Design professionals appreciate good hardware, and many architects consider the door handle to be “the handshake” of a house. It’s an important accoutrement that sets the tone for things to come on the inside, and it alerts visitors that the homeowner put some thought into the decision.

In the past, really good hardware cost a pretty penny, but today builders and buyers can choose from a wide selection of moderately priced high-quality products. They may also choose truly imaginative offerings that add creativity to a home.

One example of the latter can be found in the Archetypes Collection from Baldwin Hardware Corp., based in Reading, Pa. Though the product line evokes an old timey vibe, the company says the products are not reproductions. Instead, they convey the aesthetic of other times and places.

As part of its effort to suggest bygone eras, Baldwin manufactures the bronze products using “lost wax” casting, a method from antiquity that was used to produce fine jewelry for Egypt’s pharaohs, and sand casting, which dates back 200 years.

If buyers are looking for more contemporary hardware but still want products with a taste of the dramatic, they can turn to the Brighthandle line of stainless steel interior door levers. Manufactured by Emtek Products in City of Industry, Calif., each unique handle features an acrylic section that illuminates when the user engages the privacy function from the inside, which is ideal for a bathroom.

While cool and truly unique hardware still does cost a little—and in some cases a lot—more than the traditional products that can be found in a big box retailer or the entry-level line of major manufacturers, don’t fret.

Architects and designers have a cost-saving solution: Put the high-quality hardware on the doors on the first level or in the main spaces of the home and use a lower-cost product in the private spaces or on the second level. You’ll save money but still maintain the design impact of the exceptional hardware products you took the time to select.