ATP-dependent chromatin remodelling enzymes are molecular machines that act to reconfigure the structure of nucleosomes. Until recently, little was known about the structure of these enzymes. Recent progress has revealed that their interaction with chromatin is dominated by ATPase domains that contact DNA at favoured locations on the nucleosome surface. Contacts with histones are limited but play important roles in modulating activity. The ATPase domains do not act in isolation but are flanked by diverse accessory domains and subunits. New structures indicate how these subunits are arranged in multi-subunit complexes providing a framework from which to understand how a common motor is applied to distinct functions. Copyright: © 2020 Sundaramoorthy R and Owen-Hughes T.