How to fit a door handle – change your door knob for a new one

Our guide explains how to change a door handle for a shiny new replacement

Doors looking a little on the shabby side? Internal doors can play a big role in the overall look of your home, and they’re worth a little TLC so they look their best. Changing a door can be more costly than you'd think, but a mere change of door handle can make all the difference in some cases – for a fraction of the price.

As well as being cost-effective luckily replacing a handle or knob is a quick and easy DIY and decorating project – just follow our step-by-step instructions on how to fit a door handle.

How to fit a door handle

white wall with door handle and door key

(Image credit: future PLC/Paul Raeside)

What you'll need to replace a door knob

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Tape measure
  • New doorknob or handle

First you need to remove the screws holding the existing knob or handle in place. These will be either on the cover plate, or if not, look for a small slot on the side of the handle. Press in the metal piece in the slot and the doorknob should come loose.

Some knob and handle designs will need to have screws removed from both sides of the door.

There should be a slot along one edge of the plate. Insert the screwdriver into the slot and twist to pop off the plate. Remove the screws under the plate, and then unscrew and then slide out the old latch. Unscrew the strike plate from the door frame.

The backset is the distance from the centre of the big hole on 
the front surface of the door to the edge of the door. Measure it to check that your chosen replacement handle or knob will work with your existing backset.


white door with shelf on wall and clock with basket

(Image credit: future PLC/David Brittain)

Slide the new latch into the edge of the door, and then screw in place by hand, then tighten with a drill. Insert the half of the knob or handle with the peg into the door first, inserting the peg into the latch mechanism, then push on the other half of the knob or handle, and then screw in place.

If any holes or marks from the previous door furniture are visible, sand them and fill with wood putty, then touch up with paint if necessary. Finally, screw the new strike plate to the door frame.

white door with steel door handle and sink

(Image credit: future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

Changing a door handle can instantly change the aesthetic of an internal door.

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.