Yesterday, I got about 150 new pieces of hardware in stock along with new hooks, metal wall hangings and other metal furniture embellishments. When they got to my house, my girlfriend was there and I was completely giddy about some of the new pieces. I started tearing into the bags to show her some of the fun ones I picked out. She says to me, “you have such a fun job!”
She’s completely right. It is so much fun to shop for hardware knowing that, at some point I will have the perfect piece of furniture to put it on…that is, if it doesn’t sell in the store before I get that piece.
The key to hardware is to know when to use new vs. keeping the old. Here is my general rule of thumb as to how I decide whether to keep it or toss it.
I always keep original hardware when…
1. It is all there and intact!
A lot of older piece have delicate knobs or handles that have teeny tiny nails attaching them to the wood in addition to the actual screw. While, you can remove them, the process often damages the hardware itself. In that case, if they are all there, I paint over the knobs and add touches of distressing around it so the original metal shows through the paint.
2. It is classic!
The scrolly legged, French furniture is just not right without the classic French pulls.
And, these classic handles are reminiscent of early early American furniture. I remember walking through Mt. Vernon and noticing how many of the original pieces owned by George Washington had these very handles on them. If these handles are on a traditional, early American pieces, I will almost always leave them in their original state!
3. The quality of the furniture does not warrant investing in new hardware
This was a small chest of drawers, most likely purchased in a box and put together at home. It was made from pre-fab materials. New handles would have cost around $20 and wasn’t worth it for a piece that would only sell for $50. So, I kept the original handles and spray painted them for a fresh look.
4. The original hardware can be changed and altered to look completely different.
These large wood knobs were original to the dresser they went on, but with the added touch of paint, modge podge and vintage sewing patterns, they take on an entirely new look and add character to an otherwise plain piece of furniture!
I always replace hardware when…
1. I’m forced to because there are broken pieces or handles missing.
2. The original hardware is so ghastly that the only way to make the piece look good is with new stuff.
3. When I can mix some original with some new.
The handles were original to the piece with a fresh coat of spray paint and the knobs on the drawer were new pieces to contemporize the dresser.
4. It just needs some bling.
There’s nothing like an antique dresser with a gorgeous glass knob. Simple as that!
Happy Hardware Hunting!!!