By Lisa Siglag

Whether you like a polished-brass or satin-nickel finish, you’ll love the way your home will look with updated doorknobs. The best part: Only a few tools are needed to replace old doorknobs with new ones.


Doorknob set

Phillips-head screwdriver

Cup or small container to hold extra parts

Extra tools to have on hand as needed:

Flat-head screwdriver


Metal file


1.  Determine the type of knob you need.

Passage knobs are generally used for closets and kids’ rooms, whereas privacy sets offer a locking mechanism for bedrooms and baths. Dummy knobs are for some closets and French doors.

2.  Remove existing doorknob.

Most doorknobs require a Phillips-head screwdriver to remove the existing screws. However, older knobs may require a flat-head screwdriver. Remove the screws from the old knob and the strike plate (the metal plate affixed to the side doorjamb or the vertical part of the door frame), and pull the two knobs apart to remove. The latch set should come out easily as well.

3.  Check the doorknob holes.

A 2 1/8-inch-diameter hole is generally what is needed for new doorknob, plus a 1-inch-diameter hole for the latch. If the existing holes are small or not smooth, you can make adjustments with a drill or metal file.

4.  Install the doorknob.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. In most cases, the steps are to insert the latch, secure the strike plate with the supplied screws, match up the knobs to the holes and feed them through to get a tight fit. Finally, secure the knobs with the remaining screws.


Grab a heavy book or box.

It’s easier to change the knob when the door is stationary, so use something heavy to hold it open against the wall.

Examine what you have before you start.

If you’re not handy with a drill, you may not want to try to widen an existing hole to accommodate a new knob. Instead, find a knob that will fit easily into your existing holes.

Lisa Siglag is the former editor of House Beautiful Kitchens and Baths and a freelance writer specializing in home design. She has written for Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful Home Remodeling and Decorating, Custom Home and Country Living. Her dining room is graced with white beadboard and pale-blue walls.

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Home Projects - Are Your Doorknobs Dating Your Home?