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A Professional Guide to Tap Styles and Colours

tap styles and colours

Deciding on a kitchen or bathroom design is always a tricky challenge. With so many elements to consider, where do you even start? One place is with your tapware selections.

By piecing together what type of fixtures you’re after and their colour/finish, you’re on the way to success. And with this handy guide from Jim’s Plumbing, you can kick start the journey today.

This is a one-stop-shop for the start of an exciting design process. Use our guide to tap styles and colours to enhance future research and the shopping experience.

Fixture Fun: Common Types of Tapware

The perfect faucet and tap are dependent on what your needs are. For example, a mixer tap provides convenience with an all-in-one fixture, but that may not fit with the overall style you’re after.

Therefore, a traditional three-piece fitting is probably best. This is where the balance of style, functionality and practicality all intercept. So, let’s take a look at what’s available with the most common types of tapware on the market.

Mixer Taps

Undeniably the most common modern fixture, mixer taps have simplified the way we live. Sure, it’s on a small scale, but the convenience of one handle on a faucet is glorious. There’s no need to worry about hot and cold taps because it’s an all-in-one control.

Maintenance is also reduced as there are no washers wearing out frequently. Instead, there’s a cartridge that requires occasional replacement, but not on a high frequency.

Mixer taps are perfect for any sink or basin, plus the bathtub and shower. With a variety of shapes and sizes, suck as gooseneck taps, you can always go low profile, or premium. Wall-mounted options offer some extra installation versatility, too.

Flexible Pull Out Taps

Also known as pulldown or flexible/flexi hose mixer taps, pull out taps have a long retractable hose that’s perfect for washing dishes up close.

Having evolved from professional pull out taps found in commercial kitchens, you can enjoy flexible ease of use in your own home. Pull out mixer taps are great for large kitchen sinks where you want extra reach for cleaning.

There are also variations on the flexible hose, including spring-loaded pull out taps. A high-resistance spring provides long term durability.

Three-piece tap sets

Traditional three-piece tapware sets come with the faucet and separate hot and cold taps. There’s no mystery, but plenty of independence and class.

Variety is the key strength as a three-piece or three hole tap can go with any style. That’s because there are countless styles on the market for bathrooms and kitchens of all eras.

Replacement parts are always readily available, so maintenance is often quick and easy. 

Spray Taps

In terms of spray taps, there are some slight differences between regular mixer taps and pull outs. The key function is the nozzle or spout, which has adjustable water flow and pressure options. 

The spout is the only part of the tap that can be moved, unlike the full flexi hose on a pull out mixer tap. Still, the spray options allow for a more direct rinse and clean in the kitchen.

It’s a quality option if you’re after a versatile mixer tap.

Laundry Arm Taps

Moving to the often forgotten laundry, nothing is more convenient than the reach of a telescopic laundry arm tap. As the name suggests, these taps are only found in laundry troughs.

Some versions are completely horizontal while others have a curve. The joint in the tap allows for additional reach and retractability. It’s a super convenient way to keep the faucet out of the way when using the sink.

Bath Spouts and Shower Tap Sets

If you’re looking for a complete design trend throughout your home, don’t forget the bathtub and shower. Bath spouts offer more versatility and creativity, if you choose, while showerheads come in a vast array of styles. It’s important to recognise how everything will tie together.

There are three major bathtub spout varieties: the more traditional round spout, a bolder square spout, or captivating waterfall spouts.

Each design delivers the same outcome, it just depends on what your personal preference is.

Showers, meanwhile, include the likes of waterfall showerheads, rain showers, detachable handheld showerheads, and more. This is where you definitely have to consider and acknowledge practicality plus style.

Appealing Aesthetics: Tapware Colours

Once you know what you want in a tap, it’s time to think about how it blends in with your overall style. Your tapware could truly be the bright spot that ties together an entire bathroom or kitchen.

The key part is that the ultimate decision rests on your shoulders. You could go all out with a copper faucet and matching sink, or stay subtle with a subdued matte black fixture. Whatever you choose, it benefits to be fully aware of what’s on the market first.

Matte Black Tapware

When you want a serious, bold statement piece in a modern bathroom or kitchen, go for a matte black finish. It’s a colour that has proven it is far more than a passing trend.

Matte black tapware has evolved into one of the most popular styles thanks to its ability to both contrast and blend. It’s perfect for a vast array of design aesthetics, including industrial, modern or Hamptons. Black accentuates natural materials such as marble or stone while complementing other black fittings such as windows, tiles and cabinets.

Pricing is always competitive and affordable alongside similar products, too. Fingerprints are often hidden while an electroplated finish resists most scratches.

The only drawback is that the matte black finish can wear off after time, dulling to more of a grey. To prolong the lifespan, use a microfibre cloth to wipe down black taps and faucets regularly. 

Brass Tapware

A finish that tends to ride the wave of trends, brass will be hit or miss for personal style. It’s not a common tapware fixture despite filling many heritage style bathrooms. Now, though, brass taps are commonly found nestled in a combination of styles and designs.

There are two popular types; shiny polished brass and slightly worn satin/brushed brass. Where polished tapware is a touch more extravagant like chrome, brushed is more demure. Both suit vintage bathrooms, or modern styles with bold colour palettes. 

Matching features like door handles and mirrors provide additional depth.

On the negative side, brass fittings are a costlier finish. The long term shine also tends to fade, which will be more evident in polished brass. If you’ve selected brushed brass, then your weathered fixtures will just add depth to the design.

Chrome and Stainless Steel Tapware

So, you want to keep things simple. Chrome or stainless steel is the choice for you! The all-purpose choice suits any style, from contemporary to classic, and is always trendy. 

Chrome tapware blends in so that other features like a splashback, wall tiles or basin can take centre stage. A lifetime of durability also means you won’t have to worry about replacing stainless steel materials regularly.

The low cost provides a quality option for any budget, also. You can go for a product at any price point and always expect something that is professional and practical.

Perhaps the only frustration is the cleaning and maintenance as both chrome and stainless steel finishes show water marks and fingerprints. Scratches are also noticeable so it’s best to be careful with sharp objects.

Bronze Tapware

For those looking for something different, bronze is distinct from copper or brass contemporaries. It brings a darker tone to the table, and never shows water spots or fingerprints. Long term durability and ease of cleaning means you will have very little to worry about in the long run.

Bronze taps or basins also blend in nicely with other bathroom or kitchen hardware. It can make a nice feature if you want to mix and match.

Oil-rubbed bronze and satin bronze finishes deliver classic features for traditional or even Mediterranean decor. Although the price will be a touch higher, you can enjoy a great all-round encompassing feature.

Brushed Metal Tapware

Metal finishes such as brushed nickel, gold and gunmetal are rising stars in the industry. They provide depth to traditional stainless steel and chrome thanks to extra colour and vibrancy.

Versatile brushed metal tapware perfectly suits classic and modern colour palettes. You can opt for various shades to suit your overall aesthetic. Think period, boho or Hamptons, there’s nothing limiting your choices.

In terms of longevity, brushed metal fixtures are durable, while the finish remains illustrious.  Depending on your budget, there are options at both ends of the scale. If you do want a quality piece, expect to pay more for brushed metal.

Copper Tapware

The elegance of copper is what sets it apart from other finishes. It’s strong, stands out and is a beautiful choice for any home. The combination of a copper tap, pipework and even a basin certainly packs a punch.

Copper tapware often suits a space where it is the key feature, including industrial or rustic rooms. You don’t relegate it to the background. It’s also incredibly hygienic and impervious to most damage.

If there’s one thing holding copper back, it’s the price. As a more costly material, it’s not necessarily something everyone can place in their kitchen or bathroom.

Ongoing maintenance is crucial. Without polishing, discolouration occurs, and you’ll be left with a less than impressive tap.

A Final Say on Your Choices

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when it comes to tapware. And no matter what, the choice is always yours. This guide can provide plenty of information but it can’t determine what you say yes to.

That’s your choice. We just hope you can use these points for further research. Plus, when the time comes, you can call us for professional tapware installation!

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