3 Ways to Add the Finishing Touches

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Just as a fashionista accessorizes to achieve the right level of interest in an outfit, home design aficionados love to discuss how a little “jewelry”– distinctive home hardware and accessories – can enhance outdoor and indoor spaces.

There’s a wide variety of metal objects fitting what Ingrid Abramovitch, author of “Restoring a House in the City,” calls jewelry for the home: cabinet pulls, drawer knobs, door knockers, switch plates and address displays.

Despite the array of choices, few homeowners make the most of them, Abramovitch says. “There was a time when hardware was an important consideration,” she says. “People put a lot of thought into door knobs and radiator grilles as part of the whole aesthetic of a house.”

These pieces can make a big difference for a small price, the perfect prescription for recession-weary homeowners.

If you haven’t though hard about hardware, here’s a brief primer.

Curb appeal 

A home’s entryway makes a decided impact on guests. Here, it’s likely there’ll be practical purposes for hardware, like the door bell, door handle, mailbox and the like.

“We spend a lot of time deciding what metal to use,” says Dallas architect Michael Malone. Especially in an entryway, where metal accessories are clustered together, he recommends sticking to one finish to make a unified statement.

Moreover, the entry hardware design should match the overall design of the façade of the home. An arts and crafts home should use pieces inspired by the period, for instance.

Judgment call 

Most hardware, both inside and out, is functional: “It’s hard to overdo function,” Abramovitch says.

Still, hardware that leaps out too boldly or is dated or no longer attractive could be inappropriate.

Audit the hardware in each room. Would a new light switch plate in a finish matching all the knobs and the heat register improve the overall aesthetic? Is a shiny gold finish a distraction? Would a relatively pricey hammered nickel handle be worth the investment?

Inspiring choices

While it’s best to shop locally, where you can see, feel and handle important functional accessories before buying them, a search for “home hardware” online can provide a handy overview of options. Browsing can inspire your decorating, perhaps in ways you never imagined, advises Abramovitch. Some hardware choices are purely fun, she says. “You might want to use butterfly knobs in a child’s room,” for instance.” 

Some homeowners even take cherished hardware like drawer pulls or light plates with them when they move, replacing the items with something for the new owner.

Tags: jewelry, decor, small accessories