Kohler’s pullout Evoke kitchen faucet incorporates design trends such as a single tap, which allows a cook to hold a vegetable peeler, for instance, while turning on the water. The height makes it easier to fill or wash large pots.

Folks who have never shopped for a kitchen faucet before may find the experience brings on red-faced sputters of indignation. And we can sympathize — high-end faucets can easily cost $1,000, and some cost even more.

But don’t despair. We know you can get a good quality and stylish-looking faucet for far less. Don’t go too low, however: We think you should count on spending at least $300 for a faucet. Anything less and you end up buying a throw-away fixture, one you’ll have to dispose of after a few years because its parts have died.

Look for the hallmarks of good quality in a faucet: It should have substantial heft and feel solid in your hands; it should have a ceramic disc valve rather than plastic to control water flow; and if it is a pull-out faucet, it should have a heavy-duty woven sprayer hose rather than vinyl.

As for style, there has been a turnaround in the world of faucets. Today’s bold and confident styles reflect the new importance of the kitchen in the home, as a gathering place for the family, as an entertaining centre for the household, and simply as a great place to hang out.

Embrace the bigger, taller and tougher faucet, — today’s faucet is a lot more substantial and functional than yesterday’s more petite and sometimes delicate faucets.

For example, the high arc design allows users to easily fill pots with water, or wash them. Pull-out spouts are very handy in all kitchens, and tall, flexible restaurant-style faucets are popular among those users who take their cooking seriously, or must balance off big cooking surfaces.

The new faucet also pays much more attention to ergonomic principles. Single handles are popular in kitchens because cooks can turn on the tap with one hand while holding a vegetables peeler in the other hand, for example. Another useful feature is the pull-out spout with a pause button on the head of the spout that allows users to temporarily halt the flow of water.

Not only are faucets much more solid and functional than they used to be, they have become art in their own right. If money is no object, you can purchase absolutely gorgeous faucets that look like mini waterfalls, or funnel water through glass troughs for a stunning effect. But less expensive faucets can look perfectly stylish and beautiful as well.

Generally, new-style faucets are pared down to reflect the basic essence of a tap without any extra ornamentation.

The look is sleek and sculptured, with smooth, seamless surfaces that are easy to clean. But don’t think this aesthetic only works as a contemporary look — the style can be pared-down traditional or contemporary.

And remember that you can mix styles. You can put a traditional-look faucet in a contemporary room, or the other way around. The minimalist looks of both faucets will blend in.

Consider the old-fashioned wall-mounted taps commonly used in farmhouses; they’ve reappeared as “pot-filler” taps, which emerge out of the wall near the stove so users can fill big pasta pots with water without having to lug them across the kitchen to the stove.

The old-fashioned “bridge” faucet has also reappeared to maximize counter space when sinks are undermounted and there is no integrated faucet platform to take up room. And these features work well in any kitchen.

Ultimately, faucets should be functional and well-constructed, and the cost should reflect this reality. If you’re interested in a spectacular tap as a focal point, and we’ve seen plenty of outstanding examples, the sky’s the limit in terms of cost. Today’s faucet market gives you that choice.


Tammy Schnurr and Jeffrey Fisher are hosts of Arresting Design on W Network. Tammy is an interior decorator. Jeffrey designs home furnishings and bedding through his company Jeffrey Fisher Home.

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