Polished Nickel vs Chrome

These cool-toned metals have made a welcome comeback. Before you commit, read our guide to the pros and cons of both finishes.

The trend for warm metal architectural finishes has evolved into something significantly more enduring in recent years. 

Coppers and golds have given way to more liveable finishes with depth and longevity. 

But while the popularity of rich Bronze and Antique Brass shows no signs of abating, finishes from the cooler side of the colour spectrum have also seen fresh enthusiasm. 

Chrome and Polished Nickel have both returned to the spotlight, but which is best? 

On the face of it, the two can be hard to tell apart. So, to help you make the right choice for you and your home, we’ve created this short guide.
Polished Chrome  

Chrome (aka chromium) is a plated finish that you might remember from the taps in your childhood home. 

It’s long been revered as a safe choice, not to mention one of the most affordable finishes available.   

If you buy from a reputable manufacturer that electroplates chrome onto solid brass, the finish should last well without any peeling or flaking. Rusting or oxidisation will only occur if the product is poorly plated, or if it’s subsequently scratched or badly damaged.  

Chrome has a slightly blue tint, and the finish is very bright and almost mirror-like. 

Because of this, it’s often used in contemporary homes with cool colour schemes. 

Its main selling point?

The finish looks the same whichever manufacturer you choose, so matching Chrome products from different sources is rarely problematic.  

One negative, however, is its lack of design appeal. This is entirely subjective, of course, but Chrome has been so ubiquitous for so long that it’s become almost invisible.    
Polished Nickel  

Polished Nickel’s a timeless finish that’ll never lose its shine – literally. 

It’s a matter of opinion, but we think Polished Nickel's a more sophisticated choice than Chrome. 

Traditionally, it’s been favoured in Regency townhouses and grand country homes, but it can also look fresh and striking in a contemporary setting.   

Like Chrome, Polished Nickel’s a plated finish, applied to a base metal (all our products are solid brass) and then polished. 

It has yellow undertones, and a deeper finish that goes well with soft neutrals and warm colour schemes. 

Think of it as a mellow silvery finish, compared to the bright reflectiveness of Chrome.  

Price-wise, products finished in high-quality Polished Nickel will usually cost more than Chrome, but not more than metals that require hand-finishing, such as Antique Brass. 

It’s an easy to clean and durable finish that’s marginally less susceptible to fingerprints than Chrome – a lint-free cloth is all you’ll need to maintain its shine.  

At Corston, we’re always going to be a little biased towards Polished Nickel; a finish we’ve embraced in our collections from day one.