A Grab Bar? No Way! Or… Way?

Commercial grab barSo, you’re planning a gorgeous new bathroom. You’ve picked out the glass tile, the exotic soaking tub, the floating vanity, mood lighting and many other fabulous details. It’s not all put together yet, but at night, before you go to sleep, you’re already imagining yourself retreating into its tranquil environment.

But then, uh oh… Someone suggests putting in a grab bar. A grab bar? No way! They’re ugly and institutional and suggest all kinds of unpleasant possibilities.

Unless of course, you NEED them, and then maybe they’re not so ugly. Then grab bars bring dignity, safety and independence into an otherwise challenging situation. All I ask is that you consider them as an option, for safety’s sake, before you finish designing all your amazing details.

While grab bars are rarely beautiful, they can be quite attractive if you plan for them in advance and purchase the right hardware. Purist Towel Bar LARGE

Here are some scenarios when the presence of, “quite attractive,” grab bars overwhelms you with gratitude:

  • Water is everywhere, especially in a soaking tub. Wherever there’s water, slipping is possible. And, OOPS, you’ve just slipped! But wait, your back end is saved, because you got a hold of that grab bar.
  • You’ve worked out just a little too hard and your muscles are unusually sore. The grab bar helps you ease down into a reclining position safely.
  • A medical procedure or illness has left you with a temporarily weakened body. A good soak in a deep tub will bring you comfort, but the tub is deep, so it’s also high. Climbing over the side and into the tub leaves you a little off balance.  But the properly placed grab bar helps you enter the tub safely.
  • An elderly parent comes to visit and is grateful for the extra support, especially because it means they don’t have to ask you for help regarding their own personal hygiene.

Here’s what I look for when grab bars are not optional in a designer bath:

  • A sleek, straight look to the bar, that still maintains the 1 1/4″ diameter for ADA compliance.
  • A decent detail where the plate covers the fasteners.

Not to many options satisfied me, but here is I found a one I really like:

The Kohler Purist.

This is the bar featured in the second photo. Purist grab bars are sleeker and I like the flatness on the end of the bar as well as the various lengths available.  Also, the plate that covers the wall fasteners doesn’t look like an oozing puddle of metal. It’s crisp and clean, while still managing to maintain ADA standards.

If you do decide to use grab bars, happy searching. If you Google, try “designer grab bars” and go from there. Watch out for European grab bars that look really cool, but are not ADA compliant.

If you find any good looking grab bars, share them here!

Until next time,




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