Asked on Aug 23, 2014

Updating drawer pulls

Dorothy Paulsen
by Dorothy Paulsen
We bought this large dresser 30+ years ago. It's in pretty good shape, nice color, solid wood- but the drawer pulls are pretty dated. The problem is that although the plate behind the pull measures 4", the holes are 2 1/2" apart. Am I right in thinking that a 2 1/2" drawer pull will be proportionally weird and wimpy? Any ideas for how to update without filling and redrilling holes- probably beyond my skillset-?
  21 answers
  • Moxie Moxie on Aug 23, 2014
    get the drawer pulls that are popular now that arch down to create the finger pull and the way they are made will gap and hide the existing can also order ones with the correct spacing. they remind me of vintage office pulls - I purchase some for my kitchen at Restoration Hardware and check out the Duluth pulls (several finishes and sizes) and luv them.(the screw into face in lieu of through holes with nuts on the back) although be prepared to get your own screws; I found the ones that came with the pulls too soft of metal to use on my oak cabinets even with pre-drilling.
  • Michele Eures Michele Eures on Aug 23, 2014
    I don't think the 2 1/2" pulls will be disproportionate. But what about the marks the old pulls have left?
  • another option for now until you find the handles you love-spray paint using Rustoleum's hammered spray paint. the handles will look a whole lot better!
  • Z Z on Aug 23, 2014
    I would look for drawer pulls that extend beyond where the posts are. Something like these. Not necessarily that style, as they are too modern for your dresser style, but with the ends extending in that way.
    • See 2 previous
    • Marg Caputo Marg Caputo on Aug 24, 2014
      Filling and redrilling holes are easier than you think. Give it a try.
  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Aug 23, 2014
    @Dorothy Paulsen replacing drawer pulls can be difficult. I replaced them on an old dresser that I reinvented and had trouble finding pulls that would fit the holes already there. Ended up looking for the finish I wanted as well as those that would cover the holes that were already there - not easy but possible. Lee Valley Tools has quite the variety of pulls - discovered them by chance would never have gone there for pulls. Good luck and do update us with what you end up doing.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Aug 24, 2014
    Don't see anything really wrong with them. I'd just spray them.
  • Mary H Mary H on Aug 24, 2014
    You could take a thin piece of wood, such as flat decorative kickboard or wainscot trim, cut them down to size, glue them over the old holes (maybe even a second strip inside), then install the new pulls over that base.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Aug 24, 2014
    Have you thought about taking these off, cleaning them good and then painting them and putting them back on? You can get all kinds of colors in metal paint made by RUSTOLEUM!
  • Gail Gail on Aug 24, 2014
    If you have all of them (I see one is off) I would remove them and find a cleaner ( a good hardward store would be able to help, not necessarly Home Depot or Lowes) and just clean and replace. Any new ones would not cover the marks left from the design of these. Also you can check on line or if you have a place that collects vintage items you might find some. Good luck.
  • Susan E Susan E on Aug 24, 2014
    So interesting. I just bought 10 of these to put on a mid century buffet. We sure see things differently, don't we.
  • Teri Uliasz Boyungs Teri Uliasz Boyungs on Aug 24, 2014
    Paint them, then distress them. It will look amazing on the style of dresser
  • Wendy Johnson Wendy Johnson on Aug 24, 2014
    Lots of suggestions, hope you post what you decide..I am sure it will look good as long as you like it.
  • Linda Linda on Aug 24, 2014
    I'm definitely in favour of reusing the current pulls after giving them one of the above treatments.
  • Dorothy Paulsen Dorothy Paulsen on Aug 26, 2014
    Thanks to all of you for your comments and the links. I didn't mean to be offensive by using the word "dated"-- perhaps a better way to express it is: "after 30+ years I am ready for a change." I do have all the pulls- the one I took off left a faint outline but will be easy to clean up. I was hoping to find another sort of pull that had a plate that was a different shape- maybe an oval? So far, no luck on that. I will keep thinking about it.
    • Donna Alger Donna Alger on Oct 20, 2014
      @Dorothy Paulsen What did you end up doing with your dresser pulls? I like the idea from Karen from Buckhannon, WV. I bet you could do that with any color your dresser is, if you wanted to paint it a different color than natural dark wood stain, do the pulls in same color and they would do the same thing (I think). It's fun seeing questions from people so close to where I live. ;0
  • Susan E Susan E on Aug 27, 2014
    No offense to me. :) Try Old English on the spots.
  • Jodi Jodi on Aug 27, 2014
    I have almost the same dresser but the one that is very tall and wide with lots of drawers. It's used to hold the extras toiletries and such that I buy in bulk and keep in a room no one uses. I am missing one pull but the back plate is still attached. My plan is to someday paint the dresser a whitewash type finish and then fill each pull hole with a flower shaped single pull so there would be two pulls where each single brass one was before. Might make that a New Years project.
  • Karen Karen on Aug 28, 2014
    I have the same drawer pulls on an old beat-up ugly chest I sanded and stained. Mine were 2" between the center posts and I could not find new pulls in that size anymore. I taped off the actual pulls (handles) and sprayed the rest with some brown stone paint and then sealed them with a clear coat. I liked how they instantly changed and sort of disappeared on the chest.
  • Denise Evans Denise Evans on Nov 11, 2014
    Im looking for drawer pulls like those to put ON a dress that I am updating from the 50 "s.
  • Ltt834476 Ltt834476 on Jan 19, 2015
    I personally like the original pulls. I have the same bedroom set with the same pulls. I still love it after 25 years. My daughter that just turned 25 years old has shown interest in it. Wants it for her future home to use in her guest room.
  • Carol Carol on Mar 22, 2015
    Back the drawer pulls with a contrasting piece of veneer or rectangular piece of metal. I personally love the pulls now on the dresser.