Hooks are one of my favorite organizing products—and my clients love them, too. It's just easier to throw a coat over a hook than it is to put it on a hanger—and easy is good, since it increases the chance that the coat (or whatever) isn't going to just get tossed on the floor. So hooks are worth considering for your own work spaces, as well as for end-users who may find them handy.
When I say "hook," you may think of classic hook designs, such as this double hook and robe hook—which are both perfectly good and useful, but there's no need to stop there. The opportunities for innovation within this basic form are nearly endless.
Or consider this CNC router-cut wall hook from Grain, made from a block of ash.
Some hooks are designed for easy installation, without the need for sheetrock anchors, etc. (More on installation issues later.) Unihook from Pat Kim installs with a single nail—but due to its clever design, which spreads the load downwards along the wall from that one nail, it can hold an amazing 10 kilograms of weight (about 22 pounds).
But often ease of installation is a trade-off with weight-bearing capacity. The cork pegs from Molo have a magnetic mounting system, another way of making things somewhat easy; there's a drawing of the design on the company's website. But these hooks can only hold from 2.65 pounds to 4.85 pounds, depending on where on the hook the item is hung—the middle or the end. Still, they could work well for relatively lightweight things: a hoodie, a hearing protector, etc.
And here are two self-adhesive hooks: Eva Solo hooks and Puj Nubs. The Puj Nubs only hold up to 3 lbs. But the installation couldn't be easier! However, they do require a surface which is smooth—tile, glass, metal, etc.—and that surface must be clean and dry before the hooks are put into place. These aren't the hooks for your sheetrock wall!
Another way to make the installation super simple is to use magnetic hooks and slap them on the side of a metal tool cabinet (or something similar). These magnetic hooks from the Magnuson Group hold 15-24 lbs.
And yet another way to avoid any installation mess is to use an over-the-door hook—assuming you have a door close at hand. Many of these aren't very long, which means the hooks will be at a good level for tall folks, but might be hard to reach if you're as short as I am. These two both come from Blomus.
But you'll have more choice of styles (and probably fewer worries about weight and placement) with traditional anchor-to-the-wall hooks. For anyone who's concerned about hooks snagging their clothes, or causing stretching or distortion, there's the Bach Coat Hook.
The Canteen knob and hook was designed by André Klauser and Ed Carpenter. The powder-coated steel backplate would help protect the wall from dirt and scratches—something that could be an issue for some other single hooks, particularly in a shop environment, or in a home with small children.
Hooks can also be designed to incorporate storage for small items like sunglasses and keys. For example, here's the Cubby; note it has a bit of a backplate, too. The hooknook (not shown) is a similar product, without the backplate. Another nice design point: With its large, rounded shape, this hook (like the Bach Coat Hook) is going to be kind to clothes.
Another hook-and-storage combo is the Hook Box, designed by Luca Nichetto for Bosa. In this design, the items being stored have less protection from things in the environment, but they are easier to see.
These hooks from Thabto, designed by John Caswell, are called jpegs. They're magnetized, so you use them on those shop cabinets (or on a refrigerator door, in a home setting), but they also come with screws and wall plugs.
Merkled makes a free-standing coat rack—and with the cutoff forms, it makes these hooks. How cool is that? They're sold in sets of seven.
Which leads into this question: If you're an interior designer, how many hooks would you want to use in your design, and how do you want to use them? Weather will be one factor: Are you in a cold climate, dealing with heavy coats, scarves and hats? Or are you somewhere warm, where residents might only need a place to hang a light jacket? Do you want hooks in the entryway, the bedrooms, the bathroom? (They can work well for towels, robes, etc.) Are there small children, who could use some hooks down at their level?
And let's take a moment here and talk about installation. Rows of coat hooks (which we'll look at next time) are typically fastened to longer boards, which are in turn fastened directly to wall studs, which typically run 16 inches on center; the longer boards mean you can hit the studs for support, yet still space the hooks at intervals smaller than 16 inches.
However, for these boardless, mount-anywhere hook styles, you'll need to use sheetrock anchors, assuming that's what your walls are made of. One caveat: You'll of course have to use a stud finder, to avoid trying to drill a plastic anchor into a stud.
And for renters who want to get your security deposits back: Don't forget that with either system of hooks—stud-mounted or anchor-mounted—you'll have to spackle over the mounting holes and re-paint when it's time to move. Unless you can convince the landlord that your slick hook arrangement will be a boon to the next tenant. And some of these are so cool that the landlord just might agree with that!
Next: Part 2 - Coat Racks