Make a Statement in Your Bath with Stylish Accessories

Updating the Look of Your Bath is Quick & Simple

Avocado green and burnt orange are two colors you should see in the produce aisle -- not in your bathroom. If you take a step back to the 1970s every time you take a step into your bathroom, don't worry.

One of the quickest -- and most simple -- ways to update your bathroom's style is by replacing the accessories. For less than $75, an entire set of new accessories can be purchased -- including towel bars, paper holders, robe hooks and towel rings. And accessories can be installed in less than two hours -- just in time for a spring makeover. Choices Abound. Until recently, chrome or polished brass were the only finish choices in the bath accessory marketplace. Fortunately, the industry has changed dramatically in the last decade, and manufacturers now offer dozens of finish and style options in bath accessories

"The bath accessory marketplace has really come to life in the last few years," said Mike Bauer, Director of Marketing for Creative Specialties International (CSI), a leading designer and manufacturer in the bath accessory marketplace.

"Consumers today have more choices than ever before. From unique styles in oil-rubbed bronze to contemporary designs in brushed chrome and even accessories made in dramatic wrought iron finishes, homeowners have a wide variety of new and innovative design options for the bath."

With all of the new options, Americans still hold true to a traditional finish. According to a survey by CSI and Rooms of America, a consumer research organization, chrome is still the most popular bath accessory finish, but consumers' second choice, brushed nickel, is on the rise. In addition, other finishes, such as oil-rubbed bronze and wrought iron, are also increasing in popularity with consumers. In fact, non-chrome finishes now represent almost half of bath accessory sales.

Once you have selected the specific finish for your accessories, the next step is determining the style and size you prefer. Should you choose an 18-inch towel bar or a 24-inch towel bar? Towel ring, double towel bar or single towel bar, or all three? Mounted paper holder or a free-standing style? How much is too much? And how do you ensure that your bathroom doesn't look cluttered?

According to CSI, you should begin by determining your style preference. Results from the aforementioned survey found that consumers typically decorate in three primary styles: country, casual/contemporary and traditional.

In terms of specific style preferences, 38 percent of the population decorates in a casual style, often referred to as contemporary. Following closely behind, 35 percent of consumers choose a traditional style of decorating. Lastly, 27 percent of Americans decorate in a country theme, which includes secondary themes such as Shaker, Country French and Mission.

"Once you have determined your style, you should then take accurate measurements of your bath," explained Bauer. "The size of your bath will help you determine the number and type of accessories you will need.

For instance, a master bath with double-bowl sinks will require a number of accessories compared to a small guest bath." He continued, "Glass shelves, soap dishes and mounted toothbrush and cup holders can create order and keep counters clear. And well-positioned towel bars not only provide storage close at hand, but also offer a design element to hang colorful, coordinating towels."

CSI offers the following tips for placing the most common bathroom accessories:
Towel Rings Most often used in guest baths, towel rings are typically placed alongside the sink. Keep in mind that many of the new towel rings on the market feature stylish designs, making them a beautiful focal point in a small bath. Be sure to hang the towel ring at a comfort level for those typically using the bath, including children or seniors. A good rule of thumb is to leave at least 18 inches below a towel ring so a hand towel can hang freely. Towel Bars Standard towel bar lengths are 18 and 24 inches. Hang the bar at a comfortable height of 48 inches above the floor, making sure to leave enough space below the bars for towels to hang freely. If the towel bar is hung in a children's bath, hang the bar at a height of 36 inches. In either case, be sure to consider the location of electrical switches and outlets when hanging your towel bars.
To add a stylish element to the bath, double towel bars are an ideal accessory. In addition, double towel bars are perfect for a family bath, as a number of towels can be hung on the accessory.
Paper Holders Today's bath accessory collections include a variety of paper holder options, including traditional wall-mounted, spring-loaded styles; pivoting paper holders and free-standing paper holders. Determining the style for your bath is a matter of taste and price. "For example, a free-standing paper holder is ideal in a bath where you don't want to drill into tile or cabinetry," explained Bauer. CSI recently innovated the paper holder category by introducing a unique pivoting paper holder -- a spring-free product that features a pivoting arm and an easy-load format. CSI introduced this accessory in a number of its new spring collections, including its Stockton line, which features elegant, detailed lines and decorative finials -- ideal for a traditionally styled bath.

Tooth Brush Holders/Cup Holders/Soap Dish vs. Shelves.
To make sure your bath looks organized and clutter-free, use your best judgment in determining the proper number or accessories for your bath. A general rule is two-to-three counter accessories, such as a tooth brush holder, cup holder and soap dish. If your bath is small, or features a pedestal sink, you should choose mounted styles, or perhaps a glass shelf. Shelves can be a handy, space-efficient alternative to cabinets and are also a good place to display decorative items, such as votive candles or potpourri.

Easy as 1-2-3 You've picked the finish, style and number of accessories to match your bathroom d├ęcor.

Now it's time for installation -- which is an easier task than most believe. To ensure an accessory is mounted in the proper location, some manufacturers, such as Creative Specialties International, offer an installation template with each product. The template can be hung and taped to the wall, giving the consumer the exact location of where the accessory should be mounted. "Thanks to the new templates and mounting hardware, the installation process has been streamlined dramatically," explained Bauer. "That's why you can change the look of your bathroom in less than a few hours. It's the perfect project for a springtime rainy afternoon." Once the template has been hung, the second step is to make sure the template is level and the accessories are in a desirable position. Lastly, position the mounting bracket over the paper template. After it is in position, screw the self-tapping dry wall screws (which are included with the accessories) directly into the dry wall. After the mounting brackets are in place, the accessories can be positioned over the brackets and tightened with a simple set screw.

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