Your Essential Guide to Choosing the Perfect Tapware

by Carlisle Homes


Fabulous tapware is like jewellery to your kitchen, bathroom or laundry – that little touch of magic that finishes off the look of the space.

As one of the most-used items in your home, tapware needs to perform delivering a consistent flow of water for cooking, drinking, food prep and cleaning. Navigating your way through the maze of options can be a confusing business. To help make it easier, here’s the lowdown on the different styles and finishes available, and tips for choosing the right type for your home.

Different types

Tapware comes in different styles to suit the look of your kitchen, bathroom or laundry as well as the way you like water delivered. When it comes to style, take your cues from the colours, finishes and aesthetics of the room. Generally speaking, sleek, minimalist tapware will suit a contemporary space, while rounded, intricate styles are a better fit for traditional homes.

Also consider how the tap will be used. Do you, for example, need a large or pull-out style to clean bulky pots and pans, a swivel spout that delivers water to both sides of a double sink or tapware with soft, rounded lines for a bathroom used by children?

Here are the main types available. To see some stunning examples of these different styles, check out our brand partner Phoenix's website.


Phoenix Vivid Slimline Mixer in a sophisticated Matt Black finish reflects the monochrome interior theme in this Carlisle Sheraton Grand Deluxe Home.

Mixer taps

This style allows you to control the flow and temperature of water with one lever. Mixer taps tend to have a simple, low profile that suits contemporary kitchens, bathrooms and laundries and shallow sinks and basins.

Pull-out taps

Need the flexibility to clean large pots in the kitchen sink or hand wash the kids’ muddy sports gear in the laundry? The tip of a pull-out tap extends from a retractable hose, making it easy to clean bulky items. Pull-out styles are best suited to large, deep or double sinks.

Spray mixer taps

Spray mixers allow you to adjust the water flow, giving you the flexibility to go from a wider spray for cleaning things such as vegetables to a finer spray for more targeted cleaning.

Three-piece tap sets

This classic style consists of a hot tap, a cold tap and spout, all installed independently on or above the benchtop. It’s a popular choice for traditional bathrooms.


The clean lines of the kitchen in this Carlisle Clovelly Home call for a simple and elegant Phoenix Mekko gooseneck mixer.

Gooseneck taps

With their tall, striking silhouette, gooseneck taps are often the centrepiece of a kitchen or bathroom. Their added height also means they’re ideal for cleaning bulky items. Choose from high, curved styles and tall, square ones. As they are large, gooseneck taps are best suited to large kitchens and bathrooms or generous kitchen islands.

Swivel-spout taps

Attempting to clean a large pan but can’t quite get the spout to reach? Alleviate the issue with a swivel-spout tap that can be rotated left or right.

Choose a finish

We’re spoilt for choice nowadays when it comes to tapware finishes and colours. When it comes to choosing a tap finish for your kitchen, bathroom or laundry, create a cohesive look by seeking out one that ties in with your appliances, joinery finish and hardware.

You’ll also need to decide whether you want something that blends in (such as chrome or stainless steel) or makes a bold statement (such as a coloured tap or one in a look-at-me finish such as gold).

Here’s a rundown of the main finishes on offer.

Chrome: Shiny chrome tapware is the most popular choice for kitchens, bathrooms and laundries and it’s easy to see why; it’s durable, easy-to-clean and rust-resistant. You’ll find endless chrome styles available – and generally at a great price.


Phoenix Mekko Mixer in a sophisticated stainless steel finish reflects the Hamptons inspired interior theme in this Carlisle Sorrento Grand Retreat home.

Nickel: A softer, slightly warmer finish than stainless steel. It’s a striking finish that’s a little less ‘blingy’ than brass or gold. It develops a lovely, aged look over time.

Gunmetal: This on-trend, dark-grey finish has a smooth, metallic lustre. It looks great in contemporary spaces.

Brass: An elegant, yellow-gold look that comes in a polished (shiny) or satin (brushed) finish. Brass ages beautifully over time and can add warmth to a bathroom, kitchen or laundry.

Living brass: This slightly textured finish is garnering a lot of attention in the design world right now. It darkens, tarnishes and oxidises over time to create a unique look, imparting a rustic, beachy vibe into a space. Living brass pairs beautifully with natural finishes such as marble and timber.


brushed gold Phoenix Vivid slimline side lever sink mixer adds a touch of luxury to the butler’s pantry in this Carlisle Coventry Home.

Brass with a gold finish: With its bright, yellow-gold appearance, brass with a gold finish is the perfect fit for an opulent or dramatic bathroom. Make gold tapware the star of the show by keeping tiles, joinery and fixtures simple.

Matt black: The on-trend finish of the moment, matt-black tapware is stylish, affordable and guaranteed to make a statement. It works beautifully when you match it with other black elements in a room, such as window frames, mirror frames and light fixtures.

Consider format and size

  • Proportion is key: a small sink will suit a smaller tap, while a large or double basin will require larger taps.
  • Another thing to consider when selecting a tap size, make sure your chosen style directs water to the centre of the sink or basin.

Be water wise

All taps come labelled with a WELS star rating. This is the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards rating, which tells you how water-efficient a tap is. The rating ranges from one to six stars, with more stars indicating better efficiency. The WELS label also includes a figure that tells you the rate of water consumption (flow rate in litres per minute) so you can see exactly how much water a tap uses. Phoenix prioritise water efficiency in the design process, which is why many of their products hold a six-star Water Efficiency Labelling Standards (WELS) rating.


A stylish matt black Phoenix Vivid Slimline Mixer adds a designer look to the kitchen at this Carlisle Sheraton Grand Deluxe Home.

Other considerations

  • If you’re replacing existing tapware, you’ll need to choose the same position and set-up. For example, a wall-mounted, three-piece set will need to be replaced with the same style.
  • If you have young children, tapware with rounded lines is safer than sharp, angular styles.
  • A swivel spout is useful if you want to be able to move it out of the way when the bath has been filled.
  • You don’t need to match all the tapware in a room, but for a cohesive look it’s best to choose styles in the same finish.
  • For peace of mind, it’s wise to choose tapware from an established brand like Phoenix, as their high quality products are reassuringly backed with excellent warranties.

Get ideas, inspiration and see stunning tapware from leading suppliers used in the Carlisle Homes display homes in a virtual tour. Take a virtual tour here.


Carlisle newsletter

Sign up to get the latest news from Carlisle Homes including exclusive offers, new home designs, and the latest trends and inspiration.