A Guide to Buying Door Knob Sets

If you’ve been in the market for door knobs in recent times, you’ll know as well as we do that there are a legion of styles and finishes available. Sometimes the choices can be overwhelming, and we want to shed some light on the styles and workings of door knobs available for homeowners and developers today.

Buying Mortice Door Knobs

When purchasing a door knob set there are a few things you should take into consideration, otherwise, you may find yourself wasting money on products that don’t fit your door, or your lock/latch mechanisms. Ultimately we are here to try and help you get it right the first time around.

Door knobs offer a classic look to an interior, with a more refined overall look, which is pleasing to the eye. However, it must be remembered that door knobs require a twisting motion to operate, which for some can be troublesome — e.g. the elderley, the infirm, and small children.

Positioning is also important, so when you are operating the knobs you avoid striking knuckles on the door frame on doors opening into a room. So the mechanism that you purchase (or your existing mechanism) needs to be at least 76mm long or preferably 100mm long. We can guide you through this process to ensure that the length and strength of springing is correct. Some doors have a large area around the mid rail for door furniture, and some doors just have the vertical panel which is nearly always around 125mm wide. So using a 76mm latch (which has a 57mm backset) will place the knobs practically central on that panel, giving the best look. If you have more room, use a longer latch mechanism. 

Door knobs which are stated as ‘unsprung’ will always require a stronger, better quality mechanism rather than the cheaper mechanisms, otherwise, the knobs will not spring back into place.

Mortice door knobs that are designed to turn are always sold in pairs, along with the fixings and spindle to enable fixing to the door.

Latches or Lock Mechanisms

To allow a handle or knob to turn and open a door, and then latch it shut, you will need to purchase a lock or latch mechanism that will retract when the knob or handle is turned. There are two main types of latches. Most common is the mortice lock or latch, morticed into the edge of the door. These are very common throughout the UK. The other more traditional option is a rim lock or latch, which is fixed straight onto the face of the door; the rim lock or latch fits perfectly with period homes and will require rim mortice knobs.

Rim knobs or Mortice knobs?

Which mechanism you choose for your door, or that is already in place when replacing a handle, will determine which type of door knob you need to purchase. Rim knobs are designed to fit surface-fitted rim locks, and mortice knobs are designed for mortice locks and latches, as the name suggests.

Lever handle or knobs

One of the bigger decisions you will have to make is whether to go with a lever-handle or a knob-style door furniture. There are basic and flamboyant designs in each, meaning that you’ve got a variety of options. Remember, you need a free hand to operate a mortice knob, but a lever handle can be operated by an elbow or arm if you have your hands full. Some pets have a canny knack for opening doors with lever handles.

Door knobs

Door knobs have been around a lot longer than lever handles, and are therefore a popular choice for period properties. With a variety of materials available for your door knobs to be made from, including: wooden door knobs, antique brass door knobs, polished brass door knobs, pewter door knobs, stainless steel door knobs, ceramic door knobs or even crystal & glass door knobs.

With so many options, you’re able to pick something that fits the style, period, and personal tastes of whichever house you’re buying door furniture for.

Door lever handles

Door lever handles naturally provide an easier, better grip for people; especially useful if you don’t have a lot of strength or dexterity in your hands. As with door knobs, there are a whole host of materials and finishes available for lever handles, too, so you will always find something to suit. These styles and finishes include: black iron & pewter handles, stainless steel door handles, antique brass or bronze handles, satin nickel handles, and more!

Aspects to consider when buying door handles or knobs


Whilst choosing one or the other in terms of style is mostly down to personal preference, you should also take into account the people using the doors. Lever handles are more accessible to most people and can still look traditional if that’s the look you’re going for.

On the other hand, if you have a rim lock or latch, you’re almost always going to have a door knob instead of a lever handle. This is due to how the lock and latch is designed, so it’s something to consider.

Door style

It might not be obvious at first, and a lot of the time we won’t think about it because generally, we replace like with like, but the door itself will guide which type of handle or knob you should aim for.

Panelled — often found in heritage or period buildings, especially listed buildings where the original style and look of the building must be preserved. Panels can be flat or raised and usually come in sixes or fours in traditional buildings. Suits backplate handles and knobs with a traditional feel or finish.

Boarded or Ledged — are mostly found in country and farm-house style buildings, but have been making an appearance again in modern styles too. These doors look fantastic for the cottage-style look that’s been making the rounds. Rustic, black iron or blacksmith-style handles or knobs will work well with these doors.

Veneered — these doors are made to look like they use a particular wood, but use a lighter and cheaper interior for the door core. Popular in places where costs are a large factor, these doors will look at their best when the wood types are matched with handles or knobs that take the veneer into account. This can mean many different styles work, but the individuality of the door is important.

Painted — common door types that look contemporary and modern, which can work with a variety of styles of door handles and door knobs. From the subtle, neutral colours of greys, creams, and white to the bolder statement colours of blues, reds, or greens. Modern, sleek handles and more obvious Art Deco handles and knobs can work well with painted doors.

Handle Shape

The shape of a handle or door knob will be important to consider, too. Here are some examples:


Handles will be tubular, with sleek, flowing lines and no hard edges. Backplates and roses will be curved, or round. Door knobs will be oval, smooth and often polished and are somewhat easier to grab than round knobs.

Lever on rose (1)


Handles will be cylindrical, smooth, and sometimes tapered. Door knobs are going to be fully round, with circular backplates and roses.

Lever on rose (2)


Angular handles are going to use straight edges, have rectangular or square backplates and roses, and look more contemporary. Door knobs can be rectangular or square and will use clean crisp edges.

Lever on rose (3)


Classic door handles are sometimes called Victorian, will often have a rectangular backplate, and will be ornate. Often made from brass, these handles work well with panelled doors.

Lever on backplate (1)


Contemporary door handles are sleek, simple and often minimalist. Using geometric designs and simple shapes to convey the modern aesthetic.

Lever on rose (4)

Door Furniture in the Room

When furnishing a large number of doors in a single room, such as a kitchen or bathroom where there are many cabinet doors and cupboards to outfit, you should consider unifying the style across all furnishings. This presents the best look across the whole room.

It’s no good having some cupboards with traditional style door knobs and some with ultra-modern style knobs because they’ll look odd and out of place. At the very least, your handles should be complementary across the whole room — and in some ways, throughout the entire house. Whilst it’s common to have different cabinet and cupboard furniture than your interior door furniture, you should still consider whether the handles used on your internal doors match with the cabinet furniture in the kitchen and bathroom. Unified handles or knobs across the whole house will increase your house’s perceived value.

Function of the doors

Finally, when purchases for door furniture are made, we like to consider the function of the doors that are being changed.

  • Is it a door frequently used? If so, are the handles easy to hold, turn, and use? 
  • Will people of different strengths be able to use the door handle properly? 
  • Have you chosen something suitable for the young and the old, too?
  • Can people of various sizes hands grab the handle or knob without grazing their knuckles?

These things are some of the main considerations when it comes to the function of your doors, but we’ve focused mainly on domestic use. Commercial buildings need to consider this on a greater scale, but that’s outside the scope of this particular guide!

What are the latest trends for door handles?

The latest trends can be hard to get around, sometimes, but here’s a list of a few of the recent spikes of popularity for door furniture.

Satin (brushed) Brass finish

Satin brass has made a recent resurgence within interiors, whereby many items around the house are now seen in satin brass.

Lever on rose (5)

Aged or antique brass finish

Popular with some traditional or cottage-style decors, aged and antiqued brass finishes are designed to look older than they are, the finishes are made to look older and worn.

Antique style brass doorknob (1)

Matt Black finish

A matte black finish is a very modern and progressive look for a contemporary style, currently one of the most popular finishes for door hardware.

Matte black door handle (1)

Polished Chrome finish

Polished to a mirror-like shine, chrome finishes are highly popular in flashy styles and designs, and will always be popular for the consistent shiny ‘new’ look. Compliments most interiors.

Chrome door knob (1)

Black antique / rustic finish

Finally, the traditional, blacksmithed style and finish is quite popular right now, especially for the cottage and farmhouse style houses/decors. These handles look fresh from the smithy and create a visually stunning look. See our From the Anvil traditional range for more.

Black antique handle (1)

Buy your Door Handles and Door Knobs online today

Here at Handles4Homes, we have a team of experts willing to help you with any query or question you may have. Don’t hesitate to send us an email or call for advice on your particular needs.We have a massive range of door handles and door knobs for you to choose from, all of which come at the best prices !

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