Bathroom hardware may not be the star of your bathroom, that honor belongs to the sink, countertop, floor tile, toilet, or tub. However, choosing the right hardware is essential to creating a functional space in your bathroom while supporting your interior design with subtle details.There are many types of bathroom hardware to consider, and each has a specific function:
- Shower Curtain Rods
- Toilet Paper Holders
- Towel Bars
- Towel Rings
- Robe Hooks
- Grab Bars
Whether you’re in the final stages of a bathroom remodel or you just want to upgrade your towel bars, we have the selection and expertise to help you find the perfect hardware for your bathroom.
Finding Function with Bathroom Hardware
For hanging towels or shower curtains, there are many types of bathroom hardware. And each is available in a variety of shapes, styles, and materials.
Shower Curtain Rods
There are several types of shower curtain rods:
- Adjustable straight shower curtain rods are the most common. These use a tension spring inside the rod to maintain pressure against the wall, allowing the rod to be installed without screws in spaces of varying lengths.
- Fixed straight shower curtain rods fit into standard shower sizes but require screws for mounting. However, the screws make this type of shower curtain rod more stable and secure, as there is less chance of the rod falling.
- Adjustable curved shower curtain rods are adjustable between 5’ and 6’, so they’re great for showers of non-standard sizes. The curve provides a roomier showering experience.
- Fixed curved shower curtain rods must fit a specific size shower, but they provide a more secure fit over an adjustable rod because they don’t rely on tension.
- Double-curve tension shower curtain rods feature two curved rods in one fixture. The double rod design allows you to hang the curtain liner and curtain on separate rods several inches apart. This increases access to air, allowing moisture on both sides of the liner and curtain to dry out, minimizing the opportunity for mildew and mold growth.
- Straight tension shower curtain rods are like adjustable straight shower curtains. However, while a single adjustable straight curtain rod fits distances between 54” and 72”, a straight tension rod only has a 3” adjustability. This makes it more like a fixed rod, designed to fit one distance with greater tension, making it more secure than an adjustable shower curtain rod.
Shower curtain rods are made from a variety of materials and finishes. Budget products are made of plastic while high-end rods are made of metals like stainless steel.
Toilet Paper Holders
Whether you prefer the under-hang or over-hang, a toilet paper holder is critical to a functional bathroom.Toilet paper holders, sometimes called tissue paper holders, are installed in these ways:
- Wall or Cabinet Mounted: Installed either to the side of a vanity cabinet or a wall near the toilet.
- Recessed Toilet Paper Holder: Installed in a box-shaped space built into the wall, providing a sleek look for areas with limited space.
- Freestanding Paper Holder: Stands near the toilet but isn’t permanently mounted to anything.
- Tank-Mounted Paper Holder: Attaches to the toilet, usually via a hook into the tank or suction cups.
Toilet paper holder designs:
- Open-Ended Design: The holder features a side that opens, usually in a J-Hook or L-Hook shape, making it easy to remove and replace rolls.
- Spring-Bar Design: The holder features a spring-loaded bar held between two points.
- Double-Mounted Design: Holds two rolls at once for high-traffic restrooms.
- Specialty Designs: Often fancy or rustic in design, these tissue paper holders are unique designs meant to fit into a specific room style.
Towel bars and bathroom towel rack sets consist of a bar held between two footings, which are connected to the wall. Towel bars come in nearly every style, finish, and material, from rustic copper to polished chrome. Most of the style and decoration is apparent in the footings, which aren’t covered by your towels.A recent trend is to install towel bars with multiple levels, allowing you to hang more than two towels, which is great for bathrooms with many users. Additionally, towel warmers are a popular high-tech option which use low levels of electricity to heat up your towels, allowing you to exit the shower into a warm towel.
A towel ring is most commonly used to hold hand towels near the sink. Hand towel rings are also great in small bathrooms with limited wall space. If you don’t have space for a towel bar, use a J-Shape or L-Shape towel ring. They use less wall space and the open hook design allows you to grab a full-size towel off the wall easier than from a ring.Due to the variety of shapes, there are far more styles and options to choose from, and with just as many finishes and materials, you can easily find a design to match your bathroom’s aesthetics.
Robe hooks, often called towel hooks, are great for keeping your bathrobe off the floor. They’re also great for hanging a change of clothing or a damp towel for drying. Typically mounted to the backside of the bathroom door or nearby wall, you can get a single robe hook or one with two or more prongs.
While grab bars are typically associated with the elderly and hospitals, they are becoming more popular in bathroom designs. Why? The bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. While seniors are at a higher risk, the CDC’s report shows an annual average of about 235,000 bathroom-related injuries of people over 15 years old, with falls in or near the bathtub, shower, or toilet making up over 81% of those injuries.As with other bathroom hardware, grab bars come in a variety of shapes, styles, and finishes, so you can find styles that don’t look like they belong in a hospital. The key to finding the right grab bar is making sure the projection (the space between the wall and the bar) is big enough to easily fit your hand.
Choosing the Right Bathroom Hardware
Finding the best bathroom hardware for your home is all about paying attention to detail. Since hardware isn’t the focal point, its purpose is to support the interior design choices in your room.
Bathroom hardware needs to be functional, above all else. As such, start by considering how you use or would prefer to use each hardware. For example, if you don’t like replacing toilet paper because the tension bar is a hassle, look for an open J-Hook toilet paper holder because the design allows you to easily slide rolls on and off.
Since hardware caps off the interior design by adding subtle details, it can help support the design choices you’ve made. Here are the most common styles and how they apply to vanity hardware:
- Traditional: Often ornately decorated with multiple bevels and a variety of shapes incorporated into the design, traditional bathroom hardware features curves and shapes in the footings and trim areas.
- Modern: This type of design emerged in the early 20th century as a response to the ornate decorations of traditional styles. Modern bathroom hardware focuses on simple straight lines, sharp corners, and very minimal curves. It shuns decoration for a minimalist elegant design, and typically features a polished metal, like nickel or stainless steel.
- Contemporary: Often conflated with modern design (and vice versa), contemporary is also an elegant design, but more focused on what’s trendy and new right now. This hardware typically features many of the simple shapes and lines of modern designs, but with more curves and experimental shapes.
- Transitional: The design is between two styles, most commonly traditional and modern styles. For example, pairing a traditional sink with modern bathroom hardware. In some cases, bathroom hardware is transitional by combining a modern bar with classic footings.
- Rustic: This design focuses on natural and weathered elements, so rustic bathroom hardware finishes are often hand-hammered copper, reclaimed wood, weathered iron, and more.
Check out our Design 101 blog to learn more about the various interior design styles and visit our room planner to see how they look in your bathroom.
Most bathroom hardware is made of different types of metal.
Copper, Bronze, Brass
These are the most premium materials for bathroom hardware. Since they are all dense metals, they hold up to moisture well, making them ideal for humid bathrooms. And while they tend to go in and out of style, like brass did in the 1990’s (though it’s making a comeback), these metals are made to last.Each is also very antimicrobial, for naturally killing germs. This is great news for towel bars, towel rings, toilet paper holders and other fixtures, like faucets and vanity sinks.
Another premium material, stainless steel bathroom hardware lasts a long time and is antimicrobial as well, though not as much as copper, bronze, and brass.
A great mid-level material, nickel has many of the qualities of stainless steel, but at a more affordable price point. It’s also versatile with polished nickel, brushed nickel, and satin nickel finishes.
The most affordable metal, zinc is great for tight budgets. It looks like chrome or polished metals but has a much lower price point. However, it’s the least durable metal.
The most affordable material is plastic, but it’s also the least durable. It cracks and chips easily. Warps with heat.
Wood isn’t used often in bathrooms because of the high humidity of showers and baths, but it’s a popular material for footings on toilet paper holders, towel racks, and the ring on towel rings. The natural wood design fits well with rustic and farmhouse bathrooms.
The finish of bathroom hardware determines how the surface looks and feels. It also determines how easy it is to clean and maintain.
Polished surfaces are incredibly smooth and polished to mirror-like surface. But it’s prone to collecting fingerprints and water spots.
The surface is brushed with an abrasive, leaving a matte-style texture but with visible brush marks. Collects dirt and grime instead of fingerprints.
With oil-rubbed bronze finishes, a bronze surface is treated with a chemical to darken it, creating the appearance of antique bronze. It’s easy to maintain and hides dirt and grime, but low-quality finishes chip easily because they’re made with a resin coating.
Very popular right now because of how it contrasts with other elements, matte black is a dull black surface of powder coating over metal. It doesn’t take fingerprints and hides dirt and grime, making it an excellent finish if maintenance is a high priority. However, the coating does chip and wear away over time.
Typically used on nickel or as a nickel coating applied to brass, satin finishes are like brushed finishes, but with a silkier and more consistent matte without the visible brush strokes.
A shiny coating applied to brass or steel, chrome is very popular because of it’s mirror-like versatility. Chrome doesn’t tarnish, making it an excellent option for long-term maintenance. However, since is a lacquer coating, it does tend to chip over time and collect fingerprints.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bathroom Hardware
Can You Paint Bathroom Hardware?
Painting bathroom hardware made of metal or wood is possible, but it’s a laborious process of removing the existing finish, sanding the surface with a heavy git, applying a primer, and finishing with several even coats of paint. Painting bathroom fixtures is an excellent way for DIYers to change the style and look of bathroom without replacing products.
Can You Mix Bathroom Hardware?
It’s currently very trendy to mix hardware finishes, styles, and materials. This is especially true if you’re looking for an eclectic design meant to show off a lot of personality.If you’re unsure about mixing hardware styles and finishes, go with the safe route and pick a consistent finish and style. We even have hardware sets that feature towel bars, shower curtains, towel rings, and robe hooks in the same style and finish. They sometimes include showerheads, sink faucets, and tub faucets as well.
How Do I Install Bathroom Hardware?
In most cases, installing bathroom hardware is simply a matter of finding a wall stud and mounting it to the stud using a long screw. Some hardware, like tension-based shower curtain rods, don’t require any invasive screws.
How Do I Remove Bathroom Hardware?
Removing bathroom hardware is usually easier than the installation – simply find the screw and remove it. You don’t have to find the stud. If the mounting bracket is concealed, as with many towel bars, you need to remove the exterior hardware first to find the screws.
How Do I Clean Bathroom Hardware?
The great thing about most bathroom hardware is it isn’t exposed to the same riggers of a faucet or sink. As such, you don’t need to clean hardware as often and cleanings only need a sponge and some mild soap and water.
Cap off Your Design with Bathroom Hardware
Whether you’re finishing up a bathroom remodel or just looking to change things up a bit with bathroom accessories, we have a wide selection of towel bars, toilet paper holders, shower curtain rods, grab bars, robe hooks, and more.If you want help finding the best bathroom hardware for your bathroom, call our expert designers at 855.483.2629 to get a custom design of your bathroom. Or email us with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!