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How To Replace Furniture Hardware | Knobs | Pulls | And Paint Furniture

In this article, we will replace furniture hardware knobs and pulls where the center-to-center measurement of the old hardware differs from the new hardware.

To put that in regular language….you can’t screw the new knobs to the furniture because the screw holes are not the right distance apart. I will show you how to take care of that problem.

Furniture makeover project before photo Petticoat Junktion

You can do this; it’s not that hard. You do need a drill, and if you don’t have one already, you can buy a cheap one for less than $25.

How To Replace Furniture Hardware Knobs And Pulls

selecting replacement furniture hardware

Why Replace The Pulls And Knobs?

Furniture knobs are a really, really important part of any furniture makeover. The style of the knobs will dictate the feel of the finished furniture project.

Take the nightstand in the photo above. The details and the furniture pulls scream country and outdated. You will be amazed when you see this piece painted with the new hardware because it will be unrecognizable from the picture above.

Step 1. Select the new furniture knobs.

I went through my hardware stash looking for replacement pulls and came up with these beauties. I was going for a feminine French Provincial look, and these were perfect.

Most of you don’t have a hardware stash, but you can buy new hardware at Hobby Lobby and home improvement stores or order from online sites.

replacement hardware Petticoat Junktion

The major problem you run into when replacing hardware is finding some with the correct screw hole width to fit what’s there. I think the correct term is “measuring on center,” or “center-to-center measurement,” or something similar. The most common size of hardware is  3” on center…but most antique hardware is not standard size.

The drawer pulls I selected for this makeover were smaller in the on center than the original so I had to putty up one of the screw holes for each hardware piece and drill one new hole for each piece—no need to drill two new holes usually. Try to use one of the original holes.

Step 2. Fill screw holes with wood putty.

As I just mentioned, use one of the original holes so you don’t have to fill two holes and drill two new holes for each pull. You just need to decide which hole to fill. The end result is two holes closer together than the originals.fill holes with wood filler Pettiocoat Junktion

As you can see here…I filled the wrong hole on one side. Oh well, I did catch my mistake so I just knocked the filler out and filled the correct hole. I make all kinds of screw-ups ya’ll never find out about.

tape underside of original screw hole Petticoat Junktion

I used Elmer’s wood filler to putty the unneeded holes. Handy tip- put a piece of tape on the inside of the drawer over the hole you’re filling. The tape prevents the excess filler/putty from seeping into the inside of the drawer. You also use less filler this way.

Step 3. Sand wood filler.Elmer's Wood Filler Max for project Petticoat Junktion

When the wood filler is dry, it’s time to sand off the excess putty. I use 100-grit sandpaper by hand to do the sanding. Sand the filler flush with the drawer front.

When you are finished sanding, there may be a little depression where the filler shrunk as it dried. If there is… put a little more wood filler over it, then sand when dry. That should do the trick.

Elmer's Wood Filler in a tube Petticoat Junktion

The photo above shows a different furniture piece entirely( Extreme Furniture Makeover)…I used Elmer’s Wood Filler in the tube. I like the filler in the tube because it’s much easier to get it in the screw holes without a lot of excess.

drilling new holes for furniture hardware Petticoat Junktion

Step 4. Drill new hardware holes.

The next step is to drill the new screw holes. You need to lay the hardware pull on the drawer and mark where the new hole should be with a pencil or pen. They have handy dandy cabinet hardware templates that make this job much easier, but I keep forgetting to buy one when I’m at the hardware store.

different size drill bits Petticoat Junktion

I use a cordless drill because they are easier for me to work with. To drill the new hole, I started with a small drill bit, then moved up in size till I got the size screw hole I needed. I usually use 2 or 3 drill bits.

You can always start with the size bit you think will do the job if you prefer. Don’t be scared of the drill! They are really easy to use.

sand wood filler smooth Petticoat Junktion

Here’s the new hole and the filled hole…..all nice and neat. Always drill the new holes before painting because you may scuff up your new paint finish if you wait.

replacing furniture hardware before photo Petticoat Junktion

Step 5. Add the new furniture hardware.

This is where I inserted the replacement hardware so you could see how well it fit. One other thing to mention is it’s always nice if the replacement hardware covers the original holes, then you don’t have to fill them.

Sometimes that does happen. The hardware curves and decorative details will be wide enough to cover the original holes so you don’t see them.

You can replace furniture knobs on any piece of furniture. You don’t have to paint it or make any major changes either. Sometimes just changing out knobs makes a big impact and brings a piece up to date—time to show you how I painted the nightstand.

Paint The Furniture

I found the nightstand/table at the Southern Kentucky Flea Market last week. I thought it looked pretty good until I unloaded it at home and saw the damage to the bottom edges. Why do furniture companies make pieces with solid wood drawers and use mdf or fiberboard for the sides?? Makes no sense at all.

furniture repairs petticoat junktion

Repair Furniture Before Painting

The JTS started repairs before I could get photos of the damage. You can tell from this shot…it was pretty bad. He troweled on lots of wood putty, trying to give the bottom edge some structure.

wood filler for furniture repairs petticoat junktion

This is how it looked after I sanded down the wood filler. Not bad. You should fill areas needing repair, then sand the wood filler flush with the furniture surface before painting. You may need to repeat the fill and sand process, as the filler will shrink as it dries.

furniture hardware petticoat junktion


The French Provincial pulls will make this piece shine.

Select The Paint Color

Going girlie on this piece meant selecting a girlie color. I didn’t want to go with the typical pink so I looked at many paint samples.

Pantone's color of the year radiant orchid

After looking at the sample cards, I spotted already-mixed sample jars of paint.

paint a nightstand and change the drawer pulls (1)


I got the sample jar of the Pantone Radiant Orchid at Lowes. I only used maybe half of the sample to paint the nightstand.

painted furniture makeover with radiant orchid by petticoat junktion

The hardware got a makeover with a generic brand of white spray paint and gloss acrylic spray. The white hardware pops against the new paint color and looks much better than the original dark finish.

Paint It!

I brushed on two coats of the pretty color to cover the wood completely.

painting a nightstand

Next, I dry-brushed the floral detail, but it wasn’t white enough so I finger-painted it with the tip of my pinkie….really.

vintage hardware spray painted white petticoat junktion

My video below on how to fill hardware screw holes with wood putty….

How To Fill Holes With Wood Putty To Replace Furniture Hardware

paint a nightstand and change the hardware or drawer pulls

update: I posted about adding a single new furniture knob in place of a handle/pull here…Update Furniture Hardware.

before and after painted furniture

I’m really happy with the makeover. The nightstand looks 100% better now. What do you think? Leave a note below. I love hearing from you. As always, thanks for being here and have a great day,  Kathy

Kathy Owen founder of Petticoat Junktion
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Author: Kathy Owen
Kathy Owen is the founder of the home decor blog Petticoat Junktion where she shares tutorials on painting furniture and upcycling thrifty finds into unique home décor. Her DIY projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Kathy’s newest website is HappyHomeDIY.com

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  1. WOW, I love this piece! You did an amazing job and you are right. I would not have recognized it as the piece you showed before. When I first saw it, I thought, “She is going to paint it in a dark blue and make a great little-boy piece of furniture.” Boy was I wrong!
    Beautiful job!

  2. Thanks Naomi, You can pin it if you have a Pinterest account or you can mark the page in your favorites on your computer 🙂

  3. Great information, Kathy. Hope I can remember to look it up when I want to use it!

  4. I think what you did to the dresser is very pretty, I have never tried this and when I was a kid I remember we have these types of wardrobes and sets of draws as the one you refurnished. I feed gutted that I let my mother throw them away back in the day. 🙂 nice work and thank you for sharing your wonderful talent with us all.

  5. Now all I need is a decent piece of furniture to paint!!! Oh, I forgot, I have one already…I just hate sanding…thanks for the hardware tutorial! You are awesome!

  6. Lot’s of great information. Very helpful. I love the part where you tape the inside of the drawer so that the wood fill would not get inside. Thank you.

  7. good tut…i remember having a dresser a long time ago that i had a heck of a time finding hardware for, this tut would have save me a ton of frustration thanks xx