Cremone Bolts & How to Use Them

via paige kontrafouris

The other day in a blog post I mentioned my love for cremone bolts. I’ve actually been seeing more of them lately. It’s a timeless piece of hardware I really enjoy from an aesthetic point-of-view. I’d like to find a place to incorporate some in our own home… perhaps our future laundry room or mudroom cabinetry? Time will tell! Anyway, I got a few requests asking for an expanded blog post on this particular topic. I could talk about hardware all day, so let’s dive into cremone bolts, their history, how they function, inspiring installation examples, and how to use them. Click through to chat hardware with me!

via chown hardware

First, let me explain what a cremone bolt is (if you’re not familiar). It’s a type of hardware that uses surface mounted vertical rods that secure and run the length of a cabinet, door, window, built-in, bookshelf, etc. A cremone set has two rods, one at the bottom and one at the top. When you turn the knob or lever, they slide up and down on the outside of your window or door and lock into sockets that are fixed to the frame. They’re most commonly seen on French doors and European cabinetry. Cremone bolt sets are typically installed for decorative purposes and can look more ornamental and industrial than standard door or cabinetry hardware. While decorative, they do lock a door, cabinet, or window into place- they’re just not as secure as other options we’re used to seeing. Today, their primary purpose is for adding character and boosting the aesthetic of your millwork.

via twin companies

Where did cremone bolts originate? I bet you could guess… Europe- France & Italy to be exact. They first appeared in French design during the 18th century, but it is believed they were imported from the Cremone region in Italy. There were also lots of espagnolettes being used around that same time, that are very similar looking. Both were used to lock doors and windows into place. You can still see many historic cremone bolts used in France and Parisian apartments.

via jean stoffer design

In the states, cremone bolts are often called “surface bolts”. They have a traditional and historic feel that adds a layer of authenticity and character to millwork. I’ve been noticing more of them in my feed, which is a trend I’m actually excited to see more of. So where exactly would you install these? French doors, cabinetry, tall freestanding cabinets or pieces of furniture, built-ins, or you can even buy some readymade bookcases that have them. 

I like to think of hardware as the jewelry or accessories for your millwork… these over the top, statement-making surface bolts are perfect for adding some historic charm to your home. They work best with traditional style doors or millwork.

via brooke mcguyer

Let’s talk about installation. Cremone bolts are surface mounted to the door and are actually pretty easy to install… it’s something you could even add after the fact. The biggest pain point of using functional cremone bolts is they’re prone to fall out of alignment. You may have to reset the rod occasionally. Have you been noticing cremone bolts? Did you know what they were? I’d also love to hear if you like the look. Traditional and historic looking millwork and interiors is definitely in style right now. Cremone bolts go hand in hand with that aesthetic. 

via studio mcgee

Now that we’re back home from our little lake getaway (which was so wonderful!), I’m working on cleaning up our house before I begin to transition and restyle things for fall. We have some quick and easy projects up our sleeve. Can you believe next week we’re entering September? This year has sped right by. I hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead! Cheers to pizza and festive cocktails… 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Good morning and welcome back! What’s not to love about extra fancy hardware? I especially like the look on the glass-fronted cabinet doors. I definitely see the appeal of adding a bit of historic charm to a traditional interior, but I’m a little leery of them getting slapped up willy-nilly. That’s why I’m intrigued by the Studio McGee example. The bolt itself appears more contemporary and streamlined. The brushed nickel (stainless?) finish also helps make it feel like a modern interpretation rather than a reproduction. Much more in keeping with a broader range of home styles. Interesting. One detail that might be a deal-breaker for me is their tendency for misalignment. I do not need more curse-inducing hardware in my life. I’m interested to see a Cremone bolt used on a piece of furniture. I can’t remember ever encountering one…I smell a challenge. Thanks for another informative post! I’m so glad you had a restorative break. Cheers to Pizza Friday, refreshing cocktails and the weekend!💜🍕🎉

    1. Thank you! It’s nice to be back home :) I love the way the cremone bolts look… they add a little old world charm. There are some nice modern versions available- like the McGee example. While never having lived with them, I have heard they have a tendency to come out of alignment. In regards to furniture, I’ve seen them on large armoires, chests, and bookcases. We had such a wonderful time at the lake- thank you! It’s always nice to get deep enough in nature to lose cell service. I appreciate those trips! Have an amazing weekend :) xo

  2. Yayyyyy!! I’ve been looking forward to this post so much and you didn’t disappoint with inspiration photos. I was aware of how they were mounted and used, but the history is certainly interesting. Fun fact, my FIL had no idea what they were when we were discussing my mock up of the built-ins. I’m so glad you mentioned that we call them something different here in the states. I bet he’d know exactly what I’m taking about if I told him “surface bolt”. Now I have decisions to make! If you remember my mock up, I had the cremone bolt placement on the side cabinets that will look almost exactly like the arched cabinetry you’ve shown here. Now I’m wondering if I should switch it up and put one on the larger center cabinet. Functionally speaking, the center cabinet would likely be used more frequently. The temperamental nature of the bolts might be argument to keep them where I originally wanted. I’d love to hear your thoughts. I do have a question about the scale difference between a cabinet Cremone bolt versus one for a door. Is the scale of the entire piece more substantial? Or is it only a difference in the length of the rods? The style I’m looking for is similar to the Rejuvenation item in your roundup, and I’m wondering if I can just cut down the rods since I can’t find that style in a cabinet cremone bolt. I’m also noticing that the placement of the knob may be different with door versus cabinet. Any guidance with this would be lovely! I’m so happy your trip was an enjoyable respite. What’s on the docket for the weekend? Happy pizza Friday friends!

    1. Yay!! So happy to hear that. Cremone bolt photos were surprisingly difficult to dig up. Of course, after the post- I’m seeing them everywhere now. Ha! That’s always how it goes. I bet you’re right- he would know right away if you called it a surface bolt. Emmett was the same way when I was talking to him about them. I think I still like your idea of having two on the side cabinets, but you can’t go wrong either way! They can be a pain to open and close, but they sure are pretty. That’s exactly right- the scale, size, and weight is different for a door versus a smaller cabinet or piece of furniture. I’m pretty sure you can also have them customized or cut down. Lake Powell was incredible! We’re just relaxing and playing catch up this weekend :) I hope you have a good one!! xo

  3. Happy Friday! Hope your trip was relaxing and full of fun! Enjoyed this post on Cremone hardware. I could see adding them to cabinet doors, laundry room or pantry doors. I love the aesthetic of them. Of course had to do a further dive into Jean Stoffer’s kitchen & McGee laundry room.
    I am sure if I was to visit Europe or Italy, I would fall in love with all the details and design. Thanks for sharing this beautiful hardware and the history behind it. Cheers to the weekend everyone!

    1. Happy Friday, Danna! We had such a wonderful time. What a gorgeous place! I love hearing that you enjoyed this post. We can’t wait for our trip to Italy in a couple weeks. I haven’t been back since I lived there, so it will be fun to see how it has changed and experience it with Emmett. It will be his first time there. I hope you have a lovely weekend ahead :) xo

      1. Sarah, our daughter is going to Italy in October. I am envious! Would you do a post on traveling abroad for those who have never been? I haven’t and it is hard for me to help her with what she should pack; any apps to download; medicine to take; safety; things to watch out for, etc. Wish I could go with her. Oh, and what goods should I have her bring me back? Ha! ;)

        1. I’m so excited for her! She’s going to have a wonderful time. I’m not sure if she’s on Facebook, but have her join the “Girls Love Travel” group. There are so many great tips and advice there. I can also email you some Italy and travel abroad suggestions if you’d like? I’ll also work on a blog post to share once we’re home from Italy later in September :)

          1. Great idea about the fb group. I’ll let her know. I would love the suggestions too. I know they have ideas but hearing from someone who has been and knows is always best. Thank you Sarah!

          2. Definitely! I’ll send them over later this week before we leave… or if she isn’t going until October, I can wait until we’re back? I may have some new info! Let me know what works best and I’ll add to my reminders :)

  4. I didn’t know what these were called and now I’m a bit obsessed. Thank you! I wonder if they can be overused in a home….

    1. Aren’t they so lovely? Like anything, I definitely think they can be overused. They feel most special in moderation, strategically placed.

  5. Chiming in from Cyprus, in the Mediterranean, where the windows of my 200 year-old stone house are secured with cremone bolts. But, despite owning them I had no idea what they are called, so thank you! Yes, they are prone to slipping out of alignment occasionally.

    1. Hi Mandy! Thank you for sharing your experience- that is valuable information to know. I’m envious of your 200 year old Mediterranean home… it sounds stunning! I hope you’re having a great day :)

  6. Carole Opperman says:

    Hi Sarah, can the cremon bolt be used just for decorative purposes only?can the actual bolt be removed so you don’t have to turn the handle and can just pull the cubed door open? I love the look but the doors already have soft close hardware. I just want them for the decorative style.

    1. It can! You can just install it in a decorative way, without the actual locking bolt portion of the hardware. They’re so pretty!