How to Choose the Perfect Finish For Your Bathroom Tap

How to choose bathroom tapware finish

One of the easiest renovations you can do in a bathroom is to change its tapware. You can change the sink tap or the tub tap, or you can change both to match. The different tapware finishes you can choose from are chrome, nickel, pewter, English bronze, gold electroplated and, what Fiona Gould, stylist at House of Rohl, which sells bathroom and kitchen fixtures, calls ‘living’ brass.

“I think people either love the idea of a patina finish [surface coating on a bare metal surface formed by a chemical reaction] or they hate it, so people will often either choose a durable option like chrome or something that’s going to give beautiful vintage character over time,” says Gould.

There are also another group of people who love classic polished brass, she says. All this means there’s no ‘best’ option when it comes to choosing tapware — it really all comes down to personal preference. Though, if you asked Gould to choose hers, she’d say English bronze, as it’s striking.

Tapware finishes for bathroom
Image: Unsplash

Ari Zorlu, managing director at bathroom supply brand Paco Jaanson, says that though chrome is the tried and tested colour, he personally recommends brushed nickel. The finish, along with brass and gunmetal, is becoming increasingly popular.

“Brushed nickel is considered timeless and less likely to be a passing trend than other finishes while being easy to maintain,” Zorlou says. “With its versatility to work with the different colour schemes, it has a classy appeal, making it the ‘classy big sister of chrome’.

Ahead, Gould and Zorlou share their other tips for choosing bathroom tapware.

Choose Your Tapware Finish

Your choice of tapware should harmonise with the overall colour scheme of your bathroom and reflect the desired aesthetic whether it’s modern, traditional or fun, says Zorlu. Renovators should consider how these elements work together rather than in isolation to ensure a cohesive final result.

Gould outlines below each tapware finish:


“It’s the most durable option and requires very little maintenance,” she says.


“It’s a more delicate finish and can change over time as it reacts with the environment,” Gould says. “It’s shiny, like chrome, but has a very subtle warm tone to it.”


“Pewter is becoming really popular – it’s a brushed nickel with a matte appearance,” says Gould. “It also reacts with the environment but can be restored with a pewter pad.”

English bronze

“This is a deep, rich finish and really shows the detail of the brassware beautifully,” says Gould.

‘Living’ brass finish

“These come in a polished or satin finish,” says Gould. “They will develop their own patina over time as they react with the environment. They may develop spots from the first week of having them, or it may take more time, depending on their environment. They’re perfect for creating a beautiful vintage feel and are becoming more and more popular.”

Sample Everything Before Buying It

Once you’ve chosen your tapware finish, it’s important you sample it before buying it. Gould says she always recommends visiting showrooms to view tapware in person before buying it.

“Not only to see the size of the piece in person but also seeing the tapware finish alongside some of your tile or benchtop samples is really important to ensure everything works together harmoniously,” says Gould.

Keep the Tapware Consistent

Finally, stay consistent with your tapware. By sticking to a colour scheme with your taps and accessories, you can ensure all elements will work together to create a cohesive look throughout the bathroom, says Zorlu.

“Staying consistent with your tapware ensures your bathroom space feels considered and uncluttered,” adds Gould. “It’s these details that will really elevate the look.”

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