By definition novelty items are shiny, new, unique, and unusual; by reputation, they’re short-lived and pretty junky. Once the thrill of that new cupcake-baker wears off, for example, it’s probably going to spend a lot of time gathering dust in the back of your cabinets. But while beer hats and bikini aprons fit nicely into the throw-away definition of novelty, there are plenty of items that are unique and different without being, well, junky. In fact, I’ve found that there are quite a few novelty bathroom faucets that are not only a cool looking addition to your bathroom, but that are actually pretty useful, too.
One of the most popular types of novelty faucets are LED faucets, which light up when the water is turned on, illuminating and coloring the water. Most LED faucets can produce more than one color, and often the color changes depending on the temperature of the water. Superficially, this is an excellent visual way to see when your water has reached optimal temperature without having to stick your hands under a cold stream of water or burn yourself because you got an unexpected surge of hot water. Practically, this is a nice anti-scalding measure, as the lights will flash red when the water becomes scalding hot (about 120 degrees), which can prevent burning.
LED Faucet… Handle?
If bright, colorful water isn’t really your thing, but you like the idea of a visual temperature indicator, I present another novelty faucet: the Neorest II from Toto. Part of a larger collection of novelty bathroom gadgets that includes everything from high tech toilets to a sink that glows from within, this LED faucet set up is less about showy glowing and more about a sleek modern chic. Instead of illuminating the spigot, it’s the round dial-style faucet handle that lights up, glowing blue for cool and red for hot, with a sophisticated thermostatic anti-scald valve to prevent the water from getting too hot. No surprise, this setup combines quite nicely with that glowing sink (though of course you can install it on its own), and as a bonus it can be set either to a full flow 2gpm or a water saving 1.35gpm.
Motion Activated Faucets
You might think that motion activated faucets are the sole demesne of public bathrooms, but motion activated faucets have their place in the home, too. If someone in your family has a bad habit of leaving faucets running – say while shaving, brushing teeth, or absentmindedly after washing hands – a faucet that turns itself off could be worth its weight in water savings. Better still, many new models come with built in thermal mixers, meaning you’ll get pleasantly warm water every time you turn on the faucet, no need to let it run to warm up. And because they’re hands free, they can help you keep a more hygienic bathroom, too, since you won’t be touching the same handle you touched with dirty hands just to turn the water off.
Variable Height Faucet
There aren’t a whole lot of variable height faucets out there, but what few designs there are are definitely a novelty to see, like this stunning modern Dual Art faucet from Xylem. But while they definitely do “cool looking” quite well, they can actually be pretty useful, too. Decorative vessel sinks are becoming hugely popular in contemporary bathroom design, but not all vessel sinks are created equal, and they certainly aren’t all the same size – or height. While they typically require the same drilling in your vanity top, they can’t always be easily interchanged without changing the faucet. A variable height faucet makes just about any vessel sink viable and makes it possible to change out the sink almost as easily as swapping out your towels – seasonally, annually, for special occasions, or whatever.
Waterfall faucets are also typically paired with vessel sinks, but unlike the other faucets on this list, they’re usually mounted directly to the wall. Because you don’t need to leave room for a faucet on the vanity top, this is actually a surprisingly good way to save space in a tight setup. That said, waterfall faucets are really mostly about the novelty, with gorgeous, artistically designed spigots that produce natural, tumbling, falling, waterfall-like water. They makes a pretty sound, look beautiful, and work every inch as well as a standard faucet, not to mention turning brushing your teeth in the morning into a surprisingly pleasant experience.
What do you think of these novelty faucets? Do you think the added functionality is worth it, or are you just here for the unusual designs? Let me know in the comments!