The Kitchen Cabinet Hardware Trends That Make Your Home Look Instantly Dated

published Jul 6, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
A kitchen sink detail shot with grey cabinets, a white marble countertop and backsplash, and decorations.
Credit: Joseph Hendrickson/Shutterstock

The kitchen isn’t just a place for cooking and eating — it’s the central hub of the home and a great place to show off your personality. However, outdated hardware can easily tarnish the aesthetic, both metaphorically and literally. From worn-out cabinet handles to old-fashioned faucet designs, these seemingly minor details can make a big impact, turning a once-trendy kitchen into a very dated space.

To be sure your kitchen is up to date (and stays that way), I talked to top interior designers to learn about which kitchen hardware will stay on trend for years to come — and, just as importantly, which ones make your space look instantly dated.

Outdated Kitchen Hardware

Credit: Kseniia Neniukova/Shutterstock

1. Crystal Knobs

I hate to break it to you, but crystal knobs are out. According to Joyce Elizabeth Huston, cofounder and lead designer at Decorilla, “not only do they look dated, but they look out of style and cheap at the same time.” While these kinds of knobs were once loved for their glamorous appeal, they’ve fallen out of favor. Most have intricate designs that often clash with the sleek, minimalist style that characterizes contemporary kitchens. 

Credit: Evgeny Pyatkov/Shutterstock

2. Highly Decorative Cabinet Handles

As the saying goes, less is more, and highly decorative cabinet handles can be too much for the space. Their elaborate patterns and ornate detailing don’t complement kitchens like they used to. “Handles that have intricate designs can look beautiful, but they will also make your kitchen feel and look less contemporary,” explains TileCloud interior designer Courtney Cole.

Plus, practicality plays a role in why they aren’t as popular; the complex designs can make them hard to clean, letting dust and grime accumulate in the crevices. As Huston says, “They definitely were used in the 1800s, but not anymore.”

Credit: Fatur Rm/Shutterstock

3. Ceramic Knobs

“If you want your hardware to be modern, then ceramic knobs are out,” Huston says. Their colorful and unique patterns, while adding a touch of rustic or vintage charm, now seem out of place in modern kitchens, which more often highlight clean lines and minimalist design. “[Ceramic knobs] are pretty common in older homes, but because they were so popular decades ago, they’ll make your home feel a bit stuck in the past,” Cole adds. What’s more, ceramic knobs can be fragile and prone to chipping or cracking, making them less durable than other hardware.

Credit: Bogdan Sonjachnyj/Shutterstock

4. Overly Industrial-Themed Hardware

Overly industrial-themed hardware was once a top choice when it came to adding a rugged, edgy flare to kitchens, but it has started to feel dated in recent years. “While it became popular during the ‘farmhouse’ era, the pieces will instantly date your space,” says Will Zhang, director of design and product innovation at Emtek. “With the kitchen being a place we spend so much of our time, it’s better to avoid anything too trend-focused and instead opt for timeless pieces.”

These overly industrial hardware pieces often feature heavy, bulky designs with raw finishes like exposed screws, dark metals, and rough textures, which can make a space feel more like a factory than a home kitchen. While industrial elements can add character, when overdone, they can overwhelm the space and make it feel less warm and welcoming.

Timeless Kitchen Hardware

Don’t worry, I also asked the experts what you should opt for instead of the dated features above. “If you want your kitchen to look more contemporary and modern, you should look for products that are more streamlined and polished in the way they look,” Cole says.

Credit: Bits And Splits/Shutterstock

1. Metal Cabinet Handles

“When it comes to kitchen hardware, the simpler the knob or the pull the better,” Huston explains. “This Kela Matte Black Metal Cabinet is a great option because it has a sleek, simple, contemporary design. Black is my favorite because it’s sophisticated yet very versatile.” Additionally, one of the best things about simple knobs is that they’re minimalistic, making them timeless even if other parts of your kitchen change. “This Center to Center Bar Pull is another classic yet modern option that is great for the more traditional person but also has a very sleek aesthetic,” she adds.

Credit: FanPro/Getty Images

2. Brushed Nickel Hardware

Without a doubt, brushed nickel hardware has a classic appeal. “Hardware in a brushed nickel colorway will make your kitchen look timeless and elegant, but without the dated feeling that sometimes comes with timelessness,” Cole says. Plus, brushed nickel can seamlessly hide fingerprints and smudges.

Credit: Anna_List/Shutterstock

3. Chrome Colorways 

“Another modern option is to go for chrome hardware,” Cole says. “The shine of chrome makes a kitchen look more clean, and because it reflects light, will make the space look more open and warm. This is one of my favorites in the kitchen, particularly if you want an über-modern aesthetic.” What’s more, the polished surface of chrome hardware creates a clean, contemporary look that complements a variety of kitchen styles, from minimalist to industrial. 

The Final Verdict on Kitchen Hardware

​​“When making selections, it’s important to ask yourself if this is a decision you will still agree with in five-plus years,” Zhang says. “Additionally, I always recommend considering if the hardware works outside of the kitchen by taking into account the home’s theme and architecture. Finding continuity between your kitchen hardware and the home’s overall aesthetic typically leads to decisions that work better and last longer.” With all of these considerations in mind, now you’ll know exactly what to pick when you opt for kitchen hardware.