You’ve selected a vanity or kitchen cabinet style, figured out how to finish your walls and floor, and decided on a plan for you layout. Another essential element in any kitchen or bathroom design are plumbing fixtures. Water is at the center of kitchens and baths, so your plumbing fixtures are an important functional component of these spaces.
Plumbing fixtures also help set the tone for your bathroom or kitchen design style. They come in an array of style options, from ornate traditional to angular modern. Faucets, showerheads, and tub fillers also can be found in many finishes that accent your other design features. From matte black to oil rubbed bronze, stainless, and more, your fixture selection serves to accessorize your kitchen or bath design. Tubs and sinks also accent your style with different shapes, materials, and installation types that add dimension to any kitchen or bathroom design.
Balance style and functionality when choosing plumbing fixtures. Do your own research and consult with your kitchen or bathroom design expert to learn about the latest styles and technologies. An experienced design professional can help you navigate the many choices available to find the ideal products for your space. Get started with our guide to kitchen and bath design plumbing fixtures, which explores some of the top choices available today.
Look at What You Need
The first step in embarking on a home remodeling project is to examine your remodeling goals. Something is lacking in your existing bathrooms or kitchen design that has led you to plan a remodel. Start by asking yourself what works in your current design and what does not. This will give you a good indication of the functionality you require and what needs to change.
Who uses the room you are remodeling and how often is it used? If you are remodeling a seldom used hall bathroom, your requirements may differ from a busy master bath design or kids’ bathroom design. Does anyone in your home have limited mobility, or are you remodeling for aging in place? Are you updating your kitchen to meet the demands of a young, growing family or are you “empty nesters” who just packed the last child off to college? These requirements will help you define what you need and narrow down the choices available.
Plumbing fixtures also vary widely in price points, so it is important to examine your available budget. A reputable, experienced design professional can help you examine a range of product options at different prices to find one that meets your needs within your budget. Weigh up the pros and cons to determine how you spend your budget dollars. If you have your heart set on a magnificent freestanding bathtub, then go for it but spend less on your showerheads or vanity sinks. Decide what is important to you and where you can compromise to get the kitchen or bathroom design that fits your lifestyle.
Consider What You Want
There are so many products available on the market that it can be difficult to navigate the choices. If you can’t tell your chrome from your nickel and have no idea if the matte black trend is right for you, you are not alone! Figure out the style vibe you hope to achieve by browsing online project galleries, checking out social media sites, and visiting in person showrooms. Find the styles that spark your interest and fit with your overall design aesthetic. Trust your instincts but verify your choices by creating an inspiration board with all the materials, colors, and products you like. Your bath and kitchen design expert should be well versed in either validating these choices or in helping you find alternatives that better meet your design goals.
Now it is time to consider the plumbing fixtures that will work best in your new space. Before you get started, it helps to understand exactly what we mean by “plumbing fixtures”. A plumbing fixture is any exchangeable device that attaches to your plumbing system to deliver water. No kitchen or bathroom design is complete without them, so let’s examine some of the choices you need to make when planning your remodel.
Sinks are the workhorse of any kitchen design, but also come in a selection of materials to fit any style and budget. Consider the size, installation method, material, and functionality you want in your kitchen sink.
Large sinks are ideal for a busy kitchen design, where you can wash large pots or prep vegetables. Divided sinks mean you don’t have one large space but allow for two sides to be used for different purposes, such as one side for washing hands while the other is used for food prep.
Top mount sinks are a less expensive option that drop into a cut-out in the countertop, while undermount models fit at the bottom of the countertop. The latter offers a sleeker look and is easier for clean up since there is no lip to clean around. Farmhouse or apron front sinks offer a striking style with a deep sink where the front-facing side is exposed. Traditionally associated with, funny enough, farmhouse or rustic kitchen remodels, these sinks now complement a range of styles.
Sink materials greatly impact your kitchen remodeling budget and style, with stainless models being the best overall option for balancing price, functionality, and style. For a more unique look that is higher up the budget scale, go for cast iron or enamel. A white enamel farmhouse sink, for example, is a step up in budget but worth the price in terms of enhanced functionality and style.
Most of us take our kitchen faucet for granted as a constant design feature that reliably delivers water needed for washing and cooking. Today’s faucets are more than just this basic functional tool, though, as they come in a wide range of styles with enhanced functionality built in.
The basic models do the job. They turn on and off and deliver hot and cold water, while some may have a pull-down feature to aid in cleaning. More advanced faucets offer everything from sleek curved contemporary models to more ornate traditional design features, and they come in a wider range of finish options so they can stand out or match to your cabinet hardware.
Spend a bit more to get touch activated or even touchless faucets. This means dirty hands don’t have to come in contact with the faucet to turn on the water, which minimizes the spread of germs and makes it easier to maintain a clean faucet. With these models, you still have the option to go old school and operate the faucet manually.
Pot Filler and Other Extras
Beyond a standard sink and faucet, many larger kitchen designs opt to include extras. A second sink is ideal for a busy kitchen, for example one in the island and a second perimeter sink, which allows for more than one person to work in the kitchen at once. If you are including a beverage bar, a smaller beverage sink is a smart choice. In a large double sink, you could include two faucets so more than one person can work at one time. Pot fillers are another option, were a pull out faucet is included at the cooking area so you can fill large pots with water on the spot rather than carrying them from the sink.
The most popular models for bathroom sinks are over- or undermount sinks, similar to the kitchen sink installation options. Just like in kitchens, undermount sinks are very popular as they give your bath design a sleeker look and make the room easier to clean.
If you are looking for a more unusual sink that stands out, a vessel sink could be the perfect choice. These models are unique to bathrooms and rest on top of the countertop. They come in an array of materials, like ceramic, glass, or metal, and tend to be a more expensive, decorative choice. Vessel sinks are more popular in a less used bathroom like a powder room or guest bathroom design. If you are choosing a vessel sink then take care when selecting a faucet to pair with it, as it must be a deck or wall mount option that is tall enough to clear the sink.
Stainless steel is an option for a bathroom sink that offers a contemporary style with a more reasonable price tag. This common option for kitchen designs is not often seen in bathrooms, though it is becoming an increasingly popular choice for bath designs. Porcelain is a highly durable and popular choice for bathroom sinks, while other options include ceramic, hammered metal, glass, or concrete.
A basic bath faucet will do the job required, with a single lever controlling water flow and temperature, in a popular finish like nickel or chrome. If you want a faucet that enhances your room’s style, step up your design with a model that offers more stylish lines and finishes, like matte black or oil rubbed bronze. These higher end faucet options also tend to be more long-lasting, with a harder wearing finish and more durable internal components.
Today’s bathtubs can be as functional or frivolous as you like. When choosing a tub, first consider how much space you have, what type of bathroom this is, who will use it, and how it will be used. Some homeowners are opting to remove bathtubs altogether but be sure everyone in your family is happy with this choice first. If you have (or plan to have) children, then a bathtub is a must. Likewise, if you are considering selling your home it pays to have one bathtub in the house or risk limiting potential buyers.
In a smaller bathroom design, a combination bathtub/shower that fits neatly into an alcove or along a wall will do the job. Drop-in tubs work well with a custom tub deck surrounded by walls or in a corner, though these models often require a more complex installation method.
If you are embarking on a large master bath remodel, then consider including a striking freestanding tub. You will not regret the investment, especially if you love to relax by soaking in the tub.
If limited mobility is a consideration, you may want to install a walk-in bathtub, or get rid of the tub altogether in favor of a walk-in or wheelchair accessible large shower. Higher end soaking tubs, whirlpool or air jets, and chromotherapy models are game changers that turn your bath design into a home spa retreat. Tub materials range from the less expensive fiberglass to acrylic, porcelain enameled metal, or cast polymer.
These faucets specialize in filling your bathtub, and therefore have the flow capacity to fill the tub quickly. The type of tub filler you need is largely influenced by your tub style and position, though design preferences play a role too. An alcove tub is best served by a deck- or wall-mount tub faucet. A freestanding tub, on the other hand, could be served by a dramatic floor mount model that sweeps up and over the rim of the tub. If your freestanding tub sits near a wall, you could also install a wall-mount faucet adjacent to the tub. Whatever model you select, make sure the controls are easily accessible from the bathtub, so you can add or turn off the water without having to get out of the tub.
Nothing beats a great shower, and much of your shower quality is determined by the showerhead you choose. Showerhead styles vary from fixed wall-mount options to handheld, ceiling mount, rainfall showerheads, and even massaging shower panels.
Dual showerheads are a popular choice, as they offer a combination of wall mount and handheld, with some handheld options having a slidebar so it can be adjusted up and down. Rainfall models can extend from the wall or mount to the ceiling, but the key here is that they provide a relaxing shower experience that is meant to simulate a rain shower. Low-flow showerheads are an eco-friendlier alternative that also saves you money by using less water than traditional models. Showerheads have also gone high tech with everything from voice-control to programmable settings, LED lights, Bluetooth speakers, and more.
Showerhead styles vary widely and can be chosen to match your other plumbing fixtures. Ornate fixtures with extra embellishment fit traditional styles, a sleek curved model is ideal for transitional bath designs, while understated angular models fit a contemporary bathroom. Choose a finish to match your faucet and hardware or select a contrasting tone for a bathroom featuring mixed metallic finishes.
Let’s not forget the “necessary” component of every bathroom design, the toilet. From the smallest powder room to the grandest master suite, no bathroom is complete without a toilet.
One-piece toilets are an integrated unit where the bowl and tank are fused, while two-piece have a separate bowl and tank. The latter is typically less expensive, but it is more difficult to keep clean. Wall-hung toilets are a modern style that connect to the wall where only the toilet bowl is visible, while the tank sits neatly hidden behind the wall. They are easier to clean, but also more expensive with a more complicated installation. A bidet style toilet is the ultimate in personal hygiene and is more widely seen in the latest bath remodels. Consider your toilet height too, with comfort height toilets better for those with limited mobility or for aging in place.
Toilets also come in a variety of water systems and flush mechanisms, so it’s important to discuss your options and priorities with you bath remodeling expert to find the right one for you. The latest toilet technologies also offer no touch flushing, remote controlled features such as self-cleaning and seat warming, and even ambient lighting, deodorizing, and music.
A kitchen or bath design needs water to function properly and your plumbing fixtures are key to this functionality. They can also form a core part of your room’s design style, with the material, shape, and finish you select. Visit our kitchen design and bathroom remodeling galleries to get inspired. Then contact our team to start planning your new kitchen or bathroom!