Choosing the Right Basin for You

Most space in most bathrooms is taken up by three or four key appliances, the toilet, the basin and the bath/shower.  Given that bathrooms are, generally, literally the smallest rooms in any home, plus the fact that these appliances tend to be long-term investment pieces and it’s easy to see why it’s a very good idea to take your time to think about your purchase decision and make sure it’s the right one for you.  With this in mind, we’ve put together a guide to the 7 main types of basins: full pedestal basins, wall mounted basins, traditional basins, countertop basins, semi pedestal basins, semi recessed basins and vanity units.

Full pedestal basins and traditional basins

Full pedestal basins and traditional basins are essentially variations in the same theme, there is a basin set on top of a pedestal, which hides all the plumbing, while taking up minimal floor space.

Basins which are advertised as full pedestal basins tend to have more contemporary styling whereas those advertised as traditional basins obviously have a more vintage look.

While owners of modern homes may grudge giving up any of their precious floor space for anything other than storage, hence the popularity of wall-hung sinks and vanity units, the fact of the matter is that the pedestal lends extra stability to the basin, while taking up minimal floor space.

This can be a very reasonable trade off in homes where there are younger children, which is why the full pedestal basins and traditional basins have retained their popularity in the face of competition.


Countertop basins, semi recessed basins and vanity units

Countertop basins as their name suggests sit on top of a counter and likewise semi recessed basins sit partly inside the countertop but part of the basin protrudes above it.

In principle, it’s entirely up to the bathroom designer whether or not the counter they use has any storage underneath, but we suspect that in these days many people will use countertop basins and semi-recessed basins in combination with some sort of storage unit, which is why we’ve put them together with vanity units.

In principle, vanity units can have countertop basins, but in practice they tend to have inset basins.

Countertop basins and semi recessed basins can both be a great choice if you want to repurpose an existing piece of furniture for the bathroom, although obviously you’re probably going to need to do some cutting to insert the relevant plumbing so keep that in mind when you’re thinking about this possibility and also remember the realities of life for bathroom furniture, like the fact that the bathroom can get very hot and steamy.  The other point to remember is that you need to make sure your taps will go over the raised basin, so check the size of both your basin and your taps carefully!

Vanity units are hugely popular for the obvious reason that many people need, or at least want, all the storage options they can find.  Their popularity means that they are now available in all kinds of shapes and sizes in addition to the classic one- or two-door cabinets.

There are now vanity units which consist purely of drawers of various sizes and depth and even ultra-compact options to squeeze some extra storage into the tightest of spaces.

One key point to keep in mind when considering using any type of floor-standing storage unit is that even though it can add robustness to the basin and therefore enhance safety, anything you put in it is easily accessible to children (and possibly even pets), so if you go down this route, think hard about what you put into the storage unit and/or how you secure it against being opened by curious hands and/or paws.



Wall mounted basins and semi pedestal basins

Again, these are variations in a theme, the key difference being that semi pedestal basins do a better job at hiding the relevant plumbing than wall mounted basins do and can hence give a more streamlined look to a bathroom.  It is, however, important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of these types of basins before deciding whether or not they are an appropriate choice for your situation.

The headline advantage of both wall mounted basins and semi pedestal basins is, of course, that they keep the floor space clear, in real terms, however, how much of an advantage that is depends on why you want to keep the floor space clear.

If it’s for aesthetic reasons (or to make it easier to clean the floor quickly) then either of these types of basins may be an appropriate choice.

If it’s to be able to fit in storage in the space which would usually be taken up by a standard pedestal, you might be better off opting for a compact vanity unit or just fitting a pedestal basin and looking elsewhere for storage (perhaps higher up on the walls).

As previously mentioned, neither wall mounted basins or semi pedestal basins have the sort of robustness and stability which the other types of basin can offer.

This may be acceptable in a home where there are only adults or older children, but could be a safety issue (and indeed a budget issue), where young ones are abou

Younger children often treat anything and everything as a toy and if they decide to swing on the basin or even just pull on it as part of a game,they could feasibly bring it off the wall and down on themselves.

Having said that, if you have the space, or have a bathroom which is intended for use by younger children for the foreseeable future, you could mount a wall mounted basin or semi pedestal basin at a low level for them.

If it’s too low for them to swing on it or give a real pull on it, they’re much less likely to damage it (and thereby potentially damage themselves) and having their own sink at their own level could help encourage good personal hygiene habits and make teeth cleaning less of a battle in some cases.

Andrew Ellis is the 'hands-on' webmaster, content curator and Captain of the good ship Poshh Living Father of one and master of none. Fitness, health and of course home improvement are Andrew's key areas of expertise. Andrew has worked in many roles, from product designer to purchaser, for spa products, garden furniture and tech. Andrew is a really well-respected voice within these business circles.

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