Installing new cabinet handles is an easy and affordable way to give your kitchen a fresh, updated look. With just a few tools and a little bit of time, you can change the entire feel of your kitchen by swapping out old, worn cabinet hardware for new handles and knobs. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to install new cabinet handles to transform the look of your kitchen.

Choose New Cabinet Handles

The first step is selecting new cabinet handles that fit your style and complement your existing kitchen decor. There are countless options to choose from, including:

  • Bar pulls – Excellent for a contemporary or transitional look. These long horizontal handles make opening doors and drawers easy.
  • Knobs – For a more traditional kitchen, knobs with detailing like edges or ridges add updated style.
  • Cup pulls – Offer a dainty, elegant look. These pulls are cups that attach to drawers and doors.
  • Bow pull handles – Great for shaker or cottage style kitchens, these curved U-shaped pulls add subtle flair.
  • Cutout pulls – Lovely for modern and sleek kitchens. Their slim profile highlights your cabinetry.

Once you’ve selected new handles, make sure to buy enough for all your cabinet doors and drawers, as mixing old and new handles will not give you the updated look you want.

Remove the Old Handles

Before installing the new handles, you need to remove the old ones. Start by opening up the drawers and doors and prying off any plastic covers hiding the handle screws using a small flathead screwdriver.

Use a Phillips-head screwdriver to remove the screws holding the old handles in place (there are usually two screws per handle). Slide the old handles off the screws and set them aside.

Install the New Handles

Now for the fun part – installing the stunning new handles! Follow these steps:

  • Hold the new handle up to the door or drawer front to mark where the screw holes need to be drilled. Make a small indent with a hammer and nail to mark the spot.
  • Using a drill with a small drill bit, make pilot holes in the marked locations. This makes installing the new screws easier.
  • Line up the handle with the pilot holes and insert the screws. Tighten them with a screwdriver until the handle feels snug and secure.
  • Repeat this process for each handle, ensuring they are all lined up and evenly spaced.
  • Once all new handles are installed, replace any plastic screw hole covers.
  • Finally, stand back and admire your gorgeous new handles that have given your kitchen an instant facelift!

Tips for Choosing the Best Handles

Here are some extra tips for selecting cabinet handles that will perfectly suit your kitchen:

  • Metal finish – Match existing faucets and appliances for a cohesive look. Popular finishes include chrome, bronze, nickel, and black.
  • Size – Larger handles make a statement, while petite ones blend in. Scale handles appropriately for your cabinet door/drawer size.
  • Budget – Pricing varies widely, from a couple dollars up to over $100 per handle. Set realistic expectations.
  • Style – Keep the room’s overall aesthetic in mind. Seek handles that align with your kitchen’s theme.
  • Grip – Opt for handles with detailed edges or texture for an easy-to-grasp grip, especially for frequently used cabinets.

Frequently Asked Questions About Updating Cabinet Handles

Here are answers to some common questions homeowners have about changing their kitchen cabinet handles:

What’s the benefit of installing new handles?
New cabinet handles provide an instant update that can modernize and add style to your kitchen. It’s a simple project that makes a big visual impact.

How long does it take to install new handles?
For an average sized kitchen with about 25 handles total, it takes 2-3 hours to remove old handles and install new ones.

Should I replace all my handles at once?
For the most cohesive and updated look, it’s best to install new handles on all cabinets/drawers at the same time. Mixing old with new can look disjointed.

How much does it cost to replace handles?
The cost for new handles ranges hugely, but expect $10-50 per handle on average. For a mid-sized kitchen with 20 new handles, total costs may land around $400.

Can I just replace some handles?
To keep a consistent style, all handles should be replaced, but you can do just a few at a time if spreading out costs over multiple projects.

What if my cabinets don’t have pre-drilled holes?
Using a drill, make new holes for your handle screws. Fill old handle holes with wood filler before re-painting cabinets.

Should I hire a handyman?
While DIY handle installation is totally doable for most homeowners, handymen can be hired for $50-100/hour if you prefer not to tackle this yourself.


Installing new cabinet hardware is an inexpensive and easy weekend project for any homeowner. By simply switching out all the old, dated handles and knobs for new, stylish ones you can give your kitchen an instant fresh and updated look. Use the steps outlined here for successfully removing your old hardware and installing your fabulous new handles. With a few basic tools and this helpful guide, you’ll be able to transform the style and feel of your kitchen in just a few hours. So take this opportunity to upgrade your cabinets with new handles that complement your kitchen’s decor.