How to Change the Swing of a Door

Kevin McDermott

Deciding which direction a door should open is sometimes a matter of circumstance―and sometimes circumstances change. If an interior door in your home is opening in a direction that doesn't work with how you want to arrange the room or if it just doesn't feel right to you, you're not stuck with it.

Anyone with a decent tool collection and moderately competent carpentry skills can reverse the swing of a door in an afternoon.

  1. Using your screw gun, remove the hinge screws that hold the hinges into the door jamb. Leave the hinges attached to the door itself. Also remove the strike plate where the door latches when it meets the jamb.

  2. Turn the door around in the doorway, so the hinges are on the opposite side of the jamb. Position the door where it needs to be, press the hinges against the edge of the jamb, and mark with your pencil on the jamb around the square of each hinge plate. Also mark the screw holes in the plates.

  3. Remove the door and drill pilot holes for each mark you made showing the holes in the hinge plates. Then, with your wood chisel and hammer, peel off about 1/8th inch of the wood surface within the square outlines of the hinge plate.

  4. Put the door back into the doorway, set the hinge plates into the chiseled depressions, and secure it using your screw gun and the same hinge screws that came out of it on the other side.

  5. Remove the doorknob assembly in the door and reinstall it from the opposite side, so the latch is facing in the opposite direction of what it was.

  6. Close the door. On the other side of the jamb (where the hinges previously were), mark where the door latch hits the jamb. Set your strike plate in place there, with the beveled lip facing the door as it closes, and trace the hole in the strike plate. With your 1-inch boring bit, drill down at the hole, deep enough to receive the latch. Secure the strike plate jamb with the same screws that were used on the other side. (If the door sticks on the strike plate, chisel a depression for the plate and set it in.)

  7. Use wood fill and a putty knife to repair the depressions from where the hinges previously were and the previous latch hole. Let dry, sand and repaint the whole door jamb.

  8. Tip

    When planning your project, remember that the back of the door will be the front, and vice-versa, when you're finished.


    Wear eye protection when chiseling wood.