Toilets and sinks come in a variety of materials, styles, and colors. They also come with several hardware choices. When considering whether toilets and sinks match or not, you should consider all of these factors.
Some designers believe the sink should match the toilet exactly in terms of style, color, and fixtures. Others believe that while a bathroom sink and toilet should coordinate well with each other and complement each other, an exact match is unnecessary. Still, others believe an eclectic mix can be interesting and exciting. Ultimately, the answer to the question of whether the two must match exactly, coordinate, or be an eclectic blend is based on your own sense of aesthetics and whether you are decorating to sell your home soon at a good price or to please yourself.
If you like uniformity, having a sink and toilet in the same color might be important for you. Also, matching fixtures is easier if you want to do your bathroom yourself and don't trust your sense of which colors clash and which coordinate. To match these fixtures, be sure each is also the same variation on the chosen color. Different manufacturers might both offer biscuit colored fixtures, but "biscuit" may vary slightly among manufacturers, for example.
If you like the idea of matching the sink and toilet but don't want a totally monochromatic look, you can bring color into the room in other ways. One way to match the sink and toilet but still bring in color is to add an accent color. For example, if you have a white sink, toilet, and bathtub, or shower, you might add brown tiles and a matching brown vanity under the sink for a sophisticated chocolate and vanilla look. In this way, you have created uniformity, as well as variety. Or you may decide on an aquatic theme and add blue-green to the counter or vanity around the sink and the same color tiles around the whirlpool.
You also can use a different colored toilet and sink to create visual illusions. For example, if you have a small bathroom, you can effectively use the colors beige, black, and white to avoid a sense of the room being cluttered. Placing a beige sink atop a black base and beige vanity underneath, then having a white toilet, beige shower, and beige and white motif behind the toilet can visually separate the toilet and create a visual distraction.
If you wish your toilet and sink would match, but you've bought a home where they don't, you can develop a creative solution. For example, you could hang a beaded curtain between the two to divide them visually into separate spaces. Or you could add a multicolored whimsically shaped vessel or piece of art to perch on a cabinet that will draw your visual attention away from the mismatched fixtures.
If you are more adventurous, you may opt to coordinate your sink and toilet colors rather than match them exactly. To do this, you create a visual link between the toilet and sink. For example, suppose your toilet is almond color, and you want to buy a white sink. This can work well as long as the counter or cabinet around the sink is a creamy beige, brown, white blend to coordinate. Otherwise, without the coordinating counter or cabinet, the white sink and the almond toilet would seem to create a hodgepodge effect.
Or suppose you want to use a retro color for the toilet and have a white sink; you might connect the two with a white toilet lid.
Alternatively, you can make a gray sink work with a white toilet by using speckled gray backsplashes and tiles.
If you are a fan of vessel sinks or countertop sinks -- those sinks that sink on top of the countertop with nothing else around them -- you may choose a glass sink rather than a sink the color of your toilet to create a clean, modern look.
However, even the most adventurous designers caution about using too many different colors, such as a sink in one color, a toilet in another, and a cabinet under the sink in a third unrelated color. They also note that matching toilet and sink color in a small bathroom or powder room is important while matching them in a larger bathroom may not be.
Sinks and toilets also come in various shapes and styles. In a more traditional design, the style of the sink should match or at least coordinate with the toilet style. For example, suppose you live in an older home with a vintage high-tank toilet. To match the style, you could choose a vintage sink, such as a pedestal sink, which attaches to the wall and is supported by legs. Alternatively, you could choose a vintage porcelain basin in a pastel color. In any event, you would opt for a traditional style with elaborate detail or a basin on a chrome or metal washstand with curvy legs.
If you wanted to be more eclectic, you would choose a contemporary sink with flowing or angular lines, such as a drop-in sink, named because it drops into a countertop or a glass vessel sink.
Hardware and Fixtures
Matching hardware and fixtures will be important to you if you seek uniformity. They may also be important to those who will buy your home in the future. Fixtures and hardware include faucets, doors on cabinetry below the sink, and the toilet tank handle. These can be made of various metals such as brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, stainless steel, and zinc or zinc alloys. They also can be made of plastic, although plastic hardware tends to be less durable. Some designers believe that if your sink and cabinetry fixtures are brushed nickel, your toilet tank handle should be so. Those who hold this philosophy also caution that one manufacturer's brushed nickel is not exactly the same as another's.
Other designers believe that mixing metals is all right, and some even believe that this mixing makes for an exciting contemporary look. A faucet in copper and a toilet tank handle in nickel work fine together, for example, and can present a modern look. Gold tones, oxidized coppers, and polished nickel also provide a modern look and pair well with each other and with other hardware materials. Black finishes on a sink, for example, can also add flare when you're trying to spiff up an ordinary square-shaped bathroom and coordinate well with metal hardware on the toilet.
Good bathroom design is in the eye of the beholder. You can never go wrong by matching your sink and toilet, but being more adventurous isn't wrong either. Consider what will make you happy, study design magazines to get a feel for achieving that look, and let your creativity flow.