ARE BLACK FIXTURES OUTDATED ALREADY?
Black has been a popular choice for faucets, light fixtures, and hardware for several years now. But is black still TRENDY or is it on the way out? Is black TIMELESS or is it just a fad?
The answer isn’t easy.
If you ask me (which you are, by the way), black is still a good choice. While it’s TRENDY on some surfaces (bathroom fixtures, door hardware and kitchen faucets), it’s TIMELESS on others. While its popularity is SLIGHTLY waning in certain styles of homes, it’s going strong in others.
What does this mean?
There was a time (like in the last five years) when you could go into any newly built ‘average‘ home and find black on EVERY SINGLE metal finish, top to bottom. And while you’ll still see a lot of it, many builders and homeowners are shifting their sights back to the brighter end of things – polished nickel, chrome and a dab of gold here and there.
HOWEVER, go into any ‘modern farmhouse style‘ home and black (and gold) are still going STRONG. I don’t see this trend abating until the modern farmhouse trend itself starts taking a BIG back seat (it’s taking a very small one right now).
Right now, would I do an ENTIRE HOME in black metal?
When designing or renovating a home that has a chance of lasting through various trends/owners, you need to consider VERSATILITY and FLEXIBILITY. So, let’s look at the WHAT, WHY, and HOW to see what might work for you.
MAKE A PLAN FOR YOUR METAL FINISHES
YES, black is still trendy for metal finishes in a home. However, for the sake of future trends and owners, you should make a PLAN for your metal finishes.
Because not only do you want there to be a purposeful flow from room to room, you want to make sure you protect your investment so that it holds its esthetic value as long as possible.
This is even MORE important if you have a home that isn’t built to be a specific style of home, ie. an authentic farmhouse or mid-century modern style home.
When it comes to homes that are/were BUILT to be a very particular style (ie. a mid-century home), it’s more about what suits the style of the home itself; what’s authentic to it. In other words, trends matter much less.
Where this DOESN’T apply is in a home that is STYLED to look mid-century or modern farmhouse, but fundamentally, ISN’T that particular style.
Because if you take away the decor and some design features, it’s a regular home; one that’s styled based on current trends or a homeowner’s personal tastes. Insert new trends or new owners and it can be hard to transition from the last ‘best thing since sliced bread’ into something new.
Giving yourself some FLEXIBILITY with your metal finishes, rather than committing to one finish EVERYWHERE will give you (or a new homeowner) flexibility in the future.
How do you give yourself flexibility when it comes to metal finishes? You make a plan, starting with mixing metals.
WHAT? Do you mean you can use different metal finishes throughout your home?
You bet your root scootin’ booty you can! Try to stick with the 80/20 rule overall – 80% one, 20% another (this topic is a blog post unto itself).
THE BEST METAL MIXES
Since our focus today is on black finishes, let’s see which metals it can accommodate…
- BLACK & GOLD
- BLACK & OIL RUBBED BRONZE
- BLACK & POLISHED NICKEL
- BLACK & CHROME
In today’s market, you can do ANY OF THE ABOVE combos without pigeon-holing yourself.
Long story short (as usual), black goes with everything. However, the same can’t be said of the other finishes. Don’t even TRY to talk me into oil-rubbed bronze and polished chrome as a great combo – woooof. Polished nickel/chrome and gold? You do you, boo, but I’ve NEVER been a fan.
In fact, many of us moved into homes built in the 90s, only to find a home FULL of shiny brass/gold. And what was the next metal finish trend in the early 2000s? There were two, actually, polished nickel and oil-rubbed bronze. And did either of these mix well with GOLD?
HECK to the NO.
This means that if you didn’t want your 1990s home to be sitting in design purgatory as you updated your home bit by bit, you had to change ALLLLL of your metal finishes at the same time. That’s some serious coin.
The difference with black is that it TRANSITIONS well with other metals, and in fact, ALL metal finishes. This means you can mix and match now AND later with no flames licking at your heels.
And while there’s no fool-proof plan that will last through every trend or every homeowner’s tastes, giving yourself some room to move is a smart choice.
BTW, my blog is 100% powered by my E-design clients and their photos. Thank you to everyone for sending them in – you make my colourful little world go round!
However, I’d like to take a minute (seriously, nothing I say takes just a minute), to focus on bathrooms…
THE BEST METAL FINISH FOR BATHROOMS (TO STAY TRENDY & TIMELESS)
No matter the trend cycle or century, chrome is a clean and simple approach for a bathroom and the one that’s MOST likely to appeal to the masses.
Sherwin Williams Pure White
Bathroom fixtures are the BIGGEST PITA to change. For this reason, I would stick with what’s timeless and simple and NOTHING is more timeless than chrome; whether you personally love it or not. And I SURE AS HECK wouldn’t do a mix – STICK TO ONE FINISH in the bathroom. Mixing finishes in a small space like this (ie. black faucet/light and chrome shower fixtures) can look poorly planned and disconnected unless done CAREFULLY by a professional.
Almost EVERY choice is timeless in this space – smart money!
And again, don’t get me started on gold and chrome; this is a trend I NEVER understood, not in the 90s and not now (as it’s somehow been resurrected – SACRILEGE!).
HOWEVER, If you really want black fixtures in a bathroom and are WORRIED about trends, consider black for your smallest bathroom – ideally a powder room, as it has the least fixtures (same goes for gold).
Benjamin Moore Super White
Sherwin Williams High Reflective White
But you have to admit, this looks pretty fab too…
And hey, don’t kill the well-intentioned Ginger messenger; I’m just trying to help. Heck, we just built a home and I did black in TWO BATHROOMS, which leads to our next topic (because I don’t stop talking in real-life either).
As mentioned earlier, some homes are exceptions to the rule because they’re ACTUALLY a particular home style. For example, a home that’s a farmhouse that’s ALSO decorated in ‘farmhouse style’ is authentic. A home that’s decorated in a mid-century style that’s ACTUALLY a mid-century style home will withstand the test of time MUCH better as it relates to trends.
Take this next room, for example. While cream and beige were NOT trends when this photo was taken, they look good because they suit the home (one of my FAVE clients ever).
The Best Beige Paint Colours for Today’s MODERN Home
In fact, if a particular finish in these homes HAPPENS to be trendy, it’s more incidental than purposeful.
This is one reason why I wasn’t afraid to do all black in two of our bathrooms at our lake home…
Benjamin Moore White Dove & Sherwin Williams Network Gray
The vanity came with this hardware – I’ll be changing it to black
4 Ideas to Give a Small Bathroom Some Personality!
Because it’s a lake home, there’s more flexibility and forgiveness given to things that may/may not fall outside of what’s trendy. I also did a lot of shiplap and even painted some surfaces GRAY. In other words, I went for a few trends that are ON THEIR WAY OUT. However, because it’s a lake home, certain choices will ALWAYS suit it, regardless of trends.
Simply put, some looks transcend the trend cycle because they authentically suit the home.
I’m also a big believer in loving the home you live in, and if you have the luxury of being able to CHANGE things that become outdated in the future, then why not do what speaks to you?
PRACTICE MODERATION ON A LARGE-SCALE
One of the many things I love about this next bathroom is the CHOICES my client made in hard finishes…
This is a GREAT mix of transitional & modern farmhouse that will transition easier in the future! Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace
- all of the hardware is currently TRENDY and SUITS the subtle modern farmhouse style of the space
- take away the shiplap and black fixtures and you still have TRANSITIONAL BONES that can be shifted into the next trend
Because practising moderation doesn’t just apply to metal finishes, it applies to EVERYTHING. If you don’t commit too hard to one particular trend/colour/style, you leave yourself open to easier and more affordable changes in the future.
SUMMARY OF THE BEST METAL FINISHES FOR TODAY’S MODERN HOME
If I could only pick ONE METAL FINISH for each of these areas with LONGEVITY in mind, this is what I would choose…
- MAIN LIGHT FIXTURES: black
- FIXTURES IN SECONDARY ROOMS (not including bathrooms): BLACK or SILVER (chrome OR highly polished nickel)
- KITCHEN FAUCET: polished nickel
- HARDWARE ON CABINET DOORS: polished nickel
- INTERIOR DOOR HARDWARE: black
- EVERYTHING IN A BATHROOM: chrome
- EXTERIOR LIGHTS: black
How to Create a Timeless Home – 4-Part Series
The 11 Best Warm Neutrals That AREN’T BEIGE!
How to Update Oak Cabinets WITHOUT Paint
Are Gray Paint Colours Still Trendy for Cabinets, Walls & Exteriors?
Is Beige Back? Is Beige…dare, I say – TRENDY?
Are White Cabinets, Walls & Exteriors Still Trendy
CHECK OUT MY ONLINE PAINT COLOR CONSULTING
This post came at a great time!
I have an old oil rubbed bronze faucet, I need a new kitchen faucet and trying to decide between polished nickel and black. Our cabinets are pure white SW with black hardware, lighting is black, door knobs (which you can see from the kitchen on several doors) are black. Also, black honed countertop. We have stainless steel appliances. I was thinking black but now that you mention that 80/20 rule…I’m thinking polished nickel ? One other thing I should mention is the faucet I have now has 4 holes and if I don’t find another with 4 holes then I need to put 1 or more of those caps to cover the holes on it…which leads to another question…do I match that to my black counter or to the faucet color?
Curious what your thoughts are?
P.S love your posts they often make me laugh out loud!! I also chose a full house color based on your posts (agreeable gray)
Wahooo, I love timely posts – it’s like the Universe was listening ;). So, without seeing your space it SOUNDS like black will be best. If you had nickel cabinet hardware, I’d say otherwise, but you know, I worry that JUST the nickel faucet will come out of nowhere (even though you have the appliances to help it out). As for the holes, I would want to blend those bad boys in for sure (but it could also make me buy another similar faucet just so I don’t have those plugs, you know? Again, without SEEING it it’s tough, but those are my first thoughts :).
Thank you for the quick response! Black was my initial thought as well 🙂
What are your thoughts on brushed nickel for a bathroom? Dated?
It depends on the bathroom, but chrome tends to look more timeless 🙂
So now that paint trends are leaning warmer, fixtures are leaning cooler. Is that correct?
That’s funny, and a very valid comment!
The interior door vs secondary room vs bathroom door statement threw me a bit.
If most of the door hardware is black, is the bathroom door an exception?
Hey Erik, thanks for your note. I reread it myself and was confused! I’ve fixed it so it should make more sense now ;).