By Tisha S. Leung

When updating your cabinets, replacing hardware is the easiest and least expensive cosmetic change you’ll need to consider. With a few turns of a screw and some simple measuring, you can give your room a whole new look. In this case, a little goes a long way, and the hardest decision is choosing the style of your new cabinet hardware. Before investing in new hardware for the whole kitchen, it’s a good idea to remove and replace one set and give it a test run. If after a week it suits your décor, then you can go ahead and replace the rest of them.

Choosing Cabinet Knobs and Pulls

Here are some things to think about before you replace your cabinet hardware. Look at what kind of hardware you currently have. Whether you have pulls (two screws) or knobs (one screw) will determine how many drilled holes will be exposed when you remove them. The easiest way to replace them would be to pick hardware that has the same number of screw holes and that match up with your current ones, so take measurements of the holes from center to center. Bring your old screws with you shopping, just in case. However, if you choose smaller hardware, holes will be visible and need to be filled in with wood putty. Alternatively, you may find a piece that is bigger than what you had so all holes would be covered, or you can just use a back plate. Also, screws from doors or drawers are different lengths, so take note of the number of screws needed, as well as their length when removing them.


Screwdriver (usually a Phillips head)


New pull (2 screw holes) or knob (1 screw hole)

Screws and washers (Some hardware comes with screws and washers and some doesn’t, so be sure to purchase the correct size to fit your new hardware.)

If your new hardware has fewer holes than your old hardware, you’ll need:

Back plate or wood putty to match the wood stain on your cabinets (necessary only if holes are exposed)


If your new hardware has more holes, you’ll need:


Drill bits


1. Remove old hardware

Remove the screws holding in the pull or knob using a screwdriver. If there are two drilled holes, measure the distance between them with a ruler (to help select new hardware).

2. Prep the surface

If necessary, apply wood putty to fill holes if they don’t align with the new hardware. Allow to dry, then clean the surface with a clean rag.

3. Install new hardware

Install the new hardware with a screwdriver, attaching it tightly and making sure it fits properly. If you are happy with the first set after a week, replace the rest.

Tisha S. Leung is a writer and stylist focusing on design, fashion and social cultur. She was formerly a decorating editor at Country Living and has contributed to Better Homes & Gardens Decorating, Home, DIY Channel and 'Trading Spaces.' She currently writes and produces design stories for and

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