A bathroom’s furniture can make a statement—but its fixtures are equally as important. “The devil’s in the details and fixtures are an example of such,” said Céline Marcotte, business development manager at Graff. “Fixtures can make or break a design scheme—and they also have an impact on budget.”
Of course, there is a dizzying range of fixtures available, and designers and hoteliers have to carefully consider what message they want their fixtures to convey. “Chrome will always have a place in design for bathroom fixtures,” said Douglas Fu, studio director and project manager at Puccini Group. “Brass matte finishes are also very popular right now—reflecting the current generation's desire for an undertone of ‘flash’ without being austere. There is a sense of being sensible with using matte finishes as fingerprints and water marks are less visible than polished metals.”
Hotels in Canada tend to like contemporary chrome and nickel finishes on their bathroom fixtures, said Chris Chmura, hospitality business development manager at Brasstech. On the other hand, hotels in the U.S. have been opting for aged brass for a strong-but-weathered look. “A lot of things are very industrial now,” Chmura said.
“We’re noticing smaller boutique hotels specifying fixtures that are minimalist in aesthetic and that offer a clean, sleek and simplified look,” Marcotte said. “In contrast, large luxury hotels are going in the opposite direction; designers for these brands are demonstrating a preference for special brass finishes that are a bit more flashy.”
Classic chrome, brushed steel and brass finishes not only fit a wide range of aesthetics but can last for years through several renovations. “In particular, we have noticed brass and metal finishes being paired with marble countertops and tile,” Marcotte said.
In the end, while aesthetics are important for a bathroom’s design, return-on-investment is always an important factor. “Products that make for easy maintenance will take priority every time; maintenance, in essence, is time and money,” Marcotte said.
Chmura agreed. “You can get a very inexpensive faucet, but then you have to weigh the maintenance on the back end,” he said. A less-expensive fixture may save money in the short-term but break down faster as handles loosen or leaks develop. “My biggest message is to invest now or later,” he said.