5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Replacing Furniture Hardware

John Saladino 500x624 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Replacing Furniture Hardware

John Saladino

Replacing hardware on your cabinetry and other bedroom, living room, and entryway furniture pieces isn't usually super complicated. It's something you can do yourself, typically in just a few minutes (per piece). Of course, that doesn't mean there isn't room for error. There are all sorts of mistakes you can make when you decide to replace your hardware yourself.

Mistake #1: Not Counting Ahead of Time

Obviously you've set a budget for this project, but do you know how far it needs to stretch? It's important to count how many replacement pieces you are going to need before you start shopping. The last thing you want is to get home and realize you're a knob or pull short (especially if you purchased all of the remaining stock in a certain style)!

Mistake #2: Piece Tracking

Yes, technically, you could pile the screws and tools you need close by and reach for what you need. But what are you going to do with the old hardware once you've removed it? Even if you're careful, screws and other pieces can magically go missing. This is problematic at best and life threatening at worst (little kids and pets have a knack for finding and trying to eat these pieces before you even realize they are missing).

Set up two covered containers. One container will hold all of the new parts and pieces of your hardware. The other is for collecting the old pieces and parts.

Mistake #3: Style Over Substance

Aesthetics are a perfectly reasonable reason for replacing hardware. Still, choosing something simply because it's pretty isn't a good idea. You want hardware that will handle being pulled too hard, bumped against, etc. If you're short, you'll also want easy-to-reach and use hardware for any taller pieces of cabinetry. You don't want to have to use kitchen tongs to open the cabinets over your fridge!

Mistake #4: Odd Placement

Installing your hardware at the right height is important. A lot of people eyeball it and put the handles and knobs at a height that looks pretty. It's better to align the knob or the bottom part of the pull with the cabinet's lower rail. This helps create a uniform look. On a drawer, you'll want to measure from the outside of the top and the bottom to make sure the knobs and handles are centered correctly.

Mistake #5: Poke, Don't Draw

A lot of new hardware installers will use pencil to mark the placement of the holes that need to be drilled. It's much better to use an awl to make an indentation. When drill hits graphite marking, it's likely to "skate off" and your hole will be placed slightly off-center. This can wreak havoc with a uniform appearance. You'll be amazed at how quickly you can spot even millimeters of difference from across the room.

What are some of the mistakes you've made installing your own hardware? How did you correct them?

Erin Steiner contributes regularly to Cabinet Hardware Ideas and a variety of other sites. In addition to home and lifestyle topics, she also covers business, finance and culture.

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