When it comes to quality, real wood furniture there are few types as admired as hand-made Amish furniture. While Amish furniture lacks the ornate, complicated style that can be found in other types of wood furniture, it more than makes up for it with its simplistic beauty and robust design.
The finishing touch of any piece of furniture, including Amish, is the hardware. While most hardware used in Amish living room furniture is fairly basic, there are a few traditions to keep in mind if you are striving for an authentic look.
Here are 5 tips for getting a real hand-made Amish look to your furniture.
Classic Shaker Furniture Focuses on Wood Knobs and Pulls
Maintain the plain, classic look of Shaker furniture by selecting wooden knobs and pulls. With the origins of Amish woodwork focusing on strength over embellishments, you will achieve a much more traditional look by sticking with wood. Shaker furniture is all about letting the beauty of unstained wood speak for itself so refrain from the temptation of adding ornamental hardware. For the best effect use the same wood in your furniture as you do in your wooden hardware.
Metal Hardware is at Home on Mission Style Furniture
Unlike Shaker furniture, metal hardware is preferred on Mission furniture. Mission furniture is still fairly plain, but easily recognizable by its dark stained wood, straight lines, and overall imposing look. Metal hardware can range in tones but should match the wood stain fairly well. Oiled rubbed or hardware with a vintage effect works quite nicely. You will also want to select metal hardware that is squared rather than curved.
Consider Experimenting with Mixed Media Hardware
Some people do choose to mix wood and metal hardware on Shaker furniture, especially on large pieces of furniture with heavy drawers. This might not be 100% traditional, but can still look attractive in a modern home. It is more common to see mixed media hardware on Mission style furniture, which focuses mostly on metal hardware but glass knobs are also appropriate. Mixing hardware like dark oil rubbed metal pulls and dainty, vintage vintage knobs looks stunning.
Stick with Knobs on Doors and Pulls on Drawers
As a general rule you will use knobs on doors and pulls on drawers. It may be possible to use knobs on small drawers on a dresser or buffet, but you will not want to use knobs on any drawer designed that will have heavy items within in. Pulls could look very nice on Mission doors, however, as knobs are less common on Mission compared to Shaker. Consider size of the hardware as well. The size should be easily to grab and strong enough to withstand regular use, but overly large or too delicate hardware will both look out of place.
Hardware Placement is as Important as Hardware Type
Placement of hardware is all about aesthetics, but also contributes to ease of use. Drawers 2' or wide should have an equally spaced pair of pulls for easier opening, especially if it is a deep drawer that may be heavy. Knobs or pulls on doors should be placed near the corners of the door for the best look. Also, while some Shaker furniture does have the knob in the middle of the face of the drawers, it can be argued that placing the knob slightly higher up on the face.
While there are no hard rules when it comes to furniture design, it is important to consider what is customary when it comes to Amish furniture. By selecting the appropriate hardware you will more easily achieve that classic look of hand-made Amish furnishings.