How to Choose Decorative Garage Door Hardware

Perhaps, you’ve described your garage doors as “nothing special” or “hidden in plain sight” and you never really thought about the impact of a well-maintained garage door on your home. In reality, the garage door is becoming more of a prominent upgrade for your home than you might expect. 

In this blog, we will highlight the importance of investing in garage door decorative hardware, what style options you have, and how you can expand the lifespan of your hardware.

Why Invest in Garage Door Decorative Hardware?

Curb appeal is often a hot topic when selling a house or making improvements to a home you plan to stay in, and decorative garage door hardware can be an easy way to spruce up an existing door to make it feel more special. It is all about how your house looks from the street. 

Decorative garage door hardware comes in various styles, sizes, materials, colors, and components. Find a style that compliments your home and allows your garage door to shine individually, without overpowering the whole home. 

Studies show that 71% of homeowners use their garage door as their main entrance. Adding decorative hardware is an easy way to give your garage door a cost-efficient makeover so you can start describing it as “a breathtaking transformation” or “bright and beautiful” 

You may want to add garage door hardware to your home for multiple reasons including making a great first impression to house visitors or to invest in your future. If you’re thinking about selling your home, having a spruced-up garage door will increase the value of your home and you’ll receive just under 94% of the costs spent on making these improvements.

Before you decide what decorative hardware to choose, you want to determine your purpose for adding new hardware, you can do this by asking yourself some basic questions:

  • Do you live in a “snout” house – where the garage faces the street and is more prominent than your front door?
  • Is your garage tucked around a corner or the back of your house, where you are decorating it mainly for your own pleasure?
  • Does your garage door compete for attention with the front door? 
  • Do you want to draw attention to your garage doors or just freshen them up?

You will also want to assess your garage door’s style and plan accordingly:

  • Is it a swing style or barn style garage? What design elements do you want to emphasize?
  • Is it a traditional style & rail door? These doors generally do not benefit from strap hinges and ring pulls. Instead, two-tone paint does wonders on these types of doors.
  • Is a door leaf (1/2 the door width for a swing door) a reasonable size for one person to pretend to swing?

Your Options for Decorative Hardware

When picking out garage door accessories, you want to make sure it emphasizes the style of your home. Most decorative hardware mimics the look of working door hardware, for example, garage door hinges and garage door handles. 

Below is an example of each decorative piece to help you visualize what would work best for your garage door.

A graphic showing strap hinges, latches, pull handles, clavos, and ring pulls.

We’ve also provided some before and after photos to help you envision the positive effects of garage door decorative hardware. 

Strap Hinges & Latches

No matter what type of decorative hardware you are looking for, make sure the garage door still looks functional. Hinges and latches should be placed on the sides of the garage door at the top and bottom. The top and bottom hinges should be the same length, but any intermediate hinges (under a window area), can be shorter. 

A side-by-side comparison of a garage door, one with strap hinges in the wrong place and one with strap hinges in the right place.

The picture on the left indicates this garage as a very wide single door and has a much simpler look to it. The right photo imitates two side-by-side swing style doors with a more decorative look through the use of garage door hinges.

Pull Handle & Ring Pulls 

Pull handles or ring pulls are a popular choice for carriage-style garage door hardware, and they add an elegant touch to your home. If your garage door opens from the middle, you may want to have hardware installed. These should be placed just above the shoulder height of the driveway and always be installed in pairs. 

A tan garage door with strap hinges and pull handles


Clavos are decorative nails that add a finishing touch to your garage door. These can be used with another garage door accessory without being overbearing. The doors on the left seem simple and beautiful, but not the wow factor you may be looking for. Adding small touches like clavos around the panels and ring pulls in the center dress up your garage in an easy and elegant way. 

A side-by-side comparison of a garage door without clavos versus one without clavos

Magnetic vs. Professionally Installed? 

You may be thinking “oh I can do this myself, slap on some magnetic decorative hardware, and call it a day.” Although this may be a good temporary solution, magnetic hardware has its disadvantages. 

  • Magnetic hardware only works on garage doors that are magnetic. 
  • Magnetic hardware may only be used for decorative purposes, so garage door handles may not allow you to lift or open your garage. 
  • Magnetic hardware is easier to steal than professionally installed garage door decor. 

One of the biggest advantages of getting your decorative hardware professionally installed is that you won’t have to worry about the logistics or take time out of your busy schedule to work on the installation. We will make sure the pieces are put in the right place and won’t leave you with an unfunctional, awkward-looking garage door. Although upfront costs may be more, professionally installed hardware is meant to be sustainable as long as everything is well cared for. 

What Not to do When Picking Garage Door Decorative Hardware

As stated before, you want to make sure the decorative hardware enhances and supports the garage door, rather than making it unbelievable or overbearing. This means not adding too much hardware onto your door, or too little hardware if you have a double garage door. 

If your garage door looks more modern or is an overhead door, do not add strap hinges. Traditional swing doors, however, are the right choice to be accented with strap hinges. Just make sure these accessories are not too short or thin, and that you position them at the top and bottom rails. 

Handles and ring pulls should be installed in pairs rather than by themselves. When you are replacing garage door handles or hinges, make sure to properly take off the old ones so the new door has a clean and finished look. 

Maintenance & Care

Once the garage door accessories are installed, it’s time to make sure they are well-maintained. Here are some of our tips to expand your hardware lifespan:

  • With your door closed, inspect all garage door hinges and handles for any loose fasteners. 
  • When cleaning your garage door and hardware, use a mild detergent and soft cloth. 
  • Always work from the bottom to the top.
  • Never use a pressure washer, instead use a garden hose or low-pressure sprayer. 

Other Garage Door Accessories to Consider 

While we are on the topic of enhancing the look of your garage door, here are some other accessories to keep in mind. 

Specialty Glass 

Specialty glass comes in four different styles – glacier, hammered, seeded, and frosted. If you have windows on your garage door, specialty glass will not only approve the look but also the security of your home. Specialty glass enhances the beauty of your garage door but doesn’t allow people to see directly into your garage. 

Door Stops & Door Jambs 

Including door stops and door jams in your next garage door design will help prolong the life of your garage door. A door stop will help cushion the bottom of your garage door as you open and close it over time. The door jamb will frame three sides and help protect the inside of your garage from bugs and leaves. 

This blog was originally published on August 16th, 2017, and was updated on June 7th, 2022.

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Artisan Custom Doorworks' offers a wide variety of garage door accessories including decorative hardware, specialty glass, door stops, and door jambs.

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