Kitchen hardware has come a long way in recent years, and is far more varied than the few faucet options that were available to our parents and grandparents. Choosing a hardware scheme that coordinates well with the color and décor of the rest of the kitchen is sometimes quite a daunting task. In general, hardware selection is more about creating an overall feel for the room than it is about matching specific colors. Start with the basics and determine if the kitchen has a traditional or modern feel to it.
Traditional décor, for example, a room with a Tuscan or Old World style, will look best with darker hardware, oil rubbed bronze, a weathered copper or even a polished brass. More traditional decors also match with hardware with smooth, rounded edges. These finishes will pair well with the warm and inviting reds, browns, and yellows of a Tuscan-style kitchen. Modern décor is more stark and angular. Modern finishes include chrome, aluminum, stainless steel, and brushed nickel, among others. Most modern hardware is elongated and rectangular, and goes for a sleek look. Handles are usually paired with modern styles over knobs. These contemporary pieces often pair well with the bright and bold colors of modern décor.
Once the initial choice between traditional and modern is made, the next step is to decide whether or not all of the hardware – from choosing a kitchen faucet and handles to cabinet pulls to light fixtures – will match exactly. Although many people prefer the uniformity of matching finishes across all areas of kitchen hardware, there is no hard and fast rule that dictates matching is necessary. Mixing is cool – even mixing across completely different finishes. Just try to keep some sort of coordinating element between different pieces. For example, combining hardware in three different silver-colored metals, perhaps brushed nickel, satin nickel, and chrome, would be fine because the base color stays the same. Another option would be to mix oil-rubbed bronze faucets with brass. When mixing, keep in mind that the eye will always be drawn to features that are not the same. Make sure that mixed features always coordinate in some way.
One caveat for mixing finishes is to be aware of room size. A tiny kitchen will feel more uniform if it has matching fixtures, and disorganized if it does not. A larger kitchen, with more open space and light to draw the eye away from hardware finishes, can accommodate mixed fixtures. Also be aware of cabinet finishes when choosing hardware. Different fixtures mix in different ways with wood cabinets than with painted cabinets. If you happen to have white cabinets, you’re in luck, as they match with almost any hardware finish.