Should Your Kitchen Faucet Match Your Cabinet Hardware?

In the earlier days of kitchen design, the options for faucets and cabinet hardware were limited. Today, the choices for these items and other metal-finished pieces for the kitchen workspace and pantry are extensive. Though it's for your benefit, it can make the task of updating the faucet and drawer pulls in your kitchen seem daunting.

Just as homeowners carefully pick out the right countertop for their cooking workspace, choosing suitable metallic pieces takes a good eye and some basic design principles. The rules regarding combining color and finishes have softened, but there are still rules. These are in place, so your kitchen looks like a stylish, functional room, not a jumble sale. As designers point out via The Washington Post, in general, considering kitchen colors and mood from floor to ceiling, you can combine two, maybe three metals in one area. But how do you use this rule to create an aesthetically pleasing kitchen? We'll show you how and tackle the issue of matching metals.

First, color

So, should your kitchen faucet match your cabinet hardware? No, they can match if you want, but they don't have to. Unlike a living room or great room with angles or nooks, everything instantly hits the eye when you enter a kitchen. This means the overall ambiance needs to be coordinated — not necessarily matching. When we looked at which colors most people want for their kitchens, our survey indicated that while warm shades are coming back into fashion, cool colors are still the most desired. Whites and grays are at the forefront, while a warmer neutral like beige is next in popularity.

We bring this up because, like paint, metals fall into cool and warm tones, as Moen points out. Chrome, stainless, pewter, and nickel are all cool tones, while copper, bronze, brass, and gold have a much warmer tone. A bright gold faucet may bring in the warm tone you want, but overall may be too pronounced. The beauty of oil-rubbed bronze may work better. You can imagine how in a cool-toned, white-on-white kitchen, nickel cabinet hinges and knobs will blend into the background, but a warm metal, say, a bright brass, will stand out. Whether you want a sleek, monochromatic look or to add a dash of contrast to your kitchen is up to you.

Next, texture

Faucets and cabinet hardware offer varying finishes, from matte to high gloss, and the number of available textures is increasing. Choices include polished, brushed, braided, and much more. Wayfair has a good working description of what the various finishes look like — think about how much light is in the kitchen and where and how you want it amplified or softened. Often, around the sink area, there's additional task lighting that makes it a bright spot in the room. A highly polished faucet may be too bright, so opting for a more muted, satin look might work better.

Then go back to the warm or cool colors for metals and consider incorporating contrasting shades. Per Kitchen Magic, offering such a distinction gives the room layers of interest and a distinctive feel. Mixing contrasting textures give the room a classic look that will last for years. This takes a bit of balance, though. Even if you love copper highlights, be careful that your drawer pulls don't stand out like shiny new pennies pasted onto the front of the cabinets, especially if all the other colors in the kitchen are cool. If you love the sparkle of metal for your cabinet and drawer handles, polished nickel or chrome will give you the sparkle you want.

Finally, the total look

The British design blog Nook & Find has ways to make your mixed faucets and cabinet hardware look intentional and savvy. Keep sections or types of hardware the same. Use the exact color and texture for drawer and cabinet handles or knobs, but pick another metal for the faucet. Also, don't use the same metal in different finishes, such as polished nickel and brushed nickel, side by side since that looks like you ran out of hardware. The smaller your kitchen, the more coordinated your metal colors and finishes should be.

Posh Pennies offers additional thoughts on mixing metals in your kitchen. If you want your faucet to match your sink, for example, or have the drawer pulls match or contrast the appliances — which can take up a lot of wall space — you should assess your design style. Is it sleek and modern? Is it more eclectic? Take your favorite finishes and shapes into consideration before moving full steam ahead. And if you're determined to mix metals, as decorators encourage you, pick a main metal and use it about 70% of the time, leaving the other 30% to your contrasting metal finish.