For most people, living in Landlord Special™ apartments is a rite of passage, and a test of patience. Many of the “improvements” that your ‘lord did before you (a humble renter) moved in simply cannot be undone; the dishwasher (if you have one) has been installed at an angle that defies physics, the transom window rattles, and you can’t open the oven all the way, but life goes on. There’s hope, though, because the key to your happiness as a renter is about investing in home improvement tweaks that can make a big difference.
These days, there are plenty of renter-friendly upgrades you can make to your home that will make you feel less like you’re squatting in
285 Kent a DIY showspace, and more like the star of an Architectural Digest home video tour; you can swap out that overhead boob light for a Noguchi-inspired lamp, and put down some temporary linoleum checkered tiles in the kitchen; you can 86 those beige switchplate covers for something with more personality, and upgrade those boring knobs and pulls with hardware that will make your guests think, “Wow, they must travel the world, have great sex, and read lots of books.”
You shouldn’t have to spend another moment of your precious time surrounded by drawer knobs and cabinet pulls that look like they belong in the restroom of an H&R Block (also, don’t forget to do those taxes), which is why we found you the best knobs and pulls your money can buy, from mid-century modern hardware to fruit- and veg-shaped knobs that bring a little color to your kitchen.
Dig out your screwdrivers from the junk drawer, and let’s go.
You’re here for the classics
Rejuvenation’s knobs and pulls will stand the test of time, because they’re made with high-quality materials and take inspiration from timeless designs. Cop these best-selling, solid brass balls while they’re on sale.
New to Schoolhouse? The lighting and lifestyle goods company is dedicated to the preservation of American manufacturing, and offers an abundance of gorgeous pulls and knobs. The Parker Pull—named after the one and only Charlie Parker—is our pick for the attention to detail in its design, from the satin finish to the optional backplate.
You’re into mid-century modern design
Knurled drawer pulls?? Another sick thing about updating your home hardware is that you get to unlock new, potent design terms (knurled = textured with small ridges). We’ve written an entire VICE editors’ gude to shopping at West Elm, and these matte black pulls definitely make the cut as one of its best hardware offerings for people who like MCM design and A24 movies.
Life is too short to have a sad, unappetizing kitchen aesthetic. Bring a pop of color and personality into your home with hardware that pays homage to our favorite fruits and vegetables. Garnish with one of those sensory fruit videos, and voilà.
Lend yourself hand
What, you thought knobs were just for pulling? You could trick-out your janky Craigslist dresser with hand-shaped pulls, but you could also place a single hand against a wall to carry your work bag, jump rope, or KN95s.
You’re into crystals
We know, we know. You have enough crystals, but that’s because they rock; just imagine how sexy these malachite pulls would look in your restroom? We’re entranced by the sorcery of the swirl. Next up: This labradorite one, which is definitely the doorknob version of Mother (Cate Blanchett).
You’re here for Gaudi time
We don’t collectively reminisce enough about how important the Iron Age was for home decor inspiration. Case in point: this antique-finished iron drawer pull, which is half Enyacore, half Antoni Gaudi, and full design swag thanks to its antique finish and arabesque shape. Tell all of your visitors that it was submerged in a lake of historical importance for thousands of years, and unearthed just for you.
Mix and match
If you grew up wanting to live in Howl’s Moving Castle and listening to Fleetwood Mac, we suggest mixing and matching your pulls. This eclectic ceramic set is super affordable, and has earned a 4.7-star average rating from over 3,100 reviews on Amazon. As one fan writes, “They’re easy to assemble, and don’t require any tools.”
A regular wood dresser with regular wood drawer pulls? Forgettable. A regular wood dresser that has been upgraded with checkered square knobs? Even Xzibit would swoon.
Amber is the color of [your knobs]
There’s just something about amber that instantly makes a space more relaxing and inviting, whether the color is beaming through our sunset lamps or reflecting off of our glass knobs.
You’re shrooming as you read this
… Congrats, shroom mage. You’ve made it far. Urban Outfitters would like to reward you with this coy little shroom knob, which will pull 1) drawers and 2) cottagecore cuties.
Go for something vintage
If you want something utterly unique and owned by no one else (are you OK?? Or maybe just a Pisces), we suggest peeping the pages of 1stDibs, Etsy, and eBay for one-of-a-kind pulls and knobs. We can picture these organic green knobs in a minimalist wabi-sabi kitchen with an amorphous wood table.
Here’s to home decor that pulls its weight.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.