If you're looking to increase your home's curb appeal or update interior hardware, try repainting it instead of replacing it. Follow these simple, budget-friendly steps to paint your door's hardware.

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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. However, 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.

interior door opening to bright enclosed patio
Credit: Marty Baldwin

How to Paint Door Hardware

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

What You Need

  • Marking pen
  • Steel wool
  • Sandpaper
  • Tack cloth or microfiber cloth
  • Painters tape
  • Floral foam (to hold hardware for painting)
  • Metal paint primer
  • Metal spray paint (Rust-Oleum Rubbed Bronze is pictured)
person removing a door knob
Credit: Jay Wilde

Step 1: Remove Doorknob and Lock

Remove doorknob and lock mechanism from the door. It's also possible to simply 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.

person cleaning a door knob
Credit: Jay Wilde

Step 2: Clean and Sand

Clean the hardware with steel wool, then sand. This prep work will help the paint stick 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.

door knob with tape in key hole
Credit: Jay Wilde

Step 3: Prep for Painting

Insert a small piece of folded painters tape ($4, The Home Depot) into the keyhole so paint doesn't get in the lock mechanism. Insert the door hardware into the foam so you can easily paint all sides. Work in a well-ventilated area and put down a drop cloth to protect surrounding surfaces from overspray.

person spray painting door knob
Credit: Jay Wilde

Step 4: Paint Hardware

Spray hardware with metal primer ($4, The Home Depot) according to 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 ($7, The Home Depot). 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.

Comments (3)

March 18, 2019
rdlund3112633564... You are so right! I would never NOT lock my doors at night for the sake of the hardware taking its time to dry. I say buy and install new hardware and get it done in a couple hrs. More expensive, yes... but worth having a sleepless and perhaps dangerous night! Can't trust anyone, anywhere these days!!!!
June 9, 2018
Since it would be the front door handles and locks we would be painting, how would it be possible to have the hardware dry for 24 hours. How would we lock the front door and keep it closed? Thank you
May 6, 2018
This is an excellent way to upgrade your outdated hardware. My husband and I did this to all of our doorknobs in my Grandmother's house we are remodeling. The only thing I would add to the instructions is to addsome kind of clear coat after painting. We did not, and now, five years later the paint is chipping.