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The Great Hardware Dilemma

What do you think of when you hear the word “hardware”? When I hear this word, my Interior Designer brain is instantly programmed to think of cabinet knobs/pulls, bath accessories, shower frames, and door hardware.

When moving into a new home, the hardware finish is one of those things that taps you on the shoulder and screams when the home was built. If your home was built in the 80’s or early-mid 90’s you most likely have brass hardware; everything is brass….even the door hinges! (Side note-brass may be making a comeback, but more on that in a future post!). The more common finishes now-a-days are brushed nickel, oil rubbed bronze, and chrome.

I was recently asked by a client who was remodeling his kitchen as to what cabinet hardware I would recommend. His kitchen remodel consisted of white cabinets, stainless appliances, a stainless sink, and gray countertops. Normally, this would have been an easy question-BRUSHED NICKEL ALL OF THE WAY! I appreciate when all of the hardware throughout a house matches, and with stainless appliances and a stainless sink, this seems like a no brainer the majority of the time.

However, the remainder of my client’s home was oil rubbed bronze. I’m talking all of the hardware was oil rubbed bronze; also referenced as ORB for short (my husband tries to impress me when he uses Interior Design slang like ORB). I ultimately ended up recommending the oil rubbed bronze finish because of the ORB kitchen faucet and the ORB door hardware, which was on the pantry door located in the middle of the kitchen. He ended up going with my recommendation of the Hardware Resources Elements #525-96DBAC, photo below.

I have also had other clients ask me about similar hardware finish questions in the past, so I wanted to put together the below situational recommendations to help in case you find yourself in a similar hardware finish dilemma.

You love Oil Rubbed Bronze but don’t know how it will look with the stainless appliances.

Rest assured, you can mix! If you have oil rubbed bronze on your light fixtures, cabinet hardware, and door hardware; keep the kitchen sink non-stainless and the faucet an oil rubbed bronze finish. If you are in the midst of your remodel or new construction project, I realize this is easier said than done. Oil rubbed bronze faucets are a lot more common than non-stainless sinks which makes finding the ORB faucets more convenient to find and relatively inexpensive. My go to non-stainless sinks are Blanco’s Silgranit sinks. They come in a variety of different sizes and finishes. The “café brown” color works really well with the ORB finish.

You are designing a contemporary home and want to use the chrome finish for all of the hardware and fixtures, but are unsure to continue the chrome in the kitchen because of the stainless appliances.

No need to fret, stainless and chrome are frequently used together and most people with an untrained eye would not even notice.

You want the hardware finish in all the bathrooms to be brushed nickel or chrome and want all of your hallways and common areas to be oil rubbed bronze.

Meet the split finish! Many interior door hardware companies offer the split finish, where one side of your door can be one finish (like the brushed nickel or chrome) and the other side a different finish (like the oil rubbed bronze). Be aware that this comes with a much higher price tag and typically a longer lead-time. If you are seriously considering the split finish for your door hardware, I recommend looking at Baldwin’s door hardware. They have a great reputation in the industry for being high quality with innovate design styles and options.

Feel free to comment below if you have any questions or have a hardware dilemma that I did not cover!

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