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When it comes to choosing a faucet, installation type is a matter of logistics and the number of handles is a question of function. But the finish you choose is all about the look. With more options than ever, your choice of finish can best reflect your personal style and help you realize your bathroom design vision.

Durability is a key factor in your choice. Nickel fell out of favor in the first half of the 20th century because it wasn’t considered a durable material. Now most types of finishes – including nickel -- are extremely durable due to a coating process called PVD (physical vapor deposition). All KOHLER finishes exceed industry durability standards by more than two times.

Heavy metal

Metal faucet choices now available include a variety of silver-tone finishes, as well as gold, bronze, mixed metals and brushed and hammered options. Solid brass electroplated with chromium – more commonly referred to simply as chrome – became the standard for faucets in the 1930s and remains one of the most popular looks today.

Polished chrome is a classic that coordinates beautifully with a wide variety of fixture styles and types of décor. It can evoke a nostalgic look, as in a 1920s- or other vintage-style bath, but it can also complement contemporary styles beautifully.

Nickel has come back into style and is popular in many forms. Shiny like chrome, Vibrant® Polished Nickel is a favorite of Portland, OR, designer Sandy Hayes. "Polished nickel is a really sophisticated look that goes well with elegant furniture," she says.

Brushed nickel has a warm, soft appearance that looks classic against white and coordinates well with granite or slate countertops and backsplashes. And hammered nickel coordinates well with certain period styles. This finish, similar in color to brushed nickel, has a rough, hand-hewn feel that works particularly well with Craftsman or Mission styles.

Finish finesse

Bronze goes equally well with traditional and contemporary décor and can be particularly effective for a cabin style or other rustic look, or as a neutral for traditional-style baths. Bronze itself can come in a variety of shades, from Kohler’s lighter, rich Brushed Bronze, to the more recent introduction of dark-accented Oil-Rubbed Bronze.

Gold faucets can add a luxurious accent to your bathroom. The rich look of Vibrant® Moderne Gold, available in both polished and brushed versions, offers a rich yet warm accent to white fixtures. Vibrant® French Gold goes well with period styles and complements decorated sinks with gold accents. And Vibrant® Polished Brass provides an elegant note to traditional-style baths.

With more options than ever, your finish choice can help you realize your bathroom design vision.

One step beyond

Today’s faucet finishes go beyond metal. Great examples include ceramic KOHLER Vas® and Bol® faucets, available in white and a choice of decorative patterns.

The Toobi™ faucet offers a novel way to customize your bath, with white, green and black interchangeable spout liners that you can easily swap out to personalize your space. And the Falling Water® faucet line, made especially for use with vessel-style sinks, is available in dramatic black—perfect for coordinating with wrought-iron details or as a neutral with brightly colored or patterned sinks.

Food for thought

Choose a finish that is appropriate for the style of your fixtures, whether they are traditional, contemporary or transitional. Consider not just how the faucet finish will look against the color of your sink or tub, but also how it will look against the backsplash and the colors or patterns on your walls. This is especially important for wall-mounted styles.

Coordinate your faucet finish with the one you’re using for your lighting and accessories. If you’ve already chosen bronze lighting fixtures, for example, it’s a good idea to choose bronze faucets and towel racks.

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