Dress up your doors with hardware to add some bling

by | Dec 09, 2016


Doors have many responsibilities in a home. They represent a significant portion of wall space inside (an average of 800 square feet) and regulate how rooms flow. They are also the  crown jewel of curb appeal. By helping homeowners choose doors and hardware with the right kind and amount of “bling” you can help them make the statement they want, whether their style is a classic pearl or a glitzy ruby.

The door

First, consider the door like a crown jewel itself, a centerpiece that is beautiful and striking on its own. The doors your client chooses must fit the architecture and design of the rest of the home.

“We usually help clients select doors during new home construction, or as part of a remodeling project,” explains Dallas-based interior designer Barbara Gilbert of Barbara Gilbert Interiors. “First, we choose the style of door that fits the client’s overall style and what they want to achieve in their design. We then recommend door hardware based on what other elements are going in the house.”

Gilbert advises that the  front exterior doors should be different from all other doors in the home. Other exterior doors also may be unique to fit their function, such as having full glass to let in light and views of outdoor spaces. “The trick is to make sure the door respects both the exterior architecture and interior design of a home,” she says. This sometimes means a door has to have an exterior personality that suits a home with traditional or European architecture. However, it also must play nice with transitional or contemporary styling on the home’s interior — a style which is trending in the DFW area.

“In that case, I use a lot of glass,” says Gilbert. “It’s simple and a pretty safe bet.”

For  the interior, she notes a frequent go-to of late has been a horizontal panel door, usually the five panel style, “Because it has a clean Shaker style that goes with everything. People want simplicity.”

Once the style is chosen, she’ll keep it consistent for all interior doors throughout the home, with careful exceptions. There are some cases where a door can strike a unique note either by being larger, more ornate or otherwise different from the rest of those in the home. In the case of a study, for example, Gilbert says she’ll sometimes use French Doors with frosted or rice glass for privacy. Similarly, some clients want to do something unique for a  pantry, make a statement with the master bedroom or do a dramatic door to a media room to give the feel of entering an opulent theater. Having one door contrast the others in this way makes it an interesting focal point.

The basic hardware

Of course, a beautiful crown can be made more beautiful with the addition of some serious bling. In the case of doors, this would be the hardware. As with finding the right jewelry, often “less is more,” so it’s all about balance.

“As designers, we look at everything that will go into the house and make sure all flows together well. The type of hardware and fixtures clients choose throughout the home should set the tone for the hardware on the doors,” explains Gilbert, adding that typically homeowners choose brushed nickel throughout the whole house, from the kitchen hardware to the plumbing fixtures. She’ll then recommend the same finish for the door hardware.

However, some clients want to embrace more glamorous trends like the return of brass or gold fixtures. Gilbert’s solution is to use these selectively. If, for example, the client has gold fixtures in the master bath, the hardware on the interior of the master bedroom door could also be gold. The hardware on the hallway side, though, would be the same as in the rest of the house.

And, while the entry door can have more dramatic styles and shapes of hardware, Gilbert recommends the same finish as is used throughout the home.

Levers vs. knobs

Homeowners may or may not have very strong opinions about door knobs versus door levers, but the choice has implications for both form and function. Gilbert educates her clients about the pros and cons of each, but her preference lies firmly with levers.

“They’re a much better look, but also much easier to use,” she says.

Added attractions

If you’ve put together an entrance in which the door style and hardware play off each other beautifully, make sure it makes as beautiful a statement at night as it does by day. Where there’s a covered porch, for example, Gilbert says they’ll light the door from overhead with a can light, as well as with attractive lights on either side.

And, don’t neglect the simple trim features. “Sometimes, we have clients who want an iron or painted door, but want to add some warmth, so we’ll install a stained wood trim around the door,” she adds.

Dos and Don'ts

“Today, anything goes,” says Gilbert. She likens interior design trends to changing fashion etiquette, such as not having to wait until Memorial Day to wear white. “You can break the rules because there are no rules.”

Ultimately, the homeowner will choose door and hardware styles and finishes that they think fit their style and their budget. As a professional, you can help them narrow down the finishes and trim features that will create the best flow throughout the house, and find opportunities to make a special doorwith just a little extra bling.