Hardware: What It Is
It’s useful to think of hardware as the nuts and bolts of your home – essentially, the household fittings that can be touched or held in your hand, such as hinges, handles, hooks, locks, latches, chains, and shelf brackets. While traditionally made of metal, other materials are often used – for example, a leather kitchen cabinet handle or a porcelain doorknob.
Changing the hardware when you move into a new home can be a cost-effective, easy way to update it, too. “It’s a nice way to make something smarter,” agrees interior designer Anna Hewitson. “It can really elevate a house or interior and make a difference. It refreshes furniture or rooms and makes it feel more personal.”
Handles: What To Consider
“Choose the size of handle which is most in proportion to the door,” says Anna. “Just be aware that the current trend is for smaller knobs and handles, as the look is generally sleeker and more refined – bigger styles can look very dated.” Of course, there are exceptions. “In a kitchen you might want a bigger handle depending on its purpose,” adds Anna. “For example, if it’s intended to pull open a heavy fridge or room door, consider the size with its function.”
It’s also important to think about how the handle feels to the touch when you use it, and don’t underestimate placement, either. “Is it in a wet area or will you have wet hands when you use it?” Anna asks. “That may influence your choice.” Make sure that when your handle is finally fixed to the door, you can get your hands around it – you may need a longer latch if not.
Hinges: Why They’re Tricky
Ideally, you should try to match your handles to your hinges, but often, says Anna, this isn’t possible. “Many companies offer lovely handles but with hinges you tend to have less choice,” she explains. “Changing hinges can be quite costly, too. If you’ve inherited handles and hinges and want to change just the handles, then it’s a good idea to paint the hinges into the door and frame.”
Metals: Mix Them Up
“It’s fine to mix and match finishes – there are so many variations of bronze these days, for example, it can be hard to find an exact match anyway,” says Anna. “But ideally, in a room, you’d keep the door handles and electrical plates (light switch covers) the same.” Whatever you decide, just remember to choose your finishes carefully. “Brass and chrome are classic, but a brushed finish will show fewer finger marks. A ‘living’ or unlacquered finish will also change its appearance over time, but a lacquered finish won’t,” adds Anna.