It’s possible that your eyes will meet a piece of hardware across a crowded room and it’ll be love at first sight, but just in case that doesn’t happen, you’ll want to consider style. Are you looking for a timeless style or a statement piece? Something clean and modern? Or perhaps a little more boho?
Look around your space (or your Pinterest boards) and consider which pieces you keep coming back to that bring you delight, plus the style of the elements already in your space. You can absolutely play one off against the other (an ornate drawer pull on a very plain drawerfront, for example), but you want to do this as a conscious decision not by accident!
This also means that you're able to mix & match different styles and time periods, see the images below for reference, but we'll get into this more later on
Our Society inc. hardware style guide can help you identify some of the styles you’re drawn to.
Once you’ve got some ideas about style, it’s time to think about size. You’ll often see a recommendation that a drawer pull should be one third the length of the drawerfront, as a kind of golden ratio. While that can be a handy rule of thumb, we definitely think you can break this rule (more on that later…) but it is worth considering how the two will look together so you don’t end up with a crowded look, or hardware that doesn’t carry the space visually.
TIP: If you fall in love with a petite drawer knob, but have large drawers, you may want to consider having two knobs on each drawer so you can get a firm grip and create a visually appealing effect.
Golden Ratio Example with our Hardware;
Breaking the Ratio;
Visit our Guide Shop for further advice
If you live in Sydney, or can get here, feel free to visit our guide shop in St Peter’s to play on our flat-lay table and get a sense of how our different hardware pieces sit on a variety of drawerfront sizes and finishes.
One of the most important functional considerations is what you’ll actually be using the hardware for. Will it be used to open a solid wood door, or just a tiny drawer? Integrated appliances, for example, tend to need a sturdier pull that you can wrap your whole hand around, because you’re often contending with a heavy door that closes with suction.
Also worth considering is the environment it’ll be used in. If your hardware is to be located on a bathroom cabinet, your hands will often be wet when you need to use it, so consider which finishes will stand up to that kind of treatment with a minimum of fuss.
TIP: You can’t go past solid brass to withstand the elements and age beautifully–there’s a reason it’s been used on the high seas for centuries! See our Care Guide
for more information on the properties of different metals.
Want a more in depth explanation of use & placement? Read our blog on how to choose hardware for your integrated appliances below
If you’re looking to fit out a high traffic space, like a kitchen, you may want to err on the side of sturdy hardware, while if it’s your boudoir you’re kitting out, you can probably select a highly decorative or delicate piece without worrying that it’ll be worn out from rough use.
If you’re in a tight space, you’ll also want to consider how far the hardware protrudes from the surface it’s attached to. In a narrow hallway, you might want to opt for shallow knobs rather than deep hooks that may catch clothing or limbs as they pass by!
If you’re getting the impression that you may need to select a variety of different pieces of hardware for different purposes, even within the one room, you’re probably right. But that’s fine. Many of our pieces pair beautifully together, and it’s perfectly acceptable to mix items within the space–in fact it’s recommended to create a beautifully layered, bespoke finished product!
If you’re interested in some ideas on which knobs pair best with which pulls, here are a few of our favourite pairings, but feel free to come up with your own.
It’s worth playing around with placement of the hardware on the surface before you start drilling holes to see where it looks best. Most commonly, pulls will be horizontal & aligned towards the top centre edge on drawers, and vertical & aligned to the middle of the opening side on doors. However, there are plenty of times when you’ll want to break this rule too. For instance, if your doors and drawers have a shaker profile, you’ll want to align the handles within the protruding panels, and in a period home, door handles are often placed higher than the middle of the door so you may want to echo this asymmetry.
As all of our pieces are hand forged and the exact dimensions will vary slightly, we always recommend lining up the top edge of each piece if several will be seen in a horizontal line (eg on a bank of drawers) so they please the eye.
More rules to break
Mix your metals | Many of us have a stainless steel sink, with chrome taps. There’s no need to match them when it comes to your other hardware. Don’t design down to the most boring part of your kitchen, they’ll quickly fade into insignificance when the rest of the space is looking magical.
Storage doesn’t have to be boring | Whether it’s a linen cupboard or a home for your vacuum and broom, you can make even the most utilitarian cupboard beautiful with hardware. Even inside a pantry or wardrobe, there are opportunities for special moments.
Don’t wait for a full reno before you make improvements | If you’re going to be living with the kitchen, bathroom or mudroom you currently have for quite some time, don’t wait to make it a space you love. It’s relatively easy to swap out door and drawerfronts and change handles. If you don’t have standard-sized cabinetry, it might be the perfect job for your local Men’s Shed!
In one of Sibella's kitchen designs, the concept of sticking to traditional hardware rules was completely challenged. She chose to mix many different metals on fixtures, detailing and joinery. Creating a space that seamlessly sits together in a uniform fashion, despite being controversial in theory!
see images below for reference;