Bathroom taps and mixers have come a long way since their humble beginnings as a mere functional way of turning water on and off. The bathroom faucets of today stand proudly as stylish and elegant features in their own right. They are seen as a fashion item in the home.
Saville Jacobson from Bathroom Bizarre offers some insight into the latest tap and mixer trends for 2013.
"Taps and mixers can make a substantial contribution to establishing a sense of style in any bathroom composition," he explains.
Saville notes that while it is difficult to put a finger on any one overriding faucet trend, there are several developments in the design and functionality of modern taps and mixers that are defining the direction of how tapware is evolving. These include:
"Perhaps the most notable development in modern faucets is their design – today, taps and mixers are available in any number of styles," explains Saville. You can find taps that boast curved, organic design lines; ones with sleek, modern geometric lines; or others with a symmetrical, traditional design.
"With regards to trendy tap design – today, the old adage of less being more has never been truer. The most popular taps and mixers comprise almost sculptural designs that err on the side of sleek, simplicity. Even faucets with a more traditional flavour boast clean, elegant and unfussy designs for a streamlined overall appearance."
A sense of style
There are a number of different types of taps and mixers available, including wall-mounted taps, single-lever mixers, two-handle basin mixer taps, high spout basin taps, and extra tall basin taps and mixers.
"As far as different types of faucets are concerned, single-lever mixer taps are the most popular. This is largely due the fact that single-lever mixers offer increased functionality and ease of use – allowing one-handed control over both the water temperature and flow."
He notes that with the increased admiration of counter-mount basins, the popularity of tall basin mixers, often with high arcing spouts, and wall-mounted taps, are also on the rise.
The finer finish
"Although taps and mixers are available in a wide variety of finishes, such as nickel, bronze, stainless steel and even gold – chrome is definitely the default selection when it comes to the most popular choice of finish.
"Probably the main reason for the popularity of the chrome finish is that it is a highly functional and durable material, and aesthetically, it offers a classical appeal that will stand the test of time. You simply can’t go wrong by choosing chrome faucets for your bathroom – they are timeless, offer great durability and visually, they offer excellent versatility," explains Saville.
Water-efficiency is pivotal
Environmental considerations have never been more relevant with regards to consumer trends – and this is true even for tap and mixer selection.
"Being green is golden for today’s environmentally-aware homeowners – and so it is exceptionally important that the taps and mixers are water-efficient," Saville explains.
"These are not only a good choice for the environment, but since they use less water, they also save the homeowner money in the long run."
To see whether a tap is water-efficient, Saville advises that you check its water rating, and look to see if it boasts a built-in environmentally friendly aerator or flow-controller.
"Any good quality, water-efficient tap could save the user up to 48 percent of the annual amount of water that flows through that particular tap."
Technology and electronics
Technology is touching all parts of our lives – even in the bathroom. Today's modern taps and mixers come with a whole host of high-tech features that improve the functionality of the taps in question.
"It is important to analyse and compare the various technologies inherent in any tap or mixer, as they can offer definite tangible benefits to its functionality. For example, various technologies on offer today can dramatically improve the way a faucet feels when it is turned on and off, its durability and how quick it is to install.
"There are even mixers available today with coloured LED lights that switch on when the mixer is turned on for a dramatic visual effect. However, perhaps the most innovative technological development in tapware today, is the increased popularity of the hands-free taps and mixers. Before, these were only popular in commercial settings; however, they are fast becoming a must-have for residential applications as well.
"Hands-free taps and mixers operate using a sensor switch – when they sense movement underneath the spout or close to the spout, they automatically switch on for a predetermined amount of time, making them a more hygienic and water-efficient alternative when compared to traditional taps and mixers."
They are powered either by 220 volts or batteries.
Taps and mixers can be a pricey investment, and as such, homeowners are looking to get the most bang for their buck.
"It is true that homeowners are looking for taps or mixers that will make a design statement in their bathrooms, but they are also looking for longevity and durability," Saville explains.
"They want to know that the faucets they invest in are strong and will stand the test of time.
"More and more consumers are moving away from choosing tapware that is cheap and nasty, and opting to rather choose items that are a little more expensive, but are guaranteed to be of a much better quality.
"They know that in the long run, investing in better quality will save them money. Choosing more durable products is also a good choice for the environment, as the longer an item lasts, the smaller its carbon footprint becomes."
He says that if a tap or mixer comes with a good guarantee, then this is a good sign that it is of a higher quality. For example, Bathroom Bizarre is so confident in the quality of its tap ranges, it offers a minimum 10-year guarantee on the product material and all moving parts.