For years, the staple kitchen faucet finishes were pretty set in stone for years. However, in the past decade there have been some emerging finishes that have popped up and change the landscape of kitchen design. While there are dozens of finishes available in the market, today the following 7 finishes are the most commonly used in kitchen remodels.
- Polished Chrome
- Stainless Steel
- Brushed Nickel
- Polished Nickel
- Oil Rubbed Bronze
- Matte Black
- Brushed Brass
1. Polished Chrome
Polished Chrome is probably the most popular type of kitchen faucet finish. It’s a shiny silver finish that is highly reflective. Whereas most finishes on our list use a PVD plating method, polished chrome uses “hexavalent chromium plating” which makes it more the most affordable finish on our list. Another common term for Polished Chrome is simply “Chrome Plated”
What drives most of its popularity is its affordability. A Polished Chrome kitchen faucet can be as much as 30% cheaper than any one of the other finishes on our list. The second reason why one might chose a chrome plated kitchen faucet is because of that brand new shiny look. It really does give your kitchen that sense of “newness”.
That shiny look can also be its downfall however. The major drawback of the polished chrome finish is that it’s a fingerprint magnet. It also attracts water spots and needs to be wiped off constantly. It definitely loses its luster over time. After just a year of heavy use, you will most likely want to replace it if you want to keep that vibrant look.
2. Stainless Steel
Stainless Steel is a dull silver like finish with a slightly warm tone. It is a finish that is meant to blend in with a stainless steel sink & other kitchen appliances like your dishwasher, range & your refrigerator.
Stainless steel is the default kitchen faucet finish for most newly remodel kitchens. Not only does it match your appliances, it’s able to withstand a lot of use. Its dull finish means that it doesn’t need to be constantly wiped down. Also, a dull finish simply does not have to worry about losing its luster over time.
The #1 drawback of the stainless finish is that it can be boring. Its job is to blend in but not stand out. It’s fine if you have something else in the kitchen that pops, however if you don’t, you will have to look elsewhere for that piece of jewelry.
3. Brushed Nickel
Brushed nickel is a dull silver like finish similar to stainless steel. However, the brushed nickel finish tend to be of a warmer tone. It’s important to note that kitchen faucet manufacturers rarely carry both Stainless Steel & Brushed Nickel. However, if they do, the brushed nickel tend to have a warmer tone.
Like the stainless steel finish, the brushed nickel finish is a PVD plated finish that is durable and attracts less fingerprints & water spots than shinier finishes like Chrome.
4. Oil Rubbed Bronze
Oil Rubbed Bronze is a deep dark brown finish made look like aged bronze. Additionally, most oil rubbed bronze have accents of copper streaks throughout the body, and more noticeable copper lines & patches at the joints.
It’s important to note that some manufacturers’ Oil Rubbed Bronze only has the primary dark bronze finish without the copper accents. For some reason, the solid bronze version tend to be less dark than the aforementioned dark oil rubbed bronze finish.
Oil Rubbed Bronze is often used in traditional style kitchens against lighter, warmer colors. It’s a finish of choice for many farmhouse style kitchens. The dark bronze finish offers a welcomed contrast when paired with an off white cast iron farmhouse sink. It’s also a common finish for kitchens with wood colored cabinets.
Oil Rubbed Bronze is not as popular as it once was. Due to the emergence of matte black, it has lost some momentum especially in modern style kitchens. Matte Black is a better option against the bluer whites of contemporary kitchen applications.
5. Brushed Brass
Brushed Brass is a dull gold like finish, similar to polished brass but muted instead of shiny. The actual name and hue may differ from brand to brand but brushed brass is the most commonly used moniker for this type of finish. Here are some names used by kitchen faucet manufacturers.
- Brushed Gold
- Satin Brass
- Satin Gold
- Modern Brass
Brushed brass is probably the most on trend finish of our list, it can be used in a variety of kitchen applications, from contemporary to traditional. However it’s best used against darker colors like navy blue, darker greens, & blacks.
Brushed Brass has all the benefits of the muted finishes on our list like brushed nickel & stainless steel but it’s unique in the fact that unlike those finishes, it makes a statement. This is the primary reason why it’s so popular and in our opinion is here to stay.
However, we could be wrong in our assessment and that is one of the few drawbacks of brushed brass. Because it’s only been trending the past 5-8 years or so, it’s not as common to find readily available parts, and if it does not succeed, replacing it might be a nuisance.
The other drawback with brushed brass is that the finish is not uniform across kitchen faucet manufacturers. You will have to make sure your brand of choice have all the items and accessories picked out for your kitchen before signing off on your selections.
6. Matte Black
Matte Black is a muted black finish that can stand out but at the same time hide imperfections unlike glossier black finishes. It’s often a powder coated finish which is not as durable as the PVD coated finishes like Brushed Nickel, Stainless Steel, Brushed Brass etc..
Matte Black is very popular finish and second most trendy finish on our list behind brushed brass. It fits right in with the modern minimalism movement. It works well against flat whites & lighter grays. It’s also quite versatile and can be used in some traditional applications.
The major drawback with Matte Black is, like other trendy finishes, it’s hard to know if it has staying power. Will you be able to easily find replacement matte black parts & accessories down the line. Unlike brushed brass however, Matte Black is the same hue among all manufacturers
7. Polished Nickel
Polished Nickel is a shiny silver like finish similar to chrome but with a warmer tone. The hue falls somewhere between chrome & polished brass. Like Chrome, polished nickel is a fingerprint & water spot magnet.
Polished Nickel is a versatile finish that works in a variety of applications. WIth that being said, it’s most commonly used in traditional style kitchens, against darker colors. However, even against lighter colors, this finish still shines.
Polished nickel has been one of the top four finishes for decades. However it has recently lost some of its popularity. With that being said, we believe that this is just part of the cycle. Polished nickel will most likely continue to be a staple finish especially in traditional style kitchens.
Other Finishes You Should Know About
While the aforementioned finishes are the most popular & trendy at the moment. There are some niche finishes that might suit you depending on your needs. Below we go over unique finishes, others that are out of style as well as up and coming finishes you should watch out for.
Polished Brass – No longer in style
Polished brass is a shiny gold like finish that is lacquer coated to maintain its sheen. Since it’s not a PVD finish, it’s not as durable as most of the duller finishes on our list.
This finish is typically used in very traditional style kitchens where the polished brass hardwares and fixtures are used to make a statement. It pairs well with darker wooden cabinets.
The same drawbacks with other shiny finishes apply here. It’s a chore to keep this finish looking as good as new. In addition, this is a niche finish and parts are not as readily available as they used to be. You may be able to find them but some parts might not be readily available.
Black Stainless is a dark hued metallic finish. It’s basically stainless steel finish with a black tint. Since Matte Black & Brushed Brass have been gaining popularity, faucet manufacturers have been willing to take a chance on new finishes. Many brands have focuses on finishes that have not garnered any interest but Black Stainless seems to be one finish they mostly agree on.
Black Stainless can mostly be found in very modern style kitchens. It can be used in the same applications as Matte Black but is not as versatile. We would not recommend using Black Stainless in traditional applications unless you know what you’re doing.
Black Stainless is available across a number of popular brands but has many different names. Hard Graphite, Titanium, Platinum are other monikers used for the same type of finish. It’s important to note, that they do not match across different brands.
Two Tone Finishes – Next up and coming trend
Kitchen faucets equipped with two different finishes are called Two toned faucets. They typically have a primary color and a secondary accent finish.
Two tone faucets are used in a variety kitchen settings depending on the specific finishes of the particular faucet in question. For design purposes, it’s best to use the primary finish as your main point of reference.
For example, when using black + brass kitchen faucet where black is the primary color, try to use cabinets and countertops that you would typically pair with a matte black faucet. The accent color serves as just an added touch to the overall design of the kitchen.
Living Finishes – Unique finishes that add character
Living finishes are a type of finish that lack a protective coating. When it’s new, it looks as polished and clean as a coated finish but it will patina over time and change color as it ages.
Some homeowners and designers value these finishes because it gives your kitchen some character. There is no telling how the finish might age over time but to some people there is beauty in that journey.
Living finishes may pair well with a farmhouse kitchen since it offers that rustic look that is so desired in these types of design. It’s important to note that most manufacturers have instructions on how to restore the finish back to its original look. However, they may not look as new as they once did.
List of Kitchen Faucet Finishes of Popular Brands
To finish this article, we will let you know of what the most popular kitchen faucet brands offer as far as finishes. It’s important to note, not all these finishes are available across the board. European brands for example tend to focus on modern finishes, while American brands tend to cover the whole spectrum Some brands might offer a finish because it’s trendy but the selections might be limited or not readily available.
This list will go over these finishes available for each brand and whether or not they’re a staple finish or just something the manufacturer is offering in limited quantities.
- Polished Chrome – American Standard Chrome Plated finish
- Stainless Steel – American Standard Stainless Steel finish.
- Legacy Bronze – A dark Oil Rubbed Bronze finish that has replaced the previous lighter bronze finish.
- Polished Nickel – American Standard’s Polished Nickel finish
- Matte Black – American Standard’s Flat Black finish
- Polished Chrome – Basice Polished Chrome for Brizo
- Brilliance Stainless – Brizo’s Stainless Steel finish
- Brilliance Polished Gold – Brizo’s Polished Brass finish is PVD coated which is not common amongst other brands.
- Brilliance Polished Nickel – Brizo’s Polished NIckel is also a PVD finish.
- Brilliance Luxe Steel – A Darker Stainless Steel finish similar to Black Stainless by other brands.
- Venetian Bronze – A dark bronze finish with copper accents.
- Matte Black – Standard Flat Black finish.
- Matte White – Matte White finish only available in their Odin collection.
- Chrome – Delta’s chrome plated finish
- Spotshield Stainless – Delta’s Regular warmer toned stainless steel
- Arctic Stainless – A unique Stainless Steel finish to delta, this one has a bluer tone.
- Black Stainless – Stainless steel finish with a darker hue
- Polished Nickel – Delta’s traditional polished nickel finish
- Champagne Bronze – A very light bronze finish with a light reddish tent.
- Venetian Bronze – A dark oil rubbed bronze finish.
- Matte Black – Delta’s version of Matte Black
- White – A White finish used on limited entry level faucets.
- Starlight Chrome – Grohe’s version of polished chrome
- Supersteel – Grohe’s basic stainless steel finish.
- Polished Nickel – Grohe’s polished nickel.
- Hard Graphite – A shiny metallic dark silver finish similar to Kohler’s titanium finish.
- Brushed Cool Sunrise – Grohe’s brushed brass.
- Chrome – Hansgrohe basic chrome plated finish.
- Steel Optic – Hansgrohe’s Stainless Steel
- Brush Black Chrome – Metallic Dark silver finish similar to Grohe’s Hard Graphite.
- Polished Nickel – Hansgrohe polished nickel finish.
- Rubbed Bronze – A dark oil rubbed bronze finish.
- Brushed Gold Optic – Hansgrohe’s brushed brass
- Matte Black – Hansgrohe’s version of Matte Black.
- Polished Chrome – Kohler’s Chrome Plated finish.
- Vibrant Stainless – Kohler’s version of Stainless Steel finish.
- Oil Rubbed Bronze – A dark bronze finish with a touch of copper streaks.
- Matte Black – Kohler’s flat black finish.
- Vibrant Brushed Moderne Brass – Kohler’s Brushed Brass finish. Kohler has tried a variety of brushed brass finish but finally settled on this one.
- Vibrant Brushed Nickel – Kohler’s Brushed Nickel is only used for entry level faucets. They opt for Stainless Steel for higher end faucets.
- Brushed Chrome – A dull finish like brushed nickel with a bluer tone. Also used mainly on select entry level faucets
- Vibrant Ombre Titanium/ Rose Gold – Two tone finish of Titanium & Rose Gold
- Vibrant Ombre Rose Gold/ Polished Nickel – Two tone finish of Rose Gold & Polished Nickel
- Matte Black w/ Moderne Brass – Matte Black finish with Brushed Brass accents.
- Polished Chrome/ Matte Black – Two Tone finish Polished Chrome & Matte Black.
- Chrome – Moen’s chrome plated finish
- Spot Resist Stainless – Moen’s basic Stainless Steel finish
- Black Stainless – Moen’s version of a titanium / platinum finish.
- Brushed Gold – Moen’s version of Brushed Brass. It has somewhat of a red tint compared to other manufacturers.
- Matte Black – Moen’s flat black finish.
- Glacier – This is Moen’s white finish only used on a limited number of entry level faucets
- Oil Rubbed Bronze – Not as dark as most oil rubbed bronze finishes.