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European

Photo by Jonathan Kantor

The antithesis of their contemporary "hidden" counterparts, architectural hinges are natural scene-stealers, with creative shapes, ornate hand-carved designs, and fine finishes.

This parliament hinge in antique pewter is designed for the long doors of a wardrobe. The projecting "flag" allows the door to open fully and lie flat against the wall. 8 3/4 in.; $10; vandykes.com

Staghorn

Photo by Jonathan Kantor

Eighteenth-century blacksmiths often took their inspiration from nature. This hand-forged iron staghorn, traditionally used on corner cabinets, gets installed with the scroll on the door and the "rat tail" pintle on the frame. 6 in.; $60 for a pair; ballandball-us.com

Butterfly

Photo by Jonathan Kantor

The design for this iron hinge dates back to 16th-century England, when it was first used on furniture and cabinets. 1 3/4 in. by 3 1/2 in.; $56 for a pair; ballandball-us.com

Olive

Photo by Jonathan Kantor

Although the olive-shaped knuckle design has been around for more than 200 years, the retro-modern look and polished nickel finish make it at home in contemporary settings. 3 in. by 21⁄4 in.; $228; erbutler.com

Butt

Photo by Jonathan Kantor

This souped-up version of the most common type of hinge—the five-knuckle barrel—is adorned with urn-shaped finials in polished nickel. 4 1/2 in. by 2 in.; $148; erbutler.com

Parliament

Photo by Jonathan Kantor

The square shape of this ball-bearing pewter hinge is ideal for a door or window that swings outward 180 degrees and must clear a projection, such as decorative molding. 2 1/2 in. by 2 1/2 in.; $275 for a pair; peguerin.com

Clock Case

Photo by Jonathan Kantor

This polished-brass hinge, with its one wide and one narrow leaf, was created for use on tall-case clocks. The design allows for a half-overlay door—one that partially covers the surrounding cabinet frame. 1 1/4 in. by 1 12 in.; $23; whitechapel-ltd.com

Lift-Off

Photo by Jonathan Kantor

This gold-plated French hinge is a splurge, but could be just the thing to dress up an heirloom china cabinet. The design of the two leaves allows the door to be safely lifted off without removing the pin or screws. 4 in. by 2 in.; $750 for a pair; peguerin.com

Snake

Photo by Jonathan Kantor

This solid-brass snake hinge is ideal for use on old blanket chests. 3 1/2 in. by 1 1/2 in.; $22; whitechapel-ltd.com

Ball-Tipped

Photo by Jonathan Kantor

A cast-iron Victorian hinge from 1880 has lost the majority of its copper plating, but its intricately carved patterns are still bold. 3 1/2 in. by 3 1/2 in.; $50 per pair; rejuvenation.com

Arts and Crafts

Photo by Jonathan Kantor

This cast-brass hinge with Arts and Crafts flair was inspired by the work of Scottish designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh and would look right at home on a Stickley sideboard. 3 in. by 2 in.; $29 for a pair; horton-brasses.com

Victorian

Photo by Jonathan Kantor

This tiny antique hinge, made of brass-plated cast iron, is meant to open and close the lid of a jewelry box. 1 1/4 in. by 2 in.; $35; restoration.com

Butterfly

Photo by Jonathan Kantor

These range from the traditional triangular shape to more ornate versions, like this iron butterfly. 1 1/4 in. by 2 1/4 in.; $3; crowncityhardware.com