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Condo Scene: Knobs, pulls and handles can have a big impact



Whether classic, modern or whimsical, cabinet knobs, pulls and handles can dramatically change a room.

Unlike moving into a previously owned space, when you move into a new condo you have a say over many details such as finishings, colours and design schemes. If you want granite counters or hardwood flooring and are willing to pay the upgrade fee, you can do just that.

This is a wonderful opportunity, but one that can be overwhelming. And that could mean decisions about smaller choices get lost in the shuffle.

Consider knobs, pulls and handles. From one style to another, these small features can dramatically change any room and serve as a relatively low-cost upgrade.


When you get dressed, you choose a certain piece of jewelry or a particular patterned tie. If you chose another instead, the outfit would have a different effect on the viewer and, perhaps, on the way you feel.

Knobs are like jewelry for your cabinets and drawers and there are many choices, from stainless steel or oil-rubbed bronze to whimsical, modern, round or square. Sure, there are plenty of seemingly more impactful home decor details to consider. But changing out a set of knobs has dramatic design implications.

Because there are so many types of knobs, it is sometimes difficult to decide what looks best. But this decision will reflect the feel you are looking for. For instance, you may decide to put fun knobs in a personal space, like your closet or ensuite. Or perhaps you want a look that screams “luxurious opulence” and instead opt for more decorative knobs.

In a bathroom with a chandelier or glass mosaics, glass knobs can look amazing. I recently visited a beach house in Maine that had a large, all-white marble ensuite with polished nickel faucets and gorgeous star-shaped glass knobs. The knobs were perfect, given the Maine setting and the owner’s personality. In fact, they even inspired this column.


Glass, star-shaped knobs grace the ensuite bathroom of a home in Maine.


For those who want a sleeker look, knobs may be preferable to pulls. That is because one knob can open a drawer that might instead have two pulls. If your aim is to draw the focus to other features of the room, minimizing the hardware helps.

But sometimes a knob is not sufficient in handling the weight of the drawer and you’re better off with a pull. Consider what you will use the drawer for and how often.


Many kitchen designers are now opting for longer handles. If you go to condo showrooms right now, you will see a plethora of drawers and cabinets adorned with long handles.

This is a look that is both functional and elegant in certain spaces, but before you pick it, consider the look you want. Although this is a sleek design, maybe you want to think out of the box and install knobs instead.

Forgo design trends if they do not go with your cabinetry. For instance, a country French kitchen might not be best with these handles.


As I mentioned earlier, there are many finishes. For continuity, you may decide to match your knobs, pulls and handles to the hardware on your doors (doorknobs, hinges and finials). Of course, matching is not the only way to go, design wise. Instead, you might decide to personalize certain spaces with a splash of whimsy, like the star-knobbed ensuite.

Another thing to consider when choosing your knobs, handles and pulls is how they’ll look over time. Often-used handles in oil-rubbed bronze will wear. But this, too, can look great depending on your taste. Much like installing a copper roof and seeing the aging effects over time, oil-rubbed bronze can be a nice statement.

When choosing your knobs, pulls and handles, it’s important to consider the overall effect these will have on your space, the aging effects of certain products and your own personality.

Marilyn Wilson has been selling real estate for more than 24 years and owns Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc. Brokerage, an Exclusive Affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate. She can be reached through

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