Polished chrome vs polished nickel

lexmomof3November 3, 2012

Other than some prefer one look over the other, are there any pros and cons to one vs the other?

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Polished chrome is generally less expensive than polished nickel. It seems to be more widely available so it is often easier to find accessories to match polished chrome finishes. Polished chrome is cool metal and polished nickel appears warmer. To me, fixtures in chrome tend to look more modern than what you usually see in polished nickel. I've used both in two different bathrooms and it's my polished nickel that makes me swoon.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 9:16AM
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I used polished nickel hardware in my kitchen. For me, the chrome really stands out a little too much. I would only use chrome for the bathroom. The nickel pulls cost more, but I think they're worth it.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 9:29AM
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Are you talking about faucets or drawer pulls/knobs? Or both? Anyway, one difference is that polished nickel costs more than polished chrome. Also, aesthetically, polished nickel is a more "traditional" look - people associate the finish with traditional british fixtures (would polished chrome be in Downton Abbey?). That's not to say you can't have polished nickel in a modern setting, or polished chrome in a traditional setting - you can do whatever you like best.

If we are just talking about faucets (not knobs/pulls), I feel the opposite of Berardmr, in that I have a polished chrome faucet in my kitchen, and polished nickel faucets in my bathrooms. The reason for that is that I find polished nickel to be more high maintenance. It shows water spots, and can get a bit tarnished, which is easily removed with either a damp cloth, or with some light silver polish. But for that reason, I wouldn't have polished nickel in my kitchen where it would get more heavy-duty use. Also, my kitchen is a transitional look - i.e. neither traditional nor contemporary, and I like the sparkle of the polished chrome faucet in it.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 10:38AM
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Hey! I started a thread about chrome (which contains nickel info) that might be helpful : )

Here is a link that might be useful: Chrome/Nickel

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 11:14AM
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Thanks for the input. I am talking about in the kitchen, faucet and pulls/knobs. I like the look of nickel better but still like chrome too. I wondered about the maintenance since I've never had polished nickel. I did notice that the polished nickel is quite a bit more than the chrome. The kitchen will be transitional, I think.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 11:21AM
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I don't know, but I am developing an attraction to the polished chrome in a faucet. It just seems so clean and sparkley...

1 Like    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 12:52PM
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For faucets and knobs/pulls, I think polished nickel is fine. We have satin nickel faucets in our kitchen and powder room and have no tarnishing issues in over 4 years...maybe it's the "type" of nickel finish and/or how it's applied.

Where I would not use nickel of any sort is for the drains, strainers, and/or disposal flange. Nickel can be damaged by harsh cleaning products such as Bar Keeper's Friend or bleach. So, use either chrome or stainless steel for these items. When we did our kitchen & powder room, I was careful to specify brushed stainless for the flange and strainers, but forgot in the powder room. I had to bleach my powder room drain and I accidentally spilled some bleach on the drain and it pitted very quickly. I wish I had remembered to get SS in the powder room as well!!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 7:38PM
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I too, like the sparkle of the chrome. I have chrome faucet, soap dispenser, garbage disposal button, pulls and knobs. They are easy maintenance. A wipe with a cloth is all it takes. I found the price of the nickel not to be worth it. My house is traditional, 1920, and I think the chrome fits in fine. We used it in our bathrooms too.

1 Like    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 8:31PM
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I was worried about maintenance so I did a polished chrome faucet. But my pulls and the trim on my light fixtures is polished nickel. They look fine together, so I think I got the best of both worlds. Plus, it saved some money.

1 Like    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 5:35PM
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Polished nickel is a maintenance nightmare, especially on a faucet. I have PN in my bathroom and each week all the nickel must be polished like old silverware. Brown spots, water spots, and fingerprints come out of nowhere. Before buying I was told on GW that spots could be prevented with a "quick wipe." Bluntly, that was a flat-out lie.

Some PN comes with a protective finish that may delay or reduce spotting somewhat. Just like with the lacquer on brass, it eventually fails. This is why all manufacturers will tell you that PN is a "living" finish and accept no liability for ugly brown spots.

PN is also harder to match. Some manufacturers have really been pushing the brown to make sure you know their PN products are worth the price. As a result some of the finishes are beginning to look really strange, like someone left them overnight in a coffee pot. With PN you really do need to see products in person before buying.

PN is traditional only for pre-1925 looks. After that, kitchen faucets were typically chrome until more colors came out.

1 Like    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 7:05PM
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Thanks for all of the replies! I like ALL things shiny so I think I'll go with polished chrome just for the easier maintenance. Maybe when my kids are grown and gone, I'll have time to keep the finish on polished nickel sparkling new. I'm going to have marble counter tops and floors when they're gone too! :)

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 8:09PM
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I picked my Grohe faucet which is polished chrome now I was thinking of ordering Amerock's Highland ridge pulls but they only come in Polished Nickel.. I don't think I should mix these finishes.. Does anyone have any advice on mixing these? Is there a pull that you can suggest that is similar to the Amerock Highland ridge pulls? thanks

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 7:50PM
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Restoration Hardware has almost identical pulls in chrome, but they are twice the price.

Here is a link that might be useful: Restoration hardware

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 8:01PM
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Holly- Kay

Marion, Amerock creased bow is similar and it is a polished chrome. I love Candler but it isn't available in polished chrome just antique silver or satin nickel. Polished chrome musn't be a big line for amerock as most of their silvery finishes are satin.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 8:21PM
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Holly- Kay

I forgot, Hickory Hardware American Diner is also available in chrome.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 8:25PM
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Thanks Holly-kay, I will check that out. I don't think I want to mix my faucet in chrome with polished nickel.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 8:39PM
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Marion--I mixed polished chrome faucets with polished nickel pulls. Many of us here have. Here's the Amerock HR and the RH Aubrey (the one I chose) in polished nickel against a grayish marble. I think they look nice. And here's a wider view of my kitchen so you can see the mixed finishes together.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 11:28PM
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Ditto what breezy said. I mixed all sorts of stuff--polished chrome faucets, polished nickel top latches and pendant, polished stainless pulls, "bright nickel" (whatever that is) appliance pulls. It all looks great together. I posted my final reveal a few days ago, if you haven't seen it.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 7:31AM
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Ellen Horn

There is nothing wrong with mixing finishes, particularly polished nickel and polished chrome. There is virtually NO difference in the appearance, and chrome is a lot less expensive. I have polished chrome faucets, towel bars, etc., polished nickel light fixtures (they didn't come in chrome) and oil rubbed bronze handles and knobs. My granite, cabinets and tile are brown/beige tones, and oil rubbed bronze would have been an obvious choice for everything, but it has no sparkle and too much of it is boring. I love the look of shiny fixtures.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2015 at 7:29AM
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This thread is 2 years old - Ellen - why are you replying to it? Please do not - you are bumping CURRENT threads off the first page - threads for people who need help NOW - not two years ago!!!

Are you a pro trolling for "recognition" and business? If so, be aware that the GW Forums are NOT for pros looking for recognition for business. Please do NOT post to these old threads when obviously the original poster (OP) no longer needs your help.

Pros who are trolling for business and those who are looking for validation, not help/constructive criticism...please stick to the Houzz "look at me" pages (best way to describe the pages where people are just displaying what they've done in the interests of getting applause.)

NOTE: This does not apply to those who have a "finished kitchen" and who designed and/or got significant help on the Kitchens Forum during the remodel journey - those are always welcome! Nor does it apply to the pros who are on the Kitchens Forum to freely help with no business incentive - those pros know who they are and we all thank you here at Kitchens for your many posts and great help in the past, present, and future! (Other pros are welcome to join, but please stick to current requests for help and give true help.)

1 Like    Bookmark   February 22, 2015 at 9:45AM
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i've found the finish on the chrome peels or wears off much faster than nickle. maybe it's because the chrome is applied microns thin. the nickle, has to go on much thicker. plus the nickle, to me, makes a better statement. chrome i think looks too flashy. i hope didn't insult anyone.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2015 at 10:20AM
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