How to Paint Door Knobs and Hardware So They Look New Again

Increase your home's curb appeal or update hardware without replacing it by following these simple, budget-friendly steps to painting your door's hardware.

Hardware is all over our homes: Knobs, locks, hinges, and pulls outfit closets, kitchen cabinetry, bathroom vanities, and, of course, interior and exterior doors. You see various types of hardware in nearly every space, so if you're not completely happy with the look, it can become a constant annoyance.

Updating doors with all-new hardware can get expensive. But that's not the only way to change the finish for a more modern look. You can quickly refresh dated brass or basic nickel hardware with just a few coats of spray paint, which typically costs less than $10 a can. By painting instead of replacing your door hardware, you can achieve the exact look you want for a fraction of the cost. Check out our step-by-step instructions to learn how to paint hardware to give doors a brand-new look.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Marking pen
  • Steel wool
  • Sandpaper
  • Tack cloth or microfiber cloth


  • Painters tape
  • Floral foam (to hold hardware for painting)
  • Metal spray paint
  • Metal spray paint (Rust-Oleum Rubbed Bronze is pictured)


How to Paint Door Hardware

interior door opening to bright enclosed patio
Marty Baldwin

Don't spend money on new hardware for your door just yet. Instead, rethink existing knobs, locks, and hinges using metal spray paint for a quick, low-cost update.

  1. person removing a door knob
    Jay Wilde

    Remove Doorknob and Lock

    Remove the doorknob and lock mechanism from the door. It's also possible to tape off the surrounding area and paint the hardware when it's still attached, but removing it completely helps ensure an even, long-lasting finish. Take photos as you go and label the images (such as "inside deadbolt" and "outdoor knob") to aid in reassembly.

  2. person cleaning a door knob
    Jay Wilde

    Clean the Hardware

    Clean the hardware with steel wool, then sand. This prep work will help the paint stick to the surface, reducing the likelihood of chipping with future use. Take care not to sand off the hardware's finish; sand just enough to scuff up the surface, so it appears dull instead of shiny. Wipe off dust with a tack cloth or microfiber cloth.

  3. door knob with tape in key hole
    Jay Wilde

    Prep for Painting

    Insert a small piece of folded painters tape ($7, The Home Depot) into the keyhole, so paint doesn't get in the lock mechanism. Insert the door hardware into the foam to easily paint all sides. Work in a well-ventilated area and put down a drop cloth to protect surrounding surfaces from overspray.

  4. person spray painting door knob
    Jay Wilde

    Paint Hardware

    Spray hardware with metal primer ($7, The Home Depot) according to the manufacturer's directions. Although some spray paints are marketed as paint and primer in one, it's best to start with a separate coat of primer for the most durable finish. After the primer has thoroughly dried, spray hardware with metallic paint. Be sure the spray paint is intended for metal surfaces and both indoor and outdoor use, if necessary. Let dry. To ensure no fingerprints are left in the paint, allow the hardware to dry for 24 hours. After it is dry, reinstall the hardware on the door.

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