How To Choose The Best Bathroom Hardware For You

08/26/2022, 9:52 AM

We all have our own style preferences that we like to showcase in our home design. From the bathroom to the living room, there are nearly endless ways to reflect your personal style in a home. 

One of the greatest design opportunities lies in the numerous choices for bathroom hardware, especially when you combine them with design elements like wall colors and decor. Read on to learn more about bathroom hardware materials and finishes and tips on choosing hardware that will suit your preferences and budget.

Things to Consider When Choosing Your Hardware

Numerous factors go into choosing your bathroom hardware. Before we get into specifics, here are a few general considerations to keep in mind throughout the process:

  • Desired aesthetic: Your hardware should complement the bathroom as a whole and help create the look you want. Your hardware’s material and finish will determine its look. These two considerations impact each other, so be sure to keep them in mind when considering the look you’re trying to achieve.
  • Durability: Bathrooms are some of a house’s most frequently used rooms. Durability is essential to ensure the hardware will hold up under heavy use. Different bathroom hardware materials have different durabilities — be sure to choose a rust-resistant material, as bathrooms have a lot of moisture.
  • Cost: Depending on the material and finish, the cost of bathroom hardware can vary significantly. Understanding the cost of different materials can help you set an accurate budget.

Common Bathroom Hardware

Bathroom hardware takes many forms. Depending on the size of the bathroom, you may need to choose significant amounts of hardware or simply the basics. Consider some common types of bathroom hardware and how you might incorporate them into your bathroom design.

Exposed Storage

Exposed storage includes hooks and shelving that hang on a bathroom’s walls. These components are versatile and extremely helpful for saving counter and closet space. Hooks are easy for anyone to use and provide a space for towels and other frequently used linens to hang and dry. Shelves provide additional storage and can help keep items out of children’s reach. 

When considering exposed storage hardware, it’s important to remember that it will be constantly visible. To maintain unity throughout the bathroom, you’ll want to match or coordinate these components with the rest of your hardware.

Cabinet Hardware

Are you looking for a simple, cost-effective way to upgrade the look of your cabinets and bathroom as a whole? Consider changing the knobs, handles and pulls on your bathroom cabinets and drawers. Cabinet hardware can make a huge difference in a bathroom’s aesthetic. You’ll be using these components often, so you’ll want to look for something high-quality and durable.

Towel Racks, Rings or Bars

This hardware is specifically designed for hanging towels in the bathroom. With various style options to choose from, you’ll be able to find something that fits your aesthetic perfectly.

Whether hung from the back of a door or mounted on the wall, this hardware should be close to the shower, bathtub or sink. Be sure to measure the space you intend to install it — this hardware comes in many different shapes and sizes, and you’ll want a good fit. 

Toilet Paper Holder

Toilet paper holders are easy to overlook as an important piece of hardware, but matching them with other components can tie the room together. You can choose stand-up or wall-mounted toilet paper holders, depending on your preference. Just be sure to position it near the toilet and ensure it fits in the allotted space.

Plumbing Fixtures

Plumbing hardware includes the bath and sink faucets and shower head. It’s best to coordinate all these components with each other to create a sense of unity. 

Your plumbing hardware is where you can make a statement in your bathroom. Whether you want to install all new fixtures or just replace one, you’ll have numerous styles to choose from. Sinks stand out and are in frequent use, so you want a high-quality faucet. For example, you could choose from contemporary, traditional or vessel sink faucets. 

How to Choose the Best Material for Your Bathroom Hardware

Ultimately, you’ll choose your hardware based on preference. However, understanding the elements of bathroom hardware will help you create a cohesive and long-lasting design. 

Material vs. Finish

First, you’ll need to understand the difference between the hardware’s material and finish. The material is what the hardware is made of — think of it as the base. It will determine the hardware’s structure and life span, so it’s important to use high-quality materials for long-lasting hardware.

The finish is the plating on the hardware. Rather than contributing to the structural integrity, finishes determine the hardware’s look and aesthetic. You can pair different finishes with different materials to achieve your desired look.

Considerations When Choosing Your Bathroom Hardware Material

Budget and durability will be two of your biggest considerations when choosing bathroom hardware. Higher quality, durable materials typically also come at a higher price. You’ll need to determine what you’re willing to spend, especially on hardware like faucets and shower door handles that regularly encounter high amounts of moisture. Spending a bit more on durable materials helps ensure the hardware will stay in good condition for longer.

Types of Materials Used in Bathroom Hardware

Here are several common bathroom hardware materials you may consider:

  • Brass: Brass is one of the most common bathroom hardware materials. As a very high-quality, rust-resistant material, it’s a great choice for faucets, though these characteristics also make solid brass fixtures more expensive. Regardless, brass’s long-lasting durability makes it one of the most trusted materials for bathroom hardware.
  • Stainless steel: Stainless steel is another common choice for bathroom hardware. It’s rust-resistant, works well for faucets and is more affordable than brass. However, stainless steel fixtures won’t last as long as brass ones.
  • Aluminum: Aluminum has low iron content, which means it’s also rust-resistant. However, aluminum will corrode over time without adequate maintenance. Aluminum faucets require especially high levels of maintenance to stay in good condition. Because of its high maintenance needs, aluminum is best for bathroom accessories like towel bars and toilet paper holders.
  • Copper: Like aluminum, copper is rust-resistant. While you’ll want to clean copper hardware carefully, you won’t need to worry if it starts to tarnish. Copper’s familiar green patina is a protective layer that prevents corrosion. It also “heals” itself — over time, scratches darken and blend in with the patina.
  • Zinc and zinc alloys: Zinc is an inexpensive material you’ll often find in sink faucets. It’s the least durable metal, which makes it a cost-friendly option for bathrooms that get used less frequently, like guest bathrooms.
  • Plastic: Plastic is lead-free and the most inexpensive, but it’s also the least durable material used in bathrooms. You should only use this material for bathroom accessories when you’re on a strict budget.

Tips for Choosing a Finish for Your Bathroom Hardware

The finish you choose for your bathroom hardware will significantly impact the room’s look. If you’re unsure which bathroom hardware finish to choose, here are some tips and examples to keep in mind.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Finish

As with the material, you’ll want to consider the finish’s durability and your budget. Finishes also require you to consider your end result — if you’re going for a specific look, be sure to choose hardware with a finish that complements your desired aesthetic. Finally, some finishes can only be applied to certain materials, so it’s best to consider finishing and materials simultaneously. 

Finishes Commonly Used in Bathroom Hardware

Consider these finishes when choosing bathroom hardware:

  • Polished, satin and antique brass: Polished brass has a shiny, bright finish, making it easier to clean — though it’s also more likely to show water spots. It’s good for traditional-style faucets and hardware. A satin or brushed finish is matte, with brush marks that give it a soft look that won’t show fingerprints. Satin finishes are good for contemporary and modern styles. Antique brass finishing is a deep brown with warm undertones, making it a good choice for Victorian and vintage styles.
  • Copper: You can apply copper finishing to brass. It’s free from lead, and though it does require maintenance, its warm color is perfect for mid-century, farmhouse and rustic styles.
  • Gold: You can achieve a golden look in various ways, so its life span will vary. While a real gold finish will be expensive, it will be corrosion- and rust-proof. Faux gold will provide the same luxurious feel without the cost. This finish works well for modern, contemporary and eclectic styles and is great for small bathroom accessories like soap dishes.
  • Chrome: Chrome is the most popular bathroom finish. It’s bright and reflective, which lets fingerprints show easily. Regardless, chrome is versatile and easy to include in any design or style, including traditional, contemporary, modern or industrial styles.
  • Nickel: Like brass finishing, nickel comes in polished and satin finishes. Though nickel is more expensive than chrome, polished nickel offers the same look without showing fingerprints. You can also apply nickel to plastic as well as metal.
  • White or black colored: Solid colors have grown in popularity, and matte black and white have risen to the top. Matte black doesn’t show dirt and is easy to clean, which is great for homes with kids. Matte black finishing is more expensive than other options, though it offers a powerful and sophisticated look that’s great for minimalist, modern or eclectic styles. While white provides a classic look, it shows dirt easily. White finishing is best kept in less-used bathrooms.

Tips for Mixing Your Metals

Some people choose to mix metals to add some color variety to a bathroom. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Start With Your Highest Budget Items

Shower sets and sink faucets tend to cost the most, so you’ll want to start with them. Generally, these pieces of hardware should match since they serve similar purposes. They’re also hardware components you want to be most durable, as they’ll get wet and see the most frequent use. Determine your desired look for these items and structure your budget to achieve it.

Limit Yourself to Two or Three Metals

If you choose to mix metals, it’s best to limit yourself to only two or three, as more variety will look cluttered and less cohesive. Avoid choosing multiple finishes in the same color family. For example, brass and copper finishes are both warm-toned. Rather than pair those two, choose finishes in a mix of warm and cool tones to compliment each other. 

Make sure to consider the styles available in each finish, as you’ll want to keep your style cohesive throughout the bathroom. You’ll also need to remember your budget — if you’re unable to afford the expensive materials, consider how more affordable finishes might give you a similar look for less.

If you want to mix metals and need inspiration, here are some combinations that look good together:

  • Brass and black  
  • Nickel and black
  • Copper and black
  • Chrome or nickel and brass
  • Copper and stainless steel

Stick to One Primary Finish

Make a high level of cohesiveness throughout the bathroom a priority when choosing bathroom hardware. If you’re mixing materials, try to stick to one primary finish. Aim for two-thirds of your hardware to have the same finish if you want to stick to a single material. At a minimum, you’ll want the same finish for your shower sets and sink faucet. 

For example, you may choose a more expensive material for the shower and sink fixtures and want to save on smaller hardware components. For hardware like hooks, bars or cabinet hardware, you can choose a finish that will compliment the plumbing fixtures rather than match them. With a primary finish and a few other complementary elements, your overall look will still feel cohesive.

Match Other Rooms in Your House

Matching hardware finishes in each room can give the entire house a cohesive feel. For example, matching the kitchen and bathroom hardware finishes can create a sense of connection, especially when the plumbing fixtures and cabinetry in both rooms match. This idea also applies to other hardware around the house, like interior door and window hardware.

Consider Texture

Some finishes can add texture to your hardware. For example, brushed finishes offer more depth than polished finishes provide. Choosing hardware with a mix of brushed and polished finishes can add a luxurious feel. Just be careful not to use more than two different textures in the same finish, which can look like a mistake rather than a design choice.

Shop Bathroom Hardware from Premium Hardware

Whether you’re remodeling your own bathroom or are designing for your client, using high-quality products should be a priority to ensure longevity. At Premium Hardware, we design our products to ensure they’re elegant yet safe and sturdy. We offer a variety of hardware you may use in a bathroom design, including shower hardware and various residential door and window hardware

Contact our knowledgeable team of representatives today for help finding specific products or hardware suggestions.