With the deluge of water falling from the skies yesterday, it seemed rather appropriate to go shopping for plumbing fixtures.

At one point while driving toward Victoria on the highway, a huge wave of water arced across from the other side and smothered my windshield. It rendered me blind for a few seconds and I wondered if I should really be out here today?

I persevered, and at the end of the day came away with a completed shopping list of plumbing fixtures.



How to narrow down a style

I’ll use our cottage as an example to walk you through the process….

The style of the cottage leans toward an industrial look with concrete floors, rustic wood pieces, and black accents. You can get an idea of the style from my choice of lighting. Of course, I always look for single-lever faucets or any other feature to improve accessibility. I also wanted to keep the cleaning of everything at the cottage as easy as possible so I avoided designs with lips, ledges and intricate detail where dust and dirt could settle and be difficult to remove.

Therefore, due to the industrial nature of the cottage’s interior and my desire for easy-to -clean forms, I focused on fixtures with a modern look and simple design.

Knowing this before I even began the search helped narrow down the choices quickly and drastically.

I avoided designs like this

Too intricate, not accessible

In favor of designs like this

Industrial look, accessible

or this

Clean lines and accessible


How to sort out the budget

Once you’ve narrowed down a look, you can zero in on the budget. Many plumbing companies offer similar styles, enabling you to find a particular look in several price ranges. Talk to your showrooms sales-person to find out what the differences in price actually reflect with each brand. Prices will depend on things such as where an item is made (Europe versus China), what material it’s made of (different gages of steel), what the interior mechanisms are made out of (ceramic versus brass), the finish of a product (chrome versus oil rubbed bronze), the marketing costs of each brand, and more.

Be prepared to make a decision of form versus function versus budget. For example, I decided to forgo a touch feature on the kitchen faucet (also due to not great reviews) and go with a better quality and more weighty pull-down spray nozzle. I also selected a bathtub with a slighly more ornate skirt because it was the most comfortable one to sit in.


How to visit a showroom

Before you go and visit a plumbing showroom make sure you know what fixtures you need. List them out organized by rooms (bathroom, powder, kitchen, ensuite, etc), and/or take in a copy of your plans. This allows you to go through each room item by item, and check them off systematically. The showroom sales-people will appreciate an organized approach to your search, and it’ll also save you time and frustration. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to overlook something as glaringly obvious as a toilet. Take a look at the cottage lighting list for an idea of how to itemize fixtures per room.

If you’ve made an appointment with a sales person you may want to go in early and take a quick look through their showroom. This will allow you to zero-in quickly on the styles that appeal to you and get an idea of their costs, as the fixtures should be labelled with prices. You may be able to make a decision quite quickly based on their respective price tags alone.

So much choice!

Wear slip-on shoes in order to try out the bathtubs and showers. They vary widely in design and comfort so it’s a good idea to test-run/sit as many as you can.

Take a cell phone or camera with you to photograph pieces you liked and even their prices. You’ll be looking at hundreds of items and it’s easy to mix up what’s what. Referring to a photo is a more environmentally friendly way to remind yourself of what you saw than getting the sales-person to print out the specs on paper.



How to make a decision

Review the photos that you took at a later time when your mind is clear and rested and you’ve had time to process everything.  Don’t wait too long though as you still want things fresh in your mind. Delete items that you are questioning and don’t give them a second thought.

Hopefully you’ve found something in the showroom that’ll work for you. If not, go online and look at the manufacturer’s websites. The draw-backs of these websites are their lack of prices. You may spend hours upon hours selecting some fixtures only to discover they exceed your budget.

Some people may find the huge range of online choices rather mind-blowing, so limiting yourself to selecting something off the showroom floor might be a primary goal.



Action Plan


If looking for plumbing fixtures is filling you with dread, just follow the steps above to make things easier and more enjoyable.

My biggest tip for you is to begin your search on the showroom floor and only then if you don’t find anything appealing, go ahead and start searching the online catalogues.

I wish you as much fun as I had choosing the jewelry for your home!