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Choosing the Right Details to Design Your Custom Door

Inspiration waits behind every door — and every door is created with an acute attention to detail. At Clark Hall, we want to make designing a custom door an enjoyable experience. You’re the architect, and your sketch is our command.

6 Ways to Design Custom Doors

1. Custom Door Handles & Knobs

Custom door “knobs” and “handles” are usually used interchangeably, but in the world of door design, they are quite different. Handles tend to be more rectangular and can provide more flexibility to open a door, whereas door knobs usually have a circular head. There are many types of custom door handles and knobs including keyed entry, simple passage, and privacy door knobs. 

All of Clark Hall’s lever hardware can be customized with different finishes that complement or contrast your door color. For example, if your custom iron door has a Burnt Copper finish, you could consider adding a Charcoal door handle for contrast.

Hilary Farr's custom Longleaf door hardware.
Design custom door transom entry with father and son

2. Bespoke Transoms

Transoms are transverse horizontal structures that separate a door from a window. There are several functional and aesthetic reasons to consider adding a custom transom when designing a door. Since they accompany your door as an extra window, they are excellent for increasing the natural light that can flows into your interior space. For even more light, see our next point: sidelights. 

Whether your door is modern, ornate, or traditional, adding a transom can give your front door distinctive character as transoms trace their origins back to 14th century Europe. Lastly, with a transom, you have an added level of privacy—you can see out, but others will have trouble seeing in.

3. Expansive Sidelights

Sidelights are vertical pieces of glass on the sides of an entry door that create the illusion of added width, and function as accent windows. Like transoms, sidelights add more natural light. Regarding privacy, sidelights will expand the amount of glass you have in your front entry, but you can opt for a textured glass to obscure the view inside your home. 

To find a sidelight design that is right for your home, we recommend taking a step back and assessing your roof line to determine what type of silhouette would accent the shape of your entryway. Taking inventory of your measurements will help you decide whether to add one sidelight, or two slim ones. 

Entryway design custom door with expansive sidelights
Design custom doors with textured glass

4. Textured Glass Windows

Another way to personalize a custom design door is through textured glass. Clear glass allows for maximum visibility and light, while decorative glass like Flemish, Aquatex, Rain, or Seedy Baroque provide different levels of privacy. If you want to design with a specific era in mind, one example is our Horizontal or Vertical Reeded glass, which is reminiscent of the Art Deco style. Timeless and versatile, it can add a sense of luxury to any space. 

All Clark Hall doors come with double insulated and tempered glass, which can cut down energy costs in the long run. They can also be customized with impact-rated glass to meet specific building codes and requirements.


5. Ornate Scrollwork

A custom door is a functional piece of art and our ornate iron door designs are one-of-a-kind. The detailed lines and spirals in these designs make an elegant statement without being pompous. Whether you want to design the scrollwork to be enchanting, regal, or something else completely, our design team will work with you to make it come to life. 

And, our iron doors can be custom built to meet any size or design requirement so you don’t have to worry about complex sizing needs. If you’d like to see more examples of personalized ornate scrollwork, browse our ornate door project gallery.

Design custom door with ornate scrollwork
Parisian door with custom door knobs

6. Complementary Finish

Finally, choosing the right finish for your custom design door brings it all together. Whether you want your door to blend in with the rest of your entryway or completely stand out, we have six exclusive finishes to choose from. Burnt Copper is our darkest finish and complements exteriors with dark or black accents. On the other hand, Slate is our lightest finish and goes well with gray tones or stone accents. 

Bronze is our most popular finish with a warm wood color, which complements most exteriors, but in the photo above, these French doors with a white exterior look great with the Charcoal finish. Whatever finish you choose, each of our doors are hand-perfected by a skilled artisan, creating our hallmark smooth-to-touch finish.


At Clark Hall, design is in the details! Contact us to schedule a consultation at one of our showrooms, and we can chat through your latest inspiration as you get the chance to experience our doors up close. Searching for inspiration before you visit? Check out these 6 modern front door design ideas. And, before you connect, be sure to check out where to add custom entry doors for more ideas. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Designing Your Custom Door

Can I order a custom size door?

Yes, Clark Hall can accommodate almost any size request. From the initial consultation and sketch to installation day, we partner with you throughout the entire process to provide a seamless experience.

What are the most popular traditional door finishes?

Bronze and Charcoal are the most popular door finishes because they effortlessly complement most exteriors. Whenever we’re working with a client, we start with the end in mind. How is this door going to look with the exterior of the house once it’s finished? Learn more when you read our interview with the head of manufacturing.

Are door handles a standard size?

The most common sizes for door handles are 2 3/8 inches and 2 3/4 inches, but some hardware can fit multiple backsets. The most important thing to consider is making sure the hardware you select fits your door. 

Can you put any door knob on a door? 

At Clark Hall, we have suggestions for which handles or knobs would look best on each style of door, but we can custom make hardware to suit any client’s preference. For example, a modern door looks best with a simple door handle, whereas traditional doors look great with door knobs.

Learn more about iron doors today.

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