Add a Finishing Touch with Fixtures

If you’re in the market for a new faucet, showerhead, or towel rack, the finish you select can make all the difference in the ambiance of your bathroom. Finishes including nickel, copper, brass, bronze, and chrome have the potential to completely change the look and feel of your bathroom. From warm hues and vintage tones, to more bold statements or classic looks, fixture finishes are a simple way to elevate your overall bathroom design.

The Pros & Cons of Different Fixture Finishes

With the wide variety of fixture finishes available, it can be difficult to know which one will work best for your bathroom. Our bathroom remodel experts review the advantages and disadvantages of a few popular finishes:


Chrome is almost always the standard finish for most manufacturers and often costs 25-35% less than other finishes. As a result, chrome can be a great option if you want to save on your bathroom fixtures. Another reason to consider chrome fixtures in your bathroom is their timeless look. Chrome never goes out of style and looks great with almost every bathroom design. The main disadvantage of chrome is that it tends to show water spots and fingerprints more than some other fixture finishes – and will require a bit of regular maintenance to keep sparkling.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel has a very similar look to chrome, but is a bit more pricey because of its extreme durability. Stainless steel fixtures resist corrosion, scratches, tarnish, and show water spots less easily than chrome. If you like the look of chrome, but want something a little bit more low-maintenance, stainless steel fixtures might be the right option for you!

Polished Brass

A polished brass bathroom faucet can add a vintage feel to any bathroom. While polished brass is more expensive than other finishes, it’s very durable, as well as easy to clean and match with other fixtures.

Oil-Rubbed Bronze

For a more traditional look and feel, oil-rubbed bronze fixtures are the way to go. The main advantages of oil-rubbed bronze are that it creates a unique look, but is relatively easy to find and is durable and easy to clean. For many, the main disadvantage of oil-rubbed bronze fixtures is the price. These fixtures tend to be more expensive than many other fixture finishes.


Rustic, raw, and bold, copper faucets and fixtures know how to give a bathroom rich texture while still maintaining a rustic feel. Not only does copper offer antibacterial properties, it also ages well. Keep in mind, however, that a shiny copper finish requires a little more maintenance than simply letting your copper faucet age into its natural patina.

Polished Nickel

Looking for a smooth, shiny, subtle finish without all the chrome? Take a look at polished nickel fixtures. These are darker than chrome and often give off the effect of being able to change colors in different lighting. Despite being more expensive and difficult to match with other fixture finishes, polished nickel faucets are easy to clean and very durable.

Brushed Nickel

If you’re looking for fixtures with a soft metallic look that won’t show wear and tear, you may like brushed nickel fixtures. One of the most durable fixture finishes, brushed nickel doesn’t show fingerprints or water spots. Brushed nickel is usually mid-range price-wise (more expensive than chrome, but less expensive than something like oil-rubbed bronze).
When it comes to fixture finishes, there’s no shortage of choices available. A few of the finishes we haven’t covered—but still love—include:

  • Gold-Plated
  • Satin Brass
  • Satin Bronze
  • Matte Black
  • White

Keeping Colors & Brands On the Same Page

When shopping for fixtures or additional bathroom accessories, it’s important to remember that some finishes are not consistent from manufacturer to manufacturer. For example, some brushed nickel fixtures are warmer or contain more gold than others. This is not something you want to discover after the fact! Always take a sample with you to match the color. If you can’t bring a sample, do yourself a favor and buy all your fixtures from the same company.
A bathroom remodel trend that you may have seen recently is bathrooms with mixed finishes – like a chrome faucet with black handles. While these designs can provide a big visual impact, they will likely become outdated more quickly than some other styles.

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