Think grab-bars are ugly institutional things that don’t belong in a home?

Think again.

These days you can find beautiful designs that don’t scream grab-bar and will blend seamlessly into your bathroom (or other parts of your home).

Installing grab-bars is one of the best ways to improve the accessibility, safety and comfort of your home.

For other ways to improve the accessibility of your home read top design tips for an accessible bathroom and 15 ways to use accessible design in your kitchen.


Types of grab bars

  1. Fixed or stationary.  These can be installed in any configuration that works for you including horizontally, vertically or even angled. These types of grab-bars have the largest range of choice of color, style and size.
  2. Hinged. Can be folded-down when not needed. Useful for when a toilet is not located next to a wall or to give people a second or optional security point. These grab-bars have very little choice in the way of color and style.

Important Note: You should only install grab-bars that are rated to support 250lbs or more.



Areas in your home that could use a grab-bar (or two)

#1) The bathing area. The most obvious location is of course the shower or bath due to its wet, slippery nature. Statistics show that showers are indeed dangerous places, and that young and old alike slip and fall in this area.

Toilet area

Install at least one grab bar in the bathtub or shower.

#2) The toilet area. You may be surprised to discover that many falls occur each year near the toilet.

Install at least one grab bar beside the toilet. If your toilet is not in a corner, place a fold-down grab-bar on one side.

#3) The mud room or front entry. Here is another location that can get wet and slippery. It’s an area where one bends over a lot to pick up bags, shoes, dropped keys and to attend to children and pets.

Having a grab-bar in this area can help alleviate the pain of bending for people with bad backs, hips and knees, or for childred to hold onto while putting on shoes.

Kitchen grab-bar

#4) The kitchen. This is another area that can become slippery from moisture or even grease.

One of the best ways to use grab bars in the kitchen can be to run them along the front of the lower cabinets or island. They can double as towel rails and somebody in a wheelchair could use them to pull themselves along.



These aren’t your grandmother’s grab-bars

Gone are the not-so-pretty utilitarian bars of yester-year. These days almost all the big plumbing companies such as Moen, Delta, Kohler, Invisia, Jaclo and Elcoma have included beautifully designed grab-bars to co-ordinate with many of their bahthroom suites.

An elegant solution to grab-bars is to combine them with other necessary bathroom requirements, like toilet paper holders so they blend seamlessly into the space. You’ll hardly even recognize the following as grab-bars….

Toilet paper holder

Life line tp holder

Corner Shelf

Delta decor assist

Towel bar

Towel/grab-bar combo

Shampoo Shelf

Moen shampoo shelf

Soap dish

Invisia soap holder



Something for everyone

Co-ordinate finishes

Whether your style is modern, traditional or transitional, you’ll easily find a grab-bar to suit your decor.

Many come in a variety of finishes or colors such as chrome, stainless steel, white, oil-rubbed bronze and brushed nickel.

Coordinating the color and finish with the other fixtures in your room will help you achieve a more harmonious look

Some brands also have choices of different surface textures for the grip and flange styles, such as round or square. Check online or with your local supplier for all the options.

Life Line wave bar

Grab bars come in a variety of shapes such as straight, curved and L and T. This will allow you to choose the one that works best for your needs and works well in your bathroom. The curved wave or sweeping design of some grab-bars soften their look and suggest more of a design element than utilitarian object.

Integrate grab-bars into the lines of your bathroom by installing them at the level of the vanity or along the same plane as decorative tile borders or other horizontal or vertical elements.



How do you properly install grab-bars?

Take a look at our blog posting Accessibility Hacks. Get a Grip on Grab-bars for correct installation tips and what you need to do to your walls before covering them with drywall or tile.


Action Plan

Take another look at grab-bars via these links in our manufacturers section and make the decision to incorporate a few into your home this year.