Whether it’s a matter of one room or the whole house, all too many people become overwhelmed at the thought of upgrading their home’s interior. For some it’s a matter of budget, while others find themselves fluttering about from style to style, struggling over just what feeling or aura they want the interior design change to impart. If that’s been your experience in the past, you might want to start with one simple step – switching out your door handles for a totally different type, or slightly different if you like what you have, but they are getting a bit worse for the wear. In still other cases, a change in the family situation, such as an adventurous toddler learning to walk on her own, or an older relative whose arthritis is worsening, makes purchasing new door handles a matter of function rather than fashion. That’s the beauty of door handles, your choices of hardware are practically boundless.
Types of Door Handles
The invention of door handles, like countless tools and instruments still in use today, is credited to the Egyptians, and were thought to be some type of bronze or iron lever positioned so that the door could be pulled closed. However, the first documentation of the idea of a door closing device can be found in an 1878 patent office application submitted by an inventor named Osborne Dorsey. And as they say, the rest is history. Today you will search far and wide to find a door without either a doorknob, door lever, or handle set. And while the choice of which to include in your interior design is a matter of taste, there are several considerations that should enter into it.
If you’re thinking of doorknobs as best for your home, you have a wide range of materials, designs, and finishes including cut glass, brass, embossed, or smooth. The shape is also left up to you: classic round, bun-shaped doorknob, or oval egg-shaped. If gripping is an issue for a family member, the egg-shaped knob will give him greater leverage. And that brings us to the second type of door handle – the lever.
Door levers are more recent arrivals on the interior design scene. They suggest a modern, high tech vibe. Although you often see stainless steel door lever handles, they also come in a variety of finishes including flat or embossed black; polished, antique, or satin brass; pewter; nickel; bronze; or chrome. The lever as a door handle has it all over the doorknob when it comes to being useful for anyone who lacks dexterity or strength. This is because all it takes is leverage to open a door. Anyone who has ever used his elbow to open a door rather than put down an armful of groceries can attest to this.
Door Handle Sets
Although technically, they do not fall into the category of interior design since they are used primarily on entry doors rather than interior ones, they are included here since they are the first thing visitors encounter when coming to your home. Yes, the door itself may be the first thing seen, but the door handle is the first thing noticed. Handle sets are a more formal type of door handle, and they definitely contribute to the curb appeal of a house.
Door handle sets consist of a large vertical handle on the bottom and a small flat tab that serves as a latch when pressed. Door handles typically take a classical question mark shape. But homeowners opting for a more modern high-tech look often for an angular handle. Door handle sets are easily operated by everyone, even those with physical limitations since all they require is a small amount of thumb strength for depressing the latch tab.
Next Stop – The Bathroom
Now that you’ve gotten your feet wet, so to speak, in your small step interior design approach, it’s time to think about getting your hands wet. Your door handles may be the most used hardware in your home, but your bathroom faucets are a close tie. Not only do you and the members of your household use them constantly, but odds are your guests do, too, at least once during their visit. So bathroom faucets are a good place to continue your interior design project.
Know Before You Go
Before you even start looking for new faucets, you need to look into what type of faucet your sink can accommodate. Knowing this simple fact will make sure you don’t fall in love with the look of a faucet that won’t work with your sink. But relax, this is not a complicated process. All it involves is determining the number of faucet holes drilled into your sink or vanity and measuring the distance between them. And while you’re at it, take the time to measure how far they are from the wall so you can be sure your cabinet or mirror won’t interfere with turning on the water. Armed with this information, you can go on to choose one of the following types of faucets.
- Single-hole faucets, as you have surmised are what you need if your sink has but one pre-drilled hole. This type of faucet usually has a single lever that controls both water flow and temperature. They are ideal for smaller sinks. And bonus – single hole faucets are the easiest to install.
- Center-set faucets will work for you as long as your sink has 4- to 6-inch faucet centers since the handles and faucet spout are mounted together on a 4 to 6-inch base as a single unit. Center-set faucets have two handles and separate temperature controls so it’s easy to get the right mix of hot and cold quickly They work well in bathrooms of any size.
- Widespread faucets require three separate holes since the spout and handles are mounted separately. They are the most popular choice for mid-sized to larger basins since they accommodate faucet centers anywhere from 6 to 16 inches wide.
Other Sink Types/Other Faucet Types
There are also vessel faucets with tall spouts for sinks that have above-countertop vessels. They require a single hole and consist of a single lever handle and present a pleasingly elegant center focus point. Wall-mounted faucets fall into a category of their own since they require a water supply line within the wall and wall-mounted valve connections. This type of faucet clears up a lot of space on vessel sinks and is also ideal for counters housing his and hers sinks. They are available in a choice of one or two handles.
The Door Handle – Faucet Handle Connection
Faucets come in a variety of handles so you can coordinate your faucets with your door handle. Lever handles for two-handle faucets and joystick levers for single-handle faucets come in a variety of shapes including wedge, rounded, and blade. So you can choose a shape which mirrors the shape of your door handles. Rounded faucet handles are a match for doorknobs, and they’re also the most affordable.
Ready, Set – Coordinate
No. you’re not quite done. Faucet finish options include bronze, gold, nickel, brass, and black so you can coordinate them not only with your door handles but also with your lighting fixtures as well as other bathroom accessories. Some people even choose towel sets to complement their door handles and faucets.
Okay – now it’s time to sit back and admire. And admit it, starting small was the way to go, wasn’t it!