10 Most Popular Bathroom Faucet Finishes (+ Pros & Cons of Each Finish)


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A finish refers to the coating of a surface of an object to make it attractive. When it comes to faucet finishes, the finish might seem like a small thing that doesn’t need much attention but did you know that this commonly overlooked detail helps a lot when it comes to completing the aesthetic of a bathroom? Depending on the look you want to achieve in the room, there are different faucet finishes available from rustic to modern and elegant that will bring consistency to a room’s design.

Apart from the visual appeal, each faucet finish gives, each type also has its own advantage when it comes to durability and affordability. Some types are meant to be long-lasting and sturdy for those who want a high-quality faucet while other kinds of finish are cheaper than others for those after an affordable option.

Here are the different kinds of faucet finishes that you can consider for your new home or if you want to upgrade the look of your bathroom during a renovation.

Bathroom Faucet Finishes

Copper

Vintage Iii Single Hole, Single Lever Lavatory Faucet, Antique Copper

Copper is a mineral used in a variety of industrial applications thanks to its various properties such as malleability, ductility, and conductivity. Visually, it has a bold color and gives an elegant feel to a bathroom especially when combined with subtler materials.

Pros

When it comes to faucet finishes, copper gives the faucet protection against corrosion.  Copper is easily alloyed with other kinds of metals and can be applied to a brass faucet as a finish though most copper faucets are also made of copper. Such faucets are essentially free from lead and have the ability to “heal” themselves so any scratches on the surface eventually become darker and blend into the patina, the natural fading that occurs when copper is exposed to oxide and sulfur compounds.

Cons

A copper finish requires more maintenance compared to other finishes and not as durable. It might be difficult to find accessories that match too.

Styles it works well with

Copper faucets are suitable for eclectic bathrooms for some mix-and-match, mid-century design, and farmhouse style bathrooms for a rustic look.

Shop Top Copper Bathroom Sink Faucets OnWayfairHouzz or Home Depot

Chrome

American Standard Townsend 7353.801 Widespread Bathroom Faucet, Polished Chrome

Chrome is an alloy of chromium which can be used as a decorative or protective finish on objects. It is usually shiny and polished although there are also some satin varieties that give off a matte look.

Pros

Chrome is a very light metal with a high level of luster and is resistant to corrosion, hence its wide application for industrial purposes. It is considered as the cheapest finish option and is easy to maintain and clean. Faucets with a chrome finish are also durable and easy to match with most bathroom accessories and fixtures.

Cons

Chrome does tarnish over time and shows scratches easily because of its polished surface. It also shows fingerprints and water spots and will require frequent cleaning and upkeep to maintain the shiny appearance of the faucet.

Styles it works well with

Chrome faucets are versatile and will go well with different bathroom designs such as traditional, contemporary, industrial, and Scandinavian styles.

Shop Top Chrome Bathroom Sink Faucets On:  WayfairHouzz  or Home Depot

Polished Brass

Kohler Devonshire Widespread Bathroom Faucets, Vibrant Polished Brass

Polished brass is a classic finish most commonly produced by polishing and finishing solid brass with a lacquer to minimize tarnishing over time. Other metal alloys can also be used by electroplating and adding a lacquer to produce a similar look. Polished brass looks bright and shiny and has a very reflective surface.

Pros

Polished brass is a durable finish that is easy to find and easy to clean. It is also easy to find bathroom accessories and fixtures that will go well with the shiny finish. The lacquer coating in the finish also prevents the metal from tarnishing.

Cons

Faucets with a polished brass finish are likely to show fingerprints and water spots because of the shiny surface. The lacquer will also dull in due course, lessening the luster of the surface. Compared to other faucet finishes, polished brass is also more expensive.

Styles it works well with

Polished brass faucets go well with bathrooms that feature a traditional or vintage design. European and minimalist design bathrooms would benefit from the polished and sleek look of polished brass.

Shop Top Polished Brass Bathroom Sink Faucets On: WayfairHouzz  or Home Depot

Satin Brass

FSC8933NDL NuvoFusion Widespread Bathroom Faucet,Brass Pop-Up, Brushed Brass

Satin brass faucets have a muted tone similar to a golden-brown color with a textured finish. Commonly interchanged with brushed brass, a satin finish has less noticeable brush marks compared to brushed brass. Unlike polished brass, a satin brass finish looks matte and smooth.

Pros

Satin brass gives a bold look to the bathroom without going over the top. The muted tones also make a nice accent on both light- and dark-colored bathrooms. Thanks to the matte surface of satin brass, it doesn’t show fingerprints and watermarks as much as shinier surfaces.

Cons

Elegance comes with a price as satin brass is more expensive than other faucet finishes and is also harder to find. It is also more difficult to find accessories and bathroom fixtures that will match the tone and matte finish of satin brass.

Styles it works well with

Satin brass faucets go great with bathrooms that have a traditional, contemporary, or modern aesthetic as they give a clean and simple feel with a touch of luxury and elegance.

Shop Top Satin Brass Bathroom Sink Faucets On: WayfairHouzz  or Home Depot

Oil-Rubbed Bronze

FSC8933NDL NuvoFusion Widespread Bathroom Faucet,Brass Pop-Up, Brushed Brass

An oil-rubbed bronze finish looks very dark and can vary from a dark chocolate brown shade to dark gray with hints of copper. The surface is chemically darkened to produce a look similar to aged bronze for an antique look.

Pros

Apart from being a trendy option when it comes to bathroom faucets, an oil-rubbed bronze finish is durable and easy to clean. The surface also doesn’t show fingerprints and watermarks as easily as other kinds of finishes. It is also easy to find matching accessories and fixtures for the oil-rubbed bronze faucet and you can even DIY other brass materials by rubbing a darkening solution to match everything.

Cons

Oil-rubbed bronze faucets are more expensive compared to other kinds of finishes such as chrome.

Styles it works well with

If you have a Mediterranean-inspired bathroom or want a rustic, vintage feel to the aesthetic, an oil-rubbed bronze faucet is a suitable option to achieve the look.

Shop Top Oil-Rubbed Bronze Bathroom Sink Faucets On: WayfairHouzz  or Home Depot.

Matte Black

8" Widespread 2-Handle Bath Faucet, Matte Black

A faucet with a matte black finish is achieved with the help of a powder coating that is applied to the surface of steel, brass, or iron. It can be dull or satin and gives a modern and trendy look to any bathroom space.

Pros

A faucet with a matte black finish is easy to clean. It also doesn’t show dirt, finger marks, and watermarks like shiny finishes do. These also make a great addition to a bathroom if you just want to make a minor renovation but want to add an accent piece to the visual appeal of the space.

Cons

Faucets with a matte black finish are more expensive compared to chrome and brushed nickel finishes. While it is easy to find accessories that go well with the finish, finding suitable fixtures might be more challenging.

Styles it works well with

Bathroom faucets with a matte black finish go well in Art Deco, Eclectic, Modern, and Minimalist bathrooms styles.

Shop Top Matte Black Bathroom Sink Faucets On: WayfairHouzz  or Home Depot

Gold

VIGO Paloma Single Hole Bathroom Faucet, Matte Gold

Gold-finished faucets can either be made of metal or medium that is gold-colored and does not contain real gold or a coating made with a mixture of base metals that contain karat gold. Depending on the mixture of metals used for the base coating, it can tarnish over time when the metals are oxidized but can be prevented in higher-quality finishes when nickel may be added to the coating to prevent oxidation.

Pros

In cases where the coating uses real gold, the faucet is protected from corrosion and would have a longer life. Gold itself does not oxidize and is resistant to the effects of high temperature and moisture. Aesthetically, gold gives a luxurious vibe to a bathroom.

Cons

It is said that not everything that glitters is gold and this rings true for gold-finished faucets. Some may not contain really gold and just be gold-colored which can affect the durability of the faucet.

Styles it works well with

Faucets with a gold finish work best in modern, contemporary, and eclectic bathrooms.

Shop Top Gold Bathroom Sink Faucets On: WayfairHouzz  or Home Depot

Brushed Nickel

Two Handle Lavatory Widespread Faucet, PVD Brushed Nickel, Pvd Brushed Nickel

A brushed nickel finish is created by rubbing nickel over the faucet to give it a silver look. It is then brushed out to give a matte sheen and finished off with some lacquer to protect the surface from wear and tear. The soft metallic look of brushed nickel gives a traditional and homey look.

Pros

Brushed nickel faucets are one of the most durable finishes available. It has a longer life than chrome and oil-rubbed bronze finishes, easy to clean, and easy to find. There are numerous accessories and bathroom fixtures that match seamlessly with brushed nickel too.

Cons

Brushed nickel is more expensive compare to chrome but is cheaper than oil-rubbed bronze. It also tends to blend in the bathroom and maybe unsuitable if you want a faucet that doubles as a statement piece. This kind of finish also doesn’t go well with stainless steel fixtures.

Styles it works well with

Brushed nickel is a versatile finish and goes with almost every style of bathroom. From Asian to an industrial, farmhouse, Mediterranean, Scandinavian, Victorian, and European design, it creates a unified look without overshadowing other accents and elements in the space.

Shop Top Brushed Nickel Bathroom Sink Faucets On: WayfairHouzz  or Home Depot.

Polished Nickel

Country Bathroom Faucet Widespread Bathroom Faucet in Polished Nickel

Polished nickel is nickel-plated brass that is then polished to a shiny and reflective surface. Compared to a polished chrome finish, polished nickel has a warmer tone which gives off a more luxurious feel to the faucet. It also tends to change color depending on the level of lighting.

Pros

Faucets with a polished nickel finish have a smooth and shiny surface that is easy to clean and durable too. It’s also a great alternative to chrome and brushed nickel finishes.

Cons

Just like other finishes that are smooth and reflective, polished nickel faucets tend to show fingerprints and watermarks more obviously and will have to be cleaned regularly to keep its shiny appearance. It is also more expensive compared to other finishes and may be harder to look for matching accessories and fixtures.

Styles it works well with

Similar to faucets with a chrome finish, polished nickel faucets go well with traditional, modern, eclectic, and contemporary bathrooms. The glossy look also goes great in European and Victorian bathrooms.

Shop Top Polished Nickel Bathroom Sink Faucets On: WayfairHouzz  or Home Depot.

Stainless Steel

Delta Trinsic Two Handle Widespread Bathroom Faucet, Stainless, 3559-SSMPU-DST

Stainless steel is an iron-based alloy used for different purposes in different industries. It is more resistant to corrosion than iron or steel alone and resists rust formation and gives it a shiny, reflective surface. Stainless steel looks like precious metal like silver but is much more affordable, durable, and strong.

Pros

Faucets with a stainless-steel finish are resistant to scratches and corrosion, which make them suitable for daily bathroom use. Stainless steel is also very easy to clean and just needs water and soap to keep the surface spick and span.

Cons

Despite the durability of stainless steel, it is not entirely resistant to all kinds of stains. Stainless steel faucets are also more expensive than faucets with other kinds of finishes.

Styles it works well with

Stainless-steel faucets look great in modern, contemporary, industrial, and traditional bathrooms. It goes well with most bathroom designs and combines well with a variety of materials such as wood and marble.

Shop Top Stainless Steel Bathroom Sink Faucets On: WayfairHouzz  or Home Depot.

Conclusion

Gold bathroom faucet
Gold bathroom faucet (Image: TonyZhu)

The finishing on the faucet helps you achieve your goal toward the bathroom style you want. It helps keep everything tied together, from the bathroom doorknob to the drawer handles and other accessories and fixtures. While this simple detail is often missed out when designing or renovating, deciding on a particular theme you want for your bathroom in the first step in making sure you can re-create the same vibe in your home.

There are different kinds of faucet finishes and each one has its own pros and cons. Making sure you choose a finish suitable for the purpose of the faucet and asking yourself questions such as who will use it, where will it be placed, and what kind of bathroom do you want to have or currently have will help you determine the best kind of faucet to use.

 

Featured Image by ErikaWittlieb

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