When it comes to residential interior design, the kitchen and the bathroom are two areas of the house where you don’t want to cut corners. These rooms typically see the highest levels of foot traffic, and should be as visually pleasing as possible to enable a more comfortable living experience. In this guide, with the help of SUPPLY.com interior design expert Jessica Finley, we’ll explain how you can create cohesive, attractive looks in both the kitchen and the bathroom by focusing on the design of your fixtures.
Products You Should Focus On
When we say “fixtures” in the kitchen and bathroom, we’re focusing mainly on plumbing-related products like sinks, faucets, and accessories, as well as any additional pieces that may match these in style or color (cabinet knobs, for example). These fixtures are most often made of some type of metal, with an outer finish that can fall within a range of colors. Certain fixtures may seem small compared to eye-catchers like the oven, toilet, or tub, but we’ve found that having matching or complimentary fixtures is an easy way to give a kitchen or bathroom a nice design flow without having to remodel the entire space.
Line of Sight Is Important
One of the most frequent questions we hear from homeowners hoping to spruce up their kitchens or bathrooms is, “Should my faucet match my sink, appliances, or cabinetry hardware?” While it seems like a natural choice to match the faucet to the sink due to proximity, our answer is actually to match the faucet to the surrounding cabinetry hardware before anything else.
Especially in a room like the kitchen, where both your faucet and your cabinets are in the same sight line, matching the styles and finishes of these fixtures can give the room a more uniform look, from the point of view of someone standing in or near the space. On the other hand, most sinks in the kitchen are undermount-style these days, meaning that you would never see the color of a matching sink until you were standing right in front of it.
It’s worth noting that kitchen appliances are often in that same line of sight as faucets and cabinets, but your design choices can be limited when it comes to these products. Most appliance manufacturers make their pieces in three options: black, white, or stainless. Our advice? If possible, find a faucet finish that matches one of these colors (the mostly likely option will be stainless); otherwise, you can mix and match faucet and appliance finishes for a more organic, eclectic look.
Exact Matches Looks Great, But They’re Not the Only Option
Speaking of eclectic looks, it may benefit you to know that, from a professional designer’s point of view, not every fixture has to match exactly! Certain combinations of complimentary styles and finishes can achieve that same natural design flow, without necessarily having strict similarities.
Take, for example, the stainless steel sink. This model is a popular option for both kitchen and commercial settings, and a question we often get from customers is whether they can pick any finish for the accompanying faucet, or if they should stick with a stainless steel or brushed nickel faucet to match the sink. Our answer is that, while choosing a stainless steel faucet is a simpler and completely acceptable choice, you can use any faucet finish with a stainless steel sink. Shades like matte black or English brass pair well with a steel finish; again, if you choose a more eclectic approach like this, we would still encourage you to match your faucet with other fixtures in the same line of sight, like cabinet knobs.
Alternatively, another question we hear often is, “Can I mix finishes in a bathroom?” The bathroom typically has more plumbing fixtures than any other room in the house, so it’s understandable that perfectly matching all of them within the same brand, style, and finish can be a bit of a hassle. Luckily, mixed metal is not just a growing trend in the jewelry industry – you can implement the same eclectic idea in the bathroom as well! Some manufacturers have even got this trend covered for you already – just check out the Jason Wu collection from Brizo (pictured) for a look at how complimentary finishes can blend for a look that breaks away from the norm.
Saving Money with Finishes
If you’re looking to freshen up the design of your bathroom or kitchen, but you have a budget in mind, it’s useful to know that different finishes come at different prices, and that mixing certain finishes can save you money at the end of the day. For reference, here are some of the major fixture finishes, ranked from least to most expensive:
- Brushed Nickel
- Stainless Steel
- Oil Rubbed Bronze
- Polished Nickel
- Antique Brass
By mixing finishes, you can include luxury shades in your design without paying full price. For example, almost every finish listed above pairs well with black; however, black is one of the more expensive options. To cut down on costs, you could instead use chrome as your primary finish throughout the room, and then use black as an accent finish for a faucet, mirror, robe hook, etc.. This way, you can cut costs while still maintaining an impactful design.
…And Don’t Forget about Lighting
As a final note, with all this talk of fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom, make sure to keep in mind that lighting fixtures are also a part of that mix. Vanity lights and wall sconces are popular additions to any bathroom, while island lights and recessed lights are common in the kitchen. These lighting pieces come in a variety of finishes themselves, and therefore fall under the basic stylistic rules we covered in this guide. We recommend that you embrace lighting products as a way to further accent any design choices you have already made within the surrounding room.
Have any more questions about matching your fixtures? Feel free to reach out to the SUPPLY.com product expert team at 866-355-0310, or check out our entire collection of kitchen and bathroom products below!