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brass door knobs by Kevin Souza

Do you ever think about hardware? I do. Go through my drawers and junk boxes and you’ll find funky drawer pulls and knobs all over.

Fact is, knobs, rods, and handles really make a difference to a room.  Most people, when doing space makeovers, they think about color, fabric, texture, but then they skip little things that add big impact to design style.

Things like doorknobs, light-switch plates, cupboard handles, curtain rods, and drawer pulls often become an afterthought. The quickest way to funk up a kitchen, for instance, is to simply switch out the hardware on cupboards and drawers.

One of the sad things, for instance, about a lot of modern spaces is just how boring the door handles or knobs are. There’s no need to be stuck with the boring, mass-produced plain knobs meant to offend no one.

So if you’re looking for a great way to pick up your space without repainting everything, maybe just upgrading your hardware will give you the update you need — or it could be the finishing touch that makes your place full of “wow.”

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Most hardware has different mounting needs. Know what you need in order to fit the pull and handle holes that already exist in your drawers, doors, and cupboards. You should be able to find something with the same mounting dimensions, allowing you to just plug-and-play, as it were.

If not, you might have to break out a power drill and make new holes. It’s not the end of the world, it’s just more work.

Styles Abound

Maybe, like me, you love the metal and glass look from the vintage eras. Perhaps you want to focus on mixing and matching different metals and designs.

Embrace quirk in your kitchen with all kinds of contrasting vintage drawer pulls. Or go for a post-modern look and swap out all your contemporary handles with vintage ’50s-style copper chevron handles.

Kitchen cabinet drawer pulls and hardware

Imagine a beachside kitchen with all the drawer pulls and cupboard handles removed and replaced instead with old maritime hemp rope. Think that’s just a little afterthought, or do you think all that funky rope would be what really brings a maritime/beach feel together in that kitchen? Probably the latter, right?

There are all kinds of possibilities, so open your mind and start your search.

Scour the Internet

Finding unique pieces has never been so easy as firing up a search engine. With special retailers all over the continent hawking their wares on the web, you can score pieces from any decade, any era, any style — for the right price and the cost of shipping.

Whether you’re on eBay or checking out boutique shops with great websites, know what you need and order cautiously. If you’re lucky, you’ll find something to finish your room with serious wow-factor.

Find the Right Vintage Shops

Every big city, and lots of small towns too, will have funky door and kitchen stores that carry knobs and handles of all kinds.

There’s no law saying you have to have the same hardware throughout your home, so don’t worry if you can’t find multiples. If you really love it, it’ll work for you.

Demo! Demo! Demo!

This isn’t as easy as it used to be, but if you keep an eye out, you might be able to capitalize on a demo opportunity. Salvage is big business these days, though. Contractors all over are seizing on demo homes to pull up floors, nice trim, funky hardware from sconces and lighting through to drawer pulls and bathtubs.

Salvage companies, therefore, make a heck of a resource when you’re looking for something unique.

Doors of Tomorrow

For doorknobs in particular, though, it’s important to note that Vancouver, Canada, is considered a leader in the building industry and no new builds are allowed to use “knobs.” There’ll be levers on all new doorways soon, thanks to making homes more accessible for all.

That’s great, but if you’re a doorknob lover, will it mean doorknobs may not be around much longer as the construction industry evolves with accessibility? Who knows, but it might mean knob offerings dwindle in the future, and prices might escalate (or fall due to lack of demand).

* * * * * * * *

Whether you opt for weathered old pulls from the last century or you’re set on something ultra-modern, don’t underestimate the impact you can make with your hardware choices. Even finding unique light-switch plates and outlet covers can be the finishing touch you never knew you were looking for.

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Steffani Cameron

Steffani Cameron is a Victoria BC-based writer on a variety of topics. Here on the BuildDirect blog, she specializes in writing about smaller, urban spaces. How do you make the most of your smaller space? How do you decorate it to suit you? And how do you wage the war against clutter and win? This is Steff’s specialty.