Bathroom Safety Features That Support Your Style

‘Safety first’ doesn’t mean style comes in second with bathroom grab bars, shower seats and more designed for the modern home

by Pangaea
Houzz Contributor. Pangaea Interior Design is an award-winning design firm specializing in residential projects including new construction, remodeling and kitchen & bath design.

Even if you are fit as a fiddle, it’s a good idea to provide as many safety features as you can in your bathroom. But does a bathroom that incorporates safety into the design have to look like it belongs in a hospital?

Absolutely not! Fixture manufacturers are now offering attractive designs that blend into your décor. Whether you love sleek, minimal design or are hooked on traditional, you can provide safety without sacrificing style.


Grab bars are one of the safety features that have traditionally screamed “institutional.” That sterile public-restroom look is one reason that people resist installing them. But take a look at these: The shape and the oil-rubbed bronze color offer a warm, traditional look.

V & Company, Fine Builders

This sleek shower sports a grab bar that is equally minimal in its design. The Kohler Purist collection would be a great choice for a contemporary bath or shower.

Mercer Island Residence

And who says grab rails have to be metal? It’s certainly the way to go inside the shower or bath, but you can offer additional stability with grab rails in other parts of the bathroom too. This beautiful maple wood rail adds warmth and style along with security.

Tip: Although ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) guidelines aren’t required for residences, they’re useful for making sure your grab rails provide the safety you are looking for. Make sure your rail can support the force of 250 pounds. Mount it 33 to 36 inches from the floor and allow a minimum of 1½ inches between the wall and the bar.


The angle bar over this tub seems more like a sculptural element, but it is perfect for helping bathers raise or lower themselves into or out of the tub.


Secure seating inside the shower is another great safety feature. A generously proportioned built-in bench is so much prettier than a plastic one. This grab bar is another example of an attractive modern style.

Universal Design bath

If a built-in bench would take up too much room, consider a teak fold-up bench. A plastic bench says “hospital,” while teak says “spa.”

Tip: When shopping for a fold-up bench, be sure to check the dimensions and the maximum weight capacity. Benches range from 18 to 24 inches wide with a seat depth of 13 to 16 inches. Weight capacities range from 220 to 500 pounds.

Modern spa bath designed for all family members to comfortably use

Falls aren’t the only safety issue in a bathroom. Shared hand towels can spread germs, which can be serious for someone with a weak immune system. The aerodynamic design of the Dyson Airblade hand dryer makes it an attractive option.

Well, “attractive” is subjective here. It’s a pretty space-age look. (One review said the shape resembles “a science fiction robot’s underwear.”) But it sure looks better to me than a gas station bathroom’s dryers. And I think it looks a lot better than a stack of paper towels. I absolutely love how fast it works, too.

Moen Kingsley Grab Bar


If you are out shopping for grab bars and want traditional, the Moen Kingsley line may be what you’re looking for.

Tip: The slanted bar position shown in this photo is sometimes more comfortable when people are using it to help themselves get up. But it is not in keeping with ADA guidelines and might not help if you fall because your hand can slide.

Great Grabz 24" Horizon Bar

Another stylish grab bar, this time from Great Grabz. It has a nice contemporary feel and would work with many different styles of décor.

Kohler K-11892 18" Grab Bar from the Purist Series


The Kohler Purist is my personal favorite. I love a sleek and minimal look and want my grab bars to be understated.

Tip: Your grab bars can double as towel holders if you like. But don’t use a towel holder in lieu of a grab bar, because it won’t hold the weight.

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