Antique Doorknob Materials: Brass, Glass, Porcelain, and More

antique doorknob materials

Planning a period property restoration? Door and door knobs are often overlooked in the restoration journey. But the key to achieving an authentic and sympathetic restoration is to pay close attention to these small details.

Authentic doors and door knobs lend an air of authenticity to a space and will enable you to avoid a mismatched or disjointed look. If you are planning to purchase new or reclaimed antique door knobs, there are a few key factors you need to know.

Originals versus reproductions

The first thing to understand is the difference between an original and a reproduction. An original is one that has been reclaimed from an original period property before a renovation. These are thought to have enough life left in them to continue to be of use.

A reproduction is a modern and new door knob that is manufactured based on an original. These will be crafted using materials that were common at the time, but it will essentially be a brand new piece of hardware.

When choosing between originals and reproductions, we recommend choosing newer materials. Originals will have significant wear and tear and could start to break down and deteriorate. A faithful reproduction will be indistinguishable from the real thing – the only difference is that the reproduction will be much more reliable.

Round or oval?

Vintage door knobs commonly come in a round design or an oval design. If anyone in your home has limited mobility or struggles with their grip, an oval or bun design might be better suited. Otherwise, the round design is an authentic design feature that will blend seamlessly with any period restoration.

antique doorknob materials

Brass and nickel door knobs

Door knobs made from metal like brass and nickel will often be made from one material throughout. You might also find plated door knobs, with cheaper metals underneath and a thin layer of a more expensive metal on top.

Brass is ideal for a warm-toned room while nickel looks impeccable in a cool-toned room. You should also think about the light in the space – south facing rooms typically have warmer light than north-facing rooms. You should also think about other hardware fixtures in the room to create a harmonious look.

Wooden door knobs

Wooden door knobs are incredibly popular as they develop a beautiful sheen over time. Wood looks particularly stunning with a reeded or beehive pattern. We offer wooden door knobs made from solid wood in either an ebonised or a natural hardwood finish. These are paired with a contrasting collar and rose plate in either brass or nickel.

Glass and porcelain door knobs

If you search around salvage yards, you might come across glass or porcelain door knobs in varying conditions. Glass offers a glitzy finish to any room, and looks particularly beautiful when paired with other glass elements in the room, such as a glass pendant light.

Porcelain door knobs are more commonly used as cupboard handles and might be bright white, coloured or patterned. Original porcelain will likely be discoloured instead of bright white, but this off-white shade can work well in some interiors.

antique doorknob materials

Making the right choice for your home

If you’re not sure which door knobs are right for your home, you need to think about the bigger picture. Try creating a mood board for your home so you can see how the visual elements tie together.

Look for inspiration of homes that you admire and see what choices these interior designers have made in regards to their door knobs and other door hardware. These details are not always the centre of attention, so it’s only when you go looking for inspiration that you find out which designs work best for the style of home you hope to achieve.

Are door knobs hard to replace?

Replacing your door knobs is a very easy DIY project that most people can take on, regardless of their skill level. If you are carrying out a direct swap, this will be the easiest. Follow our fitting guidelines to learn more about how to install your vintage door knobs.

If you still need advice and support, our team is here to help. Get in touch today if you’re struggling to find the right door knobs for your project. We can help you to find the perfect vintage door knobs for your next renovation project.

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Vintage Door Knob Centre
c/o Cast Iron Radiator Centre
241 Torrington Avenue
(Corner of Padstow Road)

Coventry, West Midlands
0808 196 3733 / 024 7526 0860
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