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Add Old World Charm with Rustic Strap Hinges

Entry door with English Gothic dummy strap hinges.

The rustic beauty of strap hinges is undeniable.  Whether they are faux or functional, strap hinges are a simple way to give your doors, garden gate, or garage an Old-World look. Typically made of forged or cast iron with a durable black coating, they suit a wide range of period home styles, including American Colonial, Tudor, French Country, Spanish Colonial and Arts & Crafts.

Centuries ago, strap hinges were the only available option for hanging doors and gates.  Handcrafted by blacksmiths and metalworkers, they ranged from simple rectangular strips of iron to elaborate and artistic creations spreading across the door.  With the invention of mortise door hinges in the later 19th century, however, strap hinges became obsolete.  Although no longer functionally necessary, these old-style hinges were viewed with nostalgia and became a key feature of historic revival homes of the 1920s and 30s.  With the renewed popularity of old-world styles in recent years, strap hinges have again become a meaningful way to add historic character to a home.

With so many styles, sizes, and types of strap hinges available today, selecting the right ones for you can be a challenge. To help simplify the process, we have outlined the main options below.  Read further to determine which strap hinges will work best for your specific needs.

Full Surface Strap Door Hinges

Colonial whale tail full surface mount strap door hinge

With a full-surface strap hinge, both the hinge leaf and the strap are fully visible. While often highly decorative, surface mounted hinges are more limited in application.  To be installed properly, the door casing (or gate post, in the case of a fence) must be flush with the surface of the door. Although the pin is fixed, the designs are symmetrical vertically, making them suitable for right or left-handed doors. 

Gothic style full surface strap hinges

Fleur-de-lis surface strap hinges

Acorn tip full surface strap hinges

Half Surface / Half Mortise Strap Door Hinges

Heart tip rough textured half mortise strap door hinge

With two mounting options, half-surface/half-mortise strap hinges are suited to most applications.  The rectangular leaf may be mortised into the door jamb (as shown above), or surface mounted to the door casing or post (as shown below).  The hinge pin is removable, and the leaf is reversible for right or left-handed doors.

Bean tip half-mortise strap door hinges

Spear tip half-surface door hinge


Whale tail half-mortise strap door hinge

Dummy Strap Hinges

Acorn tip rough textured dummy strap door hinge

Purely decorative in nature, dummy strap hinges (aka false strap hinges) are a simple way to give a door, gate, garage, or cabinet an old-world look. Designs range from plain colonial style bean or heart tips to elaborate European Gothic-inspired creations.

To give the impression of a functioning strap hinge, dummy straps are typically paired with a standard butt hinge, mounted adjacent to the hinge barrel.  While dummy straps can be applied to doors with existing hinges, pairing them with new hinges in a matching black finish creates an even more authentic look.  Our decorative Victorian iron hinges, solid brass ball-bearing hinges, and button-tip steel hinges are three good options. 

Fleur-de-lis dummy strap hinges

Warwick Old-English dummy straps

Gothic revival dummy hinge straps

Tips for Choosing and Installing Strap Hinges

  • As a rule of thumb, strap hinges should extend anywhere from 1/2 to 2/3 across the face of the door.  For functioning hinges, this gives the proper amount of balanced support, and for dummy hinges this creates the impression of an actual hinge. 
  • Strap hinges work best on vertical plank-style doors or paneled doors with a cross rail - they must be mounted onto solid wood.
  • While most strap hinges are not specifically rated for weight, a few heavy-duty hinges are rated for up to 300 lbs. On most doors, three hinges are recommended — across the top, bottom and center rails. 

Other Types of Strap Hinges

Strap hinges are not just for large doors and gates. Over the centuries, hand-forged iron hinges were used throughout the home, on cabinets, shutters, and furniture - anywhere a hinge was required.   

Rustic kitchen cabinets with two common colonial strap hinges. Photo: Design Sponge


Strap hinges for cabinetry are small-scale versions of typical strap door hinges, with all the same features and requirements. They come in a wide range of styles and designs, including surface and mortise mount, flush or offset straps, and decorative dummy straps.  Visually rustic and oozing vintage charm, they are ideal for colonial, farmhouse or old-world style homes.

Victorian brass cabinet strap hinge

Bean tip cabinet strap hinges

H-L cabinet surface strap hinges

Fully outfitted shutters with strap hinges, bolts, and rat-tail tiebacks


Only visible when shutters are in a closed position, strap hinges are nevertheless the most common and popular way of hanging exterior shutters. There are options for flush and offset mounting, pintle, or plate mount, as well as for wood, stucco and stone. Originally only handcrafted in iron, today's options include rust-resistant galvanized steel and cast aluminum, all finished with a durable black powder coat.

Round tip offset shutter strap hinges

New York style shutter strap hinges

Connecticut style shutter strap hinges

Shop All Strap Hinges

Other Items to Complete the Old World Look

Strap hinges are just one element of a perfectly outfitted door or gate.  Clavos nails, iron latch sets, corner braces and speakeasy grilles are all contribute to the old-world effect.  Read below to see other items that could add nostalgic charm and historic character to your home.


Mounted at all four corners, our durable cast-iron braces strengthen the structural integrity of your front door or screen door.  In addition, they add a wonderfully decorative flourish reminiscent of castle or cathedral doors.  Our Gothci corner brace (pictured) also works as a diagonal dummy strap, the flat edge butting up to a standard barrel hinge.


These large rustic nail heads have been used for centuries to create decorative patterns on the surface of a door. With an array of sizes and designs ranging from shallow domes to ornate florals, the sky is the limit. Paired with iron strap hinges they add a wonderful touch of old-world authenticity to any exterior door, garage door or gate.


Before there were knobs and locks, most doors operated with some form of rim latch, the thumb piece engages a lever, which raises a bar on the opposite side of the door, allowing it to open.  Made of durable forged iron, our sturdy reproductions are ideal for early colonial, Spanish Revival or Tudor style homes.


Named for their use in prohibition-era nightclubs, speakeasy viewers were a popular feature of homes throughout the first half of the twentieth century. The exterior side is an open grill, and on the inside, a latching panel.  Especially handy for solid wood doors without glass or sidelights, you can easily and safely communicate with visitors while the door remains closed.  

If you have questions about strap hinges or other old-world door accessories, please call our Hardware Specialists at 888-223-2545.