Bathroom Hardware Options

One of the easiest ways to enhance the look of your bathroom is to update the hardware. Since a complete remodel is usually out of the question if you're on a strict budget, swapping out your old hardware for new additions is an affordable and quick fix. Whether you're looking for a rustic look or a contemporary feel, there are plenty of decorative hardware options out there for you. Here are a few of my favorite picks.

toilet paper holder

The first piece of hardware you can update in your bathroom is the toilet paper holder. Most bathrooms have a simple plastic holder, and although it gets the job done, it doesn't offer much in terms of design. Maybe you don't even have a toilet paper holder, and you just keep it on a shelf or the back of the toilet. If so, this is the perfect opportunity to invest in a nice hardware piece. Whether you want to splurge on a fancy cast bronze option, or prefer to stick to a classic antique copper, there are so many styles to choose from.

towel bar

Another necessary piece of hardware are towel bars. Larger versions can be attached to the wall for hanging body towels, while smaller versions are great for hand towels or washcloths. Towel bars often take up little space and can be installed just about anywhere. They are great for letting towels properly dry, and are a must-have for guest bathrooms. Look for bars with fun details, such as this one with leaf details or one with an antique gold finish.

towel ring

A must-have hardware piece for your sink is a towel ring. Installed on your wall or side of your vanity cabinets, this hardware piece takes up little room. The hanging ring makes hand towels easily accessible while adding interest to your bathroom's decor. Rust-free towel rings will resist water marks, while luxurious bronze rings can transform the entire look of your space.

towel hook

Hooks are another great hardware option to hang towels, washcloths, robes, clothing and more. Since they are so small and are easily installed on just about any surface, you can have plenty of these without spending too much cash. Double-hooks can hold multiple items at once, making the most of your small space. Choose hooks that match well with the rest of your bathroom hardware, whether it be brass, chrome or oil-rubbed bronze. For a kid's bathroom, why not add fun hooks like this monkey towel hook?

bathroom knob

Lastly, you can update the appearance of your vanity cabinets with new knobs or pulls. Sleek, simple pulls are great for more modern-style bathrooms, while elegant knobs look wonderful in more traditional bathrooms.

What is a Tool Library?

tool library(source)

If you take the time to think about it, the concept of a library is quite clever. Simply renting a book to read for a short period of time saves you both money and the hassle required if you were to purchase the book for yourself. The basic idea behind a library is often applied to a variety of other items, including companies that let you rent designer dresses for weddings or Redbox, which allows you to rent movies for a single viewing.

A that has just been brought to my attention are tool libraries. Much like a library where you rent books, these stores or set-up shops allow residents to rent tools from their inventory. These tools can include a wide variety, such as automotive tools, woodworking items, electrical tools, home maintenance tools and much more. The majority of the tools are donated from people who are done using them or use them very infrequently.

Not everyone who owns a home needs to spend their money on a full set of tools or hardware, especially with the high cost of certain products. Tool libraries help residents stay on their budget and cut unnecessary spending costs. Usually, the tools are rented by a “pay-what-you-can” cost or small membership fee, although each community has different rules and guidelines. You will also save money in the long run by fixing or updating an item with the tools instead of throwing it away and buying a new one. More often than not, doing-it-yourself is the best way to go.

Tool libraries come in handy specifically for those random, one-time home projects that we all deal with. For example, there's no need to spend the money on a pressure washer when you end up using it once every few years. These items just take up space, collect dust and waste your money.

These tool libraries not only help the residents with their home remodeling projects, they also are great for the environment. Re-using products helps to reduce our carbon footprint on the Earth by saving resources and energy. Think of all the gas you'll be saving by walking down the block to rent a tool than driving to Home Depot to look for one yourself. Think of all the materials that can be saved when you borrow a paint sprayer instead of purchasing one.

These community libraries also encourage others to become more familiar with the different types of tools, as well as using them properly. Some communities provide workshops or educational guides along with the tool libraries, which can be helpful for those of us who aren't contractors or repair men.

To find a tool library near you, this is a good starting list. Try searching online or speaking to your local representative to find out if your area has a tool library. If not, why not volunteer your time and help create one? This website has some helpful tips.

What Is a Pocket Door?

A pocket door is a type of sliding door that disappears into the adjacent wall when it is fully opened. They are commonly used for architectural purposes or to obtain a certain aesthetic for your home. You can typically see them installed in home offices, bathrooms, closets, pantries and laundry rooms. The tradition of pocket doors goes as far back as Victorian times, when they would close off certain areas from other rooms.

Pocket doors have many other benefits aside from their attractiveness. Using a pocket door versus a regular hinged door will free up a good amount of floor space. Since saving space in homes is a top concern among homeowners, the pocket door has grown in popularity. Pocket doors also therefore free up wall space that a hinged door would hide when open.

Even if your rooms are rather large, pocket doors still offer benefits. They create an elegant and interesting transition between the rooms in your home. They can even section off a private room that you want to appear more secluded.

Pocket doors can be easily customized to your liking. Single and double-door versions are used depending on the amount of space you have in your room. You can also customize the wood type/material and style of door you'd like, so it can look good in your home. The pocket door hardware you choose also can add interest to the doors.

Common pocket door hardware includes items such as hinge kits, door slides, overlay kits, shafts and more. These items are usually found at hardware stores and will replace or repair an old or broken pocket door. According to the DIY Network, the installation of a pocket door is estimated to take about 2 hours and will cost between $100 and $250. It's

a moderate level of difficulty, so you may want to call a professional to help.

A Guide to Clamps

Clamps are a popular tool used by many hardware experts and novices alike. Their basic function is to hold or secure objects together to prevent movement. Whether you are working on a home repair project involving wood, metal or another material, you may often need to use a clamp. However, choosing the proper clamp is very important. Here is a short guide to clamps for your next hardware project.

bar clamp

Bar clamps. Bar clamps, which are sometimes also known as “F-clamps”,  are usually used in woodworking projects where a permanent attachment is being made. They also are used for metalworking projects  including welding or bolting. They have a wider opening capacity compared to other clamps, which comes in handy for certain projects. The jaw is mounted on a flat bar and the large screw on the bottom lets you tighten and release the clamp to your pleasing.

toggle clamp

Toggle Clamps. Toggle clamps are different than the basic clamps in that they operate with a pivot and a lever, handle or another push/pull mechanism. The handle controls the device and the holding bar grips the work piece. These clamps are very secure since once the toggle clamp is locked on the pivot points, it will not release until  the lever is moved. Toggle clamps are very common in the areas of woodworking, carpentry, construction and even metalworking. They are popular for welding, milling and drilling.

pipe clamp

Pipe Clamps. Pipe clamps are commonly used in piping, cabinet or other woodworking projects. You will often see them used for gluing edges of wood together or assembling boxes or cabinets. They are made from clamp heads that are mounted on a common pipe. One clamp head is fixed (which features the screw for tightening), while the other slides on the opposite end of the pipe. Pipe clamps are similar to the bar clamps mentioned above. They actually are usually less expensive and seem to be a bit more versatile in terms of the length of the pipe.

spring clamp

Spring Clamps. Spring clamps are ideal for small work and light pressure projects. They typically are used to hold two or more objects together, such as corners or oddly-shaped objects. If you are gluing two pieces of wood together, for example, a spring clamp would be the ideal tool to use to apply pressure and hold them in place as they adhere to one another. Spring clamps are often used for woodworking, so if that's what you are planning to use them for, try to find spring clamps that are specifically made for working with wood (you don't want the clamp to crush the wood and ruin your project).

The Importance of Cabinet Knobs

Cabinet knobs are an affordable and fairly quick way to change the look of your kitchen or bathroom. Since an entire remodel is usually out of the question (and your budget), knobs are a simple way to give your home an instant update. The proper hardware will help to create a cohesive look to each of the rooms in your home.

brass cabinet knob

Cabinet knobs are available in a wide variety of materials. Common options include metal knobs like aluminum, brass, bronze, chrome, copper, iron, pewter, silver and stainless steel. Glass knobs are traditionally seen on bedroom dressers, but will add a lovely and elegant accent to your kitchen or bathroom. Glass knobs are scratch-resistant, durable and have a finish that won’t wear off as easily as wooden or plated knobs. Wooden knobs are always a great option as well, since they blend in with most cabinets and can easily be painted to your liking. Plastic knobs are a common and affordable option as well.

green knob

Another thing to take into consideration when choosing knobs for your cabinets is the color. Wooden knobs can easily be painted to achieve the color you want. You can choose polished, antiqued or rubbed versions of the different metal knobs as well. Brightly colored pulls can bring some excitement to your plain kitchen, while a polished and shiny option will offer a more modern look that will be in style for years to come.

interest cabinet knobs

The shape and size of the knobs can also drastically change the look of your room. If you’re tired of boring options, you can choose fun shapes to fit with the room’s décor. For example, seashell knobs would match with a beach-themed bathroom and apple knobs would look great in a country-style kitchen. Since the knobs on your cabinets will get a lot of use, it’s important to choose a shape and size that is comfortable to the touch.

To keep your knobs looking new, clean them once a week or so. Usually mild soap and water with a cloth will do the trick- just make sure to dry them immediately after to prevent any rust. Stay away from harsh household cleaners with chemicals.

As you can see, even though knobs may seem like just a small part of your room, they can have a large impact on the aesthetic. Choose a knob that is comfortable, durable and complements the look of your space and watch as the compliments roll in.

Hardware to Help Organize your Closet

The change in seasons is the perfect time to clean out your closets and make room for new items. Whether it’s a college dorm or a walk-in closet in your bedroom, there are a variety of storage solutions and hardware items that will allow you to make the most of your space.

pull out closet mirror

Add pullouts to your closet. Whether it’s a belt and tie pullout, a mirror pullout or basket pullouts, these hardware solutions provide easy organization. When the closet door is shut, your clothes and accessories are stored neatly away. These organizers then pull out a few inches or feet so you have more space to sift through your items and choose the right one.

shelf support

Install shelving. While some closet spaces may have a shelf already installed, customizing the location and size of your shelves can opt for easy organization and more storage space. Items that can easily be stacked (and don’t need to be hung up to prevent wrinkles) can be folded and placed on the shelves to save space. Grouping similar items on the same shelves makes getting dressed each morning a lot easier as well.

closet hook

Add hooks. Installing hooks to the walls or doors of your closet for optimal hanging space. Whether it’s for coats, jewelry or purses, these hooks can be scattered across your space to hang your items.

hamper in closet

Install a hamper. Eliminate the clutter that comes with laundry by installing a hamper in or near your closet. These tilt-out or pull-out hampers are available in a variety of sizes and will conceal your dirty laundry. You can easily mount them to a bottom hinged cabinet for quick access to the hamper.

pull down closet rod

Install functional closet rods. There are always items in our closets that need to be hung to stay looking good, so installing a proper rod is key. Lighted closet rods can help you see your options easier and pull-down closet rods are great for those hard-to-reach areas.

Spruce Up Your Cabinets with Decorative Hardware

One way to easily improve the overall aesthetic of your home is by adding decorative hardware to your cabinets. Popular hardware decorations include pulls, knobs, and handles. Choosing the right type of cabinet hardware will draw attention to the cabinets and enhance the beauty of your room. Here are a few ideas for adding new hardware to your cabinets.

plain cabinet knob

Match your hardware to your existing décor. If you have a stainless steel sink, choose matching cabinet pulls to pull the room together. Keeping similar colors and materials together in the same room provides a pulled-together and classic look. The finishes of the hardware is also something to take into consideration. Match your cabinet hardware finish with that of your kitchen. Popular finishes include stainless and brushed metal, a matte finish, an antique look or textural designs.

kitchen cabinet knob

Keep it simple if you want your cabinets to blend in. If you want another item in your kitchen to stand out, keeping your pulls and knobs simple will do the trick. Choosing colors and materials that are simple and match closely to the color of the cabinets themselves won’t take the attention away from other areas in the room.

funky knobs

Add funky hardware to spice things up. Drawer pulls come in a variety of shapes and sizes other than the standard circular knob. Try whimsical pulls shaped like animals, food or everyday objects. Other options include knobs and pulls that are made from recycled materials, such as glass or rocks. To completely change the look of your cabinets, change the size of the hardware. Larger pulls can even out the kitchen’s proportions, while smaller pulls may make the cabinets look larger.