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The size of the basin is important, especially if it’s in the main family bathroom or master ensuite. Try and include a generously sized basin; a double or twin is ideal, especially if more than person uses the bathroom. Tiny basins (corner and cloakroom sizes) are perfectly acceptable but are really designed for hand-washing and don’t really work in a main bathroom. Whatever your choice, some kind of surrounding surface or counter-top is always useful.
Types of Basin
Full height pedestal basins are less ubiquitous than they once were, thanks to the proliferation of alternative contemporary and innovative designs. Semi-pedestal designs are practical choices – all the pipework is hidden within the half-height pedestal and the floor stays clear too.
Wall Hung Basins
Wall hung basins are a practical choice for smaller spaces, especially if you don’t want to add a basin cabinet or other furniture; they usually have a visible bottle-trap waste system, which can look striking.
A semi-recessed basin is a good choice if you want a reasonably-sized basin and some storage space. The basin protrudes beyond the depth of the cabinet, so floor space isn’t compromised.
Counter-top, bowl or vessel basins are often chosen as focus pieces in the bathroom; such a basin sits on top of the work-surface, with all the pipes and fittings hidden, so the basin has the appearance of a beautiful bowl simply sitting on the surface. A counter-top basin will need to be teamed with either a strip of work surface, in which case the fittings may be visible beneath the counter, or it may be paired with a cabinet, vanity unit, washstand or perhaps a piece of antique or reclaimed furniture.
If space permits, a double basin – either two single basins next to each other or a double-width basin works well in a family or master bathroom.
There are lots of compact and cloakroom basins available, a corner basin can really improve the possibilities in a small bathroom or cloakroom, – perhaps making it easier to get into the shower or open the door.
Materials Used for Basins
Ceramic and porcelain basins are incredibly popular – there are lots of affordable possibilities out there, it’s a tried and trusted choice. Often referred to as vitreous china, it’s a non-porous, super-smooth material, also used for toilets and bidets. Resistant to scratches and everyday impact, although a basin can crack or chip if a heavy weight is dropped on it. Composite and solid surface materials are various blends of acrylic, resins, quartz and stone. These materials are tough, available in a range of colours , sometimes with a silky matt finish. Marble and stone basins are often vessel-style designs, combined with a wash-stand. Stainless steel basins are available too, although usually chosen for cloakroom-style rooms. Copper and nickel-plated copper basins are a stand-out choice for an ultra-stylish bathroom.
Styles of Basins
Broadly speaking, basins generally have ‘contemporary’ or ‘traditional’ styling. Contemporary basins are often shallow, with streamlined curves. Chunkier contemporary designs include angular squared off shapes, which look wonderful in a very modern setting. If classic or traditional is your choice, there are lots of decorated styles of basin available, including hand-painted floral motifs. Traditional basins are often square or rectangular, with integral soap indentations and an upstand. Traditional basin styles can encompass squared-off shapes reminiscent of Art Deco designs, as well as curvaceous Victorian shapes that sit well with roll-top baths.
More Basin Considerations
A basin can be moved into a new position if you’re re-configuring the bathroom; a basin in itself is highly unlikely to show serious signs of wear and tear; it’s the surrounding counter-top, sealant or grout that may deteriorate. There are so many sizes available that any design idea can be accommodated. Try and have surrounding counter-top space for toiletries, toothbrush and so on. If that area is integral to the basin itself, it will show fewer signs of use – it’s the joins and seams which can become grubby. Any basin should always be installed by a professional plumber, to ensure the tap and basin combination is correct and compatible.