Home Projects

Gold and Brass Fixtures and Faucets: Promising or Passe?

published Jul 12, 2011
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

In describing its Purist single-control lavatory faucet in Vibrant Moderne brushed gold or polished gold, Kohler says, “We’ve approached the undeniable, romantic allure of gold in an entirely new way.” Is there an undeniable allure to gold faucets and bathroom fittings/hardware? Or does a gold-colored finish (whether brushed, polished, or unlaquered brass or “matte gold”) just scream early 90s to you?

Part of why this Kohler design stands out is that gold-colored finishes are typically associated with more traditional faucets, not sleek modern designs. Chrome still dominates American bathrooms in terms of sheer sales volume. But just as granite and stainless steel have (for a while) been the go-to materials in kitchen design, the muted silvery look of brushed nickel or the more traditional, warm look of oil-rubbed bronze are all the rage in bathroom remodeling. A peek into Restoration Hardware or Waterworks is all you need to see that gold is the odd man out. And it has been that way for a while.

Some bathroom designers foresee a gold comeback on the horizon. Others can’t rid themselves of the images of nouveau riche bathrooms of the 90s (I guarantee the Sopranos’ bathroom was all about gold hardware). But trends do come and go. I would argue that the gold hues of an antique or brushed brass will never be completely obsolete, even if it has been out of the spotlight for a while. The shiny builder’s-grade brass plated fixtures we had in our old home (and which continue to be used all over) should never be a celebrated aesthetic. But what about finishes like Kohler’s brushed gold or the “antique brass” finish at Waterworks?

Is it time to reconsider gold in the bathroom? What about the kitchen? What kind of bathroom is best suited to this finish?

Images: Kohler’s Purist single-control lavatory faucet in Vibrant Moderne brushed gold; Waterworks’ “antique brass” finish; Waterworks’ Henry gooseneck three hole deck mounted lavatory faucet with lever handles.