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This Simple Swap Brought Back My Home's Classic Charm

When I bought a flipped condo, I was happy enough with the charm that had been preserved. Crown molding, a large bay window, and hardwood floors all felt authentic to the 1880 row house and my vintage finds and antiques settled in nicely to their new historic home.

But something felt a bit sterile, a bit too modern. It wasn’t the stainless steel kitchen appliances or the renovated bathrooms—those were upgrades I wanted —and it took me almost two years to realize exactly where the renovation was missing the mark.

It’s the Small Details That Can Make All the Difference

When a room feels off, often it’s not the obvious items that need to be addressed. If it was, we’d notice and fix them, right?

Instead, it’s the small details that can make or break or space, particularly when you’re going for a specific look. A cheap contemporary door knob or a lightweight, builder grade knob can feel like a bad accessory—it brings down the overall feel of a room and yet it’s so easy to remove and replace. 

door knob

Heather Bien

Meanwhile, a historically accurate or eye catching door knob is something people notice when they enter a room. “Oh, is this original?” is something I’ve uttered more than a few times when traipsing through open houses. 

And, once I realized that’s what was amiss in my condo, it’s all I could see each time I glanced at a door. 

Tracking Down Historic-ish Knobs

I had a dream that I’d find true vintage knobs in a salvage shop and lovingly replace each door knob throughout my condo with something that could have been accurate to our late 19th century architecture.

Well, as much as I love the hunt for vintage furniture, the quest for vintage fixtures doesn’t quite have the same excitement—or guarantee of success. I packed up knobs that had seen more than a few splatters of paint over the years, plates that were rusted, and locking mechanisms that I wasn’t quite sure I could trust. 

So, despite my best intentions, I ended up resorting to Amazon. A quick search for glass door knobs turned up pages of options and I chose a dark bronze that felt like, maybe, it could be close to original to my Victorian home. Minutes later, $24 knobs were on their way to making my condo feel less like a modern flip and more like the historic home it is at its core.

How to DIY Install a Door Knob

Switching out a door knob is a quick, easy DIY project that you can complete in a matter of minutes. All you’ll need is a screwdriver and your new door knob kit. 

  1. Remove the existing door knob using a screwdriver, latch plate, and strike plate (if included).
  2. Screw in the new latch plate and strike plate.
  3. Screw each side of the door knob in place. 

And voilà! That’s it. You’re all set with new door knobs that give your space a dose of character with a small investment of time, minimal elbow grease, and just $24. 

Tip: You can even switch out door knobs in a rental! Treat them as you would any other hardware, keep the old knobs on hand, and swap them back when you move out.