Kitchen remodeling projects have hidden costs, including the perhaps unexpected expense of replacing knobs and handles for cabinets and drawers. Even in my small kitchen, I have about three dozen door handles and drawer knobs, with potential replacement costs of several hundred dollars. Fortunately, a friend has found a shortcut that saved her time, money and gasoline.
• Shop on-line: On the Internet, my friend found D. Lawless Hardware (www.dlawlesshardware.com), an Illinois-based company with great deals. ''I was amazed at the incredible selection. Even better, the prices ran the gamut,'' she said. For $1.79 each, she purchased cobalt blue glass knobs, with matching pulls for $3.79 each. The company will match prices if you find better deals elsewhere and my friend received free shipping because her order was over $50.
• Clearance section: Either online or in standard stores, clearance sections often have great prices. D. Lawless Hardware has a ''dollar and under'' section. Likewise, at Anthropologie, a fashion, accessory and home chain store, I recently found attractive knobs and pulls in the mark-down section. My finds included knobs reduced to $2 from $8 and a snail-shaped door pull marked down to $7.95 from $20. At Target.com, I found a set of four plastic knobs for $2.71, or about 70 cents each, and brass knobs for 75 cents a piece.
• Second-hand and cast-off furniture: My husband has purchased unique and attractive knobs and handles at thrift stores. Discarded furniture may have attractive handles, pulls and knobs.
• Internet flea markets: On eBay, I found: basic plastic knobs (38 cents), a collection of six floral ceramic pulls (69 cents for the set), a four-pack of Winnie the Pooh character drawer pulls for 82 cents, and sleek pewter handles (70 cents each), excluding shipping costs. On Amazon.com, the selection included decorative handles, pulls and knobs priced between 90 cents to $5.
• Be creative: Purchase plain wooden knobs and paint them, suggests Cheryl Wright of the Dollar Stretcher (www.stretcher.com). Consider using fewer drawer pulls, which are pricier than knobs. My friend saved a bundle by using more knobs, which were about 50 percent cheaper than the drawer pulls and handles.
This is from my latest column in the home & design section of the Miami Herald.
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