What is The Right Finish?

The other day I got a panicked call from a client asking about the correct finish to choose for a light fixture. She was at a store and there was a light on sale in polished chrome and she couldn’t figure out what to do. Here are the trigger questions and platform I would recommend in your selection:

  1. What kind of sink do you have?
  2. What kind of appliance finish do you have?
  3. What kind of plumbing finish (faucet, soap dispenser etc) do you have?

Since my client has a stainless steel sink, stainless steel appliances and has already selected brushed nickel plumbing fixtures, I recommended that she look for lighting and hardware in brushed nickel.


  • Brushed nickel and stainless steel are very close and work well together.
  • Polished chrome is a statement on its own and should stay consistent in a space.
  • Bronze looks best with wood.
  • Consider the amount of a metal finish on a fixture. If a light fixture just has a bit of a metal finish (like polished chrome), it will be fine since it is at the top of the fixture and often not visible.

I recommend that all metal finishes be chosen consciously and with consideration of each other. You don’t want to be put in a situation that you have to purchase polished chrome lighting because you selected your plumbing fixtures months earlier. Planning ahead will keep panic at bay and help you enjoy the experience of design.



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