2018 was the year of silver and chrome, whilst 2019 saw the beginnings of a march backward in time to golds and darker materials. 2020 promises an even greater contrast in terms of architectural trends, finishes and styles.

The world is a much smaller place today. Whereas twenty years ago, leading designs in Europe translated to other western shores around every ten years. When Europe would be feasting on futuristic modernity in the year 1976, Australia would be reveling in antiquity. Look ahead ten years to 1986 and Australia was beginning to see signs of the modern look while Europe had long since moved on to more exotic themes and styles.

However, the internet has changed that forever and now the world’s eyes of design hover over a plethora of options that would make even Frank Lloyd Wright’s eyes boggle.

Top ten trends for door and cabinet hardware in 2020

As industry leaders in this space, our interior designers and experts have come up with a list of the ten hot trends which will grace our homes and buildings in 2020. Here they are.

1. Graphite Nickel – the new designer finish

This new finish deserves a mention all of its own. Graphite Nickel (also known as Gunmetal) is a stunning new finish which is hard to describe in words. Here’s what some designers & architects have said;

  • “simply stunning”
  • “hard to describe it but you feel it”
  • “We’ve needed a finish like that for forever”
  • “It’s black but not, it’s grey but not, it’s simply beautiful”

Graphite Nickel (Gunmetal) is indeed a stunning finish which is already taking Europe by storm and has recently been introduced to North America. It is elegant yet subtle, natural yet poignant. The hue resounds with the beautiful light of nature and blends in and compliments the most beautiful spaces with grace. You can google the finish to get a preview but its strongly recommended to physically see the finish up close and personal. Some people describe the Graphite Nickel finish as a Gun Metal grey colour.

2. The longer the better!

Towards the end of 2018 a trend began to emerge where designers and architects began specifying longer accessories. The reason; doors and entrances are ever expanding in height and width. Existing accessories such as flush pulls, pull handles and other accoutrements did not cut the mustard. A 600mm Pull Handle will look completely lost on a 3 metre high entrance door. Likewise a 100mm Flush Pull will look totally un-proportionate on a 2.7 metre tall barn door.

2020 will see this trend develop exponentially and longer door fittings will change to match this new phenomenon. Flush pulls and entrance pull handles are now available in much longer lengths. If you google ‘long flush pulls’ you will get some idea of what can be procured to match your longer doors and entrances.

3. Brushed Nickel

This finish is continuing its dominance from 2019 into 2020 with all its beautiful silvery luminance! Not chrome, not dull, but sleek and radiant and opulent. It compliments any smart room by its sheer universality and charm. The other benefit is that it matches any stainless-steel accessories and tones nicely with chrome. Its broad appeal is due to its versatility within a wide gamut of finishes.

Earthy, peaceful and subtle is the order of the day in 2020. Not overstated, but elegant and poised. Graceful as a doe, but poignant as a cobra – still but ready. It’s the underlying strength of the design rather than the ‘in your face’ look that is in the front-line march to capture our hearts and minds. Tones such as graphite nickel (Gunmetal) , brushed nickel, matt black and satin brass are becoming the go to finishes for the ‘earth’ conscience palate.

4. The Hampton look

The Hampton style is still making a comeback and can be seen in many current modern design applications and trends. To quote home beautiful;

“Hamptons style has taken Australian interiors by storm and we know why – the fresh, airy palette of white-washed linens, natural textures, ocean inspired blues and freshly painted white timber finishes work beautifully in Australian homes”.

There are ample handle designs that compliment this new trend to satisfy the tastes of every discerning decorator. Examples of this can be found by simply googling ‘Hampton style handles’.

5. The overlapping of form and function

20 years ago, the handle of a door or cupboard was a device for locking and unlocking a door. Now it’s far from liminal, it’s the handshake of the door. Its an integral part of the space that delineates and defines the atmosphere and mien of a room and indeed a residence.

Handle design is an art form and famous designers over time have evolved and refined this work of art into an architectural dogma. The place where you enter is the window to the soul of what’s inside and the door handle is the nexus between the senses and the physical experience. Not only is it the nexus – it embodies art, security, form and function. The toil of a Potente, the genius of a Wittgenstein and the patience of a Gropious are seen in them one and all. The handle is now regarded as integral to a space.

The Door Handle Is The Handshake Of A Building

6. Art seen in design – consumers are becoming far better informed

Consumers, given that informative information is so readily available, are now far better educated as to architectural styles and finishes. Whilst the exterior of a beautiful house can be admired, inspected and discussed. In addition to these experiences, a beautiful handle can also be touched. There is something about the feel of a beautiful handle, lovingly designed, manufactured, finished and packed.

There is something of the spirit of the designer still residing – exuding something of the artisan, a sense of spirit and satisfaction. Modern day consumers understand this. In 2020, the modern consumer will insist on the overlap of all products within their space being related and entwined in one overarching piece of beautiful art.

7. Sustainability – natures response to our responsibility

Continuing the trend towards sustainability and awareness of our planet, 2020 is set to bring the nuances of nature into the home. Spaces will be filled with the lighter hues of natural finishes to match the natural light.  Biophilia is a word that means “love of nature”. The choices consumers make in 2020 will lean towards this credo.

Living finishes such as brass, copper, leather and rustic brass will be what graces our doors. These materials are all recyclable and long lasting thus helping to protect our earthly home.


8. Two tone inculcation

Designers have long been fans of chrome accessories, especially in the bathroom. However, the integration of every element in a house is now mandatory. That being the case, the problem has always been coordinating the chrome look with other design elements. The advent of two-tone finishes is a welcome breath of fresh air for specifiers as it solves this long-standing issue.

With two tone handles such as brushed Nickel and chrome, the consumer now has the ability to mould every room seamlessly without sacrificing the chrome element and artfully tying the two into one. We call it inculcation of finishes.

9. Gathering up the past and embracing the future

That’s what’s happening with some of the latest styles & finishes in 2020. Designers are sticklers for respecting what’s gone before whilst still garnering up the very best of modern-day technology & design. New finishes coming to the fore in 2020 are Vintage Pewter, Rustic Brass, Graphite Nickel (Gunmetal) and Satin Brass. Some of these are living finishes and carry with them elegance and antique elegance.

In addition to these new finishes, there is a shift, especially in higher end projects, back to older styles such as classical, neo classical, Georgian & the Federation infused styles. Many higher end builders are bedecking their display home doorways ways with these exquisite styles and finishes.

10. Bacteria free handles

The rise of superbugs is a concern the world over and design has seen this concern translate over into the integration of bacteria free handles.

A number of high-end Door handle companies are beginning to supply these handles as a modern-day answer to fighting this problem. This works by the inherent substrate material being naturally resistant to these super bugs along with the finishing process enhancing and strengthening the ability of the natural base material resisting these new threats.

A final word of caution – Know what you are buying

In 2020, this has never been more important. Remember, you are not just buying a product, you are spending your hard-earned money on a long-term investment in which you expect ongoing back up should anything go wrong.

Easy access through the internet to China has seen many one-man bands import door hardware from Asia direct. This may result in a cheaper price but paying less ALWAYS means paying more. There’s one way to fix this problem.

Thanks to much greater openness and the accessibility to our rights under consumer law, consumers are taking much more notice of things like quality and warranty details. Warranty on products is like a Pandora’s box of unknowns. There is a trend to rely more on social media comments and blogs.

Whilst this may help, often it can be misleading either way due to self-serving comments by the manufacturer or by non-balanced reporting by people not qualified. The warranty is therefore a ‘key’ source of assurance as to how good the product really is. If it has a warranty greater than ten years, this gives consumers the peace of mind that they need to make their buying decision.

Also, ask how long the company has been operating and how many staff it employs.

Its best to stick with the devil you know, rather than the devil you don’t. Remember, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

As John Ruskin puts it, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the joy of cheap price has gone”