Bathroom Planning: How To Choose The Right Taps for Your Basin
These small but essential fittings have the power to affect the look and functionality of your bathroom. Here’s what to look out for
Professional advice from:
Dan Cook of CP Hart
Kia Sunda of Kia Designs
Emma Hooton of Emma Hooton Ltd
1 Pillar taps
Often found in traditional-style bathrooms, pillar taps come in pairs and consist of one tap for cold water and another for hot. Operated by either a rotating handle or lever, pillar taps require two tap holes in the basin.
Suited to basins with one tap hole, a monobloc tap features a single spout that delivers a mixture of hot and cold water. As you can see here, the water control is integrated into the body of the tap, resulting in a smart, space-saving solution. If you want to keep your basin completely clear, you can even deck-mount your monobloc tap.
Similar to monobloc taps, mixer taps deliver a mixture of hot and cold water through a single spout. Unlike monobloc taps, however, mixers have separate water controls. The owners of this bathroom chose a three-hole mixer tap, featuring separate controls for hot and cold water. Alternatively, shop around for a two-hole mixer tap, operated by a single control.
Choose brassware that’s in keeping with the overall style of your bathroom. Here, a wall-mounted mixer tap complements the clean, minimalist lines of this contemporary scheme. By teaming a wall-mounted tap with a wall-hung basin, you can make a narrow bathroom feel more spacious.
This bathroom masters a time-honoured look with a three-hole mixer tap from Lefroy Brooks’ 1900 Classic collection.
If you like a traditional aesthetic but want a fresh spin, watch out for an emerging trend called ‘cool classics’, which blurs the lines between contemporary and traditional design. ‘Classic looks have been updated with modern finishes,’ explains designer Dan Cook. ‘This means traditional products are being coupled with new-age materials.’
‘Brassware is put under daily stress and strain and often isn’t the easiest thing to replace,’ says interior designer Kia Sunda. Her solution? ‘Always choose to buy from a reputable retailer who will be able to support you should any problems crop up in the future,’ she advises.
Replacing basin taps is an instant way to rejuvenate a tired bathroom. Here, Victoria + Albert’s Tubo tap complements the simple lines of the Barcelona basin, also from Victoria + Albert. ‘The tap was also fitted on the corner of the basin rather than in the usual central location, adding an interesting dimension to the vanity unit and a sleek, contemporary feel,’ explains Emma Hooton.
As a general rule, buy the best-quality basin taps you can afford. Skimping will result in having to replace your taps more quickly. ‘Brassware should be a tactile pleasure to use for years and years,’ explains Dan Cook. ‘Poor-quality brassware quickly discolours and seizes up, and it’s amazing how noticeable this can be to, say, a potential house buyer.’
If you feel like splashing out, the tap in this bathroom is the Mimi, a striking monobloc design by Italian manufacturer Gessi.
A chrome finish for taps is enduringly popular for good reason. Not only will it stand the test of time with minimal TLC, it also doesn’t seem to date. In this country-house bathroom, a pair of deck-mounted monobloc taps in timeless chrome complement the shapely countertop basins.
Chrome may be the fail-safe finish for bathroom taps, but it’s by no means the only option available. ‘You can use luxury brassware in a gold or nickel material for a truly luxurious feeling,’ suggests Dan Cook. Or steal the style of this contemporary bathroom, which features a Vola tap powder-coated in punchy orange.
Always check that the water pressure in your house is sufficient for the taps you want to choose. ‘Every piece of brassware has different specifications,’ explains Kia Sunda. ‘Making sure your water pressure is best suited to that particular product is essential to making the most of your purchase.’
Taps are available in all sorts of different materials, so always consider the maintenance involved when choosing which brassware to buy. ‘The perfect finish will completely depend on how a bathroom is going to be used,’ says Kia Sunda. ‘In general, polished brassware is easy to keep clean and requires little everyday maintenance, while matt finishes can often be a little more difficult to keep up.’
If you want to put an individual stamp on your bathroom but are nervous about doing so, consider starting with the brassware. This is a relatively small but effective style choice and can be changed at a later date.
The distinctive aesthetic of Lefroy Brooks’ Belle Aire deck-mounted basin mixer is perfect for this bathroom, which was designed for a family with young children.
Which kind of taps appeal to you? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.