Decorating: Turn On the Style With Fabulous Taps

Available in a huge range of designs and materials, taps are so much more than water conduits. These days, they pack a style punch, too

By Joanna Simmons  / Courtesy of

Not so long ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find a tap for your sink or basin that wasn’t finished in chrome. This shiny, silvery option is still popular today, but a vast array of other taps in interesting materials, shapes and styles has recently flooded the market. Choose from black beauties and bright primaries, or designs in antiqued bronze or mellow pewter. The style can be old-school kitchen sink or sinuously contemporary – and the effect on your space can be huge. 

Taps have evolved from something functional into something that adds real design edge to your scheme, so it’s worth spending time choosing the right ones. This roundup of possibilities shows just how beautiful they can look.

Make it monochrome
Black taps stand out crisply against a white backdrop and pepper this bathroom with neat focal points. Teamed with white and wood, these black taps (and even the black waste!) create a strong, clean, Scandi look.

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Opt for utilitarian style
There is something wonderfully nostalgic about fitting two taps rather than a mixer. This pair looks beautifully traditional and functional, but the warm brass is also bang on trend. Unlike a basin tap, these sit up high, so there’s space to wash big pots and pans beneath.

Read expert advice on how to choose the perfect kitchen tap

Do the double
A wide butler’s sink can accommodate two sets of taps, giving greater flexibility and functionality in a kitchen.

Be bold
Clean lines and bold colours give this bathroom a strong look. The walls are white, but the shower screen is green and orange (just glimpsed in the mirror) and this citrus shade is matched on the basin and shower taps for a colour-blocked effect.

Go for gold
Bring some 21st century bling to your basin with a tap in a satin gold finish. This wall-mounted design looks chunky and industrial, which makes a nice contrast to its indulgent finish.

Construct it yourself
In super-functional spaces that channel an industrial look, taps that have been constructed from individual components and pipework are increasingly popular. They look brilliantly honest and are cost-effective, too. Plus this approach gives you the freedom to choose the materials for a truly bespoke tap.

Colour up
Coloured taps are now widely available and can beautifully punctuate a neutral scheme. A bright shade can turn a tap from something practical into a focal point in a bathroom or kitchen, and can do much to make simple, inexpensive sanitaryware feel more luxe.

Pick pewter
Pewter makes a pleasing alternative to chrome, with a softer, less shiny finish that suits a tap styled along traditional lines.

Fade to black
Forget shiny taps that stand out from their surroundings — this beautiful black mixer tones in with the dark wall and seems to almost disappear against it. This is a sophisticated and original look that ramps up the style in this washroom.

Which bathroom tap is right for you? Check out this expert advice

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Shine on
Brass doesn’t have to look muted and antique – it can be confidently shiny, bringing a touch of bling to a simple basin.

What kind of taps do you like: brass, chrome or a bold colour? Let us know in the Comments below.