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How To Choose The Perfect Bathroom Fixtures And Fittings

If you are planning to redesign your bathroom, you have probably spent a lot of time considering the wall and flooring materials and colour scheme. But what about the fixtures and fittings? There is so much choice available that it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are some top tips for selecting the right fixtures and fittings for your bathroom.

Fixture or Fitting?

The two terms are often used interchangeably, but it’s helpful to establish what the difference is between them. It’s simply that a fixture is a permanent part of the bathroom that cannot be easily changed. This generally means fixed items that are plumbed or wired in, such as the shower and shower screen wall channel, the sink, the bathtub, and the toilet.

Toilets, washbasins, and bidets are sometimes also referred to as sanitaryware, particularly if they are made of ceramic. However, the term can also be more widely applied to baths, showers, and items made from more modern materials such as acrylic. Just to add to the confusion, toilets, wash basins, baths, and bidets may be referred to as a bathroom suite.

Fixtures can also refer to brassware such as taps, towel rails, shower mixers, and so on, that are usually made of brass metal. This shouldn’t be confused with the finishing material, which is most commonly brushed or polished nickel but could be brushed chrome, brushed gold, unlacquered brass, matte black, or a range of other options. 

Fittings are the items that are more easily replaced because they do not incorporate plumbing or wiring. This includes items such as mirrors, freestanding vanity units or wall cabinets, and so on. It also includes toilet seats, shower curtains, toilet roll holders, soap dispenser, and any other easily detachable item.

While it’s not crucial to know the exact items covered under this terminology, it can be helpful when you are planning and shopping for a DIY renovation project. It’s also handy information if you are buying or selling a house, because in both cases it is necessary to list which fixtures and fittings are being sold with the property. 

Choosing fixtures and fittings

So now we’ve established exactly what’s what, how do you go about choosing the most suitable products for your bathroom? First, consider the overall style you are aiming for. Do you want a vintage vibe, a rustic bohemian feel, or a sleek and timeless look? 

The decision may depend on the overall style of your home. For example, if it’s a country cottage or a period home, then a vintage or rustic bathroom may work well with the rest of the interior decor. If you have a newer property then you may prefer the clean and minimalist look. 

There are no rules of course, and mixing contemporary and retro pieces together can also be very successful. However, if you are planning to sell the house within a few years, or you are renovating a rental or commercial property, it may be best to stick to a more timeless and neutral style.

Bath or shower?

One of the biggest dilemmas when planning a new bathroom can be whether to install a bath or a shower. Of course, it may be possible to include both a bathtub and a shower enclosure if you have enough space. However, the bathroom is often the smallest room in the house and a compromise needs to be made.

While the majority of people in the UK prefer the convenience of a bath over a shower, a bath is still a nice to have option for those long luxurious soaks. Families with young children or pets also appreciate the convenience and accessibility of a bathtub over a shower. The absence of a bath may mean that a property takes longer to sell, or even lowers its value.

Many people decide to compromise by installing a L shaped or P shaped bath, which has space to accommodate a shower at one end. Ultimately, it’s a question of personal preference and who will be using the bathroom both now and in the future. 

Some people decide to future proof their homes by installing a walk-in shower or even a wet room, ensuring that the bathroom will be fully accessible should the need arise. If you are going for this option, consider installing a glass shower screen to prevent the surrounding fixtures and fittings getting splashed every time you shower. 

Toilets

Choosing a toilet was once a very straightforward matter, but now there are a myriad of different designs available. The most common type of toilet in the UK is a close-coupled toilet with the cistern directly above the bowl. Modern versions tend to have a push-button or even motion detecting flush rather than a lever for convenience and hygiene.

Close-coupled toilets are available in sleek modern shapes or more traditional styles. They can also have extra height for people with mobility issues who find it difficult to lower and raise themselves from a standard sized toilet. 

For a space-saving and contemporary look, consider a back-to-the-wall or a wall-hung toilet. The cistern is concealed within the wall or within a fixed furniture unit to bring a sleek and minimalist look to the bathroom. However, they tend to be more costly and difficult to install than a standard toilet. 

Other useful features to look out for include dual flush, with a half or full flush option depending on whether there is liquid or solid waste to dispose of, which saves water. 

Mirrors

Bathroom mirrors are now available with high-tech features such as LED backlighting, built-in demisters, and even integrated digital clocks and communication apps. 

Storage

Last but not least, consider how much storage space you require. This will probably depend on how many people will be using the bathroom. If space is an issue, consider a vanity unit that is integrated with the wash basin, or wall-mounted glass shelves.

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