How to Install a Decorative Doorknob

Decorative doorknobs on a blue door.

A good doorknob can really make or break a door. While most people think of doorknobs for their practical purposes, adding decorative doorknobs throughout your house can highlight your unique style and add a layer of depth to your decor. If you are not sure where to start when it comes to doorknobs, here is a quick guide on everything you need to know.

Doorknob Basics

Doorknobs differ depending on their purpose. For entryways, you usually want a keyed doorknob, door lever, or deadbolt. For interior doors, you can pretty much go with anything, depending on the level of security you want. The key thing to keep in mind is making sure the doorknob will fit your existing door. Standard interior doors are 1 3/8 inches while exterior doors are usually 1 3/4 inches. In addition to door thickness, you need to check the size of the borehole in the door and make sure the replacement part will fit.

Finding Decorative Doorknobs

A decorative doorknob.

You can find decorative doorknobs in all kinds of places. There are plenty of sites online that offer vintage and decorative doorknobs at reasonable prices. You can also find doorknobs at local antique stores, flea markets and places that sell used door hardware. When looking for antique hardware, keep in mind that it needs to fit inside the existing door to work.

Decorative Versus Regular Doorknobs

Regular doorknobs serve a utilitarian purpose and come in several different finishes. This includes polished brass, pewter, and brushed metals. Decorative doorknobs, on the other hand, may serve a purpose but are mainly used for their aesthetics. Decorative doorknobs come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, including vintage and antique, and material types. They are also usually a little more elaborate than regular doorknobs and feature more parts and accents.

Antique Doorknobs

A decorative doorknob.

Antique doorknobs can add an interesting element to a door. These door knobs usually come equipped with a variety of different parts, including push and kick plates, matching hinges, and other accessories. If you cannot find an antique doorknob that suits your style, you can also go with a reproduction, which comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes.

Making Your Own Decorative Doorknobs

There are a lot of ways in which you can make your own decorative doorknob from an existing piece. One of the best ways is to refinish an old-fashioned doorknob by cleaning it, removing any rust, and re-painting it to fit your home’s style. You can also mix and match different doorknob accessories and paint them all the same color so they match.

Basic Doorknob Installation

Decorative doorknobs.

Installing a doorknob, whether it is an antique or new model, is a fairly straightforward process. Before you start the installation project, double check if the new doorknob fits the existing door. If it doesn’t fit, then you may need to make some adjustments to it or find another doorknob that works.

Step 1 - Remove Old Doorknob

Start this project by removing the old doorknob with a screwdriver. The average doorknob has two screws holding it in place. Once the screws are removed, you should be able to take off the knob and access the interior mechanical parts. Repeat this process for both door handles.

Step 2 - Take Off Latch

A decorative doorknob.

Remove the two screws holding the latch in place. Then push the latch out of the door from the borehole. This should completely remove all of the components of the old doorknob, leaving you with an empty hole.

Step 3 - Install New Doorknob

Install the new doorknob by setting up the latch first. Insert the latch and line up the exterior faceplate with the holes in the latch assembly. Once everything is in place, secure the latch with screws and attach the second doorknob. Make sure the doorknob is fully functional and facing the correct direction before tightening everything in place.