The “Finishing” Touch: Current Trends in Finishes

Wow, Spring has sprung we had a record high in our Just Ask category for design project questions and dilemmas to solve this week, love it! After answering all of the questions I found a topic that was trending; what are the finishes being used in kitchens and should the faucet and hardware match? Let’s dive right in.


Q. I have been thinking about fixtures, lighting, hardware, etc and trying to decide what color to go with. I liked the Brushed Nickel but it seems like the oil rubbed Bronze is more popular now. I am not one to get caught in trends and I don’t plan on changing them for a very long time. What do you think is the more timeless choice? Shannon

A. Lets start out by learning what is available, what is popular right now and what is timeless. Brass, copper, chrome, nickel, gold-plated, oil-rubbed metals, matte or shiny finish, a smooth satin sheen and textured finishes are the options out there. The two finishes our reader is inquiring about are the most popular, brushed nickel and oil-rubbed bronze. They are equally as popular but each works with a different style and feel.
Brushed Nickel: timeless, fresh, modern or elegant depending on the style. My personal favorite for faucets.

Oil Rubbed Bronze: old world, Tuscan, rustic or traditional based on style. My personal favorite for front door hardware.



Faucet: go with your gut, you know what you like and what feels right for your home. I have clients that just love chrome and the shimmer while others despise shiny faucets and the water spots that are prevalent on them. Most of my clients are using brushed nickel these days with the occasional oil rubbed bronze faucet on a farm sink but there is no right or wrong.

Hardware (cabinet pulls or knobs): Decide if you want a consistent look matching the faucet or an eclectic feel with mixed finishes. Left; if your faucet is different from your cabinet pulls make sure they blend together and are not fighting each-other.

Lighting: Similar to art work, it does not need to match anything and can become extremely boring when it does. I recommend that you select lighting that you just adore and that complements the style you are after. For example if my clients have a cottage kitchen they may want a sleek modern fixture to create a hip eclectic feel or they may want to add a chandelier to glam it up. The decision depends on the style you are creating not matching a finish.

The bottom line is that your intuition will lead you to the right choice for your home. Since our reader is looking for a timeless finish I recommend the brushed nickel, when I first started designing in the eighties everything was brass and I knew its days were numbered. I am starting to feel that way about oil rubbed bronze lately. Although, I will admit in my kitchen I have a brushed nickel faucet and oil rubbed bronze and I just love it .

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  • Shannon Aleene Romein

    Thanks for the tips and answering my question, I won’t be so afraid to fix it up then. But it is good to see you think that brushed nickel is the most timeless.

    • Cathy Wolfram

      Hi Shannon I didn’t realize it was HomeDepot Shannon :) so glad you sent in a design question and hope this was helpful :)

  • Kathysue

    Trends are hard to keep up with. Right now people are actually going back to brass, I know hard to believe isn’t it? But it is a much softer look than the brass of the 80s. I personally have stayed with chrome and it has stood the test of time through the brass, brushed nickel, oil rubbed bronze phases. What I would get if I were totally doing a kitchen re-do is shiny nickel, nothing more beautiful or timeless.

    • Cathy Wolfram

      I have been using a little brass lately but in my high end master baths. I personally love the sheen shiny chrome and nickel but the fingerprints would probably drive me crazy LOL. I’m so glad you thought I responded well, I try to get as much info out as possible without putting my readers to sleep. Some topics are more exciting then others, I try :) Thanks for visiting Kathysue

  • Kathysue

    PS I forgot to add, you handled this question beautifully with great examples and information! Great job!