When it comes to the humble water tap, we’ve never had so much choice. This essential, functional object is often overlooked.
But to do so is to miss a design trick, as an oversized spout, a striking colour or an unusual finish can lend a contemporary edge to a bathroom or kitchen with minimal effort.
‘It’s easy to get into a tap rut of chrome,’ says interior designer Rita Konig. ‘But I think taps are a great way to up your look. You can get away with paying less for your bath and basin if you invest in good taps.’
Splash out: Piccadilly slipper bath, £499, Freestanding mixer tap, £129.99, Bathroom Mountain
A small touch can make a big difference as anyone who has washed their hands under the swan taps at the Ritz in Paris will concur. The first decision to make when beginning your tap design journey is whether to go classic or contemporary.
A touch of class
Classic brassware undoubtedly adds a touch of class to a bathroom or kitchen and is still popular.
Pillar taps are for diehard traditionalists: the designs lend themselves to small basins so they can still be found in cloakrooms.
The Burlington Claremont chrome 3 in basin taps CL1 have traditional crossheads (that’s the cross handle you twist) and are good quality and reasonable (£109.88, victorianplumbing.co.uk).
Purists can purchase original vintage taps from waterandwood.co.uk where a pair of large brass bath taps is about £245.
Classic designs can be cleverly incorporated in modern ways. The black ceramic handles on Catchpole & Rye’s polished brass wall mounted swan basin mixer with La Fontaine taphead feel luxurious and bling (£696); and the fabulous Lefroy Brooks Belle Air bath mixer in chrome are inspired by 1950s American automobiles.
The mixer crosshead taps, with ceramic finish and elegant telephone receiver-shaped showerhead, are still a design classic.
Crosswater’s Belgravia crosshead bath shower mixer kit BL42DDC, in chrome or unlacquered brass are a safe option (from £430, victorianplumbing.co.uk).
The trend for brass and copper taps is running through to the kitchen where it can be mixed with dark granite or light quartz.
You can’t beat a swan neck for elegance; try the Fortuna Bronze tap from Wren Kitchens (£159, wrenkitchens.com) or the Butler & Rose Elizabeth twin lever traditional mono kitchen mixer in antique copper (£99.99, tapwarehouse.com).
Neptune’s Bamburgh chrome and enamel swan-necked kitchen tap is a smart choice for those not embracing the copper trend (£220, neptune.com).
Straying from the traditional shape and colour of taps is a great way to jazz things up.
‘Minimalist matte black taps are growing in popularity for those who are looking for a sleek modern feel,’ says Darren Watts, design director of Wren Kitchens.
A matt black tap paired with a stainless-steel sink will pack a punch (Perla Black tap £139, wrenkitchens.com).
The king of coloured taps is Danish brand Vola, which has an array of 27 shades. Team the pink 590V-25 deck mounted mixer and a fun bowl to brighten up a guest loo (£914.40, en.vola.com).
Pretty in pink: The Vola 590V tap and bowl from Denmark adds a very colourful twist
Wall-mounted taps are increasingly popular in kitchens and bathrooms as they free up space.
The two-handled Arezzo brass, wall-mounted 3TH bath tap looks fab on blush-pink tiles (£169, victorian plumbing.co.uk).
A high-end industrial design aesthetic can be achieved with a four-hole deck-mounted set such as Grohe’s Essence single-lever bath mixer in warm sunset (£1,332.92, grohe.co.uk).
A more feminine twist can be created with West One Bathroom’s brushed brass 5th Avenue industrial 3-hole wall-mounted basin mixer (£792, westonebathrooms.com).
The monobloc tap, where everything is incorporated in one tap and all you do is lift and twist, is in demand. Orchard Derwent’s water basin mixer sends the water out in a waterfall (£31.99, victoriaplum.com).
Lusso Luxe’s silk matt white monobloc mixer tap looks striking when teamed with dark colours (£140, lussostone.com).
For those with deep pockets the latest kitchen trend is the boiling water tap, which provides instant hot water.
Quooker’s Fusion Square is a square tap (from £1,350, quooker.co.uk). A cheaper option is the matt black swan-necked Vellamo Cappa 3-in-1 (£629, tap warehouse.com).
The quest for the perfect tap is not difficult; finding a compliant plumber however may be more of a challenge…