Modern Matter Blog
Decorative Hardware 101
Everything You Need to Know Before Buying
A small detail that makes a big impact, hardware is an easy way to elevate your interiors, and it shouldn't be an afterthought. When you think about how often you open your cabinets daily, it becomes clear why you should invest in heirloom-quality products. But with so many options, decorative hardware can also be a source of confusion. To help clear up some of the most common questions about hardware, we've compiled a list of the top questions people search for on Google.
What is decorative hardware?
Decorative hardware refers to the decorative elements, such as knobs, pulls, and backplates, that are used on cabinets, doors, and other pieces of furniture. Decorative hardware can be made from various materials, including metal, acrylic, wood, and porcelain, and comes in a range of styles and finishes.
But just like in jewelry, the hardware's material matters. Made with 100% solid brass and hand-applied finishes, our hardware is crafted to the most exacting standards providing you with a piece that has weight and quality to endure time.
Interior by Swell Decor. Photography by Laura Sumrak
How do I choose the right size hardware?
The decorative hardware size depends on the cabinet or drawer it will be used on. A general rule of thumb is to choose hardware proportionate to the cabinet or drawer size. For example, larger cabinets and drawers may require larger hardware, like bar pulls or appliance pulls, while smaller ones may require smaller hardware, like knobs.
Interior by ML Designs. Photography Laurie Kilgore
What are the different types of decorative hardware finishes?
Decorative hardware comes in a wide range of finishes, from warm-tone finishes, like polished brass, antique brass, burnished brass, and satin brass, to cool-tone finishes like polished nickel, antique pewter, and stainless steel, and colored or dark finishes, like enamel and oil-rubbed bronze.
Each finish has its own unique look and feel, so it's important to choose a finish that complements the style of your home and the other elements in the room. Usually, hardware works best when it adds contrast (e.g., light cabinet with darker hardware finish) or complements tones (e.g., warmer toned space with brass finish).
At Modern Matter, you can also customize your hardware by incorporating gemstones for that splash of color your room needs.
Interior by Alexis Pawling. Photography by Laura Sumrak
Can I mix and match different types of decorative hardware?
Mixing and matching different types of decorative hardware can add visual interest and personality to a room. However, it's important to make sure that the hardware you choose complements each other and the room's overall style.
There are no set rules, but in general, knobs have a smaller footprint than pulls and work well with small drawers and cabinets. Pulls are sturdy and easy to grip, therefore best suited for larger drawers and cabinets like those on vanities, armoires, and appliances.
Interior by Amanda George Design. Photography by Miranda Estes.
How do I install decorative hardware?
Installing decorative hardware is a quick and easy process that requires only a few basic tools—all you need is your new hardware and the screws that comes with it, a tape measure, and a screwdriver.
If you're replacing hardware, check the center-to-center size of your existing hardware or pre-drilled holes so they align with your new hardware size. Pro Tip: backplates not only add unique dimension and style to your preferred hardware, but also help to cover old holes or any damage around the previous hardware.
For installing hardware into new cabinets or furniture, start by determining where the hardware will be installed, and mark the spot with a pencil. Then, drill a hole in the cabinet or drawer where the hardware will be installed, and screw in the hardware using a screwdriver.
Interior by Charlotte Lucas for the Southern Living Idea House 2022. Photography by Laurey W. Glenn. Styling by Kendra Surface
How do I clean and maintain decorative hardware?
To keep your hardware looking its best, clean it regularly with a soft cloth and mildly soapy water, and dry it thoroughly. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials, which can damage the finish. The occasional use of a good quality wax polish will also help to seal any chips and scratches in the brass products. Designs with gemstone and lucite can also be cleaned with warm, mildly soapy water.