Faucets, Lighting, Drawer Pulls: Refresh Your Fixtures & Hardware

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When every home improvement dollar counts, it’s important to choose projects that will make a big impact for the lowest price. Fixtures like faucets and doorknobs seem like details that only the most discerning of homebuyers would notice, but outdated or cheap fixtures can really affect the overall look of a home. 
If your brass chandeliers or bathroom knobs make your space feel like a throwback to the ‘80s, it may be time to replace them. Fortunately, for a relatively small investment,  there are a number of replacement options to give your home a much more contemporary look.
 
Refresh Your Bath Hardware
Changing out your knobs and pulls to brushed nickel or bronze can offer a lot of bang for your buck. “We are seeing a trend toward classic materials like bronze, copper and nickel in more contemporary design,” says Michael Murphy of Lamps Plus. “So you have a nod to the classic while pushing the design to meet today’s aesthetic.”
A bathroom isn’t complete without hooks, towel bars and a toilet paper holder, and coordinating these items can liven up your old bath décor. “Some people like all their accessories like towel bars, hooks and tissue holders to match, while others will mix it up,” Murphy says. “There is not a right or wrong answer as long as you’re happy.  
 
Fix Those Bathroom Fixtures  
Showerheads and hand showers add a nice touch to your bathroom design, and replacing a showerhead is usually a quick and inexpensive project. “Consider adding a hand shower, or even replace your showerhead with one,” suggests Brian Hinson of KWC America. “Multiple spray patterns can contribute to a greater sense of well-being.”  
When making these bathroom updates, consider your water and energy costs as well. “If your toilet is more than 10 or 15 years old, you’re wasting water — and money,” Hinson explains. “Whether you’re shopping for a toilet, a showerhead or a lavatory faucet, look for the WaterSense label. Fixtures that have earned this label have been independently certified to use at least 20 percent less water than their conventional counterparts, without sacrificing performance. The high-performance toilets of today flush better than the ‘low-flow’ models of the 1990s and still use less water.” 
 
Change Out Your Faucets
A faucet is often a focal point of a kitchen or bath space, so choose wisely. “I’ve been in too many large, ‘fancy’ homes where the contractor cut costs by installing underwhelming faucets,” Hinson says. “It calls into question what other shortcuts were taken in the construction of the house.” And since the faucet is one of the most frequently used items in your bathroom as well as your kitchen, it’s smart to update it with a new low-flow model. This is a relatively inexpensive way to cut water consumption while adding a refreshed look to your sink area. 
“A vibrant finish on a new faucet can make it stand out,” adds Phil Sherer of Masterpiece Lighting. “A chrome faucet replaced with a bronze faucet (with matching cabinet hardware) makes the kitchen pop that much more just by changing the finish.”
 
Revamp Your Lighting 
A new lighting system will add some ambiance to your home, so consider updating the existing fixtures or adding a few decorative sconces to complement your faucets and hardware. 
In the kitchen, contemporary glass pendants and warm industrial fixtures are the way to go. And most experts agree that the latest trends in kitchen lighting involve these three letters: LED. “They come in a couple popular styles, one being the traditional puck light, just updated with LEDs, and the other is the LED tape lights, a long string of LED lights that can actually be cut to any length needed,” says Rick Spencer, manager at DCD Kitchen and Design Bath Studio. “They all work off a low voltage transformer that is easy to install.” Another plus, Murphy adds, is that the smaller diodes allows designer to experiment with more styles and retrofit tried and true classics to be more energy efficient. 
 
Restore Kitchen Hardware
Just like your bathroom hardware, changing out those kitchen cabinet knobs can provide an instant update. “Replacing brass with a polished nickel can give a look that is more transitional and not too contemporary,” Sherer says. “You can find inexpensive ones for as little as $3 a piece.”
Another inexpensive option for updating kitchen fixtures is under cabinet lights. “From plug-in, battery operated and hardwired options, under cabinet lighting has a solution for everyone and most are very do-it-yourself friendly,” Murphy says. 
While you’re at it, take a look at your light switches and outlet covers. Hinson also recommends looking at alternatives to that knife block sitting on the counter for storing or displaying your chef’s knives. “Maybe it’s time to add a garbage disposal to make food prep easier,” he adds. “An unused mounting hole in your top-mount kitchen sink is a candidate for a soap dispenser, where the soap container is located under the sink but can be refilled from the top. More than one unused hole? Add a hand lotion dispenser.”
 
Don’t Neglect the Details
Katrina Derrico of Michael’s Plumbing suggests adding mirrors as an easy way to upgrade a room. “Mirrors make rooms look bigger, add lighting to a room and can give your bathroom a signature look.” Jennifer McVey of Frame It Mirrors adds, “A cost effective way to upgrade the look of a bathroom is to put a decorative frame molding around any huge, bland mirrors. The mirror doesn’t have to be removed so there’s no demolition or wall repair needed.”  And don’t forget about bathroom caulk! Removing  old, dirty caulk and adding new, freshly sealed caulk can instantly refresh your bathroom. 
The good news is that a majority of these projects fall into the DIY category, so if you can use a screwdriver, chances are you can replace cabinet pulls and knobs. Many homeowners even have the skills to replace a faucet or add a garbage disposal, but if you’re ever in doubt, these tasks may be best left to a licensed plumber who comes with a good recommendation. 
 
RESOURCES:
Apex Kitchen & Bath | ApexSupplyGeorgia.com
DCD Kitchen and Bath Design Studio | DCDCabinets.com
Ferguson | Ferguson.com
Frame It! Mirror Designs | FrameItMirrorDesigns.com
KWC America | KWC.US.com
Lamps Plus | LampsPlus.com
Masterpiece Lighting | MasterpieceLighting.com
Michael’s Plumbing | MyGeorgiaPlumber.com
Plumbing Distributors Inc | RelyOnPDI.com
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