Plumbing fixtures are an essential element of both kitchen and bath designs. The right choice of fixtures can set the tone for your design, but they must balance both decorative and functional purposes. It’s like choosing a watch to go with an outfit, as you want it to suit your style but also work properly. Faucets, showerheads, sinks, and tubs pull a design together but must also meet your requirements in terms of budget, practicality, and aesthetic.
With so many options available, the task of choosing plumbing fixtures can be a daunting one. At Guthrie Kitchen & Bath Plus, LLC, our team of professional kitchen and bathroom design experts can help you through this product selection process. Here’s our guide to choosing the right plumbing fixtures for your kitchen or bath remodel.
Whether you’re remodeling for the first time, or you’ve renovated several homes, you probably have a good idea of how you currently use plumbing fixtures. Your fixture preferences depend on how you utilize them, so carefully examine your requirements to help focus your choices.
- Do you prefer a practical, single handle kitchen faucet to a vintage cross handle one, as food prep is a busy time in your house? Do you need another sink in your mudroom or beverage bar?
- Would you like a separate shower and tub or a combination?
- How much space do you have and what is your home’s water capacity? When choosing tubs you must consider the size of your space and the capacity of both your water heater and floor.
- Are you an empty nester or do you have a busy family? This can influence everything from your kitchen sink style to your shower set up. For example, if more than one person showers at a time, it requires different shower heads at different heights.
- What style is your space? Are you going for a simple, contemporary style or a more ornate traditional style? Custom finishes such as matte brass, polished nickel, or antique copper, are more expensive so you must account for this in your budget if this is essential to your design aesthetic.
Once you have a budget for plumbing fixtures, a kitchen or bath design expert can help you achieve the style and functionality you want without breaking the bank.
GET PROFESSIONAL HELP
An experienced designer can provide insight and expertise on everything from code compliance to the best layout to maximize your space. They can find a solution to any problems in the plan for your kitchen or bath remodel. This ensures that your plumbing fixtures match your functional needs as well as being design elements. Involving a designer means you avoid the pitfalls of unauthenticated products online as they deal directly with a reputable supplier. A design expert checks that your plumbing fixtures are of a high enough quality to prevent imminent repair or replacing, and they can advise on the product warranty available for repairs or replacement. Working with a designer lets you get better value for your budget dollars as they can help you identify the best products (and alternatives) available within your budget range.
CHOOSE A STYLE
What type of style do you want for your new kitchen or bathroom design? Do you like a farmhouse, industrial or rustic look? Plumbing fixtures come in a whole range of styles, materials and finishes to enhance the aesthetic of your bathroom or kitchen remodel. Selecting the right fixtures pulls your design together and enhances both form and function.
Kitchen sinks come in a wide variety of options. Budget-friendly stainless-steel sinks can be top or undermount. If you want to move up the scale and go for a more unique look, then consider enamel or cast iron. Deeper sinks, like a large farmhouse model, are great for busy households where you need to wash large pots and pans, and today’s apron front sinks look amazing and come in an array of styles fit any kitchen design.
If you do a lot of food prep and cooking, particularly if you like to entertain, then you should consider a multi-functional workstation sink. At Guthrie, we carry the Galley Ideal Kitchen Workstation, which is a complete culinary system. It lets you prep, cook, serve, entertain, and clean up in one central area. The Galley comes in a range of sizes, styles, materials, and configurations, with a selection of accessories in black, white or bamboo. Convenience and high-end design combine to make the Galley Workstation a multi-functional hero for your kitchen design.
Faucets essentially deliver water to your sink, so what makes them so different from each other? The key to understanding different grades of faucet is down to their material, finishes, style, and extra features. A standard faucet has a lever that simply controls the water’s flow and temperature. It usually comes in chrome or polished nickel and might have a pull-down feature. A more expensive option has more materials and finishes, such as brushed stainless steel or brass with features like motion or touch sensors. Luxury faucets can be as minimal or ornate as you like, in finishes such as oil rubbed bronze or matte black. Their internal components are made from long-lasting metal, so they can be good value for money as they have a longer lifespan. They usually have many features, including options like an additional boiling or carbonated water supply.
The most cost-effective bathroom sinks are under or top-mount stainless steel in an oval shape. Although stainless sinks have not been a common feature in bathroom design, they are becoming more popular due to their modern look and easy maintenance. Moving up a notch are undermount sinks in elegant materials like enamel or porcelain, while higher-end sinks come in a range of unusual materials such as concrete or natural stone. Some, such as hammered copper or stylized glass, incorporate unusual finishes for either an antique or contemporary look. Countertop vessel sinks are particularly stylish and are perfect for creating a minimalist, spa style bath design. They do require more maintenance as you must clean around them, so they tend to be used in powder rooms or less used guest bathrooms.
Like kitchen faucets, bathroom faucets can be as basic or as sophisticated as you want and come in a wide range of budget options. Chrome or brushed nickel in single handle levers are a good place to start. Brushed finishes are more forgiving of fingerprints or water spots, so they are an ideal choice for a busy bathroom design. If you’d like to spend a little more, then try double handles in a style to suit your bath design or upgrade again to a higher-end model that has top quality internal parts that last longer. Bronze, brass, gold and matte or gloss colors are all available to set the right tone for your bath remodel. Gold is on trend for a stylish accent in an all-white bath design or to accent bold blue cabinetry. If you want to go for an eclectic look, try the current trend that combines seemingly incongruous finishes and fixtures. Why not consider an old-world finish on a modern faucet shape, for example? To keep your design pulled-together opt for similar metals with different finishes, or vice versa.
There are many different types of bathtubs and different installation types. Which one you choose largely depends on your available space, your budget, and how you will use it. Here are a few of the choices for today’s bathroom designs:
- Alcove bathtubs are the most popular type in the U.S. and can incorporate a shower in a smaller bathroom design or have a separate shower in a larger bathroom.
- Corner tubs can have a rounded or angular side.
- Drop-in tubs can be set into an alcove, a corner, or sunk into the floor.
- Freestanding tubs can be intricate and clawfoot, large and bowl-like, or neat and flat bottomed, which are increasingly on trend.
- Walk-in tubs have doors and safety bars. They are designed for mobility-impaired people and can be installed as a tub and shower combo.
- Garden tubs are large, freestanding tubs where space isn’t an issue. They are a luxurious soaking option and can be reached with steps or lowered into the floor.
- All these tubs can be equipped with whirlpool or air jets included for hydro massage.
The bathtub material you select determines its price, durability, and maintenance. Here are the main tub materials available today:
- Lightweight plastic tubs offer many design possibilities, insulate well and are inexpensive but not very durable.
- Porcelain-enameled cast iron or steel tubs are heavy but hard wearing. They are both expensive but cast iron more so.
- Proprietary composites are a new idea that combines heavy gauge steel, porcelain, enamel, or resins which give the strengths of cast iron but with much less weight.
- Cast polymers mimic granite or marble and can come in a solid color. These tubs are durable and stain resistant but can develop cracks, which are hard to repair.
Specialty bathtub materials such as copper, wood and natural stone can be custom made for a luxe bath design.
A tub filler is a large faucet designed to fill up a bathtub as quickly as possible. A regular sink faucet has internal flow restrictions, meaning that the water in the tub would be cold by the time it’s full. The type of tub you have depends on which tub filler would work. Alcove and drop-in tubs need wall or deck-mounted faucets, whereas a freestanding tub can have an elegant floor-mounted faucet in the position of your choice. Keep remodeling costs down by using existing plumbing connections but make sure the filler is in the right place for the tub. Its position changes the way your tub looks as well as how you use it. The filler should extend into the tub at the correct distance and its controls should be easily accessible from inside and outside the tub. With a slipper tub, for example, place the filler at the lower end so you can recline comfortably. Like any faucets, tub fillers come in a selection of styles and finishes to complement your bath design.
When choosing a shower fixture, you have the option to go for a basic model or include multiple features. Standard showers have single diverters with fixed shower heads. You can also include handheld shower heads that are height adjustable and removable. Spray jets, waterfall shower heads and hi-tech options offer a luxury shower experience but increase your budget. Digital temperature settings let you program water to your ideal temperature, meaning it won’t get too hot or cold while you’re in there. Or you can go really high tech with voice-activated controls. The amount you spend dictates the quality of the internal components, and therefore the longevity, as well as the features and finish of the fixture. While high end gold or matte black is in style for luxe showers, brushed nickel has overtaken chrome for a soft finish that hides fingerprints.
Choosing the right plumbing fixtures for your kitchen or bath design makes a huge difference to the style and functionality of your design. Think about how you currently use your bathroom and what you’d like to improve. Once you have assessed your needs, contact a kitchen and bathroom design professional. At Guthrie’s Kitchen & Bath Plus, LLC, we can source and install quality fixtures and plan your entire design. We listen to you and recommend both classic solutions and current trends that would work for your home. Contact us today to discuss your dream bath or kitchen design.