Updating Interior Doors By Installing New Doorknobs

Alternate post title: Come And Knob On Our Door. Don’t you love a good forced pun on a Wednesday morning?

Ever since we shared a bunch of doorknob options last week (and ordered the ones we liked the most), we’ve been waiting for youuuuuu them so that our upstairs doors could finally have some closure. Literally, we couldn’t close any of the doors. So when the box landed on our porch, we got right on installing them.

Like many DIY projects, adding the new knobs was a bit more complicated than we anticipated. The latch assembly was bigger than the existing holes in our doors, so I had to use a drill to carve them out a bit wider. I tried a file at first (as the knob instructions suggested) but it took a lot more time and effort than using the spinning drill bit to chip away at it, so that became my preferred method.


I had to do that on every single door (all eleven of them), so it definitely added to the timeline (and mess) of the project. On five of the doors I also had to chisel out this notch a bit deeper because it wasn’t allowing the latch to stick far enough into the hole where it had to line up with the knobs.


So, what I thought might be an hour of work turned into a four hour drilling and chiseling marathon (oh DIY, you unpredictable beast, you). But in the end, it was time well spent.


I didn’t really realize how unfinished the upstairs hallway looked with all of the naked doors staring at us. Although I’m sure Clara will miss peeking through the open knob holes and making faces.


This is the best I could do to get all of the doors into one shot (the master bedroom – seen above – is behind me). Taking this shot was actually the first time we’ve ever been able to close them all since moving in, which has been especially nice for rooms like Clara’s (no more propping the door shut with a floor pillow for naps) and the bathroom (for, well, obvious reasons).


We’re really happy that we went with the knobs with the big back plate too. They’re a nice traditional touch without looking overly ornate. Sherry says they’re like little exclamation points on every door, which is pretty accurate I think. They sort of quietly make a statement without being crazy and compete-y if that makes sense.


And as mentioned in last week’s post, we opted to put versions without the back plate on the closets and bathrooms to save a bit of dough (they were $10 less). We ended up putting a plated version on the hall bathroom too, just so that it didn’t stick out among the other doorways in the hallway when you get to the top of the stairs. So the plate-less version ended up going on the attic door, since it’s tucked away beyond the laundry area.

There’s also a two-doored linen closet in the hallway (you can see half of it in the fourth picture), but we thought two of the plated doorknobs right next to each other would be too much for that, so it got the basic closet ones on it as well as all of the other closets, which is nice. It blends since everything is the same finish, and it’s sort of a subtle reminder that the doors with the back plates are rooms, whereas any door with a regular knob is just a closet (or the attic storage room).


Last week some folks wondered if/how these doors locked, so we snapped these detail pics. On the inside there’s a little button behind the knob that you can push to lock it, and it unlocks when you turn the knob from the inside. We like having locks around so Clara’s exposed to them and can learn about them (we worry she’d lock herself into her friend’s room or a hotel bathroom or something if she never learned what they were and not to touch them). And it’s nice to know that if Clara were ever to lock herself in, there’s a keyhole on the other side that pops it right open with a flat silver key (see that small hole in the photo on the right below?). We’ve stuck the keys in our junk-drawer for easy grabbing, but so far we have lived with the doorknobs for a few days and Clara has heeded our “please don’t touch that part” requests. Update: Thanks for the tips to put the keys on top of each door! We did that in our houses growing up, but these keys are larger and flat (sort of like a hinge) so they wouldn’t balance on the door frame.


Which is good because we don’t want any funny business going on behind closed doors around here. We already caught Burger playing with Clara’s old play mat. Sneaky chihuahua…


So we’re glad that we don’t have a bunch of holey doors giving us the stink eye, but when it comes to furniture placement, window treatments, closet organization, and paint picks for the walls… let’s just say that we’ve lived here for two weeks and it looks like we moved in two weeks ago. There are still chairs and boxes in weird places, bare walls and mostly bare windows, and a whole lot to be done. But planning is the fun part for us. We’ve been brainstorming late into the night until one of us stops talking and we realize they’re asleep and we’re talking to nobody.


    • says

      Yes, they feel so heavy! Even the closet ones have this awesome weight to them. It’s funny how much you notice something that you don’t pay attention to when you replace them with something a little nicer. Haha!


  1. says

    “You’ll see that life is a ball again, laughter is calling for yooooooou!” Huh? Oh…your fault! :)

    I LOVE the knobs. They look great and yes, a definite exclamation point! You’re very patient with the chisel marathon…I think I would’ve curled up in a corner and cried.

  2. Amy says

    “We’ve been brainstorming late into the night until one of us stops talking and we realize they’re asleep and we’re talking to nobody.”

    That sounds really familiar! :)

    • kathy says

      I loved this line! So cute—and familiar to me too.
      The upstairs hall looks beautiful…what a difference a knob and gorgeous wood floors make!

    • Keisha says

      My husband will actually wake up, answer me then immediately start snoring again!

  3. says

    I love the puns! Keep ’em coming. And I agree, the plates are a great touch. They make me think of the ones you sprayed in the last place, only taken up a notch.

  4. Jennifer says

    New doorknobs make such a difference in a house. I remember when we were house hunting last time, there was a house that had all new knobs and hinges, and I totally remembered that house for it when we were going through our “what houses have we seen” review. That said, we bought a house with awful, ugly brass knobs. The difference is that it took us more than a year to replace them… a couple at a time. lol. Kudos to you for doing it all in one day. They look fantastic.

    • says

      Thanks Jennifer! We still have the downstairs ones to tackle, but we’re hoping to do that once we paint some of the trim and doors down there…


  5. Michele says

    Looks fantastic you guys! I kinds forgot back plates existed on doorknobs and am so glad you reminded me. :)

  6. says

    Great finishing touch to the doors! I really like that some of the doors have the plate and some don’t. Great choices (as usual :-)!).

    • says

      Thanks Lori! It’s so funny because I was going to go plate-less with the bathroom too, but then we pulled that attic door switch. It helps to see them in person to know which ones to do which way I think (and honestly there are probably a lot of ways it could work, like if only bedrooms had plates and all bathrooms and closets didn’t).


  7. Brit [House Updated] says

    The new knobs look great! I love the dark knob contrast against the white doors. You know what else I love? Staying up late plotting fun stuff for your new house. I always think the planning and anticipation is half the fun! Unless someone falls asleep on you, of course…

  8. Melissa Mitchell says

    Your bedroom door knobs look like the one from the tiny door in Alice & Wonderland… charming! :)

  9. Alissa says

    Pretty! And this post just spawned an interesting idea in my head: a distinctive or extra fancy doorknob on the bathroom. Then if the downstairs bathroom is in use and someone needs to use the upstairs one, you just say, “It’s the one with the turquoise door knob,” so they don’t end up accidentally snooping.

  10. Kara says

    I’ve been looking at new knobs since your last post on them, good to know ahead of time it was more complicated than I’ve been thinking.

    I LOVE your knobs! How’s that for a weird internet comment I never thought I’d write…

  11. says

    Woo! These look gorgeous! Mismatched old hardware is definitely a pet peeve of mine… but not enough that I’m willing to shell out the cash to fix it, in a rental. I DO appreciate a great doorknob though, and those are beautiful!

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