You don’t need a full kitchen remodel to grab buyer’s attention — especially in this market where sellers have such a stronghold. Much like a swipe of lipstick is an easy way to change up your look, adding new cabinet pulls can be a quick and simple refresh that has a significant impact on your kitchen’s aesthetic.
“Cabinets are often the most expensive part of a kitchen remodel,” says Melissa Dorman, a broker with Living Room Realty in Portland, Oregon. (According to HomeAdvisor, on average, installing new cabinets costs around $5,400). But as long as they’re in good shape, painting your cabinets or adding new hardware are great ways to make them look modern, she says.
I asked real estate agents about the cabinet pulls that people always notice and that could even help reframe a buyer’s impression of a home. File this under “it’s the little things!”
Long, simple cabinet pulls in gold or bronze seem to catch buyers’ eyes, Dorman says. Black matte is another great option if you’re afraid of clashing with other metals in the room, she says. “Just be sure not to put modern cabinet pulls on outdated cabinets, such as 1990s oak,” Dorman says. “In this case, you can use a fresh coat of paint to modernize the cabinets first and the modern pulls will really shine.”
One way to take your cabinets from “builder grade” to “luxury” is with soft-close drawers, which has a mechanism that stops the door an inch or two before it touches the frame and then gently and quietly eases it shut.
“If I am at a showing, whether it be my seller or my buyer, someone almost always comments on a ‘soft-close’ cabinet or drawer,” says Tate Kelly, a luxury real estate broker with Compass in New York City. “People are obsessed with it and it is an instant plus for the buyers; they can’t get enough and rightfully so — it’s a wonderful feature that doesn’t cost much to add.”
Ryan Kundrat — a licensed real estate agent with Keller Williams serving Fairfield County, Connecticut, and a design aficionado with a BFA in industrial design from Rhode Island School of Design — says gray cabinet tones bridge the gap between the timeless whites and some darker, bolder colors that could fall out of favor. His favorite sweaters are ones with matte textures because they provide both a soft touch and look (think: satin bronze or black).
In addition to making sure cabinet hardware doesn’t clash with the design of the existing cabinets, you’ll also want to make sure that handles match the spacing of any existing holes, he points out.
Ready for a plot twist? “Leather cabinet pulls have been a big trend lately and when used well in a space, it can really add a layer of warmth and texture,” says Shoshana Godwin, a principal agent with Redfin in Seattle.
When it comes to cabinet pulls, you don’t have to go too crazy with it or drop a ton of money on designer hardware, Godwin says. Depending on how many cabinets you have and the placement, you can even look into a few different coordinating styles like a mixture between pulls and handles.