Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Brass Or Chrome?

If you live long enough, you will see trends come and go and come back again.
Brass is one of those trends. 

I should have seen this coming!
It started with jewelry.  We wore yellow gold, then began wearing white gold, then back to yellow gold again.  My jewelry box is a mix of both!
It's like that with brass. 

But I'm not talking about the polished, shiny brass from the 80's.
I'm talking about unlacquered, natural and organic brass with its warm, gold finish.
I'm in love!

I'm in love with the look but afraid of commitment.
After all, I did systematically eliminate that shiny 80's brass in our old home, replacing it with chrome.  I don't want to do that again!
So what does one do in my shoes?  Jump on the brass wagon?  Or choose clean, simple polished chrome or nickel, hoping that I won't regret it in a year or two!

I would love to have unlacquered brass in our master bathroom...
...as well as the kitchen.

The question is, what about the rest of the hardware, like door knobs?  Cabinet hardware?
Hinges?  Towel bars etc?

I'm afraid of commitment!

Brooke Giannetti wasn't afraid of commitment when she chose brass for their new home, which by the way, is a-mazing!   You can see it in the latest issue of Veranda.
As amazing as their bathroom is, would it still be as breathtaking if the plumbing fixtures were chrome?

Luckily, I don't have to make a decision tomorrow, but am definitely up late pinning images these days of unlacquered brass.
Please weigh in, brass or chrome?

Pin It!


Unknown said...

I've always thought chrome never goes out of style. It seems so right with all colors and design. So there's my two cents for what it's worth. :)

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

I have always loved un-lacquered brass. If I had a choice and new I was not worried about resale in the next two years, I would go for the brass.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

oops meant knew not new....

Susan B. said...

We're renovating an 1893 Victorian in Cambridge, MA and I decided to do unlacquered brass hardware in the kitchen but I did chrome in the baths. I am also doing unlacquered brass light fixtures in the halls. The hardware has been a challenge to find within my budget - especially the right hinges - but we're making progress. I think you should do what you love. Don't worry too much about trends. If it makes you smile every time you enter your room, you made the right choice. Best of luck!

Barbara Bussey {The Treasured Home} said...

How can something so naturally beautiful go out of style? (Brass) That's really probably a silly question, but in an older home, I think it would be very fitting.

Patty Day @Pattys Epiphanies said...

First of all I think, for what it's worth, one should live with what they love! Trends come and go! Your home is YOU!!! Surround yourself with what makes you happy!

Anonymous said...

Go for it! I think it's gorgeous and the patina will only get better with time and change a bit with time too. You will fall in love with it over and over again!

Kathysue said...

Hard choice, but, I have the natural unlacquered brass in my guest bathroom due to the era of the vanity and surroundings. I could not let it go to the unpolished state, just because of my personality, so for me it would be too much work to keep up. I LOVE my shiny nickel and if I were to ever do another home for myself it would be shiny nickel. For you, I would get whatever YOU think you can handle as far as maintenance and if it will marry well to your overall look. Good luck!

Martha said...

Chrome/nickel is timeless -- brass is not (at lat not in water fixtures). Fads come and go . . . it's your call as to whether you'll want to change them out if you feel they're dated in a few years! Me, I live in an old house -- we do have brass doorknobs (and some glass) but all of our fixtures are chrome -- and I wouldn't have it any other way . . . even though I, too, drool over those brass ones! BTW, when brass really gets tarnished bad . . . it IS pretty, well -- yucky! There's shiny, there's some patina, there's really nice patina and then there's Yucky!


Katherine said...

I love the aged brass look. It especially gets me excited when it is against honed marble, white cabinets or the very opposite - black anything.
It creates an old world patina look. If that is what you love, it will likely be something you can live with for years to come. It seemed like a trend to me when I was picking out our finishes a few years ago - so I skipped it. If I was picking out finished today, I would go for it.

Marsha said...

When i think of the old homes in Europe, I think brass. Its classic and ages and matches the age of the home. Never is a trend. I'd use it in any room where it matches the style of that room. However, in the new kitchens that have the marble countertops with the grey grain running thru, I like the nickel hardware. So I guess, I might do different in each room if appropriate

Karen said...

I have the same commitment phobia, which is why I have rubbed bronze hardware on the interior and exterior doors, chrome faucet and pewter knobs on the kitchen cabinets and an overall array of various metals in other parts of the house. Hahaha.
I do love the unfinished brass but chrome never goes away so it must be a standard.

Joanne said...

Why not mix the two? I think brass and nickel or Chrome work together in a room. In some pictures I've seen the brass or antiqued gold look wonderful but in others it seems overdone. I have stainless steel appliances with Chrome taps but my fixtures are aged bronze. It suits my space and I'm happy with it. In any case, go with what you like and you'll be happy with your choices for years.

The-Countrypolitan said...

Did anyone ever really like the shiny brass...? It always looked cheap to me...

I love the un-lacquered, natural brass...it also mixes well with other metals...

Anonymous said...

I never liked shiny, lacquered brass anything! The lacquer always looked cheap and dreadful.

Did everyone know that all plumbing fixtures start out brass; and the other finishes, chrome, nickel, etc. are plated onto the brass?

That is why I like it! It is also what was used in many classic old houses. I love the patina; and it is very easy to get the "yucky" build up off and still keep the natural patina.

I like mixing also. I do not believe in matching light fixtures an knobs to plumbing fixtures. And I don't like "trends".
Here is a wild one! I always buy hinges for doors and paint them! Every old house in Pasadena has painted hinges!

People say.....Oh, they'll chip!"

No. I will show pictures of hinges painted 16 years ago; not a single chip.

We put oil rubbed bronze door levers; not treated or lacquered, and they have worn down to brass on the most used ones. Natural finishes never go out of style!
That's my more than two cents!!!

Leslie @ Segreto Secrets said...

I really love the look of brass right now especially when paired with cool chrome tones on the walls or on cabinetry!! I guess that means I like both!
xo. Leslie
Segreto Finishes

jmac said...

Just had this very conversation at my pilates class this am! obviously, we talk more than work,,,heheheh.
Timeless. It's what we decided. And you're right, it seems everything always comes back to bite us. I have a feeling all the kitchens with stark white cabinets will soon be going back to fine stained woods.
Chrome is clean. Never tarnishes.

Sarah said...

Our first home had pewter hardware on the doors, so we selected a pewter finish for the plumbing fixtures when we remodeled the bath. This was in the early 80s, when everyone was going to brass. Then when we moved into our current home, all the hardware was brass, so brass is what was selected when we remodeled before moving in. Our kitchen faucet is copper. My feeling is go with the look you love, and not worry about trends. I personally like the look of natural brass. Your inspiration photos only confirm my thoughts on this look. '-)

A Toile Tale said...

I, too am so drawn to the unlaquered brass and was determined to use it on some French commodes that we turned into vanities when we re-did our master bath. I found that I did not like it with my first choice for floors and counter-tops, which were several grey veined marbles. I even tried Calcutta gold thinking that would bridge the grey/brown gap I was feeling. Not right for me. Anything with grey in it seemed to want nickle or chrome. Then tried it with Creama marble and the heavens opened up and the angles sang. I then used a cream toned Jerusalem marble on the floor and I have never second guessed my choices for one minute.
Linda @ A Toile Tale

Mary Ann Pickett said...

I like polished nickel for faucets but unlacquered brass light fixtures and curtain rods...mixing it up is fun. Brass looks good with warm tones and nickel with cooler tones, I think...sort of like your jewelry. Have fun. Great post.

laney said...

...old brass...no question...blessings laney

deb said...

What's easiest for you to keep clean? That would determine it for me! ;)

The Tablescaper said...


I remember when I was redoing my kitchen 12 years ago. Butter yellow cabinets were so in. I was VERY tempted but always wanted cherry cabinets. I dug down deep and decided I should choose what I really wanted, and not worry about the current style. I went with the cherry and to this day still get amazing comments on my kitchen. The best are from my children's friends who you wouldn't think would even notice.

So, my advice is go with what YOU love.

Good luck and have fun with it.

- Alma, The Tablescaper

Lexi said...

I think chrome/nickel are user friendly and timeless.

Carol S. said...


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