A fresh look to the home is easily achieved with a hardware upgrade. This relatively inexpensive home improvement is perfect for the do-it-yourself homeowner who has chosen to stay put and invest in the home or to give a quick update to your décor.
There are few home improvement projects as straightforward and rewarding as a hardware upgrade. Whether swapping knobs for pulls, builder-grade brass for
Double-beaded knob from Liberty Hardware
a stainless-steel look or matching decorative cabinet pieces to new appliances, a hardware upgrade is budget-friendly and achievable for anyone familiar with a screwdriver or a drill.
Mix and Match A total kitchen or bathroom makeover can be a costly and invasive endeavor. For homeowners lacking in the funds or patience to gut and revamp the whole room, a hardware upgrade can be an attractive alternative. It is also one that is easily overlooked. “When people move into a home, they often don’t pay attention to the hardware,” says Kevin Dewald, product manager for Hickory Hardware, a hardware manufacturer with headquarters in Nashville, Tenn. “Many homes come with builder-grade polished brass,” Dewald adds, saying that an upgrade to a quality nickel from a builder-grade brass is an easy and common change.
With individual knobs, pulls and pieces ranging from just under a dollar to $50, a homeowner can be as thrifty or indulgent as desired. According to Dewald, the average kitchen hardware upgrade can require 30 to 35 new pieces. Even when
Refined Rustic knobs from Hickory Hardware
selecting the $5 middle-of-the-road option at any big box store, a homeowner will be looking at roughly a $150 investment.
When selecting styles and finishes, there is an endless array of options. In a cabinet hardware, consumers will need to choose between the two largest categories of hardware—the knob and the pull. A straight swap will be the easiest since the drawers and cabinets will already be drilled to accommodate the replacement piece. For both knobs and pulls, homeowners can choose to accessorize with a backplate, which adds to the cabinet aesthetic and can also hide signs of wear and tear. Within the kitchen, homeowners will want to consider “functional” hardware pieces, like the concealed hinges offered by Amerock, manufacturers of decorative and functional hardware pieces for the kitchen, bath and rest of the home. Amerock also has a line of storage hardware items, like pull-out organizers and rotating shelves.
In the bathroom, hardware pieces include much more than cabinet pulls or knobs. There are towel rings, garment hooks, tissue holders, shower rods and many other facets of the room that can be upgraded. Doorknobs, hinges and wall plates for light switches also fall into the hardware category. These items can be swapped out with matching pieces for a subtle, but satisfying, hardware upgrade. Selecting a new door knocker, hinges and handle for the front door can be one way to set a new hardware tone for the rest of the house.
Manufacturers categorize their hardware pieces under a host of style names, which can include traditional, transitional, contemporary, rustic, whimsical, country, modern and casual, to name a few. “The simple, clean lines are popular right now,” says Ruby Schaefer, vice president of marketing for Liberty Hardware, manufacturers of Liberty®, Brainerd®, and Franklin Brass®, some of which can be found at The Home Depot and Lowe’s.
Finish options are even more plentiful. Antique, brushed, polished, and satin subcategories address brass, copper, nickel, pewter, silver and gold finishes. Consumers can find a plethora of additional color options, from simply named white, black and red to pallet-puzzling names like “honey maple,” “espresso” and “oatmeal.”