Choosing a Bathroom Basin without Getting that Sinking Feeling

Sometimes, the simplest tweak or upgrade will have an effect beyond your expectations. Replace the handles on your kitchen cupboards, or change the lighting in the lounge, and you’ll see for yourself. 

It’s the same with changing your bathroom basin. No need to get a whole new bath, shower and basin bathroom suite. Just get a new basin – it’ll freshen things up like you won’t believe. But wait – how do I choose the right basin? What type of bathroom basin is best? Don’t get into a lather. Stick a plug in it, read on and see. 


What do you need to consider when choosing a basin?

It will surprise none but the most unaesthetically-minded that you will have certain limitations on your basin choice, born of the room that it’s going into. If you have an old English style traditional scene going on in the bathroom, you’re unlikely to want to ruin the mood with a hyper-angular perspex ode to uber-modernity. 

So, you need to take into account the bathroom’s existing style. Yes, contrast can work, but needs to be handled with care. One person’s bold juxtaposition is another person’s ‘oh, shame you couldn’t find something to match’.  So, at least take a quick recce at what you’ve already got, then think about what might complement it. It doesn’t have to be an identical match. But it does have to live happily there. Or it won’t wash. 

Colour’s an obvious case in point here. A blue-themed bathroom will not usually throw a big welcome party for an avocado coloured sink. If you don’t want to have yet another blue thing in there, consider using a colour wheel to find a shade that might work among the azure. Some of the best bathrooms include adventurous colour ideas. 

Size is a biggie – no point getting a colossal rococo bathroom sink that might look at home in the Hermitage if the bathroom’s more of a hermit hutch. You can get great small vanity basin designs, so no need to go all bullish with your bathroom basin. Think about shape too. You don’t have to stick with a round basin if you care for square or long for oblong. 

Height tends to be standard. The figure for vanity height Australia sticks with is around 81cm. Don’t go too much higher or lower than this. 

Finally, consider what you’re going to do about your taps. Taps can be transformative. Stick a couple of belters on an average sink and be ready for a gush of good looks. One word of advice – the received wisdom is for all taps in a bathroom to match. In other words, your basin and bath should be speaking the same faucet language. The internet features a cornucopia of tapware, including filter and non-filter varieties, to get your ideas flowing. 


What are the different types of basins?

Surely a basin is a basin is a basin, right? Oh no, my innocent chum. There are in fact eight different types, for different needs. Wait, eight? Don’t worry – we’ll be brief. Which type of basin is best? Depends on the design in which it will sit. Let’s have a quick look at that ogle-worthy octet of basin designs.

  1. Top-mount

Among the most popular vanity sinks for bathroom use. Sits on a bench, with most of the sink dropped-in. Advantages – they can go with most benchtops and are relatively cheap to install. Disadvantages – the lip prevents easy wipe of spills from bench into basin. 

  1. Undermount

Bathroom undermount sinks sit underneath the benchtop (with a hole cut in the benchtop for access. Otherwise you’d have a disappointingly dry basin experience). Advantages – seamless, clean look and spills are easily dealt with. Disadvantages – an undermount bathroom sink can only be used with solid benches; laminate ones can’t be moisture-proofed once they’re cut into. 

  1. Pedestal

Stands on its own pillar, that contains the waste water outlet into the piping in the floor. Advantages – aesthetically pleasing, conventionally appealing. Sometimes, traditional is best when it comes to great basin designs. Disadvantages – no storage underneath and can be a little awkward to clean around. 

  1. Wall-mounted

Fixes to the wall so not resting on a bench or a pedestal. Advantages – creates feeling of space and very easy to clean. Disadvantages – no storage included underneath. 

  1. Semi-recessed

Mounted into the top of a cabinet, but sticks out at the front and the top. Advantages – affords storage space without the cabinet having to be so deep that it takes over the bathroom. Disadvantages – difficult to clean up spills onto the top of the cabinet. 

  1. Washplane

If yours is a modern sink bathroom, look no further. A horizontal surface made of porcelain, metal or glass, with the shallowest of dips in it, which funnels the water into a trough underneath, from where it’s directed down the plughole. Advantages – streamlined, futuristic vibe can work very well with minimalist bathrooms. Disadvantages – they won’t allow for that sinkful of hot soapy water that’s sometimes absolutely essential. 

  1. Vessel

Among the most arresting counter top basins. Basically, a pot on a bench with a plughole and plug. Advantages – can look very striking. Disadvantages – a cleaner’s nightmare. 

  1. All-in-one

Countertop vanity basins: moulded benchtop with integral basin. Advantages – a delight to clean. No joins or awkward bits – you’ll be fighting over the scourer. Disadvantages – no flat surface as the entire benchtop is contoured downward towards the plughole. Watch where those contacts go. 

There, that’s all eight. But in reality there are even more. We haven’t even mentioned the ultra-compact toilet top sink, for instance. 


Which one is right for you?

It all depends on the type of bathroom it’s for. Top-mount’s good for elegance, under-mount’s good for families, pedestals are good for traditional looks, wall-mounted’s good for small spaces, semi-recessed gives a beauty parlour look, washplanes are good for cloakrooms (and sci-fi dramas), vessels are great for statements, and all-in-ones will appeal to renovators who want an instant solution.

You might be thinking to yourself that you don’t want to have to replace your basin very often, so you’re asking what type of bathroom sink is most durable? These three are all mega hardwearing: porcelain, enamel and stainless steel. Which one you opt for is down to personal taste.


Where can you purchase your basin?

There are suppliers of basins all over the place, but one of the widest ranges can be found at The Plumbing Store

Basins and taps are not the end of it – The Plumbing Store’s got everything (yes, including the kitchen sink) your bathroom, kitchen and utility room have been crying out for, and the prices are low so you won’t have to splash out.  They won’t be a drain on your finances. Alright, alright, that’s it for the puns. No more in the pipeline.

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