Updated: 16-Mar-2021

Knobs have the power to transform. However down-at-heel the piece of furniture a well-chosen knob can turn it into something that’s worth a second look. The knob adds it’s own air of sphistication or simplicity to the whole piece.

Upcycling furniture is an important way to reduce the amount of waste that our society sends to landfill. And with the right knob you can take an old piece of furniture and make it live again.

Less waste for landfill

If it looks good, click on a knob you like to go to Etsy

Knobs can instantly give a cabinet or chest of drawers an altogether different style. A handle can change the feel of furniture, whether the look you’re trying to create is modern, traditional, industrial or shabby chic. You can take a vintage piece and make it contemporary with new hardware; or take new furniture and add a traditional-style handle to give it vintage flair.

Changing the hardware creates a nifty illusion. Replacing just the handles makes it look like you’ve updated the whole piece. Even without so much as picking up a paintbrush. However… it doesn’t take a lot of effort to pick up a paintbrush so I’d recommend giving that a try too!

You could create an eclectic look by mixing up the colours and the shapes of the knobs. If you like the sound of this idea, I suggest to first of all print out the knobs you like and arrange the images on the furniture itself. This way you can determine a final layout that ‘looks random’ so the selection you buy is just right. Options might include a mix of shapes all in the same colour; or the same shape but in different colours. It’s your design, you decide.

An upcycling project costs very little. The main outlay is the furniture itself (which you may already own). You’ll need sandpaper, paint, brushes and wax or varnish. New knobs are the finishing touches. They can make the biggest impact and they are surprisingly affordable too.

Ceramic is the material offering the most options for knob design. It’s sturdy and looks good on both traditional and contemporary furniture. It’s a big improvement on the mass-produced plastic handles found on production-line furniture.

For a masculine feeling consider metal knobs

Metal can instantly add contemporary industrial style to ordinary doors or drawers. Conversely metal can also add a quaint old-fashioned feeling, depending on the design that you choose (I love the little bird above).

The perfect knob can help define the style of a piece of furniture. Even with the most neutral colour scheme a masculine style of hardware sets the tone for your man cave or den. Note the use of jute here that would also look good in a nautical theme.

If you want to replace the hardware on a pristine piece of furniture then a less polished hand-made look may be just right. Here’s a selection of knobs you could make from things such as corks, cutlery and clay. You can make most of these for the cost of a can of spray paint (or less). And here’s a long list of tutorials too.

Last but by no means least, my own personal fave


If you can’t see the perfect knob among this selection search for the colour you want.

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