Mix and Match Hardware: The Ultimate in Customization

For as small as the pieces are, it’s amazing the difference that hardware can make in a kitchen or bathroom. Door and cabinet knobs, drawer handles, faucets, and lighting all work together to give a room a distinctive look. However, these pieces do not all have to match perfectly in order to work together; in fact, mixing and matching hardware can really help pull a room together.


One of the easiest ways to mix and match hardware is by changing up the shapes you use. Keep in mind that there should be some method to the madness — random pieces of hardware next to each other with no rhyme or reason will rarely turn out to be an attractive look. Instead, create some rules to follow. For example, maybe all of the drawers will have round knobs, and the cabinets will have squares or ovals. Alternatively, you might divide the room by height — upper cabinets with one shape, lower cabinets and drawers with another.


Another way of mixing and matching hardware is by choosing different but complementary materials. This is actually common in even some of the most traditional designs; glass or porcelain knobs are common, while faucets will typically be made out of metal. However, this can be taken a step farther.

One option is to use similar materials, but with various colors. A variety of metals can be used for kitchen and bathroom hardware, with each being available in different colors. Stainless steel with a dark gray, chrome has a bright silver, iron can be dull gray or black, and brass and copper come in various shades of yellow and red. Each of these can be mixed to complement the room they are chosen for, in tones that work to contrast with the finish chosen for the pieces around them.

Metal is far from the only option available. Glass, porcelain, acrylic, and enamel knobs are available in every color of the rainbow. These make great visual draws in a room of otherwise metal hardware, providing a bright pop of color that can draw the eye to key points in the room.

Where to Mix, and Where to Match:

It can be tempting to choose a huge variety of hardware to use in a room — brass sconces, iron drawer pulls, and six colors of enamel and porcelain cabinet handles scattered throughout a single room. However, beware of doing too much; too many colors and shapes in one room can overwhelm the eye and make the space seem jumbled and cluttered. When mixing and matching hardware, it’s just as important to know when to match as when to mix.

Make a few rules, and stick to them. If you decide that all lower cabinets will have round white porcelain knobs, that doesn’t mean much if you make exceptions for half those cabinets. Also keep in mind that most people are pre-programmed to like symmetry — if you have a set of drawers on either side of an appliance, matching those is an easy way to give the area a cohesive look, even if the other pieces around them are different. When in doubt, speak with a designer with experience in mixing and matching hardware to achieve the look you desire for your bathroom or kitchen.

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