A bathroom that has a vanity with a white countertop, white cabinet doors and drawers, and black metal rectangular hardware.

How To Install Cabinet Handles

Originally contributed by James Ferry • last updated 1/13/2021

1 hourTime


Not all renovation projects have to be big, expensive, or even difficult to make a major impact in your home. Spaces can be completely transformed even by making seemingly small adjustments in the right areas.

 A great example of this is installing new cabinet hardware. Simply installing cabinet door hardware can give your cabinets the more sophisticated and refined look you’ve always wanted. Knowing how to install cabinet hardware is also a great skill to have should these handles, knobs, or pulls break and need to be replaced.

With a seemingly endless array of types and styles of cabinet door hardware, including handles, knobs, and door pulls, you can be certain that you can find the perfect finishing touch to match or upgrade your décor. 

Installing cabinet door and drawer hardware can transform outdated kitchen cabinets, old furniture, tired vanity drawers, and so much more into something spectacular! You won’t believe it’s the same item you’ve been looking at for years. Better yet, it’s an inexpensive solution to giving your space a fresh facelift.

We’ll show you how to measure, prep, and install cabinet and drawer hardware, handles, knobs, and pulls to reinvigorate all the cabinets and furniture in your home.  Let’s get started!

Cabinet Drawers


Remove Drawers

Get started on your cabinet door installation project by removing the drawers. Slide the drawers out fully, and then lift them in order to separate the drawer from the track.


Measure Handles

Measure the length of the drawer hardware. When doing so, record the distance between the centre of the screw holes and not the outside of the hardware. 


Measure Drawer Length

Use a measuring tape to determine the exact length of the drawer. Establish the centre of the drawer by dividing the measurement by two. Finally, a reason to use math other than figuring out how much the tax will cost you on your next purchase!

Use a pencil to lightly mark the centre of the drawer on the face of the drawer. 


Centre Handles

Divide the measurement of the drawer hardware made earlier by two to determine its centre point. This number will be the distance from the centre of the drawer where the holes will be drilled for the bolts.

Using the previously marked drawer centre point, use a pencil to mark where the bolts will go.

For example, if the distance between the bolt holes on the drawer hardware is 5 inches in length, the bolt holes will be 2-½ inches from the drawer centre point. 2-½ inches times two gives the total hardware hole length of 5 inches. 


Measure Drawer Width

To get a square measurement, use a tape measure to determine the width of the drawer. Divide this number by two to verify the width centre point of the drawer.

Using a pencil, mark the intersection of the length and width centre points using the previously recorded hardware marks. This ‘t’ shaped pencil mark is where to drill the holes when installing the drawer hardware. 


Drill Holes

Just like on a pirate map where ‘x’ marks the spot, the intersection of the ‘t’ mark is where to drill the holes.

Use a drill and make the holes where the bolts will go, going right through the face of the drawer.

Tip: Use a drill bit that is roughly the same size as the hardware bolts, preferably just slightly larger. This way, the bolts don’t have to be forced through holes that are too small. 


Insert Bolts

Take time to erase or wipe off the pencil marks made to determine the hole placement. This is also a good time to give the drawers a nice cleaning inside. Maybe sort through some of the clutter that was in the drawers while you're at it!

Place the bolts into the drilled holes, with the threaded side of the bolt facing the outside of the drawer.


Install Drawer Hardware

Align the drawer hardware with the bolts. With one hand holding onto the hardware, use a screwdriver to fasten the hardware to the drawer until the handles or knobs are secure. 

Once the hardware is installed, place the drawer back on the track.

Cabinet Doors


Estimate Door Hardware Placement

For cabinets, estimate where the handles should go to make them both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Typically, cabinet door hardware is installed vertically, but the orientation is completely based on personal preference. 

Tip: A good rule of thumb to use is if the cabinet door is higher than a countertop, install the hardware at the lower end of the door. If the cabinet door is below a countertop, install the hardware at the higher end of the door.


Measure To Square Hardware

After getting a rough idea of where the hardware should go, use a tape measure, determine the distance from the top or bottom of where your first hole will be drilled. Then measure the distance from the side of the drawer where the handle or knob will be installed. Mark this section with an ‘t’. 

Using the distance between the two holes on the hardware, use a pencil to make a rough mark where the second hole will go. Make sure it’s square to the cabinet door by measuring the same distance used for the first hole between the side of the door, again marking it with a ‘t’. 

Record these measurements to use on all other cabinet doors so the hardware placement remains consistent. 


Drill Cabinet Doors

Drill the holes. When drilling into cabinet doors, it's a good idea to open the door to avoid accidentally drilling into the frame of the cabinet. 


Install Cabinet Door Hardware 

Open the cabinet door and attach the hardware by using a screwdriver to fasten the bolts to the cabinet doors.

Repeat these processes when installing all cabinet hardware, until all of your new handles, knobs, or door pulls are in place. 

And with that, you’ve given your cabinet drawers and doors an inexpensive yet impressive facelift that others, including yourself, are sure to notice!