What Kind of Bathroom Faucet Should I Buy?
A bathroom renovation is a thrilling prospect for homeowners. While you may be jumping at the chance to redo your lighting, tile floors, tub and more, the idea of picking a new faucet might be a little daunting. The sheer number of styles available is enough to make most homeowners second-guess themselves. This guide can help make sense of the many bathroom sink faucet styles available so that you can decide which one is your perfect faucet fit.
Faucet Installation Types
One of the first things you’ll need to determine for your new faucet is how it will be installed. If you’re replacing an old faucet, it’s easiest to match up with the previous installation method. It’s fast and easy, and it won’t require drilling new holes or messing with your plumbing. To keep things simple, make sure your new faucet can be mounted in the same way as the old one.
Those who are building a new bathroom from scratch, however, have more options when it comes to their faucet installation. Whether you’re looking at all options or trying to figure out what type of installation your previous faucet had, this list will help you figure out the best fit for your bathroom:
- Center-set: A center-set faucet includes a spout and handles in a single unit. Along with the central spout, it usually includes two separate handle controls, which are mounted through three predrilled holes. The outside holes are traditionally spaced 4 inches apart with this type of installation.
- Widespread or spread-fit: This type of faucet has a spout with two separate handles, similar to a center-set faucet. But instead of being all a part of a single unit, these three components are separate, which makes it a widespread, or spread-fit, installation in which the holes are spaced farther apart (usually 4–10 inches). Occasionally, you’ll find unusual configurations with this setup, such as a corner spout with handles off to the side. This can be handy for finding a faucet solution when space is tight.
- Single-hole: This type of faucet has just one spout and one handle combined into a single unit. The handle can control both hot and cold water. Only one predrilled hole is needed, hence the name. One of the modern applications of this type of faucet is a motion sensor spout that doesn’t require touching the faucet to control the water flow.
- Wall-mount: A wall-mount faucet doesn’t attach to the sink or counter at all. Instead, it hooks into the wall through predrilled holes. It can result in a really neat look in the bathroom, but make sure you consider the distance from the mounting location to the sink in order to minimize splashing.
Next up are the features. Faucets aren’t available in too many different configurations, but choosing certain features can still make a big impact in the bathroom. The features you choose also tend to determine the overall size of your faucet selection. Here are the main feature options to consider:
- Number of handles: Two handles — one for hot and one for cold — are pretty standard on most home faucets. However, you can also go with a single handle for a super sleek look. You can still control water temperature with a single handle, but many people feel that having two handles makes it easier to get the exact water temperature they like.
- Arc height: We’re not talking about the arc of the stream (we’ll save that for the water park, thanks). Instead, this is about the arc of the faucet: Some have a high arc, while others have a lower profile. A high arc can add a more dramatic style, and the added space makes it easier if you sip from the faucet after brushing your teeth or if you wash your delicates in the sink. A lower faucet typically leads to less splashing and can be useful in bathrooms that are tight on space.
Once you’ve got the basics of installation and features figured out, you can start thinking about style. This allows you to match the interior design scheme you have in mind for your space. You can either match the faucet to your decor or pick your favorite style and then work out the decorative details based on that. Here are your options:
- Modern: This contemporary aesthetic is all about clean lines and shiny surfaces. You’ll see more hard angles and geometric shapes when shopping for modern faucets. Some modern faucets also have high-tech features,like motion sensor technology.
- Traditional: Traditional faucets have a more timeless look. These faucets typically have more ornamental designs, like detailing on the handles and beautifully curved spouts. You’re also more likely to find brushed finishes on a traditional faucet.
- Transitional: If you can’t decide between modern and traditional looks, go with a transitional faucet. This type of faucet combines style elements from both modern and traditional faucets, like the minimalist designs of modern styles with the curved handles and spout usually found in traditional faucets.
Choosing a faucet finish can really help bring your new bathroom decor together. From the shiniest surfaces to those with a time-worn look, the finish on your faucet can really enhance the design of your bathroom. There are numerous options available when shopping for a bathroom faucet, including the following:
- Chrome: One of the most popular finish options for modern bathroom faucets, chrome has a beautifully shiny, silvery surface that is almost mirrorlike in its clarity when clean. It pops against dark colors and makes any bathroom look instantly updated.
- Brushed chrome: If you like the look of chrome but the surface is a bit too shiny for your tastes, brushed chrome is the perfect alternative. It tones down the shine with a lovely brushed finish. While it doesn’t have that mirrorlike surface, it’s generally easier to keep looking clean since small spots don’t show up as easily as they would on the stark shine of regular chrome.
- Nickel: Nickel has a slightly warmer look that chrome, so it’s great for bathrooms where you want to include those types of colors in your decor. There are gold undertones in most nickel faucets that help to bring in that warm tone. Polished nickel has a shiny finish while brushed nickel has a softer finish.
- Bronze: The deep, warm tones of a bronze faucet are a great choice if you want your spout and handles to pop against a light-colored sink surface. These dark-colored faucets are typically made with a traditional style that includes beautiful detailing and elegant curves.
- Black: Like regular chrome, black is a popular choice for very modern faucet styles. It looks clean and crisp and helps to retain a minimalist look in the bathroom. Like bronze, the dark color of a black faucet will stand out stylishly against the backdrop of a light-colored sink.
- Brass: Brass has a golden shine that instantly evokes a vintage look. If you’re trying to create a vintage-inspired style in your bathroom, brass is the way to go.
While we’ve mainly focused on the bathroom sink, we can’t overlook the other faucet you might have in your bathroom: the one in your tub. Some bathrooms won’t have a tub — either because they’re a half-bathroom or because they contain only a shower stall. But if you’ll be replacing the tub faucet as well as the sink faucet, here are some things you’ll want to keep in mind:
- Faucet style: Most homeowners opt to have matching faucets in the tub and sink, but that’s definitely not a requirement. However, if you choose two different styles, make sure you consider whether they’ll complement one another. Going with the same finish is a great way to tie things together.
- Faucet type: Certain types of bathtubs need certain types of faucets. For example, some use a diverter to divert the water flow to the shower head. There are also two main installation types (slip-on or threaded), so you should check to make sure you’re getting the right one.
- Faucet size: Like a sink faucet, you’ll also want to think about size when choosing your bathtub faucet. How high will it sit from the bottom of the tub? Will it be in your way when you’re bathing? Make sure to measure the space before selecting your faucet.
Choosing bathroom faucets is mostly about mounting, features, and style, which is why this guide can help lead you to the right one. But there are a few other things you might want to keep in mind when shopping for your bathroom faucet:
- Budget: Faucets can vary widely in price, so consider how much you can spend before shopping. If you can afford to spend a little more, you can often get a very high-quality faucet that is made from ultra-durable materials.
- Shower fixtures: If your bathroom will contain a shower, you might want to consider choosing faucet styles that won’t clash with the shower head or water controls in the shower.
- Cleaning products: Make sure you know which cleaning products are safe to use on your faucet’s finish. The manufacturer usually provides instructions explaining which cleaning solutions can be used without causing any damage to the finish.
Use this guide to simplify the process of picking a new faucet. It’s the first step on your way to a new and improved bathroom style.