Special Nonexistent Furniture

by Susan Serra

Susan Serra CKD, CAPS, is president of Susan Serra Associates, Inc., the kitchen design firm she has owned and operated for over 20 years and business entity for her lifestyle brands, Scandinavian Made www.scandinavianmade.com and Bornholm Kitchen (www.bornholmkitchen.com.) An expert on kitchen design, with countless projects published in national media over the years, Susan is a speaker, a go-to source for the media on kitchen design issues, and a consultant to brands in the kitchen industry. She attends as many design shows in the US and abroad as she can during the year with eyes wide open. Susan thinks about kitchens…a lot!

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  • Photo Credit: Design of Kitchen
  • If kitchen cabinetry, flooring, and countertops are the clothing, cabinet hardware is surely the jewelry, the finishing touch to the ensemble. Such a small item, physically, in relation to all of the larger, expensive, and important design elements in the kitchen, the choice of hardware can still drive you crazy! Choosing cabinet hardware is in the same angst-ridden realm that includes choosing paint colors, wallpaper and tile -- SO many choices, and awesome ones! Here are some ways to make the selection process easier.
  • Photo Credit: Susan Serra
  • Style Synergy

    This one's easy, right? You already know the style of your kitchen. Looking at a piece of hardware as a style element, you will soon see that every piece of hardware can nudge the entire style of your kitchen in one direction or another. Examine the subtleties of hardware pieces.
  • Photo Credit: Susan Serra
  • Get into that next level of detail to evaluate if straight lines or curves on a hardware piece work better for your design, or a combination. Notice how the shape relates to your kitchen's theme. Hardware should reinforce the theme of your kitchen design.
  • Photo Credit: Susan Serra
  • The Perfect Finish

    Also connected to style, the finish of your hardware will certainly influence your kitchen's theme. There are so many exciting cabinet hardware materials -- glass, wood, stone, leather in a wide array of colors -- not just metals! Pick a finish that makes sense with your design. Metallic finishes may be chosen to match other metallic objects such as lighting and faucets, or it can be a different finish for a more personal or eclectic look. Note how polished, brushed, or matte finishes work with other design elements in the kitchen. Take special note of warm versus cool colors in your hardware. While warm finishes are desired by many homeowners right now, polished nickel, slightly warmer than chrome, is also very popular right now and has a lovely rich tone.
  • Photo Credit: Susan Serra
  • Size Matters

    The size of your hardware can appear understated throughout the kitchen or conversely, create a bold design statement. Long, modern pulls call attention to the hardware, adding lots of metal to the kitchen for an industrial interpretation. Wide, broad, dark brown leather straps provide a sort of luggage strap look to the kitchen, for an unexpected, yet very warm, look. Small, crystal pulls or super thin integrated handles work to create a nearly invisible look for a flow to the kitchen. Best bet? Buy samples. View them close up and also far away to see their size and proportion from different perspectives.
  • Photo Credit: Susan Serra
  • Knobs of Pulls?

    Which to choose, knobs or pulls? A very loose rule of thumb, if you would like to use two types of hardware in the kitchen, is to use pulls on drawers and knobs on doors. Knobs and pulls do not have to be from the same hardware collection, but if you mix a few different brands, try to create a visual relationship on several fronts—style, proportion, and complementary finishes. Another tip is to use different hardware just on one featured area—the cooktop cabinetry, hutch, island, or other cabinet section you would like to differentiate.
  • Photo Credit: Susan Serra
  • Have fun!

    After all the hard work of designing your kitchen is done and you are ready to select hardware, or, if you just want a fresh new look to your existing kitchen, dig in and enjoy the process of finding beautiful hardware, the jewelry of your kitchen! What's your favorite hardware style?

    - Susan
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