Modern bathroom fixtures

Whats new in bathroom fittings?

A round-up of the latest designs, plus water-saving advice

By Paula Woods |

Hi-Tech showers and taps range from pullout sprays, customisable handles, voice control, clever design and pure innovation. And they are taking over the bathroom.

Grand Designs showcases the latest and best in the fittings as well as delivering expert advice on saving water.

Bright and beautiful

Forget chrome, highlight a white basin and bath with taps in a vivid colour.

590V deck-mounted mixer with swivel spout and water-saving aerator, in 27 colours and metallic finishes including pink, £1,009.20, Vola

Link to a smart speaker

Save time and water by specifying your perfect temperature, flow rate, time limit and more with a voice-activated digital shower.

Modern bathroom fixtures

Quartz Touch app/voice-controlled smart shower, from £874, also available with smart bath filler, from £1,191, Aqualisa

Cost-effective choice

A touch-free sensor tap operates by the movement of your hands, so there’s no risk of wasting water by leaving it running unnecessarily.

Brogrund wash basin mixer tap with sensor, batter y operated, £150, Ikea

Consider the eco benefits

Selecting designs from a UK-based manufacturer reduces the greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation and investing in quality materials ensures fittings are made to last.

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Armstrong wall-mounted, single-lever, hand-poured brass basin mixer in satin brass finish, £842.40, Perrin & Rowe

Coordinate the look

A few concrete and stone sanitaryware manufacturers offer taps featuring materials that complement their basin and bath designs.

For marble, try Lusso. Alto taps with concrete handles in Wheat, £1,392, Oska concrete basin, £1,530, Kast

Supply and demand

An electric shower can help alleviate demand where boiler capacity or low water pressure is an issue. Select an energy-efficient A-rated model.

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Amore Duelec A-rated, digital-touch control electric shower with fixed rainfall showerhead and 5-spray hand shower in gloss black, £324.99, Triton Showers

Second time around

Companies such as Water and Wood sell restored vintage brassware. For modern reconditioned fittings look out for Dornbracht Recrafted which is scheduled to launch in the UK in the future.

Antique long-reach brass bath taps, fully refurbished and water pressure tested, £745, Water and Wood

Quick swap over

Replace a valve and exposed fixings with relative ease by opting for a specially designed style that has adjustable inlet connections, slide bar and brackets. Form dual outlet shower with deluge head and 4-spray push button hand shower in chrome, £478.80, Mira.

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Form dual outlet shower with deluge head and 4-spray push button hand shower in chrome, £478.80, Mira

The reuse cycle

Check before you buy to see whether a fitting is recyclable at the end of its lifespan, such as this handshower made with recycled plastic.

Pulsify Planet Edition chrome-free hand shower with three spray options, £57, Hansgrohe

Style and versatility

Taps that feature a pullout spray are more commonly found in kitchens but they also make quick work of bathroom tasks – from washing hair to cleaning the basin.

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Finoris single-lever basin mixer 230 with 500mm pullout spray, 2-jet and waste set in black, £594.96, Hangrohe

Pick the best

Look for the work your favourite designer produces in collaboration with high-end manufacturers. Find Philippe Starck at Duravit, Conran and Partners at Vado, or Tom Dixon at Vitra.

Liquid by Tom Dixon built-in shower set, £1,194, Liquid ceramic stool, Dia380xH400mm, £352, Liquid ceramic shelf, W400xD120mm, £96, Vitra

At a higher level

Check the capacity of your system before buying a hydrotherapy-style shower, as some require 3 bar pressure – a booster pump may help. You’ll need adequate drainage to cope with the flow rate.

Modern bathroom fixtures

Tranquil 500 Chromotherapy showerhead in brushed stainless steel, 500x500mm, £3,995. Crosswater

Less is more

Advice on how to save water and energy from Tom Reynolds, chief executive of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association

  • To identify a product’s water consumption, look out for the Unified Water Label
  • Choose taps with flow limiters, aerators and condensed sprays that reduce water consumption by between 30-60 per cent compared to taps without these features. Single-lever taps with a cold-start function avoid unnecessary use of energy, as the water is only heated when the lever is in the hot position. It will not deliver a mix of hot and cold in the central position.
  • A shower or replacement head with aerator reduces water flow by up to 60 per cent compared to one without an aerator. Timer functions and programmable settings can lead to lower energy output by enabling you to select the temperature and duration of your shower. Innovative recirculating showers that clean, reheat and reuse water are designed to use as little water and energy as possible.
  • You could also fit a waste water heat-recovery system, which uses the residual warmth from waste hot water to preheat cold mains water coming into the home. It can be retrofitted under a shower tray and improve efficiency by 30-75 per cent.
  • For more information, check out the Bathroom Manufacturers Association’s Brighter Bathing campaign online.