The Lily Guide to Basins (or sinks as they are commonly known)

So you are choosing your new bathroom suite, and now you have come up against all these different names for a sink! One tap hole, two tap holes, pedestals, and cloakroom – what does it all mean and which one do you actually need?

We have put together this guide covering all the jargon and explaining it so you can decide which one suits your space and your needs!

Basins (Sinks)

Basins are often referred to as sinks. This is not quite the correct terminology as sinks are fitted in kitchens and basins are fitted in main bathrooms, cloakrooms, and en-suites.

The term basin came from the use of a jug and basin in the days when these were used for washing in the bedroom. There are six main types of basins available. These are basin and full pedestal, basin, semi-pedestal, cloakroom, semi-recessed, counter top and under-mounted.

Basin and full pedestal

This is where the basin sits on a full-size pedestal and is the most common type. The waste pipe and hot and cold water pipes run up through the pedestal to the basin taps & waste.

Basin and semi-pedestal

This is where the basin sits on a half-height pedestal that does not reach the floor. They are very common in Europe and are becoming increasingly popular.

Pipes for a semi-pedestal are usually taken out of the walls and into the taps & waste.


These are usually fitted without a pedestal, as they are normally very small basins. There are some available with pedestals but you are best to check first. The wall-hung products are normally fitted with a decorative bottle trap.

Over Counter Basin

This type of basin has a bow in the front but the underside has been cut away to produce a flat area.

This is because this type of basin is usually fitted into a worktop.


This type of basin is either round or oval and fits into a hole cut into a worktop or sits directly on top of a surface such as a vanity unit.


The type of basin is fitted under the hole in the worktop. This means that the worktop has to be a solid surface material, such as marble or stone.

Tap Holes

Most basins come with either one or two tap holes or zero tap holes if the filler is from

One tap hole

This type of basin uses a monobloc mixer, which normally incorporates a modern click waste. The water is controlled either by a lever on the tap or a separate hot and cold handle on either side of the spout.

Two tap hole

The most common type of tap configuration has a separate hot and cold tap with a plug and chain waste. The hot tap is normally fitted on the left-hand side of the basin.

Zero Tap Hole

The filling of the basin then takes place from a separate filler which is wall mounted.


So in summary when deciding what basin you would like, you would have to consider:

  • the size of the basin

  • the type of pedestal or indeed vanity unit it may be going on

  • whether or not you would like one or two tap holes which of course will affect the type of taps you will then go on to order.