This is a question I get regularly… how do I choose the right plumbing fixtures, that work well together? With each bathroom renovation comes A LOT of decisions. I was just chatting with my mom (who is also renovating a bath) on the phone yesterday, and she said, “I am SO stressed making all of these decisions- I don’t know how you do it, Sarah”. It’s honestly much easier than you’d expect. When you’re investing a lot of money into a project that you’ll have to live with and look at for years to come, you want to feel educated and confident in your selections. If you’re not to that point yet, don’t worry! I’m here to help. Even if you’re not renovating right this minute, you’ll want to pin this post for later! I’m sharing a Q&A with what to do and what not to do, a printable checklist, and my own 7-step process. Click through for tons of info and a foolproof plan on how to choose cohesive bathroom plumbing fixtures.
*This post is sponsored by Lowe’s. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we actually use & enjoy!
With so many plumbing fixture options on the market, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Now that all of the plumbing fixtures for our guest bath have arrived, I figured this would be the perfect time to discuss this particular topic and hopefully make it less daunting. I’ll start by sharing my own process…
I’ve refined my process over the years and this is how I narrow down and choose plumbing fixtures for each bath renovation. Keep in mind, your process doesn’t have to look exactly like mine. This is just what works best for me when designing and renovating a space. It’s all about funneling your options into a more manageable selection…
- Create a budget (and stick to it!).
- Use the budget to narrow options by price point.
- Narrow the search by finish (brass, nickel, chrome, bronze, black, copper, polished, satin, antiqued, etc).
- Refine the search by style (your preferred aesthetic… modern, traditional, industrial, etc).
- Choose the top two options and look at them beside other products going into the space (I like ordering samples or making mood boards).
- Make the final selections and confirm everything will function as expected.
- Purchase additional valves or extra parts if needed, for functionality.
Easy enough, right? I think the Q&A section below might help with your style, finish, and scale dilemmas! Keep reading…
Q & A
I asked some friends & followers what they’d like to know about selecting plumbing fixtures…
In your opinion, what finishes are the most timeless? This is a controversial question, but I think nickel and brass are the most classic options that will withstand the test of time in a traditional setting. Now- finish has a LOT to do with that. The 80’s faux brass is not a good look and that’s not what I’m talking about… think antique or living brass that can be found throughout design history, or polished nickel. In a super modern home, I’d opt for stainless, chrome, or flat black. I’d also encourage you to examine the space as a whole… just because you have a timeless faucet in a classic finish does not mean the space won’t look dated in a few years if everything else is too “trendy”. The surroundings certainly come into play! If it were me- I’d stick to a good antique brass or polished nickel, to specifically answer that question.
Do you have to carry a finish throughout a room? Or the entire home? Absolutely not! I’m all about mixing metals for a curated look. For example, in our guest bath, we’ll be using antique brass faucets, towel hooks, and shower trim, but you’ll also see plenty of polished nickel paired alongside the brass. The wall mirrors have nickel frames, the vanity hardware is also polished nickel, as well as the light fixtures. I actually think a space gets boring if the same finish is repeated over and over again- it’s just too basic and easy. I’ll talk more about mixing metals in the question below…
Is it ok to mix metals and fixture styles? I have a couple
rules preferences I try to stick to… I keep water related plumbing fixtures (faucets, shower head, tub down spout, levers, drains, overflows, etc.) the same finish AND style. I like to keep with a collection for consistency. For example, these fixtures for the guest bath are all apart of the Delta Cassidy Collection. Similarly, I also like to keep the bathtub, sink, and toilet consistent (the same white, etc). If you’d like to bring in some variety, I prefer to do that with hardware, mirrors, lighting, hooks, towel bars, etc. Those can certainly be a different finish- just make sure the style is complimentary or provide enough contrast to make it feel intentional. Does that make sense?
Does a higher price point mean better quality? Not necessarily. With the more expensive plumbing fixtures, you’ll typically get better or more finish options. Lots of plumbing fixture manufacturers have both high and low-end brands. I use my budget to narrow down my options because plumbing fixtures add up quickly and can get really expensive if you’re buying for an entire bathroom. More so than price, I always like to check the materials of which each product is constructed, as well as the efficiency. That’s how I determine quality when shopping… not the price point. I’m using Delta in the guest bathroom and I’ve been to their headquarters in my home state of Indiana, and have watched their rigorous product testing. I can vouch for the durability, which is important when it comes to a guest bath. I’ve had high and low end plumbing fixtures and as long as you do your research, you should be just fine!
What plumbing fixtures am I forgetting to purchase? Most likely the drain, bathtub overflow (pictured above), plumbing valves, and the toilet lever. Those items are usually left behind by accident or are an afterthought once the budget has been depleted. If you’re using a bathtub or sink that comes with hardware, it’s most likely not going to match your other “water” plumbing fixtures (faucets, shower trim, etc). I prefer that all of this matches, so I always plan for those tiny items in the budget and order them right away. It’s not a great feeling to renovate an entire bathroom, only to see a newly installed tub with a polished chrome overflow plate and drain that doesn’t look very good with your new brass shower set. It’s all about those small details, don’t worry though- there is a printable checklist I made for you at the end of this post to ensure you’re not forgetting anything!
Widespread faucet or single hole faucet? This question refers to the two types of deck mount faucets (aka, countertop mounted). A widespread faucet has three holes- the faucet itself, and two levers. A single hole faucet is sometimes referred to as a joystick faucet. I prefer widespread, but it’s really just a personal preference! Consider how you like to control the water pressure and temperature- that’s my best advice for making a selection. To really throw a wrench into the equation, there are also wall mounted faucets. Again… it’s really just a personal or design preference. You can’t go wrong!
How do I pick a style? Look at the rest your home. What aesthetic do you gravitate toward… traditional lines, minimal or modern shapes, industrial edges? Use those answers to guide you! It’s ok to mix and match too- maybe an eclectic or curated aesthetic best fits your vibe? Go with what you like- that’s my biggest piece of advice.
What is one faucet style you never want to see ever again? Ha, EASY! The deck mount faucet with the giant joystick crystal ball on top. We have about 3 in our new house that were installed in the early 90’s. They still work great, but I can’t get over the weird shape and dated look. They’ll be ripped out and donated soon enough!
What plumbing fixture mistake do you see people make most often? My pet peeve is seeing a faucet that is disproportional to the bathroom sink. This not only looks weird, but it creates functional issues as well- like splashing or spilling. You want to make sure the water is being diverted into the sink in the correct place. Which brings me to another good point… scale! This probably goes without saying, but you also have to consider scale when choosing plumbing fixtures. A tiny faucet with a giant sink looks awkward. When in doubt, look at the product specifications and make a mock up. Sometimes I’ll cut the sink shape out of cardboard and users painters tape to get a sense for the faucet scale on the wall. Don’t forget to check the faucet reach too… that’s how far it projects outward!
As promised, I compiled a big checklist for you that includes every plumbing fixture you might need for an upcoming bathroom project or renovation. Obviously not all of them are applicable or meant to be installed together, but it will give you a good idea of your options or things you might have forgotten…
If you missed the full design plan for our guest bathroom we’re currently working on (and before images), click here! Otherwise, I’ll link the main plumbing fixtures we’re using below…
01: robe hook // 02: widespread faucet // 03: shower trim // 04: handheld shower spray // 05: overflow plate // 06: drain // 07: towel bar // 08: toilet // 09: toilet lever // 10: toilet seat // 11: bathtub
Questions? Give them to me in the comments below! I’m always happy to help, and I hope this post will be useful. Is anyone else working on a bathroom renovation or planning to tackle one later this year? I’m SO excited to see the progress in our guest bath. I’ll post an update soon once we start building it back up again! We ran into some leveling issues and decided to replace 90% of the drywall.
PeggiJanuary 21, 2019 at 5:48 am
It’s so smart to set your budget first and limit by that. I remember searching for an industrial kitchen faucet years ago and discovering that faucets can cost a thousand dollars! Gulp. And, yes please can we get rid of those 90s ball-top faucets! So. Ugly. Is it weird that I also look at fixtures and consider how difficult to clean they might be? My previous bathroom faucet parts were so close together, it was a nuisance to clean. Happy Monday and thanks for such a helpful post!
SarahJanuary 21, 2019 at 9:55 am
Yes!! Goodbye to the ball-top faucets. Who thought they were a good idea in the first place? Haha! That’s a great idea- considering the cleanability. Hope you have a great Monday too, Peggi :)
MegJanuary 21, 2019 at 1:18 pm
Can you post some pictures of some timeless vs non timeless brass that you talk about so i can see the difference?
SarahJanuary 21, 2019 at 5:25 pm
I’ll come up with an Insta story for that. You can also tell the difference by weight. A heavy brass is good (real metal)… a lightweight brass fixture is usually plastic plated in brass (not so good). Examples of bad brass would be: a super shiny mirrored looking brass (think of the 80’s and 90s), cheaply plated brass (usually it’s a satin finish and is too orange, gray, or yellow toned), and faux / painted brass (that one is obvious). Good brass would be: solid brass (heavy construction), antique brass finish (my personal favorite), living brass (ages and patinas with time), etc. Hopefully that helps to clarify! xox
Jess DavisJanuary 21, 2019 at 5:48 pm
Cannot wait to see it complete. So exciting Sarah! Very informative and I think I am going to stick with the Cassidy again in our new vaca rental
SarahJanuary 21, 2019 at 5:50 pm
Thanks Jess! It’s such a nice collection- you really can’t go wrong. I can’t wait to see your vacay rental come to life :) Maybe I need to come stay… I could use a vacation. Haha!! xox
JulieJanuary 21, 2019 at 8:35 pm
Thank you for this! It’s super helpful AND timely, as we’ll be redoing our very small (3×6′) powder bath in March! I’d love your thoughts on whether it would be too much to mix metals, given the size of the room and the limited number of fixtures (toilet, pedestal sink, mirror, sconce above mirror, towel hook, and TP holder). The main metal finish will be polished nickel to coordinate with the rest of the house, but I’d like to work in some antique brass as well if it wouldn’t be too busy. Maybe the mirror? Would that be weird on its own? I’d love your advice! :)
SarahJanuary 22, 2019 at 9:21 am
That’s so exciting Julie! I don’t think it would be too much at all- mixing metals works in any space, no matter the size :) I love the idea of an antique brass mirror. Maybe even the towel hooks or bars? xox
JulieJanuary 22, 2019 at 10:32 am
Thanks, Sarah! I really appreciate your feedback and your eye, and I love the idea of doing the towel hooks to match the mirror. :)
SarahJanuary 22, 2019 at 2:31 pm
Of course! Can’t wait to see how it turns out :)
LaurenJanuary 25, 2019 at 3:14 pm
This is so helpful, thank you! We bought our home after it was renovated, so we don’t have much opportunity to make things our own. Our bathrooms have marble counters with center set faucets (not the joystick ones, thanksfully!). I think the bathrooms would look so much higher end with wide spread faucets, but I don’t want to have to get all new counters since the marble is so nice. Can I install a widespread faucet to replace a centerset one in my situation? Thanks!
SarahJanuary 25, 2019 at 3:35 pm
So happy it was helpful for you Lauren! Marble countertops are a big win- that’s so nice. You can definitely have a fabricator come in and add two holes to fit a widespread faucet… it won’t mess them up at all :) No need for new counters!
LauraJanuary 27, 2019 at 2:55 pm
Hi, we’ve been considering the champagne bronze finish by Delta but haven’t been able to find anyone’s opinion on how much it shows water spots and fingerprints. Any insight on that? Thank you in advance!!
SarahJanuary 28, 2019 at 9:45 am
We actually haven’t installed the faucets yet, but from what I can tell- the finish is great. The finger printing is minimal and what I’d expect at this point… I’ll report back once we’ve lived with them installed :)
SeptemberJanuary 29, 2019 at 8:33 am
Wow! This was so helpful! Thank you! I wish I’d read it before we did our bathroom, though. :P We’ve been living for too long with chrome drains and overflows that drive me nuts. Where do I look to find replacements for those in the right finish? The sink is an IKEA Odensvik. Do you know if you even can get replacement parts for those in the right finish?
And thanks in advance for your time. I’m so excited I found your blog through this — it’s all so beautiful and the topics so well-organized/helpful!
Brandi GreenFebruary 14, 2019 at 8:13 pm
This is so beautiful and so helpful! I love your style. I’m wanting to do the fixtures you have in your guest bathroom. I noticed when I clicked on picture #5 (overflow plate) it takes me to Lowe’s but there is not a champagne bronze option. Did you paint yours to match or did they have a champagne bronze option that isn’t in the link? I really appreciate your help! I’m surprising my daughter by re-doing her bathroom! She’s been on a service mission for 18 months. She’s going to love it!
SarahFebruary 15, 2019 at 8:30 am
Thanks Brandi! Unfortunately, it looks like the overflow in the champagne bronze option is sold out. I hate to direct you elsewhere, but maybe just do a google search and see if you can find it in stock somewhere? I wish I could be more helpful. So sweet of you to redo your daughter’s bathroom! What an amazing surprise that will be :) xox
Kathleen SwantonFebruary 23, 2019 at 4:08 pm
We are using the Kohler Artifacts line in vibrant brushed bronze, which looks like the Delta champagne color. My husband is fighting me on a white-ish quartz countertop. He wants a concrete look. How do you think a concrete look quartz would pair with the Kohler vibrant brushed bronze which has a light gold finish?
SarahFebruary 25, 2019 at 8:31 am
I love that line! It’s gorgeous. I actually prefer the concrete look to white quartz. The contrast would be really nice. Hope this helps :) xo
Kathleen SwantonFebruary 25, 2019 at 9:49 am
Thanks so such for answering my question! I am going to look at this through different eyes now!
SarahFebruary 25, 2019 at 9:52 am
Of course- always happy to help!
ALEXSeptember 22, 2019 at 2:54 pm
Hi! I am a big fan of your blog! We are in the process of building a new tract home in VA. I am trying to emulate your model for achieving a custom look with style. This is my dilemma; as you advise in your blog to match water-related plumbing fixture , we would like to use champagne bronze from Delta in our Master Bath…. however, for our Master Bath Shower door, they are going to install a frame-less shower door, and the only option is chrome or stainless for the hinge and the shower door handle… needless to say, we are concerned this will clash with our other choices for the rest of the shower stall (linear drain, shower fixture, etc.) What is your advice on this? We do not believe it’s possible to change the color/hardware later. We love the Cassidy line of Delta; however, we read mixed reviews of the product… i.e., the faucet will not fit on a standard counter top, it looks perpetually stained, overall quality, etc… what are your thoughts?
Thank you in advance for any advice you can provide! :)
SarahSeptember 23, 2019 at 10:05 am
Hi Alex, thank you so much! To help with your dilemma- I don’t mind mixing and matching hardware at all… in fact- I intentionally do so. I wouldn’t let the shower door handle bother you. I would choose plumbing fixtures that intentionally contrast with the stainless (antique brass, matte black, etc). I LOVE the Cassidy line and haven’t had a single issue with it. Our guest bath also gets a ton of use because we have visitors ALL the time and I use it when people aren’t staying. I don’t think it looks dirty or stained at all. It’s a beautiful classic look that fits the budget and works great. Would highly recommend! Hope this helps :)
AlexSeptember 23, 2019 at 8:51 pm
Thank you so much for your reply! Silly question- how do you wash your tub without the hand-held free-standing water fixture? With limited space next to our tub, the traditional spigot is the only option. Let me know your thoughts!
SarahSeptember 24, 2019 at 9:45 am
There are no silly questions :) I use a scrub brush and large cup for rinsing.
LeeMarch 6, 2020 at 1:40 pm
Such a well written tutorial . I’m actually doing a bathroom but came upon your article after I made me plumbing selections. But I’m happy to say I had chosen the aged brass and polished nickel! My choices feel validated after reading your article and I am excited for the end results.
Thanks for sharing!
SarahMarch 7, 2020 at 7:28 pm
Thanks Lee! So happy it was helpful :)
Carla DryeJune 12, 2020 at 8:11 am
We’re building a house. We are going to have 2 baths upstairs, 2 baths downstairs and a laundry room and kitchen, we are picking out today. I like the Delta Cassidy champagne bronze for the kitchen and our master bath. But was going to do Delta Cassidy in Venetian bronze in the other downstairs bath and in the laundry’ room. AND then polished Delta Tesla Nickel upstairs in both baths. Is that to much variation?
SarahJune 12, 2020 at 8:44 am
I don’t think so! If rooms are connected or in eyesight of one another, you may want to keep it a bit more consistent, but it sounds like these are all independent spaces. You should be just fine :) Congrats on your home build! That is so exciting, Carla. xo
ChrisAugust 20, 2021 at 10:29 pm
Hi Sarah. First off, my DIY bathroom renovation is going to look great thanks to your articles. Secondly I live in Indianapolis, and have also toured Deltas H.Q. My bathroom faucets, will be made by Brizo. Just wondering what you thought of the Brizo brand.
SarahAugust 23, 2021 at 9:07 am
I love hearing that, Chris… and hello to a fellow Hoosier (Indiana is my home state)! I love Brizo. We’ve used and loved many of their products over the years. I actually prefer Brizo to Delta most of the time, it just depends on the look I’m going for. Hope that helps!
KristenJanuary 8, 2022 at 7:55 pm
Hi Sarah! I just came across this post since I’m going with Delta’s Cassidy collection for all of our bathrooms. The master bath and power room will both be Champagne Bronze, please tell me it’s the same as above! Our second bathroom will be in the venetian bronze color, which is similar to an oil rubbed bronze color. Thank you, Kristen
SarahJanuary 9, 2022 at 8:26 pm
I believe it’s the same! We love our Cassidy fixtures :)
Kate MaynorJune 11, 2022 at 11:35 pm
Where can I find the fixtures in the first picture on this post? I’m having such a hard time finding that color!
SarahJune 13, 2022 at 10:02 am
Those are all apart of the Delta Cassidy collection (find them here), and the color is brilliance champagne.
CarrieJanuary 31, 2023 at 4:51 pm
Hi , I’m doing champagne bronze kitchen faucet with hardware & cafe appliances. I was going to do my powder room Polshed nikel faucet ( on a pedestal sink) I want a champagne bronze light but wouldn’t match my faucet? What can I do ? Add mirror w both finsh?
Cindy L.June 29, 2022 at 10:45 pm
Hi! This blog has been so helpful! Can we talk grout choices please! Oh my word, so. many. decisions. during a bathroom remodel! Do you have a tried and true method for choosing a grout color? Thank you so much!
SarahJune 30, 2022 at 8:43 am
I love hearing that, Cindy! Check out this post on choosing grout: https://roomfortuesday.com/how-we-choose-grout-for-tile/