Adding Bath Accessories

Use our expert tips to assure a smooth installation of a towel rack, soap dish, toilet-paper holder, and handgrip.


Hardware helps finish the decor.

Select a group of amenities that go well together. Don't be shy about buying more expensive hardware; the price is relatively small in comparison to most improvements.

See tips and instructions below.

What You Need:

  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Caulking gun
  • Stud-finding device
  • Screws (should come with accessories)
  • Towel rack, soap dish (for built-in application), standard-recessed toilet paper holder, and/or handrail

Towel Rack

Towel-rack installation.

1. Decide on towel rack placement. Place towel racks where towels can hang about two-thirds of their full length. You probably will not be able to position the rack so the screws hit wall studs, but you do want a wall with some strength.

2. Use toggle bolts. Many homeowners tend to use plastic wall anchors, which are not as strong. If you have lath-and-plaster walls, screwing into a piece of lath may provide adequate support. If you lack sufficient wall space, a rack or hook on the back of the door may be a better option.

See more installation instructions below.

Soap Dish

Left: Soap dish installation. Right: Toilet-paper holder.

1. For best results, look for the type of soap dish that installs right into a tiled wall (see illustration). There are plenty of attractive options to suit every taste.

2. Remove two tiles from the area; apply adhesive.

3. Tape the dish in place until the adhesive sets.

4. Finish the edges with caulk or grout.

Toilet Paper Holder

(standard recessed) 1. Make sure you will not run into a stud. Drill test holes or use a stud-finding device.

2. Cut the hole carefully so you won't have to patch the wall.

3. Use construction adhesive and (if possible) screws to anchor a piece of 2x4 to the back of the cavity.

4. Let the adhesive dry. Attach the holder to the 2x4 with screws.

Security Rail

Handgrip installation.

A secure handgrip is a helpful aid for the elderly or disabled.

1. Locate the wall studs.

2. Position the handrail as desired.

3. Drive screws through hardware into the studs.

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