Bathroom fixtures are the main reason to even have a bathroom and are a huge part of its core aesthetic.
Both their quality of function and the way they look are important factors when you’re looking to buy new plumbing fixtures. They are also what determines the layout of your bathroom since they require special structural and plumbing considerations.
Image source: Two Hawks Design and Development
What do we mean by plumbing fixtures? The main bathroom fixtures are the toilet, the sink, the shower, and the tub.
There are a number of variations for most of these items, from shower/tub combos to large standing showers with no tub, from standalone sinks to sinks that are integrated into counters—though arguably there aren’t many variations on the toilet.
Image source: Geoff Chick & Associates
You can splurge on your bathroom fixtures when doing a build or a remodel to get a luxury resort feel in your home, or you can opt to pick value engineered fixtures that serve a mostly practical purpose.
The best way to start selecting your bathroom fixtures is to visit a bathroom showroom where you can see and even try out the models on offer, as well as ask questions you need answered.
Image source: James Cross Inc
A designer can help guide you through the selection available and make recommendations. The professionals who work in a bathroom showroom will also help you out in this way when you visit.
There are fewer limits to bathroom design than you might think. If you can imagine it, you can build it. You can get televisions installed in your shower, have mood lights that can make water seem to change colors, have tubs the size of small pools, and much, much more.
Let’s look at some great ways to plan, purchase, and think about bathroom fixtures when you do a remodel of your current bathroom or find yourself building a whole new one in a new house.
Plan an Efficient Layout
Image source: Sogno Design Group
You can dream up all sorts of bathroom designs, but they are going to be limited by the hard, dirty reality of plumbing drains, water lines, and vent stacks. Most bathroom floor plans typically fall into either a one wet wall, two wet wall, or three wet wall layout.
What does this mean? It has to do with how your plumbing fixtures are laid out and where you need to place various drains, pipes, and so on. In a one wall layout, the sink, toilet, and shower will all be lined up along one wall.
Image source: Abruzzo Kitchen & Bath
This is the most cost effective design because moving and/or installing standard plumbing elements can get very expensive. It is, however, the most limited bathroom layout. The two wall and three wall layout are proportionally expensive and allow for more creativity with your bathroom fixtures.
Decide on the Level of Service You Need
Image source: Sea Pointe Construction
What you place in your bathroom will mostly be decided by your budget. You can find some bathroom companies that offer turn-key solutions, which include everything you need to design your bathroom from beginning to end, from planning services to plumbing fixture installation to decorating.
This is not the cheapest choice out there, but it may be worth the money to have things done faster and made much easier.
Image source: Roth Architecture
You could also design the bathroom yourself from the ground up, buying your own plumbing fixtures, hire a builder and plumber to make modifications and do installations, and do all the décor yourself.
You’ll have to make sure you get the layout just right, so if you choose to do this, do your research and at least consult with professionals to make sure it makes sense. It will also take more time to get bathroom fixture and décor items, but on the whole, this should work out to be a cheaper option.
Image source: McCutcheon Construction
Regardless of the route you choose, be sure to visit a showroom or dozen to see products in person. This will be well worth your time. Don’t treat these bathroom showrooms like a museum. They’re there for you to get an idea of what you really want in your home.
Get in the bath to see if it’s comfortable. Fell the furniture and even sit on it to see how it feels. Run the taps (if they’re hooked up) or at least turn them to see what their build quality is.
Take the time to get quotes from at least three fitters. Be specific about every aspect of the project, whether you’re managing it yourself or going through a bathroom company’s turn0key deal. This will help you reduce costs later on and make sure you are satisfied with the end result.
Think About Your Sink
Image source: Custom Design & Construction
There are a lot of options for bathroom sinks these days. What one you should choose depends of course on your bathroom layout, your budget, and your lifestyle. With integral bathroom sinks, you get the sink in one piece with the vanity countertop. Under-mount sinks are installed from below.
Both of these are very easy to keep clean and allow you to easily wipe away messes. They do tend to be more expensive and installation is a more consuming process. Self-rimming bathroom sinks are more economical and easier to install. However, the perimeter lip of these bathroom sinks tends to collect grit and grime.
Options for Tubs
Bathtubs are natural focal points for bathrooms. They will make a significant impact on the bathroom’s décor style. Freestanding tubs always make a distinctive statement. They can rest on claw-and-ball feet for a classic look or on pedestal bases.
They can even have a more modern streamlined and straight-sided look that makes them resembles a sculptural piece. For a cheaper option, an integrated tub and shower allows you to use space in the best way.
Image source: Cabinets of the Desert Inc.
If you’re remodeling a small bathroom, this is probably what you already have as it is a very common setup that sees a lot of use, especially in children’s bathrooms.
Regardless of the setup, many tubs are platform tubs. Platform bathtubs have unfinished exteriors and will drop into a supporting boxlike structure. The decking or top is often a waterproof material.
Tile, marble, and limestone are common options. The sides can be covered in tile or stone or even paneled in wood. With a platform tub, you can choose almost any kind of tub you like, from a soaking tub to whirlpool tub for maximum relaxation.
You can also opt not to have a tub at all, which is a more economical choice for some and results in a very modern bathroom. Many people find that they don’t use tubs. It’s up to you and works best for your budget and lifestyle.
Consider a Spa Shower
Image source: dSPACE Studio Ltd, AIA
If you want a real resort experience in your home bathroom, you might want to include a luxury shower. Have a variety of spray heads place in the shower. Ceiling mounted spray heads will soak you from above.
Body spray heads, which are vertical rows of showerheads will create a crisscross pattern that provides a water massage. Including handled showerheads will allow users to direct spray for a variety of uses, including washing hair, rinsing off, even cleaning out the shower stall.
You can complete the luxury feel by having a custom stall installed. Just pick one out from your favorite waterproof material to cover h walls, floors, and ceiling. If you add frameless glass doors to show off your amazing tile work.
Go Green with Safe and Environmentally Friendly bathroom Faucets
Bathroom faucets include those bathroom fixtures used in both the sinks and the showers. There are a number out there, in more designs than you can count, but if you want the safest and most environmentally friendly, there are three things you should look for:
Certified Lead Free
By law, every bathroom faucet in the United States and Canada must be certified and lead free. However, there are a number of ways to buy non-certified bathroom faucets and other bathroom hardware online.
This is dangerous and is not something you should do, no matter how cheap it is. What’s more, the danger is intensified because you will likely be installing these bathroom faucets yourself.
It is quite possible to purchase these non-certified faucets without knowing it. The manufacturers who sell them online are located outside the United States and Canada. They do not need to adhere to certification guidelines.
The best way to avoid getting one of these unsafe bathroom faucets is to make sure you purchase your bathroom faucet from a store like Lowe’s, Home Depot, and other real hardware stores.
Non-certified bathroom faucets may be much cheaper, but they put you and your family in danger. Always check the certification on the bathroom faucet to be sure it is not going to cause any harm and is lead-free.
The NSF Seal of Certification
The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) is the organization in the United States that oversees the “certification of plumbing products and materials” and “helps confirm that they meet applicable American or international standards for a particular use”.
According to the NSF, “Faucets and plumbing products intended for contact with drinking water should be tested and certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 61: Drinking Water System Components.” Products that adhere to the American National Standard have a very limited number of these impurities.
Check for NSP certification by looking for the certification mark on the product. These include labels like “NSF 61” (drinking water components) or “NSF pw” (drinking water components and others).
Conserve Water by Buying WaterSense Products
If you want to reduce your water consumption for the sake of your budget and the environment, you should look into purchasing a WaterSense label bathroom faucet. These bathroom faucets reduce water usage in the bathroom by 30% or more.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, you can save about 700 gallons of water a year by simply replacing your old bathroom faucets. This makes the WaterSense label something you should look for if you would like to reduce your home’s water use.
Decide on Your Overall Bathroom Hardware Scheme
Your home’s style should dictate the look and style of your bathroom, which will be what decides the style of your bathroom fixtures. Your end goal is to have a bathroom with a cohesive décor style. Your selection of bathroom fixtures is a big piece of how this turns out.
Shiny modern chrome bathroom fixtures will not look right in a bathroom styled after a farmhouse or a rustic cabin. Your choice of bathroom fixtures will help determine the beauty of your bathroom design.
Traditional, Contemporary, and Transitional Styles
Many bathrooms have traditionally styled bathroom fixtures, since this style foes with most home designs without too much work. Both the transitional and contemporary styles are a better fit for homes that have more specific architectural styles.
Contemporary styles are more modern, while transitional is a blend of modern and traditional bathroom styles. They tend to have simple curved lines and a certain kind of elegant flow.
Should You Match Fixtures?
Image source: Jim Deen/Kitchen Kraft
It’s up to you, really. Some homeowners don’t; care for the uniform look of matched bathroom fixtures, while others would never even think about mixing and matching styles.
You’ll find that most interior designed prefer to have a uniform look since this prevents the room design from being interrupted. It is a matter of your personal preference, though the general rule of thumb for this aspect of design is that all bathroom fixtures should have the same metal and finish in the same bathroom.
Allow Budget to Eliminate Bathroom Fixtures Choices
If you find yourself with too many options that appeal to you, start thinking of it in terms of dollar signs. This will quickly start eliminating some of those options and allow you to make a real comparison between the ones that are left over.
Bathroom builds and remodels are very expensive, so saving money where you can is important. A lot of options for bathroom fixtures are more similar than not, so budget can be a useful deciding factor between a few options you’re considering.
If you liked this article about bathroom fixtures, you should check out these articles as well:
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