Selecting the right fittings for your desired look is one of the last things to be done when planning your bathroom, but it's also one of the most important. The right fittings can accentuate and lift your design in amazing ways, but the wrong ones can have the exact opposite effect. Fittings don’t just stop at taps and spouts either - there are also shower heads, towel rails, drains, soap dishes and electrical fittings that will all need to combine well to produce a cohesive visual and functional effect.
While the choices you’ll get to make here are largely aesthetic, there are also a lot of practical considerations which will need to come into play and it is best to know what these are before getting tied down to a particular style. Available space, positioning and waterproofing are all highly important and can determine what's most appropriate. Think carefully about how each of the different types of fittings will be used.
Taps and spouts
Taps and spouts are probably where the greatest innovation has been shown in recent years, with literally thousands of different tap setups available depending on your requirements. Graceful and elegant curved spouts sit right beside chunky, almost steel bar-like structures, old-fashioned Victorian era levers and futuristic LED studded mixer taps.
They can be bought as a set to cover your shower, bath and vanity needs (which makes matching them a breeze) - doing so is often a great way to make sure you've got good quality fittings at a great price. Sometimes, however, the best effects are found when they're bought separately, especially if you're absolutely set on a certain look. Once you’ve taken into consideration the practical aspects of where your taps will be located, the best idea is to get photos and measurements for the taps you like and envision them being set up in your bathroom.
Choosing a shower head will be less dependent on its appearance and more performance based, though it is still important that it looks good. You’ll need to think about the kind of shower you want to experience, who will be using it and how often. Pay close attention to the WELS rating as well; a decently water efficient shower head can save thousands of litres a year from being wasted, which can also translate into longer-term savings - especially when you account for the energy that's used to heat much of that water.
Selecting other incidental fittings like towel rails and soap dishes mostly comes down to what suits your chosen style, but even with these fittings there are a great many choices available. Consider the practical criteria, as well as where they'll be placed in relation to where you will sit, stand or lie, and where things like doors are. This will give you clues as to what other features you’ll need to look for and can save you time by eliminating possibilities that are not suitable.
Whatever you end up deciding, remember that for the most part, these fittings will be responsible for capping off your look - the polish on the apple, so to speak. Money doesn't always guarantee a better look, but often it'll ensure a higher quality of fittings, so choose wisely...