How to choose hardware finishes
As permanent fixtures, choosing the right finish for handles and hardware is arguably more important than paint colours and wallpaper when renovating your home.
How Do I Choose The Right Finish For My Home?
There is no right or wrong finish for a property, but if you need inspiration, the architectural heritage of your home will often lend itself to a particular finish. For example, period homes from the Victorian era and earlier are well-suited to Antique Brass finishes as they look like authentic, original features. Polished Nickel has a refined elegance that is particularly fitting in regency style properties and townhouses. In rural or industrial style homes, such as country cottages and factory conversions, the rawness of Unlacquered Brass is especially appropriate. The moodiness of a dark finish, like Bronze, can prove very striking in modern homes.
It can also help to consider what you want from your hardware. Would you like it to stand out and make a strong statement, or would you prefer it to sit quietly in the background? Consider a finish that will give a dynamic contrast; for example, Bronze on pale painted/light wooden doors and cabinetry. Conversely, you could choose a finish that will blend in, like Bronze on dark painted doors or Unlacquered Brass on warm oak. One of the easiest ways to avoid costly mistakes is to order samples. Even with the best photography in the world, finishes viewed online may look different in the flesh. Samples are also helpful for checking the quality of a finish and compatibility with other colours and materials in your home.
Until recently, the main options were chrome for modern homes or black cast iron for traditional settings. Now, the choices are virtually endless, which can prove overwhelming. It doesn’t help that many companies use different words to mean the same thing. One company's Antique Brass or Polished Nickel might look very different to another’s. At Corston, we like to offer enough choice to satisfy diverse tastes without overcomplicating matters. You won’t find our finishes anywhere else and, best of all, the colour will match no matter which products you choose from our extensive portfolio.
Bronze is a dramatically dark finish with richness and depth. A flexible choice that works in any period or style of property, it boasts definition and character. Our Bronze finish was developed in-house to achieve intense, warm undertones. In time, the natural brass colour will gradually emerge where the metal is most frequently touched, adding extra uniqueness.
With the exception of authentic antique hardware, Antique Brass is unlacquered brass that has been chemically aged to speed up natural patination. It’ is slightly darker than untreated brass, with more tonal variation. This makes it perfect for making homes feel a little more relaxed and lived-in. We believe that the only way to achieve convincing results is to antique by hand, which is why all our of Antique Brass is finished by our own skilled team.
Imbued with dark golden tones that add colour and warmth, this is untreated solid brass in all its natural beauty. Sometimes known as a ‘living finish,’ Unlacquered Brass will oxidise and patina in time, reacting to atmospheric conditions and even the natural oils in your hands. We love the ever-changing character of our Unlacquered Brass finish, but it can also be restored to the bright, shinier look of box-fresh brass using Corston Brass polish.
Polished Nickel is a sophisticated choice with warmer undertones than chrome but just as durable. A firm favourite in classical homes, Polished Nickel can also bring a crisp, clean look to contemporary spaces and is a timeless finish that will never date. We use a high-quality nickel-plating process to provide protection and colour consistency, ensuring our Polished Nickel finish won’t oxidise or patina.
At Corston, we firmly believe that coordinating hardware has the power to pull a home together, creating smooth design cohesion from room to room. For this reason, all of our finishes match consistently across product lines, whether it’s hinges, doorknobs, cabinet handles, switches or shelf brackets. That said, there’s no need to get obsessed with matching every single metal finish in your home. One of the main rooms people stress about is the kitchen. Just because your fridge or tap is stainless steel doesn’t mean all the cabinet doors must have handles in stainless steel. If the majority of your hardware is one finish, a few anomalies will not register. Also, deliberately using a different handle finish – such as on a standalone piece of furniture – is a great way to add interest and personality.
Some hardware finishes require polishing and specialist cleaning products. It’s well worth checking aftercare recommendations before you buy. With the exception of Polished Nickel, all of our finishes are unlacquered, which means they will alter very gradually over time. We believe this is all part of their inherent beauty and should be celebrated but it also means cleaning requires nothing more than a damp, lint-free cloth. The same goes for our Polished Nickel finish.