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A Guide to Kitchen Remodeling Materials

Kitchen Doors and Hardware
In this south-of-the-border-style kitchen, silvertone Mexican concha buckles are the perfect hardware accents.

The doors and hardware complete the look of your kitchen. So before you start your kitchen remodeling project, you need to find out more about these materials.

Kitchen Doors

Glazed doors let in the light, but they also pose a greater security issue than solid doors. Sliding doors are contemporary classics, at home in modern or retro rooms. They allow easy access to patios and decks and eliminate the need to sacrifice floor space for door swing.

For a romantic traditional look, French doors are the style of choice. These hinged, swinging doors traditionally are used in pairs and open from the center. If possible, they should open to the inside, although this does require allotting door-swing space.

Kitchen Hardware

Kitchen hardware -- window cranks and pulls, cabinet knobs and handles, door and drawer pulls, and more, are often called the jewelry of the room. They don't have to match, and, in most cases, you won't be able to match them. But do keep the number of different looks to a minimum.

For example, don't mix shiny brass, brushed brass, chrome, brushed nickel-finish steel, white-enameled metal, and so on, all in one room. Rather, pick two or three colors/finishes and stick with them, and keep in mind any hardware visible from an adjoining great room or family room. You'll want to stay with a complementary look.

In general, bright and brushed/antiqued brass hardware are considered elegant traditional, nickel-finish steel is traditional, wrought iron or wood is rustic traditional, and shiny chrome and enameled steel are modern. However, shape can also affect whether a particular metal "reads" modern or classic. You have more choices than you may think.

Use hardware to personalize your kitchen. If you don't like the standard knobs that came with your stock cabinets, shop for novelty ones you like better. Why settle for a plain chrome knob when you can have a knob or pull that's an antiqued brass acorn, a verdigris frog, or a pewter-look miniature fork?

After all, creating a new and improved kitchen may be work, but you can still have fun and indulge your taste when choosing your materials. And let's face it: Taste is what a kitchen is about!


Mary Wynn Ryan is the author of numerous interior design books, including The Ultimate Kitchen, The Ultimate Bath, Cottage Style, Fresh Country Style, and Garden Style. She has written about home furnishings and interior design for various magazines and served as Midwest editor of Design Times magazine. She was also the director of consumer and trade marketing for the Chicago Merchandise Mart's residential design center. She is president of Winning Ways Marketing, an editorial and marketing consulting firm that specializes in home design and decorating.