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  • Writer's pictureElla S

Choosing a Bathroom Basin: Everything You’ll Ever Need to Know

When looking for a new basin, you may get confused by the almost endless choice. Finding the perfect one can be difficult as they are all different in a multiple of different ways. To aid you in selecting your new basin, we have made this guide to point you in the right direction in finding the best basin for you.

Planning and Considerations of Placing Your Basin

Before selecting your basin, you will need to consider a few key factors. You want to ensure there will be enough room to comfortably move around the basin wherever it is placed within the bathroom. The first and most clear-cut aspect is what type of bathroom the basin will be placed within, this will help determine how the basin is being used. A basin in a cloakroom, only being used for handwashing, will not need to be as large as a basin installed in the main bathroom. The layout and size of the bathroom will also help in determining the type of basin that will sit comfortably within the available space. This will also help in deciding the overall style of the basin and whether you want a single basin, twin basins or if a basin with storage options is required.

You then need to think about the more general aspects of fitting the basin. The majority of basins are wall hung and it is essential the wall they are being installed on is suitable to carry the weight of the basin and any additional pressure that may occur whilst the basin is being used. Pedestals and semi pedestals are a decorative solution to covering the pipework and although a full pedestal may offer some additional support it is not its prime purpose. A floor-standing vanity unit can offer some support however, both the basin and the vanity unit are usually secured to the wall.

A final and a quite important aspect of the basin to consider is the number of tap holes. You may have already decided on the style of tap you are using, and this could help in dictating the tap hole layout. Basins are available without tap holes for use with wall-mounted or freestanding taps and 1, 2 or 3 tap holes for deck-mounted taps. Many modern basins are available with 1 tap hole and may have an extra 2 tap holes pre-punched for the option of a 3 tap hole basin mixer.


Basin Types

To better understand the types of basins you are best of starting by looking at the categories. Categories can overlap as some basins may fit into more than one, but these are just general overviews to help guide you.


At James Hargreaves Bathrooms we categorise washbasins as anything that doesn’t overtly fit into any of the other below categories. This makes washbasins a regularly used and selected style of basin. The most popular option available, they are wall-hung and can be used with both pedestals, semi pedestals and vanity units. This means that washbasins have endless styling opportunities in both traditional and modern décors. One of the most versatile choices of basin, washbasins come in a wide range of sizes and with an abundance of options for installation and tap hole configurations.

Cloakroom Basins

Cloakrooms are becoming frequently seen within new build homes and are a desirable upgrade in many homes. Usually smaller than an ensuite or bathroom, they require specifically designed smaller basins. Cloakroom basins are designed to fit effortlessly within the small dimensions of the cloakroom. They come in various shapes, including more traditional styles. However, popular versions are asymmetrical in shape with the tap hole at one end, these are great for creating space around the opposite end of the basin. Cloakroom basins with a central tap hole often have an offset overflow hole and it is also common for them to come without an overflow hole; in which case a free-flowing waste is required. Commonly having a singular tap hole these basins are perfect for use with mini basin mixer taps.

Compact Basins

Ideal for bathrooms that are tight on space. Compact basins have a reduced projection which means they don’t protrude into the bathroom’s space as much as standard basins. Coming in various sizes, they still have spacious bowl space and often have a back tap ledge with enough room for storing toiletries. Vanity unit versions are ideal for bathrooms that also want to increase their storage space. For exact sizes, you are best looking at individual manufacturers as each basin will vary depending on what they class as compact.

Corner Basins

Mounting directly into a corner of the room, corner basins allow you to make the most of every inch of bathroom space. Usually small in size they are ideal for trickly configured cloakrooms or en-suites. In both traditional and contemporary designs, the styling of the corner basin means they tend to have ornate or raised line detailing to create a lip that protects the wall from splashing water. The standard style of corner basin has a singular tap hole in the corner part of the tap ledge to make the most of the overall size of the basin, however, a few options are available with 2 tap holes allowing the use of pillar taps for a more traditional finish.

Countertop Basins

For that ultimate luxury look, countertop basins are the perfect option. They are installed on top of a worktop or vanity unit and are a stunning designer finish to any washing area. These basins are manufactured in a variety of materials allowing designers to create delicate yet strong rims in stunning angular and rounded shapes. These often have no tap holes to make the basins shape more showstopping and are ideally paired with wall-mounted or extended-height taps.

Inset/Under-Counter Basins

Inset or under-counter basins create a sleek minimalistic look. With this design the basin is either inset or mounted underneath a countertop, creating a smooth flow to the washing area. These basins are available in both angular and rounded shapes of various sizes. Often designed without tap holes, wall-mounted taps are the perfect accompaniment to enhance the minimalistic feel of these basins.

Semi-Recessed Basins

Semi-recessed basins can sit partially within countertops on bathroom furniture or within a decorative countertop of the correct depth. The front of the basin overhangs the countertop enabling a generous-sized basin to be used with standard or reduced depth furniture, providing ample space for washing without taking up lots of space in the bathroom. These are a practical yet stylish option, giving the illusion of space and allowing storage to be fitted in smaller bathrooms. The back tap ledge design of the majority of these basins means there is space for soaps and flannels to be set down.

Vanity Unit Basins

Vanity basins are great for adding extra storage space, designed to specifically fit with coordinating vanity units they come in a whole range of sizes. One of the most versatile options of basins due to the styles and designs available; from single basins to double basins and rounded bowls to more angular bowls there is an option for everyone. Vanity units come in various options including colour finish and the number of drawers/doors, allowing you to customise the whole basin area. You must ensure the basin and vanity unit are compatible to achieve the perfect finish.


Extra’s to Consider When Buying a Basin

Once you have selected your style of washbasin, you will have to consider the little extras that will help you in completing the look. For every basin, you will need a tap and waste. The type of waste used will take into consideration whether the basin comes with or without an overflow hole. For more information on this check out our handy guides. Everything else that your basin will require will depend upon the style and design of the basin that you have chosen.

For pairing with the basin to create a cohesive complete look there are a few options. The most traditional options are pedestals and semi-pedestals. Discretely hiding waste pipes and hot and cold-water feeds, pedestals stand from the floor to the base of the basin. Semi-pedestals on the other hand only span to mid-way down the wall creating a floating illusion and a feeling of space around the basin. They are not suitable for use when the pipework is coming from the floor. Other traditional options include ornate basin legs. Manufactured by brands such as Heritage, these legs add a spectacular touch of sophistication to a basin. A more contemporary alternative to these is the rustic styling of washbasin stands. Made from metal they have quite an industrial look to them and can be styled both contemporary and traditionally. For vanity basins, you must ensure you select the correct unit for your basin to ensure a perfect fit.

If you are going for an ultra-modern décor and have selected a countertop basin you will need to look into countertop options. Roca offers countertops in both marble and wood finishes allowing you to choose a look that suits your bathroom the best. With countertops and basins being installed on their own a designer bottle trap will give you the opportunity to make a decorative feature of the waste outlet to complete the finishing look.


This guide has covered the differences in the type of basins available and the technology used to describe them. We hope you are now able to select your dream basin with ease. If you would like any further information or help, feel free to contact us.

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