This kitchen features knobs and pulls from Tob Knobs' Devon collection.
Top Knobs This kitchen features knobs and pulls from Tob Knobs' Devon collection.

Homeowners looking to redesign a kitchen, or any other room in their home, may not think it matters what kind of pull or knob they put on their cabinet doors. Hardware pieces and other small additions to a space are often seen as an afterthought, and their importance can be easily overlooked. But as designers will attest, these details aren’t just an embellishment, they’re the finishing touch that completes the whole design. When it comes time for your clients to choose window hardware, cabinet pulls, door knobs, trim, and more, here’s why it’s important not to neglect the small stuff.

Likening home design to fashion, Knikki Grantham, Trend Manager at Grandville, Mich.-based hardware manufacturer Belwith-Keeler, says that “hardware is the accessory that tops off the whole outfit. There’s no better way to express yourself than how you accessorize yourself, and when you don’t pay attention to those little details it’s kind of like an unfinished palette; it just doesn’t quite look complete.” If our fashion choices are an expression of who we are, our homes too are a reflection of our taste, and details are the pieces that pull the look of a whole room together. “

If your effort to recreate a look falls short, examine the details,” says Ted Roberts, style and design chief for Schlage. “Molding, window treatments, lighting, and levers and knobs might not be the focus of your space, but they are supporting elements and need to do their part to complete the story. This attention to detail ensures the design is complete.”

Hardware pieces are elements of the home that are prone to some of the most frequent remodeling, and it may not just be because they’re easy to switch out and are susceptible to design trend changes. After looking at what seems like endless choices for kitchen cabinet colors, finishes, faces, and more, the cabinet pull may be the last thing a homeowner wants to spend time and energy selecting, says Grantham.

“Hardware is one of those things that [the homeowner] gets to and says, ‘I’m burned out and I need to just move on.’ It’s something they don’t pay attention to the first time around, and plan to come back to it later,” she says. “So they tend to go with what the simplest choice is instead of what the best choice is.”

It may seem daunting to your clients to have to pick out one more thing after a long day of designing, but this last element is just as important as the cabinet faces or kitchen countertops they picked out earlier. Encourage your clients to put thought into the hardware pieces, even if it means taking a break before making a selection.

Grantham also believes that the small details of a home are the perfect place to get homeowners out of their comfort zone and take a risk. Choosing an unusual decorative finish instead of something standard opens up a home to new design possibilities and introduces ways to tie different pieces together, even if it’s through decorative interior elements such as throw pillows or furniture.

“You can really take the design and accessorize throughout the house based on that little step out of the box with the hardware,” she says.

At the end of the day, carefully choosing the right design embellishments, whether it be trim or a door knob, is what makes a homeowner’s space their own.

“A home with fine details says something about the people that live there, and our homes are a representation of our values,” says Mette Aamodt, architect and CEO at Cambridge, Mass.-based Aamodt/Plumb Architects. “So it’s a question of quality, care, and craftsmanship—the details show care and attention to the design and what the homeowner wants to represent about themselves and the home that they live in.”

As Grantham says, “The little details are really what makes the home versus the house.”

If you're looking for some hardware inspiration, check out these 7 products that could work for your next project.

More about Belwith-Keeler
Find products, contact information and articles about Belwith-Keeler