid wood: When you close your eyes and think of cabinets, you likely picture wood. Their variety of colors, textures and patterns are reason enough to make wood reign supreme here — not to mention the sophistication, beauty and ambiance solid wood creates. Lighter-colored boards can be sourced from white oak, cedar, pine, ash and birch. These woods carry the natural tan or yellow colors you want for light cabinets. For budget-friendly projects, wood veneers can be applied to cabinet surfaces as well.
- Plywood: Plywood is an attractive choice for those concerned about the strength and durability of their cabinets. Plywood cabinets look and feel like solid wood but are engineered to carry stacked, rotated sheets beneath their surfaces, meaning enhanced weight distribution and resistance. They’re less likely to scratch or crack compared to solid wood, though some may still opt for solid wood veneers on their visible facade.
- Fiberboard: Light particleboards, medium-density fiberboards (MDFs) and lightly painted hardboards are the third most common cabinet material. They’re crafted from engineered wood fibers and have even more strength and density than plywood with even less maintenance and fuss than solid wood boards require.
- Painted wood: Opt for soft maples, rubberwood, alder and white oaks when looking to paint your wood cabinets their light color. Research the porousness of your wood, and purchase the appropriate amount of primer as a base to make sure your paint color remains the hue you want.
Light Cabinet Colors
There’s no loss for choices when it comes to picking the right color for your light-cabinet look. Whether you’re painting your boards and panels or staying true to their naturally bright shades, the following colors top our cabinet color wheel:
- White: While there are no naturally white or cream-colored woods used for cabinets, there are woods that take white paint better than others. In deciding upon a white cabinet route, you won’t be hard-pressed to find primers and coats formulated to get the job done — or hardware that will match your selected soft or hardwood base.
- Beige: Khaki or sand-colored boards are a fantastic choice to make the focal point of your light cabinets. They’re as aery as they are simple, but don’t verge on boring and do pair well with similarly light appliances and countertops.
- Gray: From earthy ash tones with soft berry accents to milky neutrals, gray cabinets come in a variety of shades. They’re a trendy and contemporary cabinet color you’ll see in urban condos and workshops alike, with their cloudy shades working as a great canvas for bolder hardware accents.
- Honey Gold: The amber-citrine undertones to honey-colored cabinets are sunny and charming — a perfect color for smaller spaces that want to embrace daylight. These rich yellow colors can go rustic, inspired by the likes of a French country-style kitchen, or be complemented by modern metallic touches and bold, multicolored hardware.
- Cinnamon: Lighter shades of brown, like those carrying cinnamon and raw cocoa hues, remain some of the most popular light woods available. They achieve the same warmth as gold cabinets and deeper, darker mahoganies, yet fit more classic and traditional kitchen aesthetics. Have some fun with these light browns, and look out for woods with interesting striations or grain patterns.
- Camel: Camel-colored cabinets offer a subtle alternative to their sunnier beige cousins but still keep your room light and open. Camel is a deeper, earthier tone holding some hints of amber’s gold undertones, but it won’t be quite so dominating and lush.
The Best Color of Hardware for Light Cabinets
It’s time to tie it all together. Using all that you know from above on complementing colors, undertones, textures and multi-dimensioned finishes, you can match your beloved light cabinets with their best hardware colors, giving you the room of your dreams.
1. Hardware color: Silver
Pair with: White-painted boards, light earthy grays
Silver’s natural sheen and gloss — whether polished or satin-finished — won’t clash against the crisp veneer of white cabinets. Likewise, gray cabinets’ understated but appealing color is matched by silver’s contemporary, stainless-steel-like look. With both, you get a clean look combined with a modern sensibility.
2. Hardware Color: Gold
Pair with: Light brown, caramel, cocoa brown or painted white cabinets
Few hardware colors enhance the glow and luxury feel of a room like gold. Whether those gold hues come from the hardware’s base material — like brass in knobs or handles — or get added to the surface through an antique finish, gold instantly lightens and brightens cabinets. Pair gold hardware with the “darkest” light wood cabinets, such as shades of caramel and sandy umber. Or apply gold hardware to palette-friendly white cabinets for additional pops.
3. Hardware Color: White/Cream
Pair with: Honey gold, amber, beige or light gray cabinets
To complement intense, already-bold amber and gold-toned wood cabinets, you need the versatility and softness of cream hardware. From modern porcelain handles to adorned knobs or oversized bin pulls, white hardware won’t go over the top to ruin the simplicity of your yellow space. It also won’t leave your light cabinet surfaces looking bare or one-dimensional, especially when layered on light gray cabinets.
4. Hardware Color: Black
Pair with: Khaki or wheat-colored cabinets, camel shades, white painted cabinets
Black matte hardware brings a depth to light cabinets. It’s hard to mismatch such a dark hardware shade or cause a sensory overload on the unique beige and neutral washes of many of these shades of wood. Whether you’re going for a modern kitchen or revamping with some cottage charm, black hardware accents complement this range of beige cabinet colors without dominating or overshadowing.
5. Hardware Color: Copper or Caramel Browns
Pair with: Light umbers, wheat or sandy-colored woods, plain white cabinets
Copper and similar shades of brown hardware add a rich and elegant charm to their adorning cabinets. Consider adding pewter or old-world antique lacquer finishings to enhance the natural earthy tones of your hardware, or go even bolder with a hand-tarnished coating. Each will only lighten and brighten the already warm tones of these woods.
6. Hardware Color: Crystal/Clear
Pair with: Everything
Translucent knobs have come a long way since their Victorian-style doorknob origins. Strengthened crystal or contemporary glass hardware now comes in detailed handlebar strips, contemporary pulls and uniquely shaped knobs shaking up the feel of a room. They fuse the tasteful vintage style with today’s popular light cabinets, made to look fresher and more youthful with crystal details.
Looking for light-cabinet hardware inspiration? Re-doing the cabinets in your kitchen or bathroom, or curious about what new products, colors and finishes are out there? Explore Cliffside’s online hardware catalog, where our complete list of high-quality and custom hardware comes in eight distinct collections. See which one suits you today.