I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about metal finishes in the home. So let’s break down what’s a “fad” and what’s “timeless” and that sometimes those words might not mean anything to you at all. I’ll say it again, while it’s so easy to say that there are rules in design, sometimes breaking those rules can give you really fun results.
Brass – Yay or Nay?
I’ve been getting asked for the last 5 years if brass is “here to stay”. Over the course of the 2010’s we have seen brass emerge like no other. It seems to be everywhere, in lighting, plumbing, hardware and furniture. To be honest, lately sometimes I have trouble even finding furniture finishes in nickel at all! If you are doing a remodel and are wondering if you should give this modern gold a try, here are my tips.
Stick with a brushed or “living” finish. The brass that we used to associate with 70’s is different from the brass of today. We’re not seeing bright shiny lacquered brass anymore, is more muted with an antique, brushed or matte finish. Living finishes are left unsealed so that it will naturally patina over time, over the years it will dull and darken with exposure to the elements. It’s a part of the character of the piece and not to be considered as defective.
If you’re looking for attitude, use brass. In more contemporary spaces I would definitely say brass “talks” a lot more than the silver finishes. It provides warmth, but also contrast. Brass pulls on cabinetry tend to have more of a jewelry feel than others. It packs a punch and makes a statement, which is why it can be great to use in a small powder room. But brass can also look fabulous in the kitchen as well as full bathrooms in the home. In a more traditional space brass adds a sense of connection to the past and warmth.
Brass plays well with other saturated colors. Brass fixtures on a deep navy, black, or any colored cabinet add a fun and playful “pop”. And while brass and white absolutely have their place and work excellent together, if you’re doing a whole bathroom in all white marble, I would steer away from using brass. Just a little bit of brass in a big sea of white has a lot less impact and calls me back to the 80’s more than I’d like. Using more saturated colors to contrast allows the warm brass to become emboldened. In today’s bathrooms and kitchens that are trying to go for more of the “simple and clean” feel will do much better with a silver finish like polished nickel.
I love the way the brass pops off these dark base cabinets.
In an all white bathroom I think the brass falls a little flat. Whereas I think nickel tones would really sing here.
Another example of where I would have maybe opted for nickel tones and kept things simple or gone bold with a black finish.
Polished Nickel vs. Brushed
This is another question I get asked all the time! When it comes to “value” or what’s better for resale, I say there’s no real difference. Personally, I love the look and shine of polished nickel, which certainly is more valuable than polished chrome (Chrome is a little colder and less expensive, nickel has more warmth). However, in kitchens and bathrooms a family with young children and sticky fingers might prefer brushed nickel that is less susceptible to showing fingerprints and mess.
Brushed nickel can also give an appearance of a more antiqued look. Where as polished nickel is bright and shiny. Both evoke different looks and feels but both are a very safe option and are a no brainer when you are designing with resale in mind.
What will look the most “Timeless”
The thing about “fads” and “trends” is that they all happen for a reason. Change is good. We all get tired of looking at the same old thing all the time. We’ve all been told for so long that colored appliances of the 70’s were dated, cringe-worthy and bad. But we’ve seen color make a huge resurgence in kitchens. Think about kitchen mixers coming in every color of the rainbow, we’re even seeing sinks in new materials and colors like cherry red and navy blue! I would say we all suffered a little bit of “nickel fatigue” in the early 2010’s when that was the go-to finish for all metal, it was almost as if you didn’t have a choice. Then brass made a resurgence and everyone starting questioning what was a fad and what was here to stay.
In my opinion, there is no wrong. Do what you want and do what you love. I think that mixing metals is a great way to keep everything seeming more relevant. Powder coated black and white mixed with either nickel or brass is a great way to keep your home from being defined in these “nickel” or “brass” boxes. Don’t ever feel like just because you have a finish in one area of the house that it needs to dictate to every single room.
For resale value, I would advise at sticking with your “neutrals”: nickel, black and oil rubbed bronze. They are generally non-offensive and easily palatable to most buyers walking into your home. Although matte black is a newer finish I think it has a lot of staying power because it can be flexible in both modern styles and more traditional shapes being reminiscent of iron and that farmhouse feel. Let’s be honest, black is always in, right?
I love the way black hardware looks on white cabinets, it’s feels a little more old school and totally casual.
A great example of how to mix metals. Black, brass and stainless steel.
How do I care for my metal finishes?
All metal finishes will need maintenance of some sort. Living finishes will change and patina over time which is the purpose of leaving them unsealed. But be sure to occasionally wipe down to avoid uneven aging. In addition to general cleaning and wiping down it’s a great idea to polish your fixtures at least once a year. This keeps things looking good as new and avoids tarnishing and other build up to accumulate eventually affecting the function of plumbing fixtures. Ask HomeSquare about this service in your home!
Katie Canfield is the founder and principal designer at Studio KC. Studio KC got its humble start in 2015 when Katie was just 23 years old. While she was freelancing with other interior designers in the NY and CT area she also became a go-to designer for local contractors and trades that needed a designer’s help for their clients whether it be for custom cabinetry drawings or plans for a gut renovation on an entire home.
Katie Canfield’s design aesthetic is eclectic and flexible. She delights in the marriage between old and new- keeping spaces approachable but still matching each client’s unique aesthetic and family narrative. Her passion for design keeps her motivated and constantly on the hunt for new trends and materials. Her broad experience includes an art history background, study at the Accademia Italiana in Florence, a stint with the renowned Manhattan firm Amanda Nisbet Design, as well as collaborations with builders and designers across the tri-state area. She’s seen it all: from gutting prewar Manhattan apartments to new construction in the ‘burbs.
Cool silver metallic finishes are still top rated
When it comes to the most used and specified finishes of kitchen, bath, and interior designers it has to be the silvery metallic family of metals which include: nickel, chrome, aluminum, and stainless steel.
There's no rule that says every finish in your home has to match. In fact, it's often better if they don't. Mixing metals has become a favorite way to create a collected-over-time look in kitchens, bathrooms, living areas, and more.What is the most popular metal finish? ›
Chrome. Chrome is one of the most popular contemporary metal finishes for multiple reasons. Chrome is scratch-resistant, versatile, low-maintenance, inexpensive, sleek, and stylish. A chrome finish is achieved by bonding chrome plating over a base material such as brass, copper, or steel.What are 3 metal finishes? ›
- Hot dip galvanizing (batch galvanizing) ...
- Continuous galvanizing. ...
- Thermal zinc spraying. ...
- Metallic coating with zinc dust (sherardizing) ...
- Zinc-rich painting. ...
- Zinc electro-plating. ...
- Cathodic protection.
Recently, black and brushed bronze were popular; however, moving forward, we will see a return to more classic tones. Examples include unlacquered brass and shiny finishes such as chrome and polished nickel. Finishes such as polished copper and gold also will grow in popularity.What is the most timeless fixture finish? ›
Arctic Stainless finish is the classic's classic, tried and true in presentation and tone. Arctic Stainless differs from Stainless in that it's glossy with a silver finish and an icy cast, but either would look good in any kitchen.Is it trendy to mix metals? ›
Layering Mixed Metals is in Style
Wearing different metals creates a casual, chic look, and multiple necklaces, rings and bracelets look great layered and stacked. Yellow, white, and rose gold are stunning when worn together, whether you choose to pair two different metals or wear all of them together.
- Brushed Nickel. ...
- Two tone – Brushed Nickel/Chrome Plate. ...
- Matt Black. ...
- Satin Chrome. ...
- Chrome Plate. ...
- Satin Brass. ...
- Vintage Pewter. Like its name suggests, Vintage Pewter harks back to days of old. ...
- Rustic Brass. Rustic brass is much more brassy and 'rusticy' in the flesh!
Oil rubbed bronze is officially an out of style decorating trend. Consider spray painting oil rubbed bronze light fixtures to a more contemporary color.Is brushed nickel out of style? ›
Brushed nickel isn't going out of style any time soon. This popular material is perfect for traditional style homes, as well as transitional style homes that take elements of both the new and the old.
Are Chrome faucets out of style? Not at all! Chrome is one of the most classic finishes for faucets and other home fixtures. It is extremely versatile, and is suitable for both a modern and contemporary home design.What is the most popular fixture finish? ›
Shiny chrome is the most popular bath finish and comes with an affordable price tag. Nickel has a warmer tone and a more exclusive pedigree. Stainless steel, still the leading metal in the kitchen, looks indulgent in the bath, too.What hardware finish is most durable? ›
Stainless steel is widely recognized as one of the most durable metals because of its high resistance to rust and corrosion. Stainless steel is often made from recyclable metals, making it not only resilient, but environmentally friendly as well.What are two methods of metal finishing? ›
- Electroless Plating.
- Hot Blackening.
- Powder Coating.
- Phosphate Coating.
- Buff Polishing.
There are three main types of timber finishes – evaporative, reactive and coalescing. Evaporative finishes use acetone, alcohol and nitro-cellulose lacquer thinners as solvents and thinners.Is Brushed nickel out of style 2022? ›
#2 Most Sought-After Finish in 2022: Brushed Nickel
One of the top growing kitchen design trends in 2022 is adding a brushed nickel finish to fixtures and faucets.
Lighting fixtures and hardware.
Brushed nickel remains a popular finish, while oil-rubbed bronze fixtures are o-u-t, along with heavily embellished ones.
In 2022, people will become more drawn to black and white colour schemes; thus, black hardware will be especially popular.Is Chrome Coming Back in Style 2022? ›
Interior Design Trends That Will Be Huge In 2022
Chrome Finishes – brass is still trending, but every showroom featured chrome. Geometric Shapes – circles, squares, cylinders stacked as lamp bases and adorn case goods.
White and brass lighting will become white hot in 2022, according to Ben Marshall who is the Creative Director of HVLG. “Bright white and warm brass [are] iconic!
Popular throughout the previous century, brass is once again a favorite finish in kitchens, bathrooms, and beyond. The metal offers a warmer alternative to the chrome and nickel finishes that dominated the last couple of decades.Can you mix fixture finishes in a house? ›
Mixing metal finishes can add dimension and visual interest to a room. Instead of a monochromatic, one-note space, you create intrigue and the illusion of texture with small touches. A mix of finishes can blend styles and make a room more reflective of your personal taste.Is it trendy to mix gold and silver? ›
Mixing silver and gold jewellery has always been a timeless accessories option. Accessories are made to be paired together, and that includes precious metals like gold and silver. You can make the most of your collection by choosing gold jewellery pieces and combining them with your beloved sterling silver items.Should you match metals? ›
Match Metals. Many accessories will fall into this category and share the same general rule as leather – metals should match metals. Keeping the color of these in the same tone results in an uncluttered, refined and fresh look.What is the new trend on door handles? ›
In recent years, matte black door handles have risen in demand – and we don't see this going anywhere in 2023. Homeowners are opting for contemporary black details in home decor and furniture, and matte black door hardware is the perfect way to compliment that.What hardware color is timeless? ›
Timeless Kitchen Hardware
Brass is the most timeless metal, in my opinion, and if you choose unlacquered brass hardware, it will only get prettier with time. From appliance pulls to cup pulls and the sweet round knobs and hinges we used in this space, every piece references historic elements.
You should opt for geometric shapes, natural finishes, matte finishes, and crystal knobs to make your doors stand out and match with other 2022 trends.Is brass and gold coming back in style? ›
For years brass has been on the sidelines, but it's making a comeback. Here are ways homeowners can incorporate the finish to add glamour and help homes stand out. After years of chrome, stainless steel, and nickel being the shining stars of interior metals, brass is back and starting to steal the show.Will gold hardware go out of style? ›
So, yes, gold hardware is a huge 'trend' right now and this 'trend' will die down (as all trends do), but don't let that stop you from getting what you want. As I wrote in 'How to Choose Timeless Design Finishes vs.Is gold hardware in Style 2022? ›
Gold Is Still Shining Bright
Whether it's gold kitchen hardware, gold lighting, or gold décor, 2022 kitchens are still full of the warm metallic tones. Large pendant lighting, and hardware that makes a statement are very prevalent, and will continue to add colour to kitchens throughout the new year.
Even with recent design trends like farmhouse or modern sophistication where black and gold-colored hardware trended, satin nickel still found a home. Over the years, we have found that satin nickel knobs and pulls remain relevant in current design trends, making them one of our most popular finishes.What is the most popular bathroom fixture finish 2022? ›
Polished nickel is a good choice for a modern setting, while brushed nickel is an ideal default when you plan to combine multiple design styles. Satin brass is another favorite for a bathroom that has a retro look. If you are including the kitchen in your plumbing fixture makeover, we recommend a closer look at copper.Is chrome or brushed nickel more modern? ›
Chrome tends to be considered more modern or contemporary than brushed nickel. On the flip side, brushed nickel is typically categorized as more traditional when comparing it to chrome. As with all things design, it comes down to personal preference! Both are good options if they fit the other decor in your space.Should all faucets in house Match? ›
All of your faucets and doorknobs don't have to match throughout your house. You can select one metal for your kitchen and another for your bathroom. So if you don't want to give up a ton of control, you can still get creative with your designs. You can swap out one or two faucets if they're all the same metal.What's better brushed nickel or chrome? ›
Brushed nickel is easier to clean than chrome because it hides fingerprints and smudges. Chrome lets everything show. Use vinegar to clean both if soap and water aren't sufficient.What is better polished chrome or brushed nickel? ›
Brushed nickel provides a more durable finish.
Brushed nickel is one of the most durable finishes available, and tends to keep its appearance up longer than chrome. The finish is etched with a metal brush to create the matte sheen and then coated with a lacquer to protect it from wear.
While it's TRENDY on some surfaces (bathroom fixtures, door hardware and kitchen faucets), it's TIMELESS on others. While its popularity is SLIGHTLY waning in certain styles of homes, it's going strong in others.Is brass hardware out of style? ›
Brass hardware may have gone out of style in the past, but it is most definitely back and better. There are a few different brass tones to choose from, such as: Bright Brass. Antique Brass.Are black door knobs trendy? ›
Black door hardware has become an increasingly popular choice for homeowners looking to revamp the interior or exterior design of their homes. Installing black door handles and other hardware in your home can change the mood of any space adding a sleek, minimalistic vibe.Is polished nickel timeless? ›
Is Polished Nickel in style? Delta's Polished Nickel is timeless. With its bright silver base and signature pale gold undertones, Polished Nickel is perfectly suited for any modern home design style.
Does cabinet hardware have to match your faucet? No. But, traditionally kitchens and bathrooms will match hardware finishes to the faucet to tie the finishes in the room together. Matching cabinet hardware to your faucet creates a cohesive look.What are the 5 finishing materials? ›
The main finishing materials in modern construction include finishing mortars and concretes; natural and artificial masonry materials; decorative ceramics; materials and items made from wood, paper, glass, plastic, and metals; and paints and varnishes.What are the major applications of metal finishing? ›
- Aesthetic Appeal. The most striking benefit of electropolishing is its lustrous appearance. ...
- Improved Cleanability. ...
- Improved Corrosion Resistance. ...
- Improved Surface Finish. ...
- Reduce Product Adhesion. ...
- Remove Rouge. ...
- Restore a Polished Surface.
- Varnish. The more common forms of wood finishes are varnishes. ...
- Oil Finish. Oil wood finishes improve the appearance of unfinished wood. ...
- Wax Finish. ...
- Shellac. ...
- Wood Dye. ...
- Wood Stain Finish. ...
- Lacquer. ...
- Water Based Finish.
The main types of finishing work include facing, plastering, woodworking, flooring, painting, wallpapering and glazing. In most cases; you'll have the ability to select the finishing items and materials early in the planning stage of your new construction, remodeling or renovation project.What are the two main types of finishes? ›
While there are hundreds of options, ultimately, there are really two types of finishes, surface film-forming and penetrating.What are finishes when building a house? ›
- 2×6 exterior walls. This is a bit of a no-brainer—even most production builders include 2×6 walls these days. ...
- R-23 wall insulation. ...
- R-50 ceiling insulation. ...
- Acrylic stucco. ...
- High-end windows. ...
- Class A, Impact Level 4 composite roofing. ...
- Premium garage doors. ...
- 9 foot basement ceilings.
Brushed Nickel has become one of the most popular finish choices for hardware due to its versatility and ability to complement all styles and cabinet colors.Is nickel finish out of style? ›
Nickel has just the right appearance for many design styles and will keep your kitchen looking fresh and new with minimal effort, so it continues to be a popular choice of faucet finish to this day.Is brushed nickel out of style 2022? ›
#2 Most Sought-After Finish in 2022: Brushed Nickel
One of the top growing kitchen design trends in 2022 is adding a brushed nickel finish to fixtures and faucets.
The most popular colours for doorknobs in 2022 are matt black, brass and polished chrome. In recent years, there has been a trend of people choosing dark colours for their doorknobs. Dark-toned door hardware is prevalent in many homes, likely because it can give a room a more modern and sophisticated look.What is the kitchen trend for 2023? ›
For the past decade, we've been seeing white walls, white tile, and Carrera marble. People are tired of these muted palettes, and designers are bringing in color— which we love.” Most designers also agree that white-on-white kitchens will look dated in 2023.
Polished nickel is a good choice for a modern setting, while brushed nickel is an ideal default when you plan to combine multiple design styles. Satin brass is another favorite for a bathroom that has a retro look. If you are including the kitchen in your plumbing fixture makeover, we recommend a closer look at copper.Is brass hardware going out of style? ›
That look is dying out in favor of a more authentic use of the metal. Unlacquered brass, the kind that patinas over time, is absolutely gorgeous and will always be in style. It also works best when paired with other finishes and feels like a special touch, not the focal point of a space.