Swapping Your Doorknobs Might Be the Easiest Home Upgrade Ever

Hadley Keller

From House Beautiful

When moving into a rental, there are some things you just know are going to be pretty ugly. Like those all-too-common folding doors, for example (we've got a fix for that!) or standard-issue, chintzy metal doorknobs. In my apartment, I'm lucky to have multiple closets—the downside? Multiple ugly, cheap-looking metal doorknobs. The good news, though? Swapping these out takes just about 10 minutes and a Phillips head screwdriver. So, even if you're not cursed with ugly rental knobs—and just want to switch things up in your home—here's how to easily swap out doorknobs for a new look.

What You'll Need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • New doorknob

1.Measure and select knob

By now, if you've read any DIY, you know they basically all start the same: Measure, measure, measure. Luckily, as doorknobs go, many are a standard size so can easily be swapped, but it's always good to make sure. Once you know what size knob you'll need, pick your new one—we opted for Emtek's Round Knob in Satin Brass with the Modern Urban Rosette.


Photo credit: House Beautiful

2. Remove old knob

Depending on the knob you have this might be the trickiest part. Some knobs (like mine) just have two screws on the inside plate. If that's the case, simply unscrew those and then gently pull the knobs apart from each other. If your knob doesn't have visible screws, it likely has a hidden latch holding it in place. Look for a small groove at the base of the knob, and press into it with the tip of a pen or tweezers. This should remove the knob and reveal a screw. Unscrew and remove knobs.

Photo credit: House Beautiful

3. Remove faceplate and latch

Next up: the other components of a doorknob that aren't the doorknob. Unscrew the faceplate (the little metal piece on the edge of the door itself, which the latch or bolt sticks through). Once this is off, you should be able to gently pull the latch (and any interior mechanism) through the hole.

4. Remove strike plate

Now, in addition to your knob, there is a metal plate on the door frame where the latch hits—that's called the strike plate. It will be held in place with screws. Remove that as well.

Photo credit: House Beautiful

5. Install new faceplate

Now, to install the new knob, you're essentially going to work in reverse. So, begin with your last step on the old knob. Lay the faceplate over the latch and interior mechanism, thread it through the existing hole in the door, and screw into place. Note: Some doorknobs have a plastic piece that holds the interior parts in place while installing—this is not necessary and if you don't have it, you'll be fine.


Photo credit: House Beautiful

6. Install front of new knob

Next, determine which is the front or outer-facing knob (it will have a different spindle that threads through the door). Line that up and hold it in place while...

Photo credit: House Beautiful

7. Install back of new knob

Line up the back, or interior knob so it aligns with the front one and you can press both flush to the door (this is where that plastic piece helps—if you don't have that, just make sure both knobs can be flush to the door and turn). Now, holding them in place, screw the back plate in until it's tight. Test that you can turn the knob from both sides.

8. Install new strike plate

Finally, install your new strike plate on your door frame. Voilà—brand new door!

Photo credit: House Beautiful

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