Brushed Nickel Or Chrome Faucets: How To Choose The Best Bathroom Fixtures

Brushed nickel or chrome is not a simple decision. At the same time, you don’t need the Rosetta Stone to help you decide which material is best for your bathroom. When remodeling a bathroom, your fixture should complement the space. 

What Is Brushed Nickel 

When you improve your bathroom space, you add value to your home. According to Zillow, “Painting the home’s interior is the most common update (36 percent), followed by landscaping the yard (29 percent), replacing or repairing carpeting or flooring (26 percent), and making improvements to the bathroom (26 percent).” 

Bathroom fixtures make a statement. When considering different styles, you’ll need to factor in durability, maintenance, and cost. Your bathroom fixtures should be stylish, functional, and low maintenance. 

The two finishes will show you here are popular among professional home designers. Brushed nickel and chrome. Both options fulfill unique style and functionality requirements. To help you decide which is best for your bathroom space, we’ll show a brushed nickel finish and chrome fixtures are unique.  

What Is Brushed Nickel?

Brushed nickel finishes are soft. The material is brushed, meaning it has a semi-satin finish and isn’t super shiny or matte. It looks like stainless steel, but it’s not as clean. 

Brushed nickel or polished nickel are both popular finishes. DIYers and professional interior designers alike. Both styles have a calming effect.  

What Is Chrome?

What Is Brushed Nickel

Chrome is an edgier metal that is very popular and extremely shiny. Most “chrome” items aren’t actually made of chromium because real chromium is a health hazard and considered carcinogenic. 

Chrome is plated metal. When you polish chrome, it shines. Shiny metal not only looks good but it’s reflective. The material augments your bathroom light sources. A shiny appearance makes an indelible impression by filling the space with light.  Chrome is also considered high-end and beloved among appliances and hardware. 

Chrome Vs Brushed Nickel 

Chrome Vs. Brushed Nickel 

Chrome and brushed nickel are often mentioned in the same conversation. They’re like the yin and yang of bathroom sink fixtures.

A satin nickel widespread bathroom faucet would look nice in an industrial bathroom. However, the same faucet would fall flat in a modern beach house bathroom.


There’s no contest which material is shinier. Chrome is the bride while brushed nickel will forever be the bridesmaid. For some, shiny isn’t the goal. It depends on your bathroom space and preference. Hardware and not their faucet. But the fact of the matter remains the same.

Brushed nickel does sparkle, but not like chrome. Different nickel grades offer various shines.

Warm Or Cool?

After you decide between warm and cool colors, move forward.  Let this be an important lesson to those interested in interior design. Warm colors are red and orange. Cool colors are blue and green.

Chrome is for cool colors. Brushed nickel is for warm colors. However, brushed could go with cool colors in the right setting. For example, if you had a polished nickel freestanding tub filler, then a cool color backsplash would work. 

Remember this: brushed nickel is traditional and chrome is modern.


The price difference between brushed nickel and chrome is nowhere the size of the space between the Grand Canyon. Prices for both materials are much closer. 

It comes down to the name brand. Just like it is with automobiles. A lamborghini will always cost more than a Buick Estates station wagon. Apply the same mentality to bathroom faucets and you’ll be fine.  


In this category, it’s toss up. Because brushed nickel tarnishes easier but it is more difficult to see the imperfects in it. So I guess you could say that although chrome may naturally last longer, you can see every stage of decay it goes through.

However, and once again, it depends on the brand. You may get what you pay for because some brands that are more expensive will last ten times longer than cheaper brands. For best results, read reviews before buying. 

Easier To Clean

You only need a soft cloth to clean brushed nickel. It’s easier to keep clean because you can’t see smudges and fingerprints as brushed nickel hides smudges. Do not under any circumstances use abrasive cleaners.

With the right substances and tools, stains should easily wipe off of chrome fixtures. Chrome is corrosion resistant, but if you neglect it, you won’t be able to maintain its shine and lustre. 

Metal Finishes

What Is Brushed Nickel

Although brushed nickel and chrome are two very popular options, they aren’t the only options for metal finishes. It’s believed that everyone has a metal finish that matches their personality. It isn’t hard to tell which one is yours. 

The easiest way to tell is to find which one speaks to you. Here are some other great metal finish options that may work even better for your needs.


Copper is a favorite among older homeowners and first time Generation Z homebuyers.. Since the industrial age, copper has been a go-to bathroom material. For bathrooms with warm colors, copper is the ideal fit. 

You can also match it to copper pipes for a full-on copper experience. This looks great and has an amazing ambiance. 


What Is Brushed Nickel

Brass is another great choice if you want a warmer color. This special metal is actually a mixture of copper and zinc, traditionally. It isn’t a natural metal itself but a perfect combination of warm and cool metals.

However, it still favors warm colors because the warm tones are much more sensitive than the cool tones. Warm tones, especially gold and copper, stand out much more than cool tones which blend in.


Oil rubbed bronze is a deep and rustic-looking color. Older statues and figures are made of bronze, so it has not just an antique or vintage look. Its non reflective texture adds to its appeal.

Bronze isn’t cheap, but the right brands are available at discounted prices. Other bronze options also look much more modern than the standard bronze. 


What Is Brushed Nickel

We couldn’t forget to mention gold. Gold can be difficult to work with simply because it is a powerful metal finish. Whenever there is gold in a room, it’s impossible to notice anything else. So you have to work with it. Brushed nickel and gold bathroom faucets would command attention.

This can be a blessing because people who use gold want it to stand out. A good compromise on standing out and fitting in is to get brushed gold, which is a unique look that doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves. 


Pewter is a rare and wonderful metal finish that is dark yet cool in color. It is one of the darkest cool metal finishes you can get and deserves much praise for its uniqueness. 

The thing about pewter is that it isn’t so dark that it overcomes other decor nor so dark that it fades to the background. It stands its ground while balancing out nearly any design style that is based on cool colors. 

Pewter also makes for interesting cabinet pulls if you wanted to try something different. Among unique decor styles, pewter has the ability to surprise.


Onyx is the darkest metal finish available. While onyx is actually a gem, it can be used to create all sorts of objects. However, most onyx hardware isn’t real onyx but it is inspired by the gorgeous natural onyx.

Onyx can be considered black but it has that fabulous glimmer to it that makes you want more. The color is truly captivating and cannot be replaced with anything else if you fall in love with the onyx magic.

Colored Metal Finish

The rarest type of metal finish is a dyed finish. It’s rare because it is difficult to finish a metal item in a colored finish. Metals faucets aren’t available in bright colors, so if you choose something colorful you should know that it won’t be organic.

If you want elegance, install brushed nickel and gold bathroom faucets. A colorful metal finish offers a break from the bleak and mundane.

What Is Brushed Nickel

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Are Brushed Nickel And Chrome Both Silver?

Yes. Brushed nickel and chrome are both considered silver. Chrome is a bright silver while brushed nickel is a soft, muted silver. Chrome is cooler while brushed nickel is warm silver.

Is Brushed Nickel Or Chrome Better In 2021?

Brushed nickel is always in-style, including in 2021. It is a safe choice for faucets that looks trendy. Chrome is popular but is a riskier choice. Both metal finishes are going to get attention if chosen for your faucet.

Can You Mix Brushed Nickel And Chrome?

Yes, mixing brushed nickel and chrome can be a fun way to add contrast to your kitchen or bathroom. Choose one to be the main hardware color and the other to accent it. 

Is Cleaning Brushed Nickel And Chrome The Same?

Brushed nickel is easier to clean than chrome because it hides fingerprints and smudges. Chrome lets everything show. Use vinegar to clean both if soap and water aren’t sufficient.

Brushed Nickel Vs Chrome: Choosing The Right Finish For You

Even if you find a different metal finish for your bathroom or kitchen, you’ve still made a solid choice. This is a preference oriented decision for you, and only you, to make. That said, there are a few more things to think about.

A brushed nickel bathtub faucet wall mount with matching warm and cool colors would be stellar. However, consider that the ideas will add to your bathroom’s resale value. 

Think about your bathroom design. It can be risky to mix and match metal finishes and takes a lot of experience to get it right. Try to stick with your favorite material for each room and work from there.