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Taps are the unsung workhorses of the bathroom. They ungrudgingly dispense water just when you want it, time and again, with no reward. But there’s so much more to taps. The right tap in the right place can absolutely make a good bathroom great. But it’s not straightforward, with a whole basinful of pros and cons to consider. Let’s get things flowing.
Things to consider before installing your tapware
So, you want to know about taps. Well, the first thing to know about taps is that you need to pick the right tap for the room. Of course you’ll want to know which taps are the best quality, but first of all you need to be sure that the look will work in your bathroom. Many’s the bathroom design that’s fallen at the tap hurdle, because there wasn’t enough care put into the choice to make sure it fits the decor.
So, that’s the first thing to consider. If you’re attempting a bathroom renovation, are you going for a trad look? Think about Victorian style taps (that’s the era, not the state). Something more modernist? Stark simple design is what you’re after. In fact, think about square design, which is very in at the moment. It’s hip to be square.
Other considerations include the following. Colour – is there a governing palette in the rest of the room? You don’t want to clash. Luckily, there’s a great range of colours nowadays for a good-looking tap to consider being seen in. Gone are the times when you could have any colour you like as long as it was chrome. There’s others including brass, gold, brushed copper, white and black (including a very fetching matte black look).
Something else to think about – size. No, size isn’t everything, but it is hugely significant in bathroom fittings. You could have an amazing pair of taps that look like they belong in a palace, but they’ll look pretty daft perched on a tiny wash basin. They might not even physically fit at all. So, as in all things, consider the environment before committing yourself to something you might regret.
Finally, consider whether you want a mixer tap or a pair of hot and cold numbers. There’s pros and cons to both designs – more than anything though it’s a case of what you prefer. Some people can’t get along with a mixer at all, while others think that to separate them out is a waste of space.
Right, now we know a little bit more about the types of taps you can get hold of, let’s look at the relative merits of some popular bathroom tapware suppliers.
Started in Adelaide in 1941, Caroma is one of the most well-known makes in Australia. In fact, so widespread are they that every Australian will probably have used a Caroma product at some point. Caroma taps boast terrific build quality. They’re tip top taps.
They regularly earn 5-star reviews for their durability, features and value for money. They’re reassuringly lead-free and the company has won many awards for sustainability and design.
This is a brand famous for value, and is now part of the Caroma Dorf stable. They don’t cost a packet but are still well made and robust. Warranty-backed for peace of mind, Clark manufacture a very wide range of products, with something to suit every bathroom.
Interestingly, the Clark people eschew the normal approach to naming their ranges. They favour functional names like the Round Square Tower Basic Mixer Tap. But what you lose in poetry, you gain in descriptive power.
If you want variety, try Harmony. They produce a tremendous range, from trad to ultra-modern. If you want to go retro, try the Enhance or Latilla ranges. If the future’s what you’re into, check out gorgeously minimalist Meno or appealingly blocky Rondo. It’s a very impressive roster of styles, with one of their most eye-catching being the Handel set. Sleek and refined, this spigot’s got the lot.
Designing outstanding tapware in Australia since 1989, Phoenix are responsible for some of the most striking three piece (mixer plus two controls) taps in the bathroom (and kitchen) business. Their range runs the gamut from the vintage looks of Nostalgia to the bathroom of tomorrow appeal of the iconic Ivy.
They have received numerous awards for their products, including scooping top gongs from Red Dot, Good Design and If Design. Phoenix takes design seriously, as seriously as it takes sustainability. On the subject of which, its head office in Victoria is largely solar-powered, scrap metal from production is sent for recycling and research is ongoing into greener metals for use in manufacturing. Packaging is fully recyclable, reusable and/or compostable, and the units themselves have water-saving features built-in.
Started in Australia twenty years ago, Stylus is now part of the Caroma Dorf family of tapware manufacturers. Stylus produces a range of high-end bathroom fittings that are used widely around the world. The company also manufactures low cost, reliable models, such as the enormously pleasing Cadet, which is a no-fuss range that will suit most bathroom settings.
All Stylus products are built to last and adhere to the relevant Australian standards such and come with WELS (Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards) certification.
So, which to choose?
There’s no one tap fits all, I’m afraid. And there’s no definitive answer to the question of which company is best for bathroom taps. For every bathroom setting, there’s a different tap range waiting to grace it. Sometimes, just sometimes, you might fall so head over heels in love with a particular tap design that it goes on to inspire the look for the whole bathroom. Something like the Vivid set from Harmony is such an arresting look that it’s easy to see how a bathroom could take shape around it. It might be overstating things to suggest that a bathroom can be a frame that offsets the tapware beautifully, but it’s certainly true that to some people, the tap is all.
Who can help you choose?
If you’d like to avail yourself of some seriously stylish tapware you can do no better than to head over to the folks at The Plumbing Store, Australia’s largest online plumbing retailer. They’re stuffed full of gear, from over twenty manufacturers, so they’re bound to have something to suit your tastes.
But that’s enough gushing. I’ll stop plugging them and leave you to go see these models for yourselves. No more bathroom comedy from me. The thing about a tap joke is that you should never faucet.