Changing Knobs and Pulls

It is not a very difficult task to change your kitchen door knobs and door pull for your existing kitchen cabinet or for your newly installed kitchen. All you need are some tools and some patience, and you can transform your kitchen cabinets from functional to fabulous. 

Tools you will need:

  •  a drill with a 3/16″ drill bit (in most cases)
  •  leveler
  •  marker
  •  masking tape
  •  A nail or center punch for making an impression to help you to drill accurately.
  •  Phillips screwdriver or straight head, depending on the type of screws you are using.

If you are planning to replace cabinet handles or pulls, you must make sure that your new knobs and pulls has the same drill centers as your existing model. Otherwise, you have to either choose a hardware that will be able to cover your existing hole (some come with backplate) or you have patched it up yourself.

  •  Count exactly how many knobs you\’ll need. Remember to count every cabinet, closet, drawer and door.
  •  To determine the drill center of your old cabinet hardware, measure the distance between the two drill holes (to get accurate measurement reading, uninstall one of your old hardware). Before you start drilling, hold your new hardware against the marked door or drawer front to make sure that the new knobs or pull screws position are align.
  •  In order to prevent splitting of your solid wood cabinetry and drawers, remember install all cabinet hardware more than 1″ from the cabinet\’s edge.
  •  For contemporary flat panel doors, knobs should be installed 1-1/2″-2″ from the open corner of the cabinet.
  •  For contemporary flat panel doors, horizontal pulls should be installed 2″-4″ from the bottom of the cabinet and 2″ from the open edge of the cabinet.
  • You might required different length of screws for your kitchen cabinet doors and drawers so make sure you check it before ordering your new hardware. If cabinet doors thickness is ¾” , which will accommodate the hardware\’s standard 1″ screw. Drawers with applied faces, however, may be thicker, and will likely require longer screws. If you are not sure you can always request for a longer screws and cut it yourself (you must chamfer the screws tip with a grinder after you cut it).



  •  If you are removing a drawer pull with two holes, and can\’t find pulls you like that are the correct size you can fill the existing holes, repaint the surface and then drill a new hole. The best way to do this is to get a piece of 1/4″ wood doweling. Drill the existing holes 1/4″ so that you can insert the doweling with a bit of glue. After the glue has dried, sand down the surface. Fill any uneven bits with a little putty, sand again and you\’re ready to paint. This works better than just filling the hole with putty which somehow never comes out looking smooth enough.
  •  If you plan to paint or refinish your furniture piece or cabinet, complete that part of the project after removing the existing hardware and before you install the new hardware.
  •  If you don\’t want to repaint the furniture, try using two knobs instead – one in each of the holes. 
  •  Another option is to glue on an escutcheon or flat wooden embellishment that will cover the two holes. You can paint it before you glue it on if you\’re not painting the furniture. Then drill a hole or holes to fit your new pull.
  •  If your screw is a bit long, and the knob won\’t tighten, you can always add a washer between the screw and the face.
  •  When choosing new knobs/pulls, take the old ones (and screws, too) with you to the store to make sure everything will fit. You may also want to bring the drawer itself so you can evaluate appearance.