How to choose taps for your bathroom

Adding new tapware can instantly transform any bathroom. Here’s what you need to know about how to choose taps for your bathroom.

Switching tapware can make a big difference

Whether you want to enhance a plain palette, up the luxe factor or give a tired bathroom a fresh look, switching tapware can make a big difference. From moody black to warm metallic and brushed rose to classic chrome, there are lots of styles to covet.

A renovation can give you a blank canvas to explore new looks and tapware positions, but if you’re planning a simple retrofit, it’s best to stick to a similar tapware style and positioning. If your heart is set on switching from a countertop mixer to wall-mounted fixtures, you will need to factor in the cost of a new vanity top, retiling and plumbing.

The latest looks

These days, there’s a plethora of tap and sink styles to suit your bathroom and one of the most popular is mixing curved and square shapes. “A soft square design has greater versatility, as it can complement both round and square aesthetics in the bathroom,” says Methven brand manager Nick Swan. With a move towards minimalist style, petite taps are also on trend. Chrome is a timeless choice, followed by matt black, with graphite and gunmetal growing in demand as a mid-tone between the two. “Brushed finishes are also sought after, as it adds another layer of subtle texture,” says Nick.

bathroom
Pair a freestanding bath with floor-mounted tapware to create a luxe spa-retreat look.

Statement selections

A high-rise or vessel basin mixer paired with a countertop basin can deliver amazing wow factor. “It also gives you the opportunity to get creative with tapware placement,” says Nick. “Traditionally the tap would be placed at the back of the basin, however, with a high-rise/vessel mixer you can place it to the side.” Wall-mounted basin tapware can also make a statement and has the added benefit of freeing up countertop space, ideal if your bathroom is on the small side.

bathroom
Minimalist designs in metallic and chrome finishes pair with everything and don’t date.

Compatible combos

Not all tapware and basins will work together. One of the main things to consider is tapware spout length in relation to the basin to keep splashing to a minimum. “Ideally, water should be directed towards the drain,” says Nick. As it can be tricky getting the combination just right, he recommends looking for mixers and spouts with adjustable stream aerators. “These allow an extra bit of direction control to reduce the chance of splashing.”

The same applies when choosing tapware for the bath, explains Caroma industrial designer Luke Di Michiel, who suggests selecting an outlet long enough to fill the bath without affecting comfort or access. Integrated (inset or back-to-wall) baths usually require wall-mounted fittings.

Once you’ve chosen your tapware, stick to one look and keep it consistent across the shower, bath and basin, says Luke. Matching tapware helps to create a cohesive feel. Bold tapware colours and combinations, such as black, gunmetal, rose gold and brass, can create a more luxurious environment. Wall-mounted tapware is a great way to keep your vanity bench clear, pair a freestanding bath with floor-mounted tapware to create a luxe spa-retreat look. Minimalist designs in metallic and chrome finishes pair with everything and don’t date.

Tip: The Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme uses a rating system to help you make informed choices about water-using products. The more stars, (a maximum of six), the more water efficient. A one-star tap uses about 12-16 litres per minute, while a six-star tap uses fewer than 4.5.

Types of taps

The two main types of taps are mixer taps and separate hot and cold taps. Both are available as a set with the spout included or as a separate tap and spout. Both taps can all be used for the basin, shower or bath and are often available in the same style for different applications, or you can mix and match.

When it comes to choosing taps for your bathroom, you need to consider your existing plumbing, where the taps will be installed and how they’ll be used.

Mixer taps

Single lever mixer taps combine your hot and cold water. They allow you to set the temperature you want by moving the lever from one side to the other.

Mixer taps are known as wall mounted taps because the plumbing fittings are set into the wall behind tiles or a splashback. Replacing a mixer tap usually requires some renovation work to put back tiles that have to be removed for access.

Separate hot and cold taps

An alternative to mixer taps, separate hot and cold taps feature two tap handles to control the water temperature through their own spout.

These taps are described as wall top assemblies because the plumbing fittings sit on top (or in front) of the wall and tiles or splashback. This makes them easier to replace as the plumbing fittings are easier to access. If you’re replacing taps, keep an eye on the size of the hole in the tiles behind the existing taps—you’ll want to make sure the new taps you choose will cover that hole.

Know your tapware names

When searching online for the bathroom taps, we can make it easy to narrow down your search. For mixer taps, try searching for “wall mounted mixer” or for separate hot and cold taps, search for “wall top assembly”.

If you’re going to fit basin taps to the basin itself, try searching for “hob mounted taps”. If you’re planning a free-standing basin on top of your vanity, search for “vessel mixer taps” or “hi-rise mixer taps”.

These terms are also helpful when discussing taps with a Bunnings Team Member in-store. If you’re not sure which is the right term for the tap you’re looking for, just tell us in your own words.

Plan your bathroom design before you shop for taps

Consider your tap choices when planning your bathroom design and before you make any plumbing purchases. Creating a mood or vision board will ensure your tapware isn’t an afterthought. This way you can be sure the taps you install at the end match the tiles you installed at the start. 

We recommend using a licensed plumber for all plumbing jobs for your safety and to preserve the warranty of your plumbing purchases.

Update your tapware

Discover the wide range of bathroom tapware available at your local Bunnings Warehouse.


Photo credit: GAP Interiors,Bureaux, Getty Images, Costas Piscadas

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