As such think about finishes, sizes and shapes of period door furniture before making any rash decisions.
Ideal finishes for the metal on your period door furniture are brass and black only with chrome being acceptable for any decorative handles, that may also include glass, bone and wood. Brushed chrome, brushed steel and anything involving plastic are totally unsuitable and will be at odds with a period look and feel of any home.
Period door furniture would tend to be large, solid and strong looking with rounded edges and likely to withstand knocks and bumps over the years.
What are the different items of furniture required on a door and what is their function?
Pull handles are most typically used on doors that need to be pulled open and pushed shut. They have no mechanism with them and may need to be used with a roller latch or lock in order to fix a door in the closed position. They are the most simple type of handle and can be purchased in many decorative designs and finishes including crystal handles, handles with decorative backplates etc.
A lever handle is one where the handle needs to be pressed down to release the catch and open the door. These are not the oldest handles in terms of style but can still be purchased in period shapes and finishes again with many beautiful decorative cast iron backplates and monkeytail handle shapes. Lever handles can incorporate a lock plate ie a part of the backplate through which you insert your key into the keyhole, and therefore used without an escutcheon. If they do not incorporate the escutcheon part they are called latchplate in style.
Hinges can be purchased in styles from the plain and merely functional, or at the other extreme, decorative hinge fronts can be purchased that do not do any job other than impersonate a working hinge. In between many styles of decorative hinge are available that do the job of a hinge and look pretty at the same time. These can be purchased in different sizes and strengths for the heavy oak period doors often on Victorian houses.
Escutcheons are a piece of metal that go over the keyhole so as to hide the untidy finish of a keyhole cut in a door. They can be purchased in a style and finish to match your door handle and other ironmongery such as your letterbox, door knocker and door handle.
Locks come in many different types. The most important are mortice locks and rim locks. Rim locks sit on the outside of a door and are often decorative in nature. Mortice locks sit inside the door and are more secure as the locking mechanism is not on display and easily accessible. These are most commonly used on front doors.
Letterplates are the mechanism through which letters are posted through your door and usually have a flap which is pushed open in order to allow the letter to go through the door into the building. Again these can be purchased in finishes to match the rest of your door furniture.
Bolts can act as added security for your doors and are often used on back doors which are obscured from view.
Door knockers can be extremely decorative in nature and enhance the period feel of your home in shapes such as lions heads, bats and fleur de lys designs.
The Victorian Emporium sells all different types of period door furniture that will enhance any door of a period house
For more tips and advice from some of our customers, have a read of our article "Things I wish I'd known before buying my period house".