How to Select Cabinet Hardware for a Contemporary Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home. When this room meets homeowners’ needs and matches their lifestyle, overall home satisfaction increases exponentially.

According to a Forbes survey, 79 percent of homeowners remodeling their kitchens are doing so because they want to improve the look and feel of their kitchen. This reason ranks higher than improving functionality, entertaining space concerns and increasing home value. Homeowners want an attractive, inviting place to act as this central hub of their living space.

improve kitchen look

To achieve the desired look and feel, it’s essential to mind the details. The installation of gorgeous cabinetry and elegant tile floors is only the beginning. The final selections are what bring the bigger pieces together and enhance their beauty. Homeowners can spend large budgets on countertops and cabinets, but no contemporary-style kitchen is complete without the right hardware.

With careful consideration, a selection of contemporary hardware for cabinets can perfectly complete this space. The first step in this selection process is to gain a solid understanding of contemporary kitchen styles.

What Defines a Contemporary-Style Kitchen?

A contemporary-style kitchen incorporates concepts from multiple design movements. It features high functionality and streamlined surfaces. This look and feel takes its cue from the modernist design movement. Contemporary style also includes traditional ideas to make the space welcoming and livable. Contemporary kitchens offer a sleek and fluid feel to the work and living space. The main features are clean, simple lines and color schemes that incorporate the most recent trends in kitchen designs.

contemporary kitchens

Common features of a contemporary-style kitchen include dark wood or black cabinets, stainless steel appliances and fresh countertops. Tile is another common feature, as well as bright, modern lighting. For paint choices, contemporary kitchens are typically monochromatic, with a few pops of color throughout. The overall result is a modern design that incorporates the homeowners’ taste and matches the needs of their lifestyle.

Types of Hardware for a Contemporary Kitchen

Once a homeowner has decided to create a contemporary kitchen, it is important to select the best finishes to complete the look. Many options are available to create a unique, but contemporary, space that offers optimal functionality. This combination is integral to the contemporary design. The goal should be sharp finishes that offer both form and function. Following are the most popular options for contemporary kitchen hardware.


  • Recessed pulls — This option is perfect for the active cook or busy kitchen. Recessed pulls are built into cabinet doors and drawers. Since they don’t protrude, they will not snag on clothes or create bumps on elbows or heads. They can be made of the same material or color as the cabinetry to blend in, or in a contrasting material to highlight the look.
  • Bar pulls — These are available in a variety of styles and sizes. Unlike recessed pulls, this contemporary kitchen hardware is designed to stand out and make a statement. They offer a more industrial feel, while also adding a streamlined look. Bar pull designs include everything from four-finger-sized to full-cabinet length. A popular option is to extend the ends of the bar past the screw holes where it attaches to the cabinet. Bar pulls are the most common contemporary cabinet pulls, probably due to their versatility. Homeowners can choose from rounded, rail or square to achieve the feel they desire. Materials vary from metal to leather. When installed horizontally, bar pulls create the sleek lines for which contemporary-style kitchens are known.
  • Integrated handles — Homeowners who desire an ultra-sleek look may want to consider integrated handles. Their inwardly beveled edge makes them easy to grip using only the fingertips. This style also creates a gap between drawers which designers can highlight with an accent color or a different metallic material to make the space really pop.
  • Push latches — Using a mechanical or magnetic device, push latches keep doors and drawers perfectly flush and make them easy to close. With a gentle touch, they glide to a close with a slow-motion effect. This contemporary cabinet hardware is ideal for the cook who wants a convenient, hands-free option for cabinet and drawer operation. A quick bump will ensure the cabinetry is secure.
  • Hidden pulls — Also referred to as edge pulls, this hardware option is designed to be concealed by the surface above. The subtle lip protrudes for opening, but does not detract attention from the cabinetry itself. Hidden pulls are attached to the top edge of each door, with a small sliver of metal jutting out.
  • Tab pulls — The tab pull fits well in a contemporary-style kitchen due to its subtle and sleek design. Mounted at the top of the door or drawer and the bottom of wall cabinets, they nearly disappear from view. They are available in any size and finish to complement the color and style of the cabinetry.
  • Drop handles — Moving away from the traditional pull, drop handles are two-piece handles made of a mounted plate with a dangling pull. These make built-in cabinets look more like furniture. They also make the cabinets a bit more childproof, since they are more complex to use than a traditional pull.

kitchen bar pulls


  • Square knobs — Contemporary hardware for cabinets includes out-of-the-box thinking. There’s no reason knobs have to be a standard circular shape. Square knobs create a modern feel to the design to give the kitchen a clean-line look.
  • Round knobs — Of course, homeowners can choose the traditional round knob for the contemporary-style kitchen. To make this choice more contemporary, the design may include a recessed notch for gripping, or a contrasting material in the center of the knob, such as crystal.
  • Mushroom knobs — This style offers a little more personality than a plain round knob. Shaped like a mushroom, it protrudes for easy gripping and offers the opportunity to incorporate more than one material or a design in the top of the mushroom.
  • Modern bar knobs — These knobs are a good choice to complement larger bar pulls used for cabinets. Attached to drawers, they create the same horizontal lines as contemporary cabinet pulls, but attach with one screw and take up less space on the cabinet fronts.
  • Novelty knobs — For homeowners who want to add a bit more personality to their cabinets, novelty knobs are available in all shapes and sizes. Unique insets or shapes typify these options. To keep them contemporary, homeowners can choose shapes that conform to the sleek lines of a modern kitchen.


  • Invisible hinges — These hinges are perfect latches for contemporary kitchen hardware due to their clean lines. They are hidden from view when the cabinet door is closed.
  • Face-mount hinges — Also referred to as surface-mounted hinges, these can be attached without cutting into the cabinetry. A standard option, face-mount hinges are easy to use and available in any color to complement the cabinets.
  • Self-closing hinges — For those who tire of drawers and cabinet doors hanging open that last inch, self-closing hinges are the perfect option. They eliminate the need for slamming or hard pushes. The hinges close the door that last inch and holds it tight in that position.
  • Wrap/semi-wrap hinges — Full or partially wrapped hinges go around the back edge of the door or face frame. Because they feature a plain flat leaf for attaching, semi-wrap hinges can be used on frameless cabinets.
  • Full/half-overlay hinges — It may be necessary to use different styles of hinges for various cabinets in the kitchen. Full-overlay hinges are designed for end cabinets, and half-overlay hinges are used for pairs of doors in the middle.

invisible hinges

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Appliance Pulls:

  • Refrigerator — A contemporary kitchen typically features a stainless steel or black refrigerator. To complete the contemporary look, choose a sleek, steel-colored pull. The shape should be simple, clean and functional. Don’t forget comfort, too. A contemporary kitchen offers convenience and ease of use, and this includes the right pull to access the refrigerator.
  • Oven — For the best contemporary look, a stainless-steel oven pull is a great option. It can be rounded or squared. If the homeowner is using this bar for hanging towels, a square bar pull will help keep them in place. Be sure to choose a style that matches that of the microwave and refrigerator.
  • Microwave — The microwave pull should be simple and functional. To pull everything together, choose a style that matches the cabinetry next to a built-in microwave. Again, it should also match the look and feel of the other appliances in the kitchen.

Which Contemporary Cabinet Knobs Should You Choose?

With so many options, it can be challenging to choose which contemporary cabinet hardware to install in your kitchen. To help you decide, consider the following F.A.C.T.O.R.S.

F – Finishes: For a clean, contemporary look, keep finishes consistent. Cabinet hardware is available in a variety of finishes, so it should be simple enough to match the other hardware in the kitchen. Mixing metals can work for a contemporary look, but keep colors close and the level of shine similar. For example, brushed nickel next to high-polished silver may clash.

contemporary finishes

Get This Look

A – Accents: Hardware comes in many standard finishes. However, it’s OK to think outside the knob when choosing hardware for a contemporary kitchen. Accent the kitchen with glass knobs or mirrored pulls. Choose a unique shape that complements the artwork in the room. The smallest details of the hardware can create a unique space that adds to its enjoyment.

C – Cabinet colors: A homeowner may love a certain style of contemporary cabinet knobs, but they shouldn’t clash harshly with the color of the cabinets. White cabinets are the most versatile. If you’ve chosen to use brown shades of wood, the selection must be more precise to get a good match.

T – Theme: If a contemporary-style kitchen is the goal, it’s essential to stick with this theme for the hardware. Modern lighting, counters and cabinets don’t mesh well with country-kitchen style pulls. While contemporary allows for personalization, remember to maintain clean lines and a modern look.

O – Other fixtures: When selecting contemporary cabinet hardware, it’s important to keep the rest of the kitchen in mind. Consider the sink, appliances and light fixtures. Choosing the best hardware to complement these other fixtures will create a cohesive design that is more attractive than a mishmash of fixtures and hardware.

R – Right style: One of the biggest debates regarding hardware for contemporary cabinets is knobs vs. pulls. Both are good options for contemporary kitchens, so it’s often hard for homeowners to choose. A good rule of thumb is to use knobs for more ornate or finely detailed kitchens. They are smaller and simpler, and won’t detract attention from the cabinetry design.

contemporary knobs

Get This Look

 S – Sturdiness: Adding gorgeous hardware is the perfect way to complete a contemporary-style kitchen. However, beauty isn’t the only factor. The hardware will see a lot of use, so ensure it is strong, easy to use and will stand the test of time.

How to Complement Contemporary Cabinet Hardware

Once a homeowner has chosen cabinets and hardware for their contemporary-style kitchen, the next step is to perfectly accent these pieces with other aspects of the kitchen. Here are some tips for this process.


Consider stainless steel appliances. These are the go-to option for contemporary kitchens. They fit well with any style of cabinetry and offer a sleek, modern look. Panel-ready appliances and integrated cooktops are also ideal. They incorporate seamlessly into the cabinetry to keep the focus on other aspects of your kitchen design.


Next to cabinetry and its accompanying contemporary cabinet hardware, counters are probably the most significant selection to make for a kitchen. The type of counter affects the kitchen’s quality, functionality, value and easy cleanup. Most contemporary kitchens include either quartz or granite countertops. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular selections, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association.

popular countertops

  • Quartz — 88 percent
  • Granite — 83 percent
  • Marble — 43 percent
  • Solid surface — 43 percent
  • Butcher block — 35 percent


Some colors are kitchen classics and never go out of style. For contemporary style kitchens, blue, red, green, yellow, orange and white are all popular options. To keep with the contemporary look, feel free to think outside the box and use various shades of these colors. A pop of turquoise or cobalt can create a kitchen with a more sophisticated look than standard blue.

For bolder colors, remember to use them sparingly as accents. For darker shades, use as accents only and include plenty of light to avoid making the overall space too dark.


Traditional kitchens were designed with one cook in mind, offering a triangle of sink, range and refrigerator. Contemporary kitchens are created with multi-purpose function and multiple cooks in mind. They may include several zones with different purposes.

Homeowners may want to include convenient seating options, such as a bar or island with stools. Pantry pull-outs offer a space-saving storage zone. Coffee connoisseurs may want their kitchen to include a coffee bar. Contemporary kitchen layouts go beyond the basics to incorporate the lifestyle of each family.


No contemporary kitchen designer can ignore the prevalence of technology in our society. It permeates our world, so it will surely enter the kitchen. Integrating technology into kitchen features is the next step in contemporary-style kitchen creation.

tech friendly kitchens

The National Kitchen & Bath Association reports that about one-third of professionals now include wiring and pathways for technical integration in kitchen designs. Contemporary kitchens also include docking stations and Internet-connected appliances. These and other forward-thinking features take advantage of existing and future technology to allow for full functionality of a contemporary kitchen.


Contemporary kitchen designers incorporate environmentally friendly options. LED lighting can be a huge energy saver, as can high-efficiency appliances. Using less water and electricity reduces a home’s overall footprint. It can also help save money on utility bills.

Do’s and Don’ts for a Contemporary-Style Kitchen

Using these factors and kitchen complement guides, homeowners can uniquely design a contemporary-style kitchen to suit their needs. However, there are a few basic do’s and don’ts to adhere to if you plan to maintain the contemporary design.

Don’t: Clutter the space. Contemporary means clean and streamlined. Clutter does not belong in a contemporary kitchen. Don’t ruin perfectly good hardware selections with numerous knickknacks, utensil holders or storage containers on the counters.

Don’t: Oversaturate with color. Keep in mind, color can also cause clutter. Don’t mix too many hues or textures. Make 60 percent of the kitchen one color. Choose a secondary for another 30 percent. Then accent the final 10 percent with a third.

Don’t: Get too trendy. In an effort to make a kitchen contemporary, homeowners may choose the latest styles. While this can be helpful, it’s important to choose timeless hardware and other features. No one wants a kitchen that is outdated in two or three years because it incorporates a short-lived trend.

Don’t: Skimp on counters and storage. Details such as cabinet hardware are important, but they are second to major functional factors. These include counter and storage space. A contemporary kitchen offers plenty of space for multiple tasks and room to stock up on everything a homeowner needs to have on hand. Planning for too little space in either of these areas creates an unusable, uninviting kitchen.

Do: Consider the home value. All selections for a contemporary-style kitchen should align with the home’s value. Top-end hardware does not make sense for an inexpensive home, and economy-style selections are not appropriate for a luxury kitchen in an elite neighborhood. Invest the right amount in the hardware selections to match the overall investment of the home.

kitchen hardware selection

Do: Consider lifestyle habits. What does the kitchen need to make it a useful space? Will it be a family gathering place? Will more than one cook use the area for meal preparation? Contemporary styles are about more than appearances. It’s important to create a kitchen with practical functionality for the modern lifestyle.

Do: Maximize space. Since you don’t want to skimp on counters and storage, make full use of the space available. Extend cabinets to the ceiling. Create a workspace out of a dead corner. Install pull-outs to access hard-to-reach storage areas. Get creative to unleash the kitchen’s full potential.

Do: Consider innovative trends. Homeowners and designers are rethinking traditional kitchen setups. Simply because something has been done a certain way for decades doesn’t mean it’s the best way. Contemporary innovations include side-opening ovens, microwave drawers and deep-pocket drawers. This out-of-the-box thinking offers kitchen solutions that are much more convenient than traditional styles.

Why Choose Cliffside Industries Products for Contemporary Cabinet Hardware?

The final factor in choosing cabinet hardware for a contemporary kitchen is selecting a trusted company to supply the products. It is crucial to find a company that offers quality hardware and superior service to back it. Homeowners expect their hardware to stand the test of time. They want a full range of options to match the designs they desire, alongside superior service they can count on.

We have what customers want. Cliffside Industries offers a line of more than 5,000 quality items from suppliers around the world. We partner with the finest craftsmen to create our products. Our hardware offers strength, durability and value. Our staff offers extensive experience and is committed to short delivery times and long-standing relationships. Our 30-year history in the kitchen hardware business attests to our team’s commitment to excellence.

cliffside products

We attribute Cliffside Industries’ track record of success to adherence to our core values.

  • Quality: We hold our products, service and interactions to the highest standards. Quality defines everything we do.
  • Value: Cliffside Industries doesn’t define value as the cheapest price. We deliver products that offer long-lasting return on your investment. That is true value.
  • Relationships: Our company was founded on one-on-one relationships. Personal contact with customers still drives our business today.
  • Innovation: With 30 years of industry experience, we know how to adapt and progress with the marketplace. We foster an environment charged with inspiration, originality and growth.

Professional Expertise for Contemporary Cabinet Hardware

To discover more about contemporary cabinet hardware options, contact the experts at Cliffside Industries. Our experienced team will help you select the best options for your home or your customers. Reach us today at 717-627-3286.

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