How Changing One Thing Can Change Everything In Kitchens And Bathrooms

Real Estate

Sometimes less can be more. This is especially true when it comes to hardware. This small accent can make a major design impact. The difference between gold and silver, chrome and copper, or black and white can change the entire look of a kitchen or bathroom.

Swapping out hardware is also one of the easiest and least expensive DIY projects. A screwdriver is the only tool that’s needed. It’s an affordable fix to update a rental or to help stage a home that’s listed for sale.

How To Choose Hardware

Most standard hardware, especially in rentals, is considered “builder grade.” While versatile, most of the time, this is a choice of function over form. According to Casey Rutherford, who is a Realtor with Keller Williams in the Atlanta area— developers and landlords choose this hardware, which is often chrome or brushed nickel, because it’s cost-effective. “Builders are trying to maximize their ROI on new construction homes, so most are going to use the least expensive materials they can to achieve their desired look.”

Mushroom knobs are a common example of this. “[They’re] the hipper, younger, sister of the classic round knob,” says Rutherford. “They still have a hint of that original style, while incorporating a more transitional feel.” 

2020 Hardware Trends

While mushroom knobs easily blend into most décor schemes, they aren’t the most interesting or exciting choice. But there are many alternatives. Rutherford suggests using a pull vertically to replace a knob. “The clean lines give your cabinets a sleek, modern, look.”

While pulls are certainly more stylish, they require more work to install, including drilling an additional hole. So, a shorter bar knob may be a better choice for renters or anyone who doesn’t want to commit to permanently changing their cabinets. The Amerock Bar Pull Bar Cabinet Knob from Build.com is a great example of this. Available in seven different finishes including Black Bronze, Golden Champagne, Gunmetal, and Stainless Steel, it instantly upgrades any cabinet. 

Geometric-shaped knobs are another alternative to mushroom knobs. For a more traditional look, opt for a square knob with ball accents such as the Amerock Carolyne Square Cabinet Knob. It has a formal look that can help tie together more traditionally designed bathroom accessories as well. 

Build.com is a great source for all kinds of hardware and building supplies with a large yet curated selection in a range of styles and prices. The site also has a variety of stylish hardware multipacks— ideal for anyone working with a limited budget. 

One of the most notable design trends of 2020 is gold hardware. Rutherford attributes this to the prominence of warm tones this year. “Look around and you’ll notice designers gravitating towards warmer paint colors, wood stains, and upholstery. So it’s no surprise that the warmth that gold-toned hardware has to offer is back, as it compliments these colors perfectly.”

While many current styles and trends can be attributed to a revival of a 90’s look in both fashion and decor, most of the gold-toned hardware currently available has a more contemporary than vintage feel. “Today’s gold is not the shiny brass from your mom’s 1990’s kitchen, but a softer tone that will undoubtedly bring warmth and character to your space,” explains Rutherford.

The Signature Hardware Khoit Bar Cabinet Pull is a perfect example of contemporary gold hardware. Available in Polished Brass and Rose Gold as well as Brushed Brass, the geometric shape and finish colors give it a clean, upscale look. 

Can’t quite commit to gold? Rutherford says its worth considering champagne bronze as a softer alternative. “If you like gold but aren’t ready to make the leap, this is a great transitional tone.”

Mixing Metals

Mixing metals is also on trend this year. Rutherford suggests applying the 80/20 rule to create balance. “Use 80 percent of one element and accent with 20 percent of another. In my kitchen, which is open to the breakfast and living room, we used matte black for the lighting and door hardware throughout the spaces, but the cabinet hardware and faucets are brass and the contrast provides a lot of visual interest.” 

Stainless steel appliances in the kitchen can also make some people feel hesitant about mixing metals. But, that shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

An perfect example of this is Dorit Kemsley’s kitchen in her new home, as seen on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. The white cabinets, gold handles, and appliances are the perfect trio of chic in the reality star’s modern farmhouse. 

Another trend to consider for modern spaces is matte black hardware. The high contrast yet classic touch is easily mixed with a number of different finishes like brass, chrome, or nickel. A matte black faucet and matching knobs and pulls looks incredibly sleek.

Want to mix metals in a bold way? Try a two-tone faucet such as the Brizo Litze Single Handle Angled Spout Pull Down Kitchen Faucet with Knurled Handle.

In a rental, keep the standard silver-tone faucet and swap out the matching knobs for a contrasting black. This minor change can yield a major result for potentially less than the cost of a new shower curtain.

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