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interiors & styling: Selecting Interior Doors & Hardware Style

With each renovation comes a lot of tough design decisions that will influence the way the entire home turns out. One of those big choices is selecting the interior door style and the hardware that accompanies each door. I’m sharing my selection process for our current home renovation, the doors and hardware we’ll install throughout the entire house, and I’m even putting some myths to rest in a quick Q&A. Click through to read all about it and see what I settled on!

I’ll begin by showing you our existing doors and why I decided to trade them in the first place… here is the BEFORE:

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Sure- they’re decent doors, but they’re not ideal. I figured a list of things I dislike about our existing doors would help you see my thought process… this is why I’m not into them:

  • They’re hollow core (super lightweight- they just feel cheap).
  • The top ogee style panel feels dated (the home was built in the 90’s and they’re original).
  • They were poorly installed (most of them hang crooked, swing open or shut, won’t stay put, and there are large gaps at the bottom).
  • The hardware is cheap, lightweight, dated, and the finish is actually rubbing off- some handles have even turned silver and lost the shiny brass luster altogether.

After deciding these weren’t worth keeping, the next portion of the equation was to figure out what to replace them with… obviously I landed on a classic, 3-panel style door shown below in our recently finished guest bathroom:

I’ve shared this on Instagram multiple times, but I always custom order doors from the Lowe’s millwork department. Yes- I am a Lowe’s Partner, but this is NOT sponsored… we’ve paid for every single door in each of our home renovations. I just really love their customizable selections and think it’s the best way to get exactly what you want, so I thought sharing the process could be helpful if some of you are in the same boat. You can look at sample doors on the floor at your local store, but my preference is to ask for this book… it’s free. I keep it in my design file for easy reference.

There are pages of door styles and examples. It’s really a great resource! I’m a fan of classic square or rectangular paneled doors. We went this solid core option, but with a more intricate / traditional profile. Again- all of that is customizable.

You can specify so many things:

  • exact dimensions
  • the door swing (which side and inward or outward)
  • pre-hung or not (do you need a new door jamb?)
  • the exact pre-drilled hardware specifications
  • the hinge color & finish
  • the door color & finish (I always just ordered it primed and then paint it myself)
  • the panel style (they have hundreds to choose from and you can even specify the profile / inset)

The lead time is usually 4-6 weeks, so be prepared for that and in plan in advance, but in my experience it’s 100% worth the wait! Let’s move onto hardware selection, shall we?

I’m the biggest fan of Nostalgic Warehouse and Grandeur Hardware (different brands / same company). We’ve used their products for all three of our home renovations and have yet to be disappointed! The quality is top notch, it’s very heavy hardware, and the finishes are stunning. When I find something I love, I usually stick with it. This time around, I wanted something elegant, dramatic, timeless, and traditional. I landed on the Grandeur Carré Tall Plate Privacy Door Lever. Is that not the most gorgeous door hardware you’ve ever seen?

I’m planning to mix and match their Carré collection throughout the house. Last time, I did the same thing…. the room entry doors received larger hardware and french doors or closets got a different treatment- just to mix it up and add depth. For closets, I’ll use the Carré Short Plate hardware. That brings to me to my next point- it’s perfectly ok to mix and match hardware, as long as they feel cohesive and are of the same finish! That is one of my most asked questions. Here is the perfect example from our previous house…

In our previous home, I mixed the Craftsman Hammered Knob with the Homestead Oval Knob. Given their backplate styles match and the vintage brass finish is consistent, they work really well together and keep the room interesting (remember the color blocked hallway?)…. these 3-panel doors were also Lowe’s special order, FYI. Before I wrap things up, I promised a quick Q&A to debunk some door & hardware design myths!

Q&A…
  • Do interior doors need to match throughout the entire house? I vote yes to the overall style… size- definitely not.
  • Does the door hardware need to match throughout the entire house? No, but I do like the finish to be consistent.
  • Is there a standard measurement for mounting door hardware? Yes! The knob or lever should fall somewhere between 34 and 48″ above the floor… I like to see what works best visually, as well as consider the height of the family who inhabits the home.
  • Should the style or architecture of the home influence the door style? Absolutely! You should definitely be mindful of the architecture, existing millwork, and exterior when choosing your door style.
  • Are custom doors super expensive? In my experience, I’ve found they’re not much more than buying a readymade option. It totally depends on what style you want and how many “extras” you add. I save money by painting the door and drilling the hardware myself.
  • What is your best tip to avoid buying doors that will quickly become dated? Avoid any arched panels and stick to straight lines. You can’t go wrong!
  • Would you save or splurge on the door OR the hardware? I’d save on the door and splurge on the hardware.
  • What finish do you paint your doors? I prefer semi gloss! It’s easy to clean and has the perfect sheen… glossy, but not too shiny.
  • What is your favorite hardware finish? Antique brass… it’s just a personal preference.
  • Do the door hinges have to match the hardware? Ideally yes, BUT in our previous home- some of the hinges were black and it surprisingly didn’t bother me. I think it depends on the surroundings in the room. For example, our bathroom was the perfect spot for my accidental black hinges because of the nero marble floor tile. It felt like it was intentional even though I messed up the order (oops).
  • Are solid core doors worth the extra money? YES. In photos you’ll never know the difference- they look equally as amazing, but the weight of the door in person feels so much more expensive if it’s heavier.
  • Can you also special order bifold and french doors from Lowe’s? Yep! We’ve done it and they’re wonderful. You can even order exterior doors- we’ve done that too.
  • Do you like your hardware for the new house (guest bathroom)- using a lever instead of a knob? 100%! I’m smitten. Again, it’s a personal preference (knob vs. lever).

Let me know if you have any other questions in the comments below! I hope this door & hardware post will be helpful for some of you. It’s a big, expensive decision that can really make or break the overall aesthetic of a home, but the process shouldn’t be daunting.

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