Knobs and pulls and handles, oh my!
No matter what theme or style you have selected for your home, the right knobs and handles can literally pull everything together. Many people focus their energy on functional knobs and pulls, but those of the decorative sort are just as important. You can find these on furniture, on the wall, on doors and windows and as part of items such as mirrors or hooks.
If you have decorated your home in a country style, you may want to stay away from cabinet hardware made from stainless steel or overly shiny materials. Consider the worn textures in your major furniture and add the same type of accents to other items. For bath hardware in a country bathroom, consider bronze finishes and porcelain accents.
Antique furniture that does not have functional drawers is the perfect home for antique hardware. It may need a little more care, and yanking on it won't do it any good, but flea market finds can accent your cabinets and windows nicely. For hinges and locks that act as decoration only, consider brass hardware. It looks classy, and you don't have to worry about wear and tear if it is for decoration only. However, you should still shy away from cheap hardware – visitors will notice that it doesn't fit with your décor. Hardware antique hunting can be a challenge, but check out flea markets, garage sales, antique stores and consignment shops, and eventually you're sure to find something that suits your needs!
If you can't find what you are looking for or you don't have much time to look, consider seeking out a reproduction hardware company. These companies create new hardware with an antique look. If it's just the style you want, this can be a convenient, less time-consuming way to get it.
On the other hand, if your home has a more contemporary or modern feel to it, stainless steel hardware will be perfect for rooms where water can get splashed around, making it ideal bathroom hardware. It also makes good kitchen hardware, especially if you have stainless steel kitchen appliances.
Popular Pieces of Decorative Hardware:
Knobs are perhaps the most common hardware choice for doors and drawers, and they come in many different sizes and styles. When nobody is going to be pulling on a knob, you can opt for style over functionality. This means that antique knobs can be chipped or weak. As long as nobody yanks on them, they will still look great! Glass knobs are very classy in appearance, and a glass knob on a piece of antique furniture adds sparkle without adding flash. You may also call your knobs pulls, but they can be used for so much more. Decorative knobs can act as hooks or can add interest to the corners of mirrors or large photo frames. Don't get stuck in the knob rut – use knobs anywhere you like!
Although sometimes used in reference to knobs, the term "pull" actually encompasses a variety of hardware, found most commonly on drawers. While knobs are generally thought of as round and bulbous, pulls can be elongated, more like bars, or have different pieces that move. They are most often hinged so that they sit flat against your furniture, with a piece that moves or swivels (the actual pull). Ring pulls have an antique look to them, as they are simple, sturdy metal circles. Other pulls may have more detail and can be shaped like almost anything. Many pulls look almost like earrings dangling from furniture. You can also add a simple pull to a window that swings open to add visual interest to a plain frame.
Handles are generally shaped so that you can insert your hand into them or wrap it around them - hence the name. Just like knobs and pulls, handles need to be screwed into your furniture to be attached, so keep that in mind when you are purchasing handles for an antique piece. Is it worth adding a handle if nobody is going to use it? However, decorative handles can also be the missing touch on many older pieces. Like a period at the end of a sentence, your cabinet or drawer might look unfinished if you do not add a handle, even if it is not functional. A handle can stick out from furniture, like a knob or pull, or can be inset so that the face of the drawer or other item is flat.
Like knobs, pulls and handles, hinges can be both functional and decorative. Nobody likes a squeaky hinge, but if you are adding hinges as decoration, you can go wild with materials and not worry about squeaking! Bronze hinges are very classic. They can be added to chests and trunks of any color. Hinges can be ordered to match any other accessory or hardware to add another touch of metal to a room. Keep your keyholes, locks, knobs, handles and other accessories in mind when adding decorative hinges - you don't want them to clash.
Most new kitchen cabinets are outfitted with European hinges, which don't require screws to hold them in place. They are not usually as decorative as other hinges, but if you are trying to avoid too much drilling, they may be your best option.
Locks are essential on some doors, nice to have on others and merely decorative on some. Little girls are fascinated with the toy locks that come on diaries not only because they will keep secrets safe, but also because locks add intrigue. You can add the same interest to your home by using locks as decorations. Just like hinges, they can be added to trunks and chests and left to dangle open. A nonfunctioning lock on an inside door is aesthetically pleasing, as well, especially on French doors. Small metal locks on drawers and cabinets look great, too, especially if you leave the key in the hole! And don't forget the ever-classic keyhole locks that children can peer through, just like in the movies!
Of course, sometimes a lock has to be functional, too, but that doesn't mean you have to give up style. Today, deadbolts and standard cylinder locks come in a variety of finishes to help them blend into – or stand out from – your home décor.
Although we shouldn't sweat the small stuff, it's the details that get our houses noticed. Carefully selected decorative hardware can maintain a theme and complete a room.