Showers & Bathrooms


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 Bathroom Fixtures & Fittings - Defining Your Bathroom’s New Image

The choice of bathroom fixtures available these days is extensive – there’s something for all tastes and budgets.  For instance, as well as standard baths, there are corner tubs and the option of whirlpool features.  There are pedestal, wall mounted and vanity sinks.  Showers can have a curtain, a screen or a door.  And faucets come in a huge variety of styles to add those finishing touches.  Your bathroom fixtures can have a great impact on the look and feel of the whole room. It is important to choose the most appropriate fixtures and fittings for your bathroom's design. Bathroom fixtures must be installed with safety and convenience in mind. They can also add to the ambiance of your room.

Decide what look you want to create in your bathroom, be that period and traditional or sleek and contemporary, and select your suite and taps accordingly.  Think carefully about the color of your suite, as well as the style, as your suite will take up a large area of your room and an inappropriate color will influence the appearance of the whole bathroom.  Light colors are popular as they help to create an impression of space in small-sized bathrooms.  You can also add darker colors to your suite in your choice of bath panel or toilet seat.


As well as coming in a range of sizes, bath tubs are made from a range of materials.  Cast iron and pressed steel are durable and designed to withstand a lot of use, which is why you often find them in hotels.  They don’t creak, but they are heavy and more expensive than lightweight acrylic or fiberglass baths.  Acrylic and fiberglass are good at retaining the heat of the hot water, but can become scratched fairly easily. 

Baths come in a choice of shapes too, such as long, short, oval or corner tubs.  Unless you opt for a freestanding old-fashioned style tub, such as one with clawfeet, you’ll need to get a side panel, and possibly an end panel too, depending on the location of your bath.  Most modern baths come with handgrips on each side for safer access for users, and a non-slip surface is another feature worth considering, especially if you’re going to have a shower above the bath.


If your sink is going to be used for all sorts of things, from cleaning your teeth to shaving or washing hair, it’s best to go for as large a size as your bathroom can sensibly accommodate.  Alternatively, if your sink is mainly for washing hands, such as in a separate loo, a small one would be suitable.  There are various styles of bathroom sinks to choose from.  Pedestal sinks are common, as they look neat and conceal the waste and water pipes.  Wall hung sinks have the advantage of leaving more floor space, but leave the pipes visible.  A sink sunk into a bathroom vanity cabinet is another option, which is great for maximizing the use of the space in your room, as it enables you to store toiletries, towels and other items so they are not on view all the time.


Most lavatory bowls are made from vitreous china, which is a good choice in terms of durability, hygiene and looks.  They come in a selection of sizes and have either a high level, low level or close coupled cistern.  A close coupled cistern is where the cistern is attached to the toilet to form a single unit.  Cisterns are mounted onto the wall behind the toilet.  Some can be hidden behind a false wall or paneling.  If you’re concerned about the sound of your toilet flushing being heard in neighboring bedrooms, such as if you have an ensuite, you may want to opt for a syphonic action system, which is quieter than standard washdown system.  Syphonic systems are only available with close coupled cisterns.


If your existing bathroom only has a bath, adding a shower is an option well worth considering.  It’s nice to be able to have a choice between taking a quick shower or having a long soak in the tub.  Showers are also good for saving water, as having a shower uses on average only a quarter of the amount of water it takes to fill a bath.  This saves you time when you’ve got to get to work on time and should reduce your water bill if your water use is metered.  The simplest option, particularly in smaller bathrooms where floor space is limited, is to install a shower over the bath.  If you’re fortunate enough to have a large bathroom, a separate shower stall can add a touch of grandeur to your bathroom.

There are several different types of over the bath showers, and it’s worth speaking to a plumber to determine which would be the best option with your particular plumbing system.  You could opt for mixer taps attached to the bath, which use water from the hot water system.  Depending on the pressure of your water, you may need to install an electric pump to provide the shower with sufficient power.  It’s not quite so easy to control the temperature with mixer taps.  For instance, there’s a risk of the water suddenly becoming too hot if cold water is drawn away from the shower, such as if someone runs a cold tap in the kitchen or flushes the downstairs loo.

Another option is an electric power shower, which uses electricity to heat water directly from the mains cold water system.  The pressure of the mains water should be sufficiently powerful without the need for a pump, and this kind of shower is thermostatically controlled, so it’s easier to get the desired temperature.  Another advantage of an electric shower is that it heats the water instantaneously, so you don’t need to wait for the water in your tank to heat up.

Of course, if you decide to add a shower above your bath, you’ll need to put up some kind of curtain or screen to act as a barrier to prevent water spraying out into the surrounding room.  A plastic or polyester shower curtain is the cheapest and easiest option, and can be easily hung up from a tension shower curtain rod, with no need for any drilling.  Curtains are good for adding a touch of color or pattern to your bathroom.  Glass sliding shower doors or screens are a more expensive, but longer lasting, alternative.

If you decide to go for a separate shower enclosure, there are various styles and materials to choose from.  Shower stalls are made from tempered glass, plastic or styrene.  The trays are made from steel, acrylic, cast iron or fiberglass.  You’ll need to make sure you seal your shower stall and tray carefully, to ensure there is no chance of leaks.  With a shower cubicle you could even select a multi spray design that sprays jets of water from several different directions, for a really invigorating shower.

Whirlpool Baths

For a really luxurious addition to your bathroom, you could install a “Jacuzzi” whirlpool bath.  The jets of water provide soothing hydrotherapy to massage the body, relieve various aches and pains, and boost circulation.  This type of bath will require both a hot and cold water supply and a 13amp fuse spur.  If the water pressure is weak, you may also need to install a booster pump.


Faucets come in a wide selection of styles, colors and finishes, including gold, brass and chrome.  Sink and bath faucets can incorporate plungers for opening and closing the plughole.  Mixer faucets that allow you to mix hot and cold water to achieve your preferred temperature are available in both single lever and traditional designs.  When choosing your faucets, remember to take into account the needs of your bathroom’s users.  For instance, an elderly person may find it easier to operate the faucets if they have special fittings.  Decide on your bathroom’s new style before your purchase your faucets, and make sure whatever style of fittings you select is compatible with the style of your suite.