Dummy Door Knobs (Dummy Door Handles and Dummy Door Levers)

What is a dummy door knob?

You have probably come across a door knob or handle that just doesn’t turn haven’t you? Well these are  dummy or fixed knobs. In essence, a dummy door knob is a door handle that is designed not to turn, and as such have no moving elements.

“A dummy knob is usually a fake door knob or handle without any real working parts usually used on doors to give the appearance of real door knobs.”

Dummy handles are usually mounted flush, and have the added advantage of not needing to make a hole through your door. A good quality dummy knob would be indistinguishable from a normal door knob on a visual inspection. Some dummy knobs come with back fix plates so as to hide visual screws, and these look much better.

The most common places where you would come across a dummy knob is on places that don’t need a lock, such as French doors, on double doors, closets, and even on decorative furniture.

Note: Dummy Door Knobs are best used in combination with either ball catches or magnetic catches that would keep the door in place but not locked.

Types of Dummy Door Knobs

There are actually two types of dummy knobs you can buy:

Fully Dummy Knob I.e a set or a pair, which are sold in pairs for use on either double doored closets, French doors or pantries – where you would set a knob on each door or if the door swings both ways, in and out, in which case you would fix a dummy knob on either side of the door. Though not as cheap as half dummy knobs, they are cheaper than regular knobs.

Half Dummy Knob – basically a single dummy knob for single doors or single sides. A single dummy is normally cheaper than a regular door knob as the have no moving parts. However pairs work out cheaper if you have one than more door in the house you would want matching door knobs for.

Common Doors that Dummy Door Knobs Are Used On

  • Closets
  • Pantries
  • French Doors
  • Closets
  • Cupboards
  • Double Doors with only one needed real handle
  • Chest drawers

Dummy Door Knob or Dummy Door Handle (Lever)?

I get a fair few people asking me which is better, the lever type dummy handle or the stumpy knob. The answer depends on your home decor of course, if you want your dummy doors to match your functional handles then you should buy knobs that match.

However if there is a choice, I prefer the dummy knob over the dummy lever. The. main reason for this is by their very purpose, they look like the real thing. So people not aware of these knobs not being real, would automatically assume they are the real deal and promptly try to twist or push as they would a normal knob or handle.

Knobs that are lever free tend to not give any way and so don’t suffer much damage. However if you have a lever, then people could unknowingly apply too much pressure and wrench them off the door! So my simple choice would be to limit accidental damage by using the short dummy knob rather than a dummy handle.

How To Install a Dummy Door Knob

As mentioned dummy doorknobs may have a very simple function of being a “pull mechanism” for doors, but their real function is aesthetic beauty. it’s not really that hard to fix a dummy door knob to a door, and the simple steps below would guide you through the process if you are unsure how to.

Step 1: Start measuring!

How to install dummy door knobs - start measuring

How to install dummy door knobs – start measuring

Most people try to install door knobs without really adequately measuring the distance. There are three main measurements you need to take –

  • Distance from floor – the average door handle is usually fixed at 3 metres – but the best thing would be to measure your other doors and see how high the handles are set so as to match.
  • Distance from gap – you need sufficient space from the door gap . but not so far that the handle looks odd.
  • Distance between screws – if you mark a centre point, then you could place the base plate on that spot and mark out your screw points.


Step 2: Mark the Screw Points

How to install dummy door knobs step 2 - mark the screw points

How to install dummy door knobs step 2 – mark the screw points

Just to repeat – make sure you mark all the relevant points and not try to do this freehand. Especially important if you are installing dummy handles on double doors – your measurements are important to make sure that the fit is perfect and looks good.

Step 3: Make Pilot Holes

How to install dummy door knobs - make pilot holes

How to install dummy door knobs – make pilot holes

the average door is made up of a range of materials – some sturdy and some not so. Simply trying to screw straight in would be a mistake – some times screws will go off at angles and not sit flush. It is advisable to make pilot holes to make the screwing in easy and straighter.

Step 4: Fix and Screw in the Base Plate

How to install dummy door knobs - fix and screw the base plate

How to install dummy door knobs – fix and screw the base plate

Once your pilot holes are made, grab your dummy knob base plate ans screw it in. Make sure to make it tight, but not over tight.

Step 5: Tighten the Set Screw

How to install dummy door knobs - Tighten the set screw

How to install dummy door knobs – Tighten the set screw

Slip the knob or handle on the shaft and if one exists, tighten the set screw. And now you are done!

Watch the Instruction Video

Removing a Dummy Door Knob With Hidden Screws

Dummy door knobs and levers are great for when you dont need a full locking door – they are cheaper to buy and easier to install. However, while the most common dummy handles have visible screws that hold them in place, which are easier to remove, some high quality ones tend to have an ornamental cover that hides the screws.

The steps below will help you remove such screw-hidden dummy knobs:

The first step would be to take off the lever or the knob. Most dummy knobs are attached to the base shafts by the use of a shaft and a set screw. there may be one of three things to look out for:

  • – A set screw – loosen this if you have one
  • – A latch – simply push the latch in if its there and the knob could be pulled off

Example of a latch type dummy door knob- Remove by pressing in the latch with a screw.

Example of a latch type dummy door knob- Remove by pressing in the latch with a screw.

The Second Step would be to remove the rosette – which is simply a fancy name for the cover. Some come of fairly easily, while some may require the use of a flat screwdriver to lift it. Do this gently by wedging the screw under the rosette and twisting, the cover should pop off.

The Third and final step – the screws are now exposed – so proceed to unscrew as normal!


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