Shopping for Bathroom Faucets – The New York Times

Finding the right bathroom faucet is easier said than done.

“Very often there is no middle ground between ‘Downton Abbey’ and ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’,” said Frances Merrill, founder of Reath Design in Los Angeles. Many devices seem yawning old-fashioned, while others are too futuristically modern.

For those looking for something in between, however, there is good news: the current trend is towards faucets with simplified, classic shapes and a subtle industrial look.

Another promising development: the recent craze for brass fittings has helped break the chrome headlock for bathroom accessories.

“It really gave people a chance to look into different finish options,” Ms. Merrill said, from unconventional metal colors like copper, titanium and matte black to handles made from contrasting materials like crystal and stone. “It is now a place to immerse yourself and find some fun things.”

Regardless of your preferred style and finish, however, you should do some practical research.

“I try to get people to touch,” Ms. Merrill said before buying. “Because it’s something you deal with every day.”

  • Is it better to have a wall or basin mixer? Wall-mounted faucets look neat and maximize workspace but require some advance planning, Ms. Merrill said, since rough valves need to be built into the wall and holes often need to be cut in tile or stone.

  • Would you like a one-, two- or three-hole fastening? Some faucets are a single unit with built-in controls for temperature and volume, while others have separate faucets. The choice largely depends on your desired look and the space available.

  • Do you prefer a finish that ages? Unpainted brass and some antique copper and bronze surfaces develop a patina with use – or what Ms. Merrill calls a “living finish” – while others, like chrome, continue to look new.

One-hand faucet in chrome or titanium look

From USD 530 at Kohler: 800-456-4537 or

Faucet with knurled handles, available in different versions

Starting at around $ 494 at DecorPlanet: 800-504-9974 or

Three-hole tap with cross handles

From $ 709 at Waterworks: 800-899-6757 or

Lefroy Brooks wall-mounted mixer with lever handles

$ 825 at Restoration Hardware: 800-762-1005 or

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