Door furniture explained: part one

The first instalment of our two-part buying guide tackles handles, locks and latches for your interior doors.

Door furniture explained: part one
It’s fair to say that door furniture is something that’s only too easy to overlook on a long list of to-dos and to-buys during a renovation project.

Yet it’s also true that choosing the right hardware for your interior doors can really set your home’s tone.

What’s more, if you’re buying new interior doors, you may well expect them to come with handles, hinges, locks and latches already fitted. It’s a pretty common assumption, but unfortunately, it’s not the case.

Once you start your search, you’ll quickly find there’s more than just the style or finish of handle to consider.

That’s where we come in.

Part one of our buying guide will help you to choose the right handles, locks and latches for your interior doors.
Door handles
Door knob

Generally speaking, spherical door knobs are the traditional choice for period properties.

A knob opens a door using a twist mechanism that rotates the spindle (the metal rod that connects two handles together on either side of the door) and retracts the latch bolt. 
Lever handle
A lever, which moves in a down-up motion, is a more modern style of handle. The lever itself attaches horizontally to a backplate or rose.

This type of handle is probably the easiest style to grip and use (even an elbow could do the job if your hands are full). A push down on the lever is all that’s needed to rotate the spindle, retract the latch bolt and open the door.

For something with a little more interest, there’s the T-bar design. Like a knob, it twists to operate, but instead of taking an orbicular form, it’s shaped (as its name would suggest) like a ‘T’.
Pull handle 
A fixed pull handle is ideal for an interior door that doesn’t need a sprung latch to open and close. It’s simply surface-mounted to the door.

It’s a particularly practical style for sliding doors, as you can get a firm grip and apply plenty of force to open or close the door.


Most lever handles you’ll come across (and some knobs) will be mounted onto a rectangular plate that’s screwed vertically onto the door. This is a backplate.

A backplate conceals a handle’s internal fittings and provides a useful platform for a thumbturn or Euro lock.

All our handle designs are available with backplates in two lengths. We make ours from solid brass that’s just 4mm thick for a low-profile look.
A circular-shaped rose is typically attached to a knob, although it works just as well with a lever. It functions in the same way as a backplate but offers a more discreet look.

Clayton is the only handle in our collection that comes with a choice of two roses: our signature low-profile style or a pared-back flush version that we’ve created to complement the lever’s really contemporary look.   
Sprung handle
A sprung handle is engineered with a built-in ‘cassette’ that holds a pre-tensioned spring.

This spring mechanism is strong enough to take the weight of the handle and return it to its original position over and over.

You won’t experience any drooping with this style of handle (even if it’s a lever that’s made from weighty solid brass like ours all are), and you can pair it with any latch you like.

We’ve taken a slightly deeper dive into the engineering behind our own sprung handles here. 

Unsprung handle
This handle variation is designed without a spring mechanism (something that’s much less important for door knobs).

If your handle is a lever design, it must be installed with a latch that has enough tension to return it to its original horizontal position after use.

Fixed handle
Sometimes referred to as a ‘dummy’ door handle, this has no latching or locking function. You can push or pull on it to open or close the door, but it won’t actively rotate or move up and down.

It’s a good choice for internal double doors the fixed handle is surface mounted to the ‘inactive’ door to create a cohesive look.   
Locks and latches
Tubular latch
This is what’s used to keep an internal door securely closed (but not locked).

The mechanism a steel tube with a spring-loaded follower and latch bolt is installed (or ‘morticed’) into a cavity in the door’s edge. The latch bolt slots into the strike plate that’s fitted into the door frame.

When you use the handle, the latch bolt retracts to open the door before springing back in place to ‘latch’ the door and keep it closed.

This type of latch comes in different lengths and strengths to suit different doors and handles.

The length you go for will depend on your door’s backset. This is the distance from the edge of the door to the centre of your handle’s spindle hole.

Strong latch
A strongly sprung latch has a more powerful return spring inside the tubular casing and is best used with an unsprung lever door handle.

Because this type of handle doesn’t have a spring mechanism built in, it relies on a strong latch to return the handle to its original position.

You don’t want to pair this type of latch with a door knob, as it’ll make it too stiff to turn easily, and it’s definitely not necessary for use with a sprung lever handle either (although it’ll still be perfectly useable).

Light latch
A lightly sprung latch, by contrast, has a gentler spring and is just the thing for use with a door knob or a sprung lever handle. 
Bathroom lock
This type of lock is designed for use with interior doors (and especially those leading to a loo or bathroom).

The lock is fitted into the door’s edge and is engaged using a thumbturn attached to the door.

You can unlock the door from the outside using the cointurn in case of an emergency.

If you opt for a handle design that’s mounted on a rose, you’ll need to buy your thumbturn separately. Alternatively, our handles with long backplates come with the option of a built-in thumbturn.

Euro lock
A Euro lock can be used on both internal and external doors and is operated by key.

It has a cylindrical locking part that’s installed in a lock case that sits inside the door.

Your door’s backplate will have an oversized keyhole shape cut into it. The cylinder passes through the cut out into the lock case and back out through the backplate on the other side of the door.
You can explore all the designs in our door furniture collection, including matching hinges, escutcheons, thumbturns and door stops, here.

Although some of our hardware products can be fitted by anyone proficient at DIY, we'd recommend using a qualified builder or joiner to install our door handles, locks and latches.