Giving your furniture a facelift with new knobs and pulls is an easy and affordable way to update the look of any room. With the wide variety of styles and finishes available, you can customize your furniture with hardware that reflects your personal taste. Here are some tips for choosing and installing new knobs and pulls to refresh your home decor.

Assess Your Existing Hardware

Take a look at the knobs, pulls, and handles currently on your furniture. Make note of the size, shape, placement, and any other details. This will help you select replacement hardware that will fit properly. Measure the distance between the screw holes to find pieces that align correctly. You may also want to tighten any loose screws before installing new hardware.

Consider Your Design Style

What look are you going for? Knobs and pulls come in a vast range of shapes, materials, colors and finishes to complement any style.

  • Traditional: Opt for elegant crystal, ceramic or brass knobs. Wrought iron pulls with classic shapes work well too.
  • Contemporary: Try streamlined bar pulls in matte black, nickel or stainless steel. Large dramatic hardware makes a statement.
  • Rustic: Hammered iron, galvanized metal and antique brass knobs infuse a handcrafted vibe.
  • Eclectic: Mix and match shapes, colors and textures for one-of-a-kind character. Glass, wood and horn knobs add organic flair.

Measure For Proper Fit

Once you select new knobs or pulls, measure them to ensure they will fit correctly. The main measurements to check are:

  • Base diameter: The width of the part that will sit against the furniture.
  • Shank length: The distance from the base to where the screw goes in.
  • Distance between screws: The centers of the screw holes.

Measure all existing hardware locations on your furniture to find pieces with compatible dimensions. Rulers and calipers come in handy for precision.

Choose a Finish

The finish determines the overall look and feel of your hardware. Consider which finish will work best for your style:

  • Polished metals like brass, chrome and nickel convey a shiny, elegant aesthetic.
  • Oil-rubbed bronze has a handsome distressed appearance.
  • Matte black is modern and refined.
  • Antique brass and copper have an appealing old-world character.
  • Pewter and aged iron add an industrial vibe.

Gather Your Supplies

Before getting started, assemble all the necessary supplies:

  • Replacement knobs or pulls
  • Screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Drill with assorted bits (if redrilling is needed)
  • Rags
  • Mineral spirits (to remove old adhesive)

Clear a workspace and have everything on hand for a smooth installation.

Remove the Old Hardware

Take off all the existing knobs, pulls or handles from your furniture. Use a screwdriver to loosen and remove any screws. Examine the screw heads – if they are stripped or damaged, you may need to redrill the holes later.

Use mineral spirits on a rag to rub away any sticky adhesive residue left behind on the furniture. Get the surface clean for applying the new hardware.

Drill New Holes If Needed

If your new hardware requires new screw positions, carefully measure and mark new hole locations with a pencil. Use a drill to make pilot holes at every marked spot. Refer to the hardware specs for proper hole sizing. Work slowly and check alignments.

Install the New Hardware

Align each knob or pull with the existing or newly drilled screw holes on the furniture. Use a screwdriver to attach them securely into place. Generally tightening clockwise, take care not to over tighten.

Use a soft rag to wipe away any fingerprints or smudges on the hardware. Also rub away any pencil marks made on the furniture while marking hole placements.

Admire Your Handiwork

Stand back and enjoy your furniture’s fresh new look! Updating old cabinets, dressers, desks, drawers and more with stylish knobs and pulls is an easy DIY project with dramatic results. Over time, polish any metal hardware as needed to keep your accents looking their best. Have fun mixing and matching designs to customize other furniture pieces.

Frequently Asked Questions About Updating Furniture Hardware

How many knobs or pulls do I need for a furniture piece?

This depends on the size and configuration of the furniture. For example, a standard two-drawer dresser usually takes 2-4 knobs or pulls, one per drawer/door. A cabinet generally needs one per door or drawer. Take an inventory of all handles/hardware locations to determine how many replacements you need.

What tools do I need?

Basic tools like a screwdriver, tape measure, pencil, drill and drill bits are generally all that’s required. You may also need mineral spirits and rags. Have all hardware screws on hand as well.

What are knobs vs pulls?

Knobs are round handles that you grip and turn. Pulls are longer handles meant for pulling open doors or drawers. Choose based on the furniture configuration and your style needs.

Should I replace all hardware at once?

For a cohesive look, replacing all the existing hardware on a furniture piece at the same time is best. Mixing old and new could look disjointed. But you don’t have to do all furniture in a room at once unless you want to.

How do I remove old stuck-on hardware?

Try gripping with pliers and slowly twisting back and forth. Mineral spirits can help dissolve any sticky adhesive. Avoid pulling too hard to prevent damage. Drill out screws if necessary.

What if my screw holes are misaligned?

You may need to re-drill new pilot holes to align with the hardware. Fill old holes with wood filler first. Just take care to measure carefully so new holes line up properly.


Installing new knobs and pulls is an easy upgrade that can give your furniture and rooms a fresh new look. Take stock of your existing hardware and vision for the space to select replacement pieces that fit your decor style. Measure carefully before purchasing. Gather supplies and remove old hardware. Drill any new holes needed. Then install your beautiful new knobs and pulls to bring your furniture back to life!