My Favorite Plumbing Finishes and What To Know About Each One

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Silver and gold, silver and gold … there are so many different gold and silver plumbing finishes options, how do you know the difference and which one is right for you? 

Brass has been reigning supreme for the last several years but silver is making a comeback. 

Let’s dig into all of my favorite finish options. I’ll start with the gold options because while they are starting to take a back seat to silver, they will never be out of style and even if they are, who cares. Design should be about what you love, not what’s on trend. 

My Favorite Brass Finishes

There are several brass finishes to choose from, these are my favorites.

Unlacquered or a living finish means the brass has no protective coating. It starts out shiny, but over time gets a “worn-in” look. It is definitely not for everyone. If you appreciate the concept of fixtures resembling those found in old European farmhouses, then this brass finish is perfect for you.

Photo Credit: Chrissy Marie

Polished brass like this faucet from our Sand Down in San Diego Project is brass with a protective clear coating. It keeps it from weathering and changing colors like the unlacquered.

Antiqued or aged brass undergoes an aging treatment. It is a darker color and has a patina look. As its name suggests, antiqued or aged brass has a darkened appearance, giving it the look of being much older than it actually is. It’s an ideal choice for those seeking a vintage aesthetic.

Photo Credit: Studio McGee

My Go-To Silver Finishes

99% of my silver projects are polished nickel but it’s more expensive than chrome. I like to slip chrome into some of the lesser seen spaces like a laundry room or a secondary bathroom. 

Polished Nickel is one of my favorite finishes. In the It’s Kind of a Big Deal project, we used it in the kitchen and the bathrooms. It is shiny silver with a warm undertone. It pulls from its surroundings. Notice how this tub filler has a strong gold hue to it. 

The sink below has the same polished nickel finish, but it lacks warmth since the sun isn’t shining through the windows onto it. Polished nickel is a versatile finish that pairs well with gold hardware and complements any room. Like chrome, it will require a daily wipe down to keep it shiny. 

Chrome is shiny silver with a cool undertone. It’s a very durable finish. The downside is that it shows water spot sand fingerprints. It shines up easily with the use of a flour sack towel.

I love a good matte black faucet.

Matte Black is a beautiful finish. It can be used in any decor style. Modern, farmhouse, colonial or traditional. Like with chrome and polished nickel, you will need to wipe it down often as black finishes show all the things.

Do you have a favorite? You don’t have to. The best part is you can mix and match! 

Have any questions? Ask in the comments below. I respond to every one of them.

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