You've perfectly picked a set of bath towels and hung up your new shower curtains. Everything is coming together on this bathroom re-design. The last thing to do is to make sure all your bathroom hardware is just right but you may be asking yourself, "Does the hardware have to match?"
Most designers would say "Yes!" you should match the hardware in your bathroom. Matching the hardware in your bathroom is an easy way to give the room a coherent and thoughtfully put together look. Keeping in the same finish and texture allows you to focus on finding pieces that work together well based on their design. Some designers, however, suggest that you should play with the hardware finishing choices in your bathroom and create combinations that work together well. This method requires more skill to pull off but can leave you feeling accomplished.
The metal finishing elements found all around the bathroom are seen instantly and they make a big impression. It's important to pay special attention to these details. It's easy to keep a matching metal finish but select pieces that don't look good together, or to try to create a non-matching arrangement and end up with a disjointed look. Read ahead to learn more about the basics of bathroom hardware, and how to make good choices when buying matching pieces.
What Exactly does Bathroom Hardware Include?
Bathroom hardware is usually defined as any metal furnishing in a bathroom that you can interact with. The bathroom, in particular, has more hardware than most other rooms due to all of the handles, racks, and drawers. Hardware can include towel racks, shower curtain rods, showerheads, tub accessories, drawer handles, and faucets. There are even more possibilities and every bathroom is different depending on how it was designed. Even bathroom shelves contain hardware - you can read this article we wrote on different types of bathroom shelves that are available. When all of these things are considered together they are referred to as hardware.
Is it OK to Mix Fixture Finishes in a Bathroom?
Most designers suggest that you match the finish on your bathroom fixtures. Doing this will help create a theme and makes the selection process easier. Giving your hardware a shiny silver polished look can make an already bright space feel even cleaner.
Another good example of hardware matching would be a strong gold or brass presence. Ornately styled gold fixtures can give a retro and classic feel to a dark-colored bathroom. They turn this already confident bathroom into a luxury experience.
There is another design thought that mixing fixtures elegantly can make your hardware combinations uniquely beautiful. Different designers have different opinions on whats passable and under what circumstances. This has to be done carefully to maintain the theme but the results can be stunning. This bathroom uses a darker metal finish on the vanity curtain rod and the doorknobs. The effect is almost unnoticeable but it highlights the vanity in one color. It guides you into the areas of lightness. Check out our post on 6 steps to upgrade your own bathroom vanity.
You can also take a stronger approach to mix hardware. The more obvious and noticeable the mixing, the more care you want to put into the selection process. Keep fixtures in the same style so that you can keep a strong theme when the finishes are different.
This next example has a very powerful contrast between the golden cabinet handles, mirrors, and light fixtures against the dark metal of the faucets and towel rack. The design creates a centerline of dark hardware that evenly divides the golden top and bottom. The design is beautiful and striking while being thoughtful and carefully crafted.
Which Finish is Best for Bathroom Faucets?
A bathroom sink faucet is one of the parts of the bathroom you will interact with most. One approach is to start with the faucets and showerheads and match all the smaller fixtures to those main permanent aspects. Others think that since the faucets are so commonly used, they could be in a completely different finish. The most common types of finishes for bathroom faucets appear to be brass, bronze, copper, nickel, and chrome. The most common among them for both affordable and high-end bathrooms is chrome. It shines and is easy to clean while still feeling pleasant to the touch.
This chrome 2-handle center set faucet can be found on Amazon.
Can You Mix Hardware Finishes in the Kitchen?
Does all of this information on matching bathroom hardware also work in the kitchen? Kitchens can be much larger than bathrooms and may have even more fixtures and hardware to coordinate. Kitchens also don't always follow the same design motifs as bathrooms.
The consensus among designers is the same as it is in bathrooms. You should ideally keep all the hardware of the same finish and color. Especially in kitchens that can already be open spaces or have more pieces, it is easy for the design to get hectic. If the finishes differ, then they should at least all be made in the same style. The exception seems to be if you want to explicitly call attention to one part of the kitchen or one piece of furniture.
What About Textures?
Much attention is given to the visual qualities of the fixtures and metal accents of the bathroom. You should also think about the textures of the hardware and how this will change the feel of using the room. Matte faucet handles are cooler to the touch and there is less grip - These can feel more luxurious and industrial. Chrome handles have a better tactile grip which may be more comfortable, but they are more prone to fingerprints. You should maintain the theme of your design through the feeling and textures of the hardware as well when designing a perfect bathroom.
Finding the Perfect Combination.
As with most home design guidelines, there is often not a hard rule about what is right and what is wrong. Most designers agree that hardware should match within the rooms they're found in a home. This is suggested because it's easier to create compelling combinations with those guidelines. That doesn't mean you should keep yourself from experimenting and finding a hardware composition that makes you the happiest.