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All you ever needed to know about door hardware

When it comes to making the most of your doors there is plenty of choice. This brief guide will lead you through the different styles of door hardware and help you decide which works best for your front door, external doors, garage doors and internal doors, too. We’ll help you make the best choice in terms of style and quality and give you the contemporary or period look you are after.

A brief history of the front door

Wherever there have been buildings there have been homes although interestingly perhaps the first doors that we would recognise where to seal up tombs. Doors quickly became a feature – the Greeks and the Romans could actually teach us something about ‘kerb appeal’ (although nit about kerbs strangely enough) and there are many examples of very ornately decorated front doors of the homes of the Ancient World’s rich and famous.

The material of the doors and the door hardware was often a sign of how wealthy you were – and for many years the Church was the wealthiest player. Many cathedrals feature richly decorated bronze doors and it was the competition to design the hardware for the new doors that kick started a whole new movement in art.

The door hardware that started the Renaissance

In fact it was a competition to design the doors for the north doors at the Florence Baptistery that many art historians believe started the period of history called The Renaissance. Many artists competed for this commission and a jury selected seven semi finalists. These finalists include Lorenzo Ghiberti, Filippo Brunelleschi, Donatello and Jacopo della Quercia with 21-year old Ghiberti winning the commission. It took him over 20 years to complete the work – bear that in mind when you are complaining how long it takes someone to hang a door.

In the UK the wealth generated in the Industrial Revolution saw a major growth of domestic architecture. Doors were central to the design of any house and how the door looked was a major indicator of the wealth of the home owner.

As technology has developed so has the material used for doors, but wood – used for centuries all around the world – is still perhaps the number one choose of material for domestic doors in the UK.

Door hardware for your front door

Perhaps no where is getting the choice of door hardware right is for the front door. Security has to be the number one consideration of course (If you need some more information on locks check out our blog ‘Types Of Door Locks’) but the front door also says a lot about the style of the home – and the owner. There is plenty for you to choose from – door handles, door knobs, bells and pushes, letter plates (check out our blog in letter plates) and numbers as well as locks. One factor will be whether you are upgrading or beginning from scratch. You may decide that the best way to smarten up the front of the house is to change some or all of your door furniture. If this is the case then you’ll need to choose something in keeping with the remaining door hardware and the style of the door. New items will often need to cover what removing the old items leave underneath so this will often determine the size of hardware you can select. However, you may decide to start from scratch and the choice is yours.

(Don’t forget our easy-to-follow tip rich blog ‘How to paint a front door’)

Perhaps your most important choice is quality. There are lots of variations in the prices of door hardware items and the higher the price doesn’t always guarantee quality. Do satisfy yourself that you are buying a good quality item from a recognised and trusted supplier. It is not only essential that items work – especially door security – but that they also withstand the rigours of constant use and the Great British Weather.

When it comes to selling, kerb appeal counts

If you are thinking of selling your home, the right door furniture really can add kerb appeal – find out more here http://www.ironmongeryonline.com/blog/door-hardware-guide/why-kerb-appeal-matters and here http://www.ironmongeryonline.com/blog/door-furniture/selling-home-smarten-door-furniture.

Door hardware for other external doors

Style is perhaps less important for the doors that fewer people see – side doors and rear doors but security is no less important. In fact it is perhaps more important as burglars and thieves often try to enter the house unobserved via back and side entrances. Local police will often advice on how secure your home is so why not give them a call this week and ask them to pay you a visit. They will offer smart advice on the different types of locks and bolts that can be fitted on the doors and windows in the house and on external areas such as garage doors and gates.

Again external door hardware will need to be of a sufficient quality to last – items that don’t work can jeopardise security and tarnishing items look bad and will probably need to be replaced.

Door hardware for garages, gates and garden sheds

Security does not begin and end at the front or side doors of the house. Many of us store valuable items outside the house – in garden sheds and more often in garages. Again your local cop shop can offer some up-to-date security advice. Garage door hardware will also often reflect the rest of the house – it is good way to continue the style of the front of the property. Quality again is the watchword here. Check out our Basic Blogs on door security using door furniture to increase security.

Door hardware for wardrobes, cupboards and lots more

One of the cleverest ways to help give a home or just a single room a makeover is to update and upgrade door furniture internally. The items will complement any decorating scheme. You can easily add a stylish period feel to any room with the correct use of door hardware, you can compliment any colour scheme with a wide range of hardware finishes and of course furniture can be update, upcycled and recycled with hardware adding the perfect finishing touch.

Top tips for choosing door furniture

Whether choosing a whole suite for the front door of your brand new forever home or upcyling an old chest of drawers here are some tips to help you choose the right door hardware:

  • Style. Decide whether you are going for a period feel or a contemporary look. Look around the neighbourhood to see what works best. Know your periods – can you tell your Georgian grandeur from your Edwardian elegance
  • Quantity. Decide how many different items and how many of each. Do you need a door bell and a door knocker? Do you want door numbers?
  • Set a budget. You can spend lots of money of some stunning items but any sensible homeowner like you will set a budget and try to stick to it.
  • Go for quality. Within your budget choose the best quality items you can. Use friends testimony, online reviews and product descriptions to choose items with a good quality finish made from the best possible material and with working parts that will last.

We’ve produced a brilliant blog on ‘How to care for your external door furniture’.

And more advice on upcyling here.

We’ve also produced brilliant blogs on door furniture for Georgian and Victorian homes.

And if that wasn't enough please check out our door hardware guide infographic

Door Hardware Guide Infographic

We hope that the guide has helped. We’d love to hear your experiences, opinions and ideas. Why not post on Ironmongery Online Facebook page?