guest room with painted hinges and knobs

Get Rid of Contractor Brass

When we bought our house, literally nothing had been upgraded in 20 years. The walls were the same off white the contractor had painted them. All of the appliances were 1990s almond color. None of the flooring had been upgraded. Well. I take that back. Someone changed the bedrooms’ carpet to teal. But left the hallway tan. So it’s no surprise that door hinges and handles in our house were contractor brass. Except for the hinges that were silver. Tacky AND didn’t even match. I hated it. But that’s why we got our house cheap. It was ugly.

I painted 2 floors of our house, including the interior doors. We redid our master closet. And we had new carpet installed upstairs (read more about new floors). After all that time and money, I didn’t want to put nasty ass door hardware back up. New hinges are ~$7 a door at the cheapest and then you still need a door knob. For $7 you can buy a can of spray paint that works for multiple doors. Painting hinges takes time; they won’t be ready in a day. Not much work though. Most of the time is cure time.

I used Rust-oleum’s Oil Rubbed Bronze paint. I’ve been happy with the color and have found a few other things to paint with it (pictures frames!). They have other colors and finishes too. I also used their flat gray primer as a first layer for all the hardware.

Surface Prep

First I removed all of the hinges and door knobs (makes painting the door easier anyway). I washed all of the hinges in soapy water and scrubbed them with steel wool. Our hinges had graphite as a lubricant around the pin. It was all over the hardware and on the door frame. The steel wool helped to get rid of this, and scuffed up the surface for painting. I still had a gel manicure on when I did this, and it was intact after. That stuff is amazing.

For the door knobs (I also did our stair handrail hardware too), I rubbed them with sand paper. I paid more attention to scuffing up the surface of the knobs, as compared to the hinges, because I figured they had more chance to chip since that’s what people touch. A sanding block is helpful for maneuvering the curves of the knob. The goal was to dull the shine a bit. This works to salvage door knobs that accidentally got paint on them when someone painted the door. It sands right off! Don’t forget to sand the door latch and strike plates too.

Set Up

We had boxes leftover from putting up new blinds that I used to lay the hinges on. My dad wired ceiling fans in both bedrooms before we moved in. From the fan boxes, I had a big chunk of styrofoam that worked well to hold all of the screws and the side of the knobs with the locking mechanism sticking out. I just screwed the screws into the foam, and made holes to secure the lock mechanisms into. A block of floral foam should work well too.


The paint I used says its a paint and primer in one. I figured some primer first couldn’t hurt though. This also helped get better paint coverage in fewer coats. I did a few light coats of primer in quick succession. Then I let the hinges dry for a few days before flipping and priming the other side.


Painting was essentially the same as priming. A few quick light coats and lots of dry time in between flipping. Before I reinstalled the hardware I let it cure for at least a week. I didn’t want the knobs or hinges to still be tacky. That and I didn’t always have doors painted at the same time.


While there are still hinges to be painted in our house, many of our hinges have been up for over a year. I am happy to report they all still look great. The only spot I’ve seen any paint come off, is the strike plates on the bathrooms. Strike plates are much cheaper to replace than all of the other hardware though.

What hardware needs to be painted in your house?

Painting your door hardware can help you update your house on a budget. This post includes a few tips and tricks for how to get the best results. #hardwareupdate #easyhomeupdate

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