Both the beauty and drawback of oak cabinets is that so many hardware styles and colors pair well with it. Instead of looking solely at the color of oak for inspiration in choosing the perfect pulls, consider the style of cabinetry and the color and style of decor and appliances found elsewhere in the room.
Meshing With Metals
Once you've settled upon a metal color that looks good in the room, visit your favorite local or online retailer to see what styles are available in that finish. If replacing existing pulls, look for pulls that are sized properly for your cabinets; the spacing for the posts or screws must line up with the existing holes on the cabinet doors and drawers, or else you'll have a wood-filling project as well. Besides the hole alignment, make sure the pull is durable enough for the task at hand -- don't expect a tiny, flimsy pull to handle a drawer full of pots and pans.
If you like the look of metal pulls, take a look around the room for other prominent metals on display on items such as major and small appliances, faucets or even light fixtures. If the hinges on the cabinet doors are obvious, pick a metal shade for the door and drawer pulls that matches the hinges -- unless you plan to repaint or replace the hinges as well. Look for a finish that shows up more than once, such as platinum or oil-rubbed bronze, and consider purchasing pulls in that same shade for a cohesive vibe.
After you've found a few pulls in the right finish and size for your cabinets, decide upon the style by again considering the dominant themes or styles in the room. If your faucet is the sleekest, most modern style you can find, the cabinet pulls should be as well. If wrought iron and Old World style dominate the look of furnishings or hinges in the room, opt for the same with the cabinet pulls.
If simple country charm is the dominant theme of the room, you may want to use cabinet pulls made at least partially of wood. Pick pulls that match the oak cabinet finish, paired with white porcelain or glass adornments for a two-tone effect. Select hand-painted ceramic pulls featuring food-based motifs for an Italian- or Mexican-inspired kitchen, or use modern metal pulls inlaid with richly colored tiles in shades of red, orange or cobalt blue to draw attention to the cabinets. Alternatively, choose an inlay color found elsewhere in the room, such as in a favorite piece of wall art or on the mixer.