Chrome Versus Nickel - What is the Difference?

Polished Chrome Versus Polished Nickel

Finishes in homes and businesses have periods of popularity and different finishes go in and out of fashion just like the clothing and hair styles. Polished Chrome and Polished Nickel 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 it is time to decide on what 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
Polished Chrome is known for its high shine and reflective surface. It is extremely popular for faucets and most kitchen and bathroom hardware. Solid Chrome 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 do show marks (finger prints and water spots) easily and any damage such as scratches will be more visible to the naked eye.

Polished Chrome
Polished Nickel

Polished Nickel - very similar to Chrome - looks much closer to Sterling Silver - especially when set next to Polished Chrome. When these two finishes are set side-by-side, the Polished Chrome will appear to have a slight Blue hue to it. It is difficult to detect with the naked eye - but having a Polished Chrome and Polished Nickel plate side-by-side provides the contrast.

A Brushed Chrome, Brushed Nickel or Satin Nickel finish have been gaining popularity since the 1990’s because it solved a lot of the problems of using a polished chrome finish. 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.

More Help
Since both finishes have positive and negative aspects to them it can be hard to choose which will serve your purposes better over time. Using existing hardware in the room is a great place to start however. In a bathroom with predominately polished chrome 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 has a lower necessary maintenance to maintain its appearance.

LookInTheAttic & Company offers a great selection of polished chrome and brushed nickel door knob sets, knobs, pulls, knockers and other home hardware – they even offer free design assistance and help. Remember to search for solid brass construction to ensure strength and durability. Replacing older hardware is a great way to update the look and feel of any room in the home with minimal effort so choose your new hardware wisely and make informed choices.