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Fixtures will play a key role in your kitchen or bathroom design. Source: Twelve Chairs

When designing a kitchen or bathroom, every element counts. Since these rooms are so utilitarian, each piece does double duty in terms of providing a function and adding to the overall aesthetic. The fixture options you choose are no exception.

That said, there’s a lot more to choosing which fixtures to include in your home than simply picking a product off of a shelf. There is a whole host of base materials and finishes to choose from. Each of these comes with its own unique price point, life span, level of upkeep and style.

To help make sure your purchase will suit your needs, we’ve compiled a guide on how to weigh your fixture options. Read it as you start remodeling and we’re sure you’ll end up with fixtures that will help bring your vision to life. 

Think about the whole space before choosing your fixtures. Source: Kenorah Design & Build, LTD

Consider the space as a whole

Before starting any design project, it’s best to have a game plan. Consider whether you’ll be trying to combine your new fixtures with ones you already own or if you’re going for a full remodel. In either scenario, it may be a good idea to find some design inspiration to work with. 

A note for those who have decided to mix and match a variety of materials: The experts at Delta Faucets recommend coordinating styles by choosing similar finishes on all of your fixtures. For example, you could focus on choosing all polished or all brushed pieces to create a cohesive look.

Keep in mind that the material your fixture is made of is just as important as the finish. Source: KitchenLab Design

Choose a body material

When most people consider kitchen and bathroom fixtures, they only consider the finish since that’s what impacts the overall style of the space. However, in most cases, the finish is only a top coat that’s placed over a different underlying material. The material you choose will impact both your price point and the lifetime of your fixtures.


True all-brass fixtures are rare because they tend to be expensive, but for those willing to make the investment, it is a material that stands the test of time. They have a smooth and dense makeup that leaves them far less likely to leak or corrode than other materials. However, you may want to do some research before committing to a model. In the past, lead was used in the production of brass faucets and unfortunately leaked into the water supply over time. Though legislation has been passed to regulate the amount used, it is possible for lead to be present in these fixtures.   


Where steel is concerned, price matters. Stainless models tend to last as long as an all-brass option, but more affordable materials tend to rust over time.


If your heart is set on metal fixtures, zinc will probably be your most affordable choice. Fixtures made of zinc or zinc alloys are easy to produce and plentiful, but they are also not very durable.  


Of all the body materials, plastic fixtures are the most economical, but the low price point comes with a trade off. In terms of style, you’ll likely be limited to a solid color finish. Plus, a plastic fixture will likely crack over time, especially if it has been installed incorrectly.  

A fixture’s finish is key to driving home your desired style. Source: Lisman Studio Interior Design

Select a finish

Once you’ve settled on your body material, you can move on to the aesthetics. Below is a list of some of the most common options.


Chrome has long been one of the most popular choices where finishes are concerned and for good reason. It’s often inexpensive and considered a neutral that works well with both modern and traditional styles. The shine on this type of finish also makes it a good choice for hiding surface scratches and dings. However, it also shows water spots and fingerprints fairly easily, so regular cleaning is important.


These days, nickel is considered a more modern alternative to chrome. It comes at a slightly higher price point and has two distinct finish options.

Polished nickel: Polished nickel has a smooth and shiny finish that is a little darker than chrome. It works well with a variety of styles from traditional to modern and contemporary, but it can be hard to match with other finishes. If you choose polished nickel, your best bet is to use it for all your fixtures.

Brushed nickel: While brushed nickel also works well with a variety of styles, it has a more antique feel than a polished alternative. Its dark finish makes it a good choice for those looking to hide signs of wear and tear, but it also causes the fixture to blend in rather than stand out.


Over the past few years, copper has become increasingly popular. Its bold look can add a rich touch to the space, especially when contrasted with more neutral materials. It works especially well when mixed with other finishes as a statement piece to draw the eye.


Traditionally, brass has been thought of as a vintage choice for fixtures, but design experts say that a newer take on this material — with yellow or gold undertones — is set to make a comeback. With two different finish options, brass is often thought of as an option that will set your space apart.

Polished brass: Polished brass is both easy to find and easy to clean. It’s more expensive than a chrome or nickel alternative, but mixes well with both of them.

Satin brass: Satin brass will bring an almost brushed-gold look to your space. Unfortunately, it’s harder to find, which makes it an expensive choice. For those who can make the investment, this finish is great for hiding everything from scratches to water spots, so it doesn’t need as much regular care as many of the other finish alternatives.

Oil-rubbed bronze

If you’re a fan of traditional or Tuscan styles, oil-rubbed bronze is probably your best bet. It’s durable and easy to clean. Plus, this finish will blend well with existing brass finishes. However, be prepared to pay for style. This look will not come cheap.

Weigh your fixture options before buying. Source: Advanced Renovation Projects

Selecting kitchen or bathroom fixtures can be more complicated than it seems at first glance. There are countless options available, each with its own specifications. Use this post as a resource for how to weigh your fixture options before you commit to making a purchase and you can feel confident that whichever choice you make will be the right one.

How important are fixtures to your design? Which finishes fit with your aesthetic?