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Types of Door Handles

Updated: Sep 8, 2022

hand door handle

What type of door handles are there? There are four types of door handle. If we narrow the scope and leave vehicles and space craft off our radar, we are looking at the humble home or office environment. The term Door Handle is a generic term.

When we think of home and office door handles we can consider four main door handle types. There are door handles for cupboards, entry doors, sliding doors, and of course passage doors. They come in different shapes. Different sizes. Different finishes. All of which you will find at Architectural Design Hardware.

Our homes and places of work all have door handles to open doors. Generally speaking buildings of any size will have door handles. But what are the different types of door handles?

  1. Cupboard & Wardrobe doors need Cabinet Handles.

  2. Entry doors need Entrance Handles or Pull Handles.

  3. Passage Doors need a Door Lever or Door Knob.

  4. Sliding doors need appropriate Sliding Door Handles or Flush Pull Handles.

Each door handle has its own unique style, design and appearance. You will find all in our showroom at Architectural Design Hardware.

Using the term door handle can refer to any door as having a generic door handle type. Submarines and Space craft have door handles that open cupboards, hatches, and the like. Terminology does get more complicated if we start getting technical. However for this post we are talking common home and office door types.

Door handles come in al shapes and designs. When we talk about home and office doors, door handles are also referred to as door levers or door knobs and they come in many shapes and sizes. We can also include door knobs under this gender as they are also referred to as a door handle. You can view our range of door handles here

Cabinet handles come in many shapes and sizes and are used on small and large door types. Cabinet handles will either be single fixing or double fixing, having one or two screw fixings. They have no mechanical function (aka dummy door handle) other than to open a small door or draw. You can view our selection of cabinet handles here

Entrance handles usually adorn the main entry door of your home or office building. They can also be used for feature doors in your home or meeting room entry in the office. Entrance door handles or Pull Handles are usually long and bulky to present an impressive look and feel when opening large doors. Entrance door handles also have many shapes and sizes. You can view our selection of entry door handles here

Sliding doors require sliding door handles and in most cases they will use entry pulls or flush pulls to open the door. You may find small pull handles for sliding internal doors and large pull handles on external sliding doors. It will vary depending on the nature of the sliding door. Barn doors a recent return to the home, will use either dependent on the size of the sliding door. Sliding door furniture falls both in Entrance and Cabinet criteria.


Looking at types of door handles, the most popular design are the round rose and square rose furniture door handle. The lever arm itself can be round, square, flat, or curved. As expected there is an array of door handle shapes available.

The shape and size of the round rose and the square rose will vary dependent on manufacture, design, style and purpose. They can be ornate, plain, or non existent, without rose.

round rose
round rose

square rose
square rose

We must not forget door handles that sit on backplates. Not to be confused with roses.

A rose is between 30 and 70mm in diameter, be it square or round. A back plate is usually between 40mm to 240mm in length be it rectangular or rounded.

rectangular backplate
rectangular backplate

rounded backplate
rounded backplate

Backplate furniture usually adorns larger doors providing an alluring charisma. Backplates are usually rectangular or rounded plates.


Door handles will have one of four functions.

  1. Locking (main entry)

  2. Privacy (toilet)

  3. Passage (general)

  4. Dummy (double doors)

Any door handle can be used for any of these functions. The majority of door handles in your home will be passage function. Apart from your main entry which will have a lock mechanism as will your exit door. Your toilet and bathroom which will have a privacy function. A dummy handle usually sits on the opposing non functioning double door. Dummy handles also known as cupboard / cabinet handles / knobs or pulls.

For most of your internal doors there will be a latch mechanism. A latch is operated by the lever when the lever is turned. You can ask about latches, locks, privacy functions when you visit our showroom at Architectural Design Hardware.

A word of warning... ! If you are anal about straight lines and angles stay away from square rose furniture.


A door handle can either be a lever or a knob.

A lever provides leverage when opening a door both in the downward action and the pulling action.

A knob on the other hand requires a grip and a turn action.

door knob
door knob

In some counties example Canada the use of knob door handles has been banned. You will also find some retirement homes are doing away with door knobs and reverting to lever handles.

If you have difficulty gripping with your hand, then trying to open a door with a knob handle is extremely difficult if not impossible. At any age, you may be old, you may have arthritis or a hand disability that prevents gripping.

A lever handle is far easier to operate by simply pushing down on the lever either with hand or elbow.

To grip a ball shape handle made of metal is slippery, and very difficult to turn.

A disadvantage of lever door handles is that they do protrude and if you are not careful you can catch loose clothing on them. Whereas a knob is round and less obtrusive and wont catch clothing.


dandy door handle
dandy door handle

Lets not forget the exquisitely designed door handles. Designs which are based on times gone by. The freedom to design when the rich could afford to have made door handles of magnificent designs.

Casual, mid-century modern, traditional, contemporary, modern… the list of styles continues to grow. There is a huge variety of designs that does not make it easy to comprehend which will work best for your space.


The terms or titles given to identify or classify furniture overlaps, varies and causes confusion amongst the most knowledgeable. There is no definitive date or year that one style stops and another starts. Design is progressive. It overlaps, merges, and re-surfaces to become something desirable. Most importantly is that we cherish and enjoy that which we have chosen to adorn our doors and present our home or office environment.

Traditional style is prevalent.

The Traditional style of furniture reproduces the classic décor with European flair. Traditional design emphasizes elegance and simplicity. The main characteristics are deep colors and wood tones, decorative details and a variety of ornamental elements.

You can view traditional door hardware styles here on our website.

Modern style simplicity

Modern furniture style is defined by clean and crisp lines. A simple design, neutral color palette, and “cold” materials. Created in the 20th Century, the style grew out of the decorative arts.

The Italian design door handles cover many styles over the centuries. View our post here on Italian door handles.

Contemporary style of the present

Contemporary furniture design is really the styles of today — “the here and now”. Difficult to discern from the modern. Contemporary furniture style is fluid. It can contain smooth shapes and curved lines, silhouettes, crisp or geometric shapes.

View our post on DormaKaba door handle range here and our post on Designer Doorware door handle range here

Transitional style confusion

Taking the best from modern and traditional styles, the transitional is another popular style in current home interiors. The design offers a balance of both classic elegance and modern materials. This style may blend plush and noble furnishings with steel materials and glass elements.

View our post on Bankston door handle range here

Mid Century Modern style

Mid-Century Modern is the style known for the most iconic furniture pieces in modern design. A time between 1933 and 1965 when architectural and interior design develop. Known for its minimalist silhouettes, sophisticated lines, handmade and hand-painted elements.

Elements of mid-century modern interior design include clean lines, muted tones, a combination of natural and manmade materials, graphic shapes, vibrant colors, and integrating indoor and outdoor motifs.

While Mid Century Modern (MCM) refers to the design movement that became popular after WWII in 1945, Modern Design developed in the 1930s, and is a precursor to MCM.

View our post on Manital door handles here and our Colombo door handles here

Did you know... ? Antiques are typically classified as being 100 years or older and vintage pieces are anything less than that. Although I don't think we could say Modern is vintage! Not yet anyways. However, to earn the title "vintage" a piece should also be an example of what defined the style of that period.


The term Retro furniture has also come into colloquial use for describing furniture that are from the mid 1900's. Retro tends to refer to something that is culturally outdated or aged in a style that has since come back in style.


style door handle

Styles come, styles go, and styles return with time. When selecting door hardware for your home or office it is important to stay focused on what it is you are creating. Be it modern, traditional or dare I say retro there are door handles to suit every need and desire.

At Architectural Design Hardware our selection of door handles covers all spectrums and styles. We offer quality door furniture to suit the style of your desire. Our showroom is open to the public and our consults are available to assist in any way they can.

Visit our door handle range here and our news posts here

Be amazed at what we have and enjoy our door hardware selection presented in our showroom at Architectural Design Hardware.

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