Last week I shared my Top Tips for Selecting the Best Bathroom Fixtures which gave you some guidance in choosing sinks, toilets and tubs to achieve a long-lasting custom look. This week we move on to Hardware! I often see cheap or uninspired hardware when it really should be the Jewelry of your bathroom! Upgrading to a style that complements your bathroom and makes everything super useful and easily accessible is more affordable than you make think so lets explore the options.
While I encourage a more eclectic look in other areas of your home the best way to get a cohesive look in your bathroom is to coordinate the style of everything from the bathtub to the cabinet knobs. It’s a small space and when you use too many styles it looks choppy and cheap. So before you start anything, are you going modern, traditional or casual?
Never buy the cheapest faucet you can find. Why? Because it’s the cheapest for a reason. Most people choose a faucet based on the style rather than the engineering. But you want it to last inside and out. Kohler, Moen and Price Pfister have many reasonably priced faucets and they stand behind their products. Make good use of the manufacturer’s websites because they often provide a lot more information on warranties and finishes then the websites that sell them.
Burnished finishes such as stainless steel, brushed chrome and antique brass are your best bet in terms of style and maintenance. They don’t show water marks as easily and they have a more earthy look to them which is more in tune with today’s styles. Be careful when mixing brushed chrome and stainless steel because some finishes have a much warmer tone than others. Be sure to coordinate all your metals.
From ultra-modern to Victorian, there are faucets and finishes for every taste. I generally prefer single-control faucets because they are easy to operate when you are brushing your teeth or washing your face. They also keep your vanity area a bit more splash-free.
If you are replacing an existing 2-handle faucet make sure you check out the existing installation to see if its a centerset (4″ ) or widespread (8-16″). Unless you are replacing the countertop, you need to choose the same setup.
Wall-mounted faucets are very stylish but will add significantly to your plumbing costs and have to be coordinated with your mirror height so plan carefully.
The first question is what type of shower do you want? Some people like high pressure and some like a spring rain. A basic shower-head is fairly reasonable but at the very least make sure it adjusts so all members of the family can customize their shower. If you like the rain shower-head, bear in mind that while it feels soothing and peaceful, this is not the shower-head you want if you have thick or curly hair. I can tell you first-hand that it’s difficult to get the shampoo rinsed out! If you would like a bodyspray, this is something you should plan during a renovation or new construction because you have to make sure you have adequate water pressure and there is a fair amount of plumbing work that has to be done in the wall.
Towel Bars & Hooks
These accessories are often a last minute consideration but keep focused and choose wisely! Towel bars and hooks placed in the right location can make a big difference in how you operate in your bathroom. Before choosing towel bars measure your towels so you have enough width to spread out a towel to dry. I recommend a towel bar 30″ or wider and if you like to display your towels get an additional one or go for a style with two bars. If you like to keep your vanity dry, neat and free of clutter then consider a towel ring near the sink. Hooks should be strategically located so you can easily grab your robe when the phone or doorbell rings.
Knobs, Pulls & Other Accessories
Last but not least, the knobs and pulls you use on your cabintry are your chance to add a little personality. Start with your style and finish to narrow the choices. Metal finshes are almost always your best bed for stained and painted woods. Ceramic knobs give a more casual country look and glass a bit more formal and traditional. Measure a knob in your home to get a feel for the size. You might not think a 2″ knob is very big but that’s actually the size of many doorknobs! If you are replacing knobs, make sure the base of the knob covers the mark from the old one or you will need to refinish the door.
There are lots of great accessories to make your bathroom more neat and efficient. Hair dryer caddies and wall -mounted soap dispensers give you more room on your vanity and less chance of knocking things over when you are in a rush (sound familiar?).
The great thing about a bathroom project is that you can do virutally all your research and shopping online and it can save you lots of $$$. So if you are considering a bathroom renovation, your first step should be joining My Secret Database. For $9.95, it’s a tiny investment that will help you make some very wise choices!
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