A well-chosen basin can set the tone for bathroom design
When you build a new home or renovate your bathroom, take some time to think about what style and features you want for your basin/s. You will be using it every day, so it needs to be functional and preferably low maintenance. But you will also be looking at it a lot so, if aesthetics are important to you, the shape, lines and material need to suit your style.
Generally, basins are described in terms of how they are installed, and there are five basic styles.
Inset or drop-in basin
In the past, the inset basin (or drop-in) was the most common basin to find in a bathroom. The rim of these basins sit over the bench top and can either include tap holes or not. The feature of having the tap holes as part of the basin means less water is likely to splash on your bench top, which can be a good idea for children’s bathrooms.
A more contemporary take on this style is the semi-inset basin, which sits partially into the bench top with about 60-100 mm sitting above the top.
Vessel or countertop basin
If you want to make your basin a feature, vessel (or countertop) basins are the way to go. These basins are mounted on top of the bench and are most commonly made from ceramic or engineered stone; although other materials such as concrete and steel enamel are also available. Good quality stone composite styles are made from a material that is stain and scratch resistant, and there is more flexibility in the manufacturing process to achieve a finer edge. Some brands also have engineered stone basins in a matt finish for a softer look. With new manufacturing technologies, the design of ceramic countertop basins has also become more refined.
However, if your new bathroom is all about the tapware and/or stone bench top, you will probably want to go with an undercounter basin. These basins ‘disappear’ below the line of your vanity top, giving a streamlined look. Undercounter basins need to be set into a stone benchtop and there are limited options for ones that include a tap shelf as these tend to impinge on bowl space.
Even though it is a more understated choice, thought does need to be put into the bowl shape and material.
Another way to achieve a streamlined look is to choose a wall-hung basin. Some models will also have an option for ready-made cabinetry, or allow for cabinetry to be custom-made. But, for a minimalist look, simply accessorise the basin with a stylish bottle trap, and use a mirror cabinet or shelf for storage.
Wall-hung basins can also come in more traditional styles and be matched with a pedestal (to the floor), trap cover (which hides the waste pipe) or, for a real statement, metal console frames.
For smaller or narrow bathrooms, the semi-recessed style is the perfect choice. The front of these basins extend out further than the bench top which means the depth of your vanity top (from the wall) is less. The overhang of the basin can also make it easier for children to use.
Once you’ve decided on the type of installation for your basin, narrow down your choice with the dimensions, shape, tap hole options and material.