When we think of bathrooms, we probably think of the big features, namely the key appliances, toilet, basin, and shower/bath, but actually, as is so often the case in life, the details can make a huge difference to both the functionality and the appearance of a bathroom. 

In particular, the choice of bath taps and basin taps can really add style and character to a bathroom as well as make it easier to use. 

Because of this, we’ve put together a brief guide to choosing the right taps for your bathroom.

Check what taps you can actually have

Our number one recommendation in almost all contexts is to check what is actually possible before you set your heart on any particular option and this holds as true for bath taps and basin taps as it does for everything else. 

In particular, if you have an old-fashioned, gravity-fed water system (one with a tank in the loft), then you need to make sure your taps will work with it. 

Separate taps are usually absolutely fine, but mixer taps generally need a decent amount of pressure to work effectively and may be too much for gravity-fed systems.

Another point to note is that baths and basins have different size holes for fittings and hence need different sizes of bath taps and basin taps.  Again, check what your bath or basin needs before you commit to a particular style or size of the tap.

Remember that niche baths, such as freestanding baths generally have special requirements.  For example, freestanding baths typically need a standpipe tap to fill them.

Decide whether you want deck-mounted taps or wall-mounted taps

Deck-mounted taps are taps that fit onto the bath or basin itself, whereas wall-mounted taps, as their name says, mount onto the wall. 

Wall-mounted taps can look very sleek and elegant, but before you get too enthusiastic about them, look at the realities of your bathroom and your existing plumbing as they are usually more of a challenge to install than deck-mounted taps.

Decide whether you want separate handles or a monoblock handle

Separate taps automatically have separate handles, mixer taps can have either separate handles (where the hot and cold water flow is controlled completely independently) or monoblock handles where there is a single handle that controls both inputs.

FYI – for the pub quiz, cold-water taps are put on the right because cold water was put into homes first and since most people are right-handed, taps were put on the right. 

When hot water came along, the hot-water tap was just put on the opposite side of the cold-water tap and it’s been that way ever since.  With monoblock tap handles, you move the handle to the right for cold water and to the left for hot water.

Decide on the type of tap handle you want

Up until relatively recently, crossbar handles were pretty much your only option (and they’re still popular today), but these days handles come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and we’d strongly recommend thinking about what fits your needs and wants now and for the immediate future.

Functionality should always come first and this is a matter of what you and your family find comfortable, literally. 

Probably the best way to decide what style of handle suits you all best is to think about taps you’ve used in the past and what felt good to you (or not). 

When thinking about this, remember to differentiate the way a tap worked from the quality of the tap, or to put it another way, if you’ve had bad experiences using a particular type of tap, then remember to ask yourself if the issue was the kind of tap itself or just that the specific tap you used was poor quality and/or badly installed and/or past its best. 

This is particularly true of crossbar taps since there are still a number of old crossbar taps in use long past the time when they should have been retired and also a number of cheap, newer crossbar taps, which are simply poor quality items.

Be as specific as you can about what you like and dislike about different types of bath taps and basin taps, for example, if you like the robustness and simplicity of crossbar taps but dislike having to position your fingers around the cross.

Then perhaps single-lever taps could be for you or alternatively taps with a round handle. If at all possible, think of a few options which would be acceptable to you, so you have a bit of flexibility in terms of looking at taps that fit in with your stylistic vision for your bathroom.

Think about the right type (and length) of the spout

Even though the handle is probably the most obvious part of a tap, since it’s the bit you actually use, it’s actually very important to get the spout right too.  You need the spout to be long enough to get the water actually into the bath or basin, as opposed to round about it and you want it to have enough flow to fill up your bath or basin at a reasonable speed, but not so much that the water splatters all over your bathroom.  Here at Posh, we divide our taps into bath taps and basin taps, so you can feel comfortable that the tap you choose will be suitable for its intended purpose, but if you choose to shop elsewhere, remember to keep this in mind.

Decide what kind of overall look you want for your bathroom

While this is probably the most fun part of choosing bathroom taps, it’s still worth putting some serious thought into it. 

First of all, is your plan to lean towards a more period look or a more contemporary one?  If it’s the former, then you’re probably best to stick with crossbar taps since they are the oldest style of tap and therefore the obvious choice for bathrooms that refer back to times gone by. 

The good news is that the fact that they remain popular today means that they will also fit very nicely into many modern styles, making them arguably the most flexible choice.

On the other hand, if you’re going for a more contemporary style, you can look for bathroom taps that make the most of what modern technology can do. 

For example, you can use waterfall taps to create a glorious statement in your bathroom.  Waterfall taps can be used as both basin taps and bath taps, but are arguably at their best as bath taps for the simple reason that baths take longer to fill, so it’s great to have a tap that entertains you while you wait.

Remember that taps come in different colors, generally, variations of gold/brass and silver metallics such as chrome, and your choice of color can make a significant difference to the appearance of your bathroom. 

Basically, gold colors tend to pop out and demand attention, whereas silver colors tend to blend in more.  Generally speaking, you want to opt for one or the other for all your fittings rather than having, say, gold-colored bath taps and silver-colored basin taps. 

This tends to make for a more coherent appearance, which is particularly important in small rooms such as bathrooms.