Decorating

Buying Guide: Bathroom Hardware

By Chantel Simmons

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Buying Guide: Bathroom Hardware

Looking to update your bathroom? Hardware can make a huge difference in the overall appearance of your room.
 
Bathroom hardware can be an inexpensive, easy way to update your bathroom without renovating  or even painting. It can take an outdated bathroom and make it look fresh and modern in minutes. Hardware in a bathroom is like the accessories in other rooms. The finishes should go with the rest of the space, while matching your personal taste and style.
 
Choosing a Finish
When choosing a finish, keep in mind any other changes you might make to your space.
  • Chrome: Easy to clean and care for, chrome is a complimentary metal that matches many styles—from country to contemporary.
  • Brass: Classic and elegant, brass works best with a traditional, polished space.
  • Ceramic: A perfect pairing for a French country or shabby chic room.
  • Wooden: Ideal for a rustic bathroom (think creams, taupes, natural wood cabinets), wooden handles add a warming touch. 
  • Patterns & Shapes: Choose painted knobs for a whimsical style or kids’ bathroom. You even break the rule of matching, by opting for several different handles in a theme (such as birds or flowers).
Who’s Using the Bathroom?
  • Think about who will be using the bathroom when choosing hardware. In a kids’ bathroom, avoid sharp edges, intricate designs (especially wrought iron) that kids can get their fingers caught in.
  • For a guest bathroom  or powder room that’s rarely used, you can opt for a less durable style such as zinc or plastic.
  • Humidity can damage cabinet knobs, so if it’s a heavy-usage bathroom, choose hardware with durable finishes such as nickel or chrome that won’t tarnish or erode.
Match, Don’t Mix
  • Hardware that matches throughout will make your bathroom look more polished than if you have a mix of metals and styles.
   
Fashion not Function
  • Bathroom hardware is no longer just for function. Although that is still an important factor, it also has the ability to tie together the rest of the design. You can update a bathroom just by changing a shower door handle.
   
Styles
Think about the overall aesthetic when choosing your bathroom hardware. Hardware can bring a theme into your bathroom — even if the rest of your bathroom tile, tub and toilet are plain and simple.
  • Victorian: Opt for a long neck faucet with an organic, antique bronze finish – the more old-world, the better. 
  • Modern: Try a wall-mounted faucet with sharp, rectangular lines – a classic chrome finish will complete the look. 
  • Rustic: Try a gooseneck faucet with a Venetian bronze finish. Pair your sink with an oak vanity for a sophisticated country feel.
Cleaning
  • Some hardware is harder to keep clean than others. For a kids’ bathroom, opt for a brushed nickel finish. Unlike shiny metals, brushed nickel hides fingerprints and water spots, so you won’t need to scrub away smudges each time your kids make a splash.
  • If you have hard-water, which can cause calcium buildup, opt for a bronze finish with physical vapor deposition (PVD) coatings because it won’t show the white stains as much as steel hardware.
  • Small grooves can catch dust more quickly and be more difficult to clean.
  • Brass metal can show fingerprints more than other styles, so you may want to save this for a guest bathroom.
Tips for Shopping
 
•    To ensure your hardware will match your decor, bring paint samples when shopping.
•    To avoid filling holes in your cabinets, find new hardware that fits into the same holes as the current hardware.
•    In-stock hardware will typically be less expensive than custom-order hardware.
•    Shopping online can be less time consuming, but make sure the items have exact measurements as photos can be deceiving.
•    Hardware can be heavy so shipping costs online can be more expensive than shopping in store.

Topics: Bathroom, Fixtures, Decor, Antiques, Decorating, Buying Guide

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