The Stylish Finish That'll Add A Timeless Look To Your Shower And Bathroom

Just like our kitchens, our bathrooms are often a spot where we can lean into trends. If you are in your forever home, though, or even hoping to sell soon and appeal to the masses, you may want to avoid the fads and find something timeless instead. Luckily, lasting designs no longer have to mean boring or builder-grade. With bathrooms, homeowners and designers tried to stand out with chrome fixtures, but now, interior experts are recommending a different route: polished nickel.

There is one big reason our hardware is getting a little less bold. The trend of bright, all-white bathrooms has come and gone, and as stylists go more moody in their client's bathrooms, the hardware has to fit. Polished nickel is more subtle than other metals and gives the look of a vintage bathroom, appealing to those who want to stray away from ultra-modern spaces. "Polished nickel is our go-to finish now," interior designer Corinne Mathern told Livingetc. "I just love a good reflective layer in a bathroom." If you want to add polished nickel to your space, here's how to do it.

What is polished nickel?

If you are a bit confused about the difference between polished nickel and chrome, you aren't alone. Metals can be hard to differentiate, especially if it isn't something you are used to. The biggest difference between the two metals, while both silver, is the undertones. Chrome is brighter due to its cooler undertones, while polished nickel gives off a much warmer vibe with its undertones of yellow and gold.

There is also the difference between polished nickel and brushed nickel. The polished kind is the shinier option you see in bathrooms, while brushed nickel has a matte texture and a much more subtle sheen. But don't let that shiny aspect sway you — polished nickel is still a subtle, more vintage option that will pair perfectly with moodier bathrooms. Most metal types can work great in a bathroom, but polished nickel is likely going to stand the test of time, particularly when used for bathroom fixtures and hardware.

Pros and cons of polished nickel

While polished nickel may be the go-to choice for designers, there are still things homeowners should be aware of before settling on the metal for their bathroom renovation. The biggest caveat is price. Overall, polished nickel is usually going to be the more expensive hardware option. When compared to a chrome, polished nickel is usually about $90, while a chrome faucet will only be about $60, on average. Similarly, something like a doorknob will be about double the cost when opting for polished nickel, so the overall expense will end up being a good amount higher.

The other thing to consider is maintenance. While polished nickel may look beautiful when first installed, it is very susceptible to showing fingerprints, water spots, and other stains, so it can quickly look dirty after use. To combat this, regularly wipe your polished nickel hardware with liquid soap and water or use a vinegar solution, which is the best way to clean nickel.