Stainless steel and brushed nickel finishes look similar but are very different.
A faucet finish is one of the most important decisions that will impact your kitchen or bathroom remodel. It forms the base for the rest of your hardware, cabinet handles and/or pulls, lighting fixtures, and accessories. You’ll either need to match or complement the metal you choose with the rest of your bathroom.
The finish of your fixtures can make or break the design of your kitchen or bathroom. Two of the most popular options available to you: stainless steel and brushed nickel. They have similar features, but they also have several striking differences.
To start, these two finishes are constructed of very different materials. Stainless steel isn’t a raw material. It starts as brass or steel and is then coated through an electroplating process, which layers one type of metal to another to eliminate chances of corrosion.
Brushed nickel is made of copper, zinc and nickel, whereas stainless steel is composed of 10.5% to 28% chromium, iron, and carbon. To create brushed nickel, manufacturers use a wire brush or a similar brushing tool to create small, consistent grooves on the metal.
The result: brushed nickel has texture, while stainless steel is completely smooth.
Color Differences Between Brushed Nickel & Stainless Steel
Stainless steel fixtures have high shine and a sleek, metallic finish. In a modern home, stainless steel is beautiful, and it easily matches stainless steel fridges, stoves and other appliances.
Brushed nickel has a warm, earthy tone to it, which many homeowners find appealing for kitchens and bathrooms. It looks beautiful in stark-white kitchens, as well as rooms themed with Tuscan, country French or antique decor. It can be hard to coordinate with other appliance colors, though.
Upkeep of Stainless Steel vs Brushed Nickel Faucets
Stainless steel fixtures are easy to maintain because they keep their shine and do not display spots as much as nickel. Stainless steel is also very durable. To clean, you can simply run a sponge and water over the surface and dry with a towel. With a little hand pressure, you can easily buff and polish your stainless steel fixtures.
Brushed nickel, on the other hand, is more susceptible to showing spots and dirt. To maintain, you’ll need to wipe your brushed nickel with a soft cloth and a pH-balanced liquid soap on a daily basis.
If you want your room fixtures to pop, then brushed nickel is the way to go. However, in terms of creating a cohesive kitchen or bathroom that’s easy to clean, stainless steel trumps brushed nickel.
Ultimately, you'll need to decide if the aesthetic is more important than the upkeep. That said, stainless steel is a great low-maintenance option that works perfectly in any home.