How to install a door knob

Updating your interior and exterior doors can be as easy as changing out the hardware! The best part is that installing a door knob is very DIY friendly. Follow these simple steps and enjoy a fresh look on your doors!

update door and hardware
(Image credit: Dori Turner)

When we moved into our current house, all of the doors – interior and exterior – had tarnished brass door knobs and hinges that had seen better days. One of the first doors we decided to update was the one leading out to our backyard. We started by giving the door a fresh coat of gray paint. Next, it was time to change out the hardware. The process is an easy one, you just need to follow a few simple instructions to complete this DIY project successfully. 

update door and hardware

(Image credit: Dori Turner)

1. Door knob

2. Screwdriver or drill

1. Remove the old door knob

The first step is to remove the old door knob. Sometimes it’s not immediately obvious how to do this if the screws aren’t on the front base of the knob. If this is the case, look on the bottom of the knob to see if there is a small screw underneath that needs to be removed. Otherwise, unscrew the screws from the base plate of the door knob and pull the knob out. The other side should easily pull out. 

2. Select a new door knob

When selecting a new door knob, there are a few things to consider. You’ll need to decide what finish you want for the new knob. They come in a variety of finishes including black, oil-rubbed bronze, gold, and nickel. Once you’ve decided on a finish, you’ll need to choose a style. There are plenty of styles out there, including round, oval, square, and bars.

You’ll also need to select the correct type of door knob depending on whether it'll be an interior or exterior piece of hardware. Then you’ll need to decide whether you want a lock for the door knob or not. Most interior door knob packages are labeled for closets, bedrooms, and bathrooms. For our door, we needed an exterior door knob and the style we chose was round. We decided to go with a black door knob for contrast against the gray door.

door latch

(Image credit: Dori Turner)

3. Install the door knob

Now you’re ready to install the door knob. Start by removing it from the packaging and locating the latch. Insert the latch into the hole in the side of the door. Place the metal latch plate over the part of the latch that is protruding from the side of the door. Screw the metal plate in place using a screwdriver or drill.

exterior knob with tumbler

(Image credit: Dori Turner)

Next, take the exterior knob with the tumbler and fit it into the door latch. Like a puzzle piece, there is only one way to insert it so you'll know when it’s right. If your door knob has a face plate that’s not attached to the knob, you may need to install it first before fitting the knob into the latch. 

fitting knob to latch

(Image credit: Dori Turner)

Next, locate the interior knob and fit it into the other side. Using the screws included in the package, place them in the holes on either side of the knob and screw them into the plate.

fitting interior knob to door

(Image credit: Dori Turner)

4. Installing the strike plate

Now you’re ready to install the strike plate into the door frame. Holding the plate in place, insert the top screw and use a drill or screwdriver to drive it in place. Repeat with the bottom screw.

strike plate

(Image credit: Dori Turner)

Exterior door dead bolt

If you’re installing an exterior door knob, you’ll also need to install the dead bolt. The process looks much the same. First you will insert the latch in the door and install the latch plate. You’ll locate the exterior keyway and fit it into the latch. Next, you will locate the interior bolt and fit it to the other side of the door. Use the provided screws to screw it into place. Finally, install the strike plate into the door frame. 

Installing a door knob is definitely a job you can do yourself with just a few steps and a screwdriver or drill. You’ll be amazed at how great your doors look by simply adding some new hardware. Go ahead and give your doors the update they need and enjoy a fresh new look by following the steps above! If they need a total refresh, I'd recommend you painted your doors first and then swapped out the hardware.

Dori Turner

Dori Turner writes blog posts and feature articles on affordable design and DIY from her home in the heart of Oklahoma. She has a passion for teaching others how they can transform their home on a budget.