Finishes in residential and commercial applications experience periods of popularity and just like clothing and hairstyles, they go in and out of fashion. Polished nickel and polished chrome door hardware are two sister finishes that have been becoming more popular lately because they are relatively easy to match with existing kitchen and bath hardware and provide a clean and modern look to any room.
When the time comes to decide which finish to use in your home or business, it is important to understand how these two finishes are alike and how they differ in order to make a well informed decision.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Polished Nickel and Polished Chrome Door Hardware
Polished chrome is known for its high shine and reflective surface and is extremely popular for faucets and most kitchen and bathroom hardware. Solid chrome door hardware does not truly exist, however, it is actually chrome plating over materials such as brass, steel or copper.
Choosing a high quality material such as solid brass will ensure the durability and strength of the hardware over time. The downside to most chrome finishes is they easily show marks such as fingerprints and water spots, and any damage such as scratches will be more visible to the naked eye.
Polished nickel is very similar to polished chrome door hardware and it looks much like sterling silver, especially next to polished chrome. When these two finishes are compared side-by-side, the polished chrome will appear to have a slight blue hue to it, although it is difficult to detect with the naked eye.
Brushed and satin nickel (sometimes these terms are used interchangeably) is a matte color and has been lacquered. Technically, a brushed surface will show brush marks along the surface whereas a satin look will not show these hand-made brush marks.
These surface finishes do not show scratches and wear as easily while still providing a silver color. The problems with satin and brushed nickel however come in trying to match one “version” of satin nickel to another. Different manufacturers have different standards and processes for creating this finish and can make it difficult to create a uniformed look.
Since both polished nicked and polished chrome door hardware have positive and negative aspects to them, it can be difficult to choose which will serve your purposes better over time. Using existing hardware in the room is a great place to start.
In a room with predominately polished chrome door hardware, it is best to match it with more polished chrome. If brushed nickel is already being used, try to match it as closely as possible with new brushed nickel pieces but realize the finishes may vary slightly from piece to piece.
If no hardware is currently installed, it comes down to personal preference. A matte finish tends to blend in more easily than a shiny finish and requires less maintenance to maintain its appearance.