When renovating your bathroom, the multitude of fixtures available can quickly become overwhelming. What seems like a straightforward purchase of a toilet and shower head becomes far more complicated when you see how many options are available. A general rule to follow is to keep functionality in mind as much as style. Classic styles work better for hard to swap items, like toilets and shower surround, and trendy choices work better for items that are easier to change, like faucets and shower heads.
The toilet is arguably the most used fixture in the bathroom. Choosing a toilet should take ease of use and maintenance into account. Choose a finish that resists stains to make it easy to clean. Toilet heights can vary, so keep in mind that people with limited mobility generally find taller toilets easier to use but small children benefit from shorter ones. Bidets are popular in Europe but having a separate fixture takes up extra space. A solution to this dilemma is an add on to a conventional toilet, which are readily available and can be easily installed by the average homeowner.
Bathtub or shower?
When deciding on whether to install a bathtub or a stand alone shower, the most important thing to consider is who will be using it. Tubs are good for families with small children and those who like stress reducing soaks. Showers are easier for older people or people who have trouble stepping up over a tub wall. Another thing to consider is the different framing needed for each. A full bathtub, especially one made from a heavy material like cast iron, needs to have beefed up framing under it compared to a lightweight shower pan that will never have more than a shallow layer of water at the bottom.
Whether you have decided on a stand alone shower or a bathtub/shower combination, you need to choose a shower head. Functionality should be the top concern when choosing a shower head. Trendy rainfall shower heads are popular because they are relaxing but they do not provide a lot of pressure, making them less than ideal for cleaning and rinsing and they lack any sort of massage function. Handheld shower heads offer a lot of versatility for not only varying water pressure but also for adjusting to various height users. They also come in handy for cleaning the shower and for washing children or pets.
Sinks and vanities
Choosing a vanity with its sink and faucet is probably the most fun part of choosing bathroom fixtures. The vanity is not only functional but sets the style of the bathroom. When trying to settle on these items, it is important to choose the vanity and sink before picking out a faucet. Many vanities come with predrilled holes for the faucet and knobs that will eliminate some choices. When in doubt, choose a vanity with either no holes or a single hole because additional holes can be drilled but existing holes cannot be covered up.
Faucets are generally the easiest fixture to change in a bathroom, so this is the place to go with a trendier style and finish if you want to. Keep in mind when choosing a finish that they all behave differently with water. Polished chrome will show more water spots but looks bright and bold. Brushed finishes can look duller but will also disguise the inevitable water spots. Copper is trendy but copper plus water equals a green patina without maintenance.
Whatever fixtures you choose for your bathroom, remember that they should fit your lifestyle and needs. Ease of use, functionality, and necessary upkeep should guide your decisions in choosing the best fixtures for your home.