Let's Talk Finishes
Updated: Aug 7, 2019
You've finished the final designs for your bathroom. You have your theme picked out, your color scheme, and your full layout ready to go. Did you consider the different finish types to choose from, though? The finish on your faucet(s) is one of the most important aspects to really pull a room together. Here we take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of some popular options.
1. The matte black faucet has quickly become a popular option for modern and eclectic styled rooms. It's very easy to find matching accessory items to coordinate with while still maintaining a classy aesthetic.
It can easily bring out the highlights in a variety of fun backgrounds (natural stone, hard stone, organic tile, etc.) or add emphasis in curvy prints. It can become a real focal point in any busy area.
Matte black finishes are easy to clean since they don't show dirt, fingerprints, or water spots compared to some of the more shiny options available.
While it may be easy to match against accessories, it might not be as easy to match fixtures against a matte black finish. You should be careful and considerate when selecting a fixture that won't over-emphasize your sink area when paired with this type of finish. It's also notable that this finish type can be difficult to find at times and may be more expensive than some of the more traditional finishes.
2. If you're looking for an alternative to the standard metal look, an oil-rubbed bronze finish might be the right fit for you. It has a more traditional feel to it, especially when introduced to a Tuscan or Mediterranean setting, but can be paired with a variety of room decor options.
Oil-rubbed bronze is durable, easy to clean, and is popular on the open market. It can be considered as an "imperfect" traditional option since the finish can vary depending on the applicator. This can have it's pros and cons.
A positive outlook is that you can work with this finish type when on a budget. You can use brass darkening solution to match your hardware (light switch panels, cabinet knobs, etc.) instead of buying individual items. This will help the room come together without having to be absolutely perfect.
This can also be seen as a disadvantage, though. Since oil-rubbed bronze is a pricier finish option, many consumers expect absolute perfection. This can be hard to accomplish since this finish can vary from brand to brand (even within the same manufacturer). It would be very difficult to have each and every item perfectly match.
Oil-rubbed bronze is one of the more expensive options available. It has been argued that this is purely due to it's cosmetic appearance, though. There have been several reports that consumers should be advised not to use hard chemicals when cleaning as it can remove and/or hinder the finish. Water spots and calcium build up also appear to be a consistent issue, although it's been noted that a water softener may help to alleviate this problem.
3. A newer trend on the market is the copper faucet. It gives the area an unmistakably bolder and richer look. This specific type of aesthetic can go magnificently well with a variety of different room themes such as Tuscan, steampunk, or farmhouse.
One of the biggest benefits of having a copper faucet is that it has natural antibacterial properties and has the ability to "heal" itself. In the event that the faucet is scratched, the copper will become darker and eventually blend in with the patina in a relatively short period of time. In the natural aging process of the faucet, the copper will develop in to a beautiful patina in itself.
Copper faucets are relatively easy to find on the market but may be harder to match with accessories and other fixtures. Copper is vary versatile and comes in several different shades such as Polished, Antique, and Satin. This can be hard to match as shades may vary from brand to brand.
4. Now on to some of the more traditional finish options. Chrome is hands-down one of the most commonly known faucet finish types available. It's extremely popular and appreciated mostly due to it's versatility.
Chrome is durable, generally inexpensive, easy to clean and maintain, easy to find, and easy to match with accessories and other fixtures. It will fit in with almost any style or themed room.
This type of metal finish does usually have a slight blue tint or shine to it, though. It would go nicely with cooler colors (from white to deep gray) since it could benefit from the blue tones of the faucet fixture. It's generally seen as providing a more sophisticated and cool look to a room.
That being said, once of the most obvious downfalls of having a chrome finish is that it shows water spots and fingerprints, meaning you'll have to constantly be cleaning it. This can be a major turn off to some consumers.
It can also have a "cheap" feel to it. While most chrome finishes are made with actual metal, some manufacturers use a shiny plastic to try and pass it off. It can be very hard to differentiate when doing a direct comparison, so be careful when you're doing your research.
5. Brushed nickel faucets have stood the test of time. This soft metal look creates a warm and earthy feel in a room. It's generally matte or has a semigloss rather than being particularly shiny (compared to a chrome finish), which can have a tendency to make the faucet blend in instead of making a statement.
This finish has a brownish hue to it, which looks particularly good against tiled back-splash or stone counter-tops (marble, granite, slate, etc.), but it can generally coordinate well with just about any room style.
Brushed nickel is one of the most durable finishes available. It tends to keep it's finish much longer than oil-rubbed bronze and chrome. It doesn't show natural wear and tear very well and it's easy to hide fingerprints and water spots making it very easy to clean and maintain.
The price point for brushed nickel finishes is typically more than chrome but less than oil-rubbed bronze, making it a nice middle-ground for consumers. There have been reports that it can be difficult to match brushed nickel to various accessories, though. The tone of the finish can change depending on the amount of plating and the density of the nickel used, so fixtures from different manufacturers can vary. It's recommended to purchase all of your fixtures and accessories from the same brand to avoid these types of variances.
What finish style do you prefer?