Bathroom Fixtures Buying Guide

Did you know a mid-range bathroom remodel has one of the highest returns on investment of any home remodel project? It’s true! A modest bathroom remodel will bring a return on investment versus an upscale bathroom remodel that only has a 56% ROI. 

Everyone knows kitchens and bathrooms sell houses. So if your bathroom is ugly, dated, and embarrassing, consider updating your bathroom fixtures. Updating bathroom fixtures are an inexpensive alternative to a full-blown remodel. You can put less money and hassle into updating your bathroom and still reap the benefits when it comes time to sell. 

Bathroom Fixtures Buying Guide

Projects such as updating the faucet, light fixtures, and hardware have an enormous impact on the look of your bathroom, at a fraction of the cost of larger remodel projects. We have compiled this complete guide to choosing the best fixtures for your bathroom. 

What Are Bathroom Fixtures?

What Are Bathroom Fixtures?

First, what parts of the bathroom are considered “fixtures?”

Bathroom fixtures are permanent items that are plumbed, wired, or screwed in. Changing bathroom fixtures is often easier and cheaper than larger projects — like new flooring, a new vanity, or a new shower — but they can significantly update the look of any bathroom. 

You may be wanting to refresh your bathroom’s fixtures but are not sure where to begin. We will guide you through product recommendations and design inspiration to fit your ideal bathroom and budget. 

How to Choose Bathroom Fixtures

How do you know which type of bathroom fixtures will look best? With so many different styles, designs, and finishes, it can feel intimidating trying to decide which ones to pick.

Here is our guide to choosing the perfect bathroom fixtures for your bathroom style and your personal taste. We will focus on the four most popular bathrooms, so you can decide which basic category your bathroom falls under. 

1. Traditional

Traditional style bathrooms often feature crisp light colors or earthy neutrals and warm wood tones. Fixtures and decor are classic and timeless with subtle embellishments. 

People with traditional style bathrooms should opt for antique-inspired fixtures, fixtures with feminine curves, ornate details, and not overly trendy pieces. 

2. Transitional

Transitional style bathrooms are similar to traditional bathrooms but often have some kind of quirky or eclectic twist. A transitional bathroom may have all the features of a traditional one but with a loud wallpaper, a colorful backsplash, a patterned floor tile, or a boldly painted vanity.

In moderation, eclectic and quirky fixtures can work well in a transitional bathroom. Brushed gold, trendy light fixtures, and unique sinks are popular for this bathroom style. 

3. Contemporary

Contemporary bathrooms are sleek, clean, and spa-like. These bathrooms feature minimalist designs that sometimes have Japanese or Scandinavian influences. They usually use black and white in the design along with natural wood tones. 

Contemporary bathrooms look great with hardware in any color, but black fixtures are the most popular. Simple vessel sinks, sleek fixtures, and minimalist hardware look great in contemporary bathrooms.

4. Modern

Today’s modern bathroom is similar to the contemporary style but with rustic influences infused in the design. Inspired by the modern farmhouse look, modern bathrooms feature black and white, patterned tile, and reclaimed wood. 

Fixtures that work well in modern bathrooms are black, pewter, and brushed gold hardware, rustic or antique-inspired lighting, and clean, simple lines. 

What if My Bathroom Style Is Something Else? 

If you have a unique style such as rustic, coastal, or mid-century, we suggest you choose bathroom fixtures that complement your bathroom’s unique characteristics. Pinterest is a great place to look for inspiration. 

Here are some of our recommendations for unique bathroom styles: 

Keep reading to understand the different types of bathroom fixtures available so you can make the best decision for your personal taste. 

Bathroom Faucets

There is a wide variety of bathroom sink fixtures to choose from, so how do you decide?

If you’re retrofitting a new faucet into an existing sink, you will need to choose a faucet with the same type of hole openings in your sink. 

We will detail four popular faucet styles so you can determine which one you need to get.

1. Single-Hold Faucets

These faucets combine the spout and handles into one unit. Often the handles are single-lever with this type of faucet. Look for models that include a bottom piece that will cover the existing three-hole opening in your vanity. 

These types of faucets are simplistic, so they work well for a wide variety of bathroom styles, specifically modern and contemporary. 

2. Widespread Faucet 

This type of faucet has a three-hole spread varying from 6 to 16 inches — or the distance between the hot and cold handles. The spout and two handles are three separate pieces.

These types of faucets can come in a wide variety of styles and finishes. They do have a slightly more traditional appearance than the single-hold faucets. 

3. Center-Set Faucets

Center-set faucets are similar to widespread but tend to come in smaller versions. They will have separate handles, like a widespread, but are only available in a 4-inch spread. Also, the two handles are attached to the spout on this type of faucet. 

The small size makes these faucets great for powder rooms and half bathrooms. Their simplicity lends them to modern and contemporary bathrooms. 

4. Wall Mount Faucets

With wall mount faucets, the spout and handles are mounted to the wall behind the sink. If you opt for a wall mount faucet, make sure you choose a spout long enough to reach over the sink. 

Wall mount faucets offer a unique, contemporary look that works well with vessel sinks. They can also have a rustic flair that looks great in a modern farmhouse bathroom. An eclectic version would look fabulous in a transitional bathroom. 

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Bathroom Light Fixtures

What Are Bathroom Fixtures?

Light fixtures have a big impact. Simply swapping out the light fixture can bring an outdated bathroom into the current decade. Since they are so impactful, choosing the wrong light fixture can derail your bathroom’s entire aesthetic.

Here are some common types of light fixtures found in bathrooms and our style recommendations:

Pendant Lights

Pendant lights can make a big statement in any bathroom. These types of lights hang down from the ceiling on a single metal rod, cord, or chain. 

Pendant lights look pretty in bathrooms because they are simple and elegant. Some popular places to mount them are right in the middle of the bathroom or over a soaker tub. 

Pendant lights provide general lighting that spreads out across the bathroom and helps you see the entire space. 

Pendant lights come in a wide variety of styles so they can look lovely in any bathroom. We have seen simple and sleek pendant lights, rustic-inspired ones, and very glamorous ones with gold accents. 

Vanity Lighting

There is a wide variety of vanity lighting available to suit any sense of style. The vanity is one of the most important parts of the bathroom for lighting and illumination because most people look in the vanity mirror while getting ready in the morning. 

Good lighting is essential to anyone’s grooming routine, so we recommend vanity lighting with practical and functional solutions that prevent hard shadows and evenly distribute light. 

A bath bar is a strip of three or more lights that are mounted above the mirror. Wall sconces installed on either side of the mirror are also popular vanity lighting. Finally, twin-light fixtures provide lots of light and are placed on top of the mirror. 

With so many options when it comes to vanity lighting, how do you choose the right one for your style?

Recessed Lighting

Is your bathroom dark and dingy? For more lighting without taking up space or altering the look of your bathroom, consider installing recessed lights. 

Also known as can lights or downlights, most modern bathrooms feature these subtle lighting solutions. These types of lights are installed directly into the ceiling and are flush with the ceiling. 

Recessed lights are popular in showers because you can install a waterproof lens over them, so they will keep working even if they get wet. 

They are also often installed on the border of the bathroom or evenly spaced across the bathroom ceiling. If placed correctly, recessed lights can provide bright, even lighting throughout the entire bathroom. 

Recessed lighting works great in all types of bathrooms when paired with other stylized light fixtures. 

Wall Sconces

We talked about wall sconces in terms of vanity lighting, but what else can you do with these versatile lights? 

They are lovely over mirrors, on the sides of mirrors, as ambient lighting by the tub, or simply as decoration. 

Wall sconces come in an enormous variety of styles. Choose a simple sconce with a lampshade for a traditional bathroom. A lantern-inspired style for the modern or modern farmhouse. Or choose sconces in a funky shape or color for transitional, or popular minimalist globes for contemporary bathrooms. 


Chandeliers can be a fun addition to any bathroom. They can certainly provide a fun pop in small bathrooms, guest bathrooms, and powder rooms. 

Chandeliers look lovely hanging in the center of the bathroom or over the bathtub. They are a sure way to create a luxurious atmosphere. 

The style of chandelier you choose depends on the style of your bathroom. They typically work great in traditional bathrooms that lend themselves to more ornate detailing. But there are many sleek, modern, and contemporary chandeliers to choose from as well. 

For modern farmhouse bathrooms, there are some lovely casual-style chandeliers that come in distressed wood or wooden beads. 

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Drawer Pulls and Other Hardware


Changing out your faucet and light fixtures are two of the most impactful changes you can make to your bathroom.

But for an even easier fix, consider changing out basic hardware in your bathroom like draw pulls, towel rods, and hand towel hooks. 

Here are some of our tips for updating your bathroom’s hardware:

  • Try to choose items that match or are cohesive
  • Try to keep the hardware in the same style family (simple, ornate, rustic)
  • Research care and maintenance before you buy
  • Make a budget and stick to it

Like any home improvement project, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by all the choices. If you set a budget and do your research in advance, you can greatly narrow down your options.   

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Are You Ready to Update Your Bathroom Fixtures? 

The Bottom Line: Updating your bathroom fixtures can not only dramatically improve the look of your bathroom, but it can also increase your home value too! 

A bathroom fixture is anything that is plumbed, wired, or screwed in. In our experience, the bathroom fixtures that give you the biggest bang for your buck in your bathroom remodel are faucets, light fixtures, and hardware. 

It’s often easier and cheaper to update your fixtures than go for a full bathroom remodel. We hope that this guide has given you some inspiration for the fixtures you want to update in your bathroom. 

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