faucets: read before you buy / Lose your mind
Don't you hate how dang many paper towel variants there are? Just give me one reasonably-priced, absorbent option please. Maybe in two possible sizes. Bonus points if it's been fabricated by fairly paid people and the process left a very small carbon footprint. Done. Moving on. Life is way too full to debate paper products. Or screws, or varieties of potting soil. Or: FAUCETS.
Good God, why are there so many faucets in the world, said every single home remodeler ever. You are right: many of them would be better off not existing, in our humble opinions. But take heart! We've narrowed them down for you! You'll have this done in a jiffy and can get back to your real life, we promise.
The Main Thing
Go with a reliable, established brand that plumbers in your geographic market know and local suppliers sell. When your faucet leaks in a year or 5 years or 10 years, you want it to be easily fixed so you can quickly get back to your real life. You don't want your plumber to compare your faucet to an exotic car. You want it compared to the one with all the JD Power awards. (Note that some retailers, like Pottery Barn, sell faucets that are in fact made by reliable manufacturers—just dig a little deeper to confirm it's a good make before you buy.)
Sure, but Just Tell Me Which One to Buy, Please
Ok, so what we just said doesn't really help, you're right. There are oodles of brands that are beautiful and reliable. If you have escaped putting the kids to bed and need to kill some time until they are definitely asleep, this site is a rabbit hole (ahem, fabulous resource) for reviews of the hundreds of faucet brands out there.
Or you can just use Kohler, Grohe, or Delta. That's what we do.
Note: we do not recommend the cheapest faucets. You touch your faucets multiple times every day; you will notice a higher quality function and line. This is our general advice for door handles too. Don't skimp on the things you touch and use all the time. There are places you can tighten the belt, we promise. But that's another post.
So here you go. Our favorites! And only SIX—so reasonable! They all come in a variety of finishes (click on the links in the names to explore) and a variety of styles (single handle, double handle, wall-mount, bar height, pot fillers, etc.). Each one is pretty to look at and great to operate. (You're welcome.)
Got it. Now What Finish?
Well, that all depends on the context and the look and feel you're going for, of course. For which a designer will help! But since you asked...
- POLISHED. I know. You were thinking brushed. Everyone in the Midwest seems to think brushed. This is because it feels like the easy, safe answer. You're not wrong about that, but as such, brushed finishes are overused by builders eager to please a wide variety of potential buyers. Thus, it reads the opposite of custom: safe, blah, cheap. Beyond that, it is brushed - which is to say, dull. A polished finish gives contrast and interest, livening up neutral palettes and standing up to vibrant ones. We promise: polished is better. (Except in a kitchen, where we can get behind stainless. Every rule has an exception.)
- CHROME. When in doubt, choose chrome. It's safe, classic, easy to find, and affordable.
- NICKEL. Nickel is lovely. It has a yellow undertone, so it is warmer than chrome. Unfortunately, it is not available in every line and is often more expensive than chrome.
- BLACK AND BRASS. They're trendy, but hey, trends can be fun. Brass and black (or other finishes that read as black: so oil-rubbed bronze counts) can work because they can offer the contrast we were talking about above that a polished finish lends, and the warmth of nickel. Brass and black are bold choices (you're a bold person! go you!), so don't leave them lonely: rich elements like a wood countertop or a wallpaper or backsplash that is high contrast/colorful/geometric, will help give black and brass finishes context.
One last tip, gratis: mixing metals
Now that you've chosen a faucet, you can build off it and choose your light fixtures, mirror frame and drawer pulls! (Yes! You can!) And when you do, please know that we are officially assuring you that Metals Can Be Mixed! (Yes! They can!)
If you do it right. Some tips:
- Sticking to just two different finishes in one space is a good rule of thumb.
- Think about balance. Often at SYI, we do all polished chrome plumbing fixtures, with another finish (black or brass) on the pulls and/or decorative lighting. Don't do all the finishes at the vanity in one finish and the shower in another; instead, spread them throughout, so brass up high (like around your mirror) is talking to brass down low (on your drawer pulls), and chrome at the sink is talking to chrome in the shower. Often just one little element of a different metal is enough.
- As with all design and art (and life, we suppose), you can actually break all the rules. Like Picasso. But he was a Genius, and he knew it. So, God Speed and either way, be sure to share pictures with us.