Drilling for Kitchen Cabinet Door Hardware Locations

Home-Made Drilling Template for Cabient HardwareWhere should the holes be drilled on kitchen cabinet doors for new hardware. When drilling for knobs or handles on cabinet doors what are the correct locations. These are common questions that even professional cupboard manufactures have to ask themselves at times.

In the following paragraphs, I will attempt to enlighten your understanding of how to make an informed decision about where to place the hardware on your doors.

We will be discussing vertical installation of the cabinet handles not a horizontal application. I also will give a rational way of determining where the knobs should be placed.

Before you drill any holes, make sure/certain that this is exactly where you, your customers or family members will be happy with them being installed. Once the kitchen cupboard doors are drilled for the hardware, you will have reached the point of no-return.


What size drill bit should I use for drilling cabinet door hardware holes?

Template for Cabinet Door KnobsYou should use a three sixteenths inch (3/16”) drill bit. I highly recommend that you purchase a new one. When you are drilling the holes, you want to be very careful to not apply so much pressure that you BLOW -OUT the backside of the doors.

  • Safety: Make sure your hand is clear of where the drill-bit will exiting the door on the back. Don’t laugh…I actually worked with a professional installer who drilled right into his hand once.

First Things First
Consider how tall the people are who will be accessing the kitchen cabinets the most often. If they are short, you had better consider them in the equation. If you do not, they may not be too happy with your decision if you install the knobs or handles too high on the doors. Short folks can get rather temperamental at times if the hardware gets installed too high.

I know this for a fact because I had to live with my short-wife for several years after I installed them too high. Ahh, I thought she would never quit complaining about my decision for their placement.

Handles on Raised Panel Doors
If you have raised panel doors, a good observation to make is how the handles look when you hold them up to the door and examine the locations in comparison to where the vertical frame of the raised panel door is. This is a great way to determine exactly what you will be pleased with looking at for the next ten years or so.

The locations of the handles should obviously be centered on the stile of the cupboard door frame. The stile is the vertical part of the frame.

Important Locations for Cabinet Door Knobs

The way I like to determine where a knob should be placed is by finding the center height of the top drawers of the base cabinet fronts. If you drill the knob locations in the doors the same distance from the top of the drawer to the center of the drawer, then the door knobs will align horizontally with the drawer hardware locations.

  • As an example: If the drawer fronts are six inches high, the center point would be three inches. You would then measure three inches vertically on the cabinet door and that would be the height where you would drill for the hardware.
Installing Cabinet Handles


One should always us a template for drilling the hardware holes on kitchen cabinet doors. You can either purchase one from Home Depot or make one yourself. It is simply a pattern that you place on the doors and drill through the predetermined holes in the pattern. This will lesson the possibility of making errors.

  • Important: Double check your measurements before you drill anything!

Making a Home-Made Template

  • Tip: If your old drawer fasteners will not work with the new hardware, NO NOT FORCE the issue. It’s possible that you have a different sized or style screw thread. Some manufactures use metric measurements rather than standard.

Determining the correct locations for your kitchen cabinet door hardware is to some degree dependent upon your personal preferences. There are really no rules here. It is best though to always try to align things with one another. You know, like the example I gave for determining where the knob should be installed on the cabinet door in relation to the center of the drawer face.

Measure twice and drill once. Consult with your customers or piers on the best locations. Take your time. Once you drill that hole there’s no way of filling it in that will look good.

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