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A close up of a chrome faucet with a letter on it in a bathroom.

Are Chrome Bathroom Fixtures in Style in 2023? A Plumber’s Perspective

As a retired plumber with over 30 years of experience installing bathroom fixtures and accessories, I often get asked if chrome is still an in-style finish for faucets, towel bars, and other bathroom hardware in 2023. With new finishes like brushed nickel, matte black, and brushed gold becoming popular lately, some homeowners wonder if chrome is outdated. In this post, I’ll share my insight on whether polished chrome bathroom fixtures are still fashionable today.

Chrome has been the go-to finish for bathroom fixtures for decades. Its shiny, mirrored surface gives bathrooms a clean, bright look. As a plumber, I’ve installed countless chrome faucets, showerheads, towel bars, and toilet paper holders over the years.

Chrome is classic, timeless, and pairs well with nearly any color scheme or design style. It works great in contemporary bathrooms with its sleek, modern look. And it also suits traditional bathrooms since its been the standard finish for so long. Although new on-trend finishes come and go, chrome has remained a staple.

While brushed nickel, matte black, bronze, and other finishes have gained popularity recently, there’s no reason chrome can’t still look stylish in 2023. Here’s my take on whether chrome bathroom fixtures are in or out this year:

Is Polished Chrome Still in Style for Bathroom Fixtures in 2023?

The short answer is yes – chrome is still considered stylish and contemporary for bathroom fixture finishes this year. Here are a few key reasons why:

  • Chrome has a timeless, classic look that suits any design aesthetic
  • Chrome pairs well with both cool tones like gray and blues and warm wood tones
  • Its reflective surface makes bathrooms feel clean and bright
  • Chrome works great in modern, contemporary, traditional, and transitional bathrooms
  • Leading faucet and fixture brands still offer chrome finishes on new models
  • Chrome is easy to match with other metal finishes like stainless steel appliances

So while the popularity of brushed nickel, matte black, and other alternative finishes has grown, don’t count chrome out. Its still considered a stylish, elegant, and versatile finish for bathroom fixtures in 2023.

What are the Pros and Cons of Choosing Chrome Fixtures?

Like any finish, chrome has its advantages and disadvantages when used for faucets, handles, shower trim, and accessories like towel bars. Here are some of the key pros and cons of choosing chrome bathroom fixtures:

Pros of Chrome:

  • Timeless, classic look that has remained popular for decades
  • Bright, clean, and shiny reflective surface
  • Matches any color scheme – works with cool grays, warm woods, bright whites
  • Sleek modern aesthetic pairs well with contemporary design
  • Easy to coordinate with other finishes like stainless steel
  • Wide range of styles and designs available in chrome finish
  • Durable, scratch-resistant plated finish
  • Easy to clean and keep looking new

Cons of Chrome:

  • Fingerprints and water spots show easily on the reflective surface
  • Can look too stark, cold or clinical for some traditional or old world style bathrooms
  • Matte finishes like brushed nickel are having a popularity surge lately
  • Fixtures show age over time as the chrome finish wears, chips or peels
  • Less trendy than black, bronze or gold finishes right now

So while chrome has some downsides like showing fingerprints, it still has more pros than cons as a bathroom fixture finish in my opinion. The timeless look and bright finish outweigh the minor faults.

How Does Chrome Compare to Brushed Nickel for Bathrooms?

Brushed nickel has surged in bathroom design popularity over the last 5-10 years. The soft, brushed metal finish provides a warmer, more subtle look than polished chrome. But how does it really compare? Here are some key differences:

  • Brushed nickel suits transitional and traditional bathrooms better than contemporary
  • Chrome has a cooler, starker look while brushed nickel is a bit warmer and more inviting
  • Brushed nickel is more expensive than chrome fixtures generally
  • Fingerprints don’t show as readily on brushed nickel as they do on chrome
  • Brushed nickel comes in various hues from pale silver to almost bronze
  • Brushed nickel pairs well with cream, gray, brown, or white color schemes

In general, brushed nickel works well for classic style bathrooms while chrome suits modern, high-contrast spaces better. But ultimately its about personal preference. Try holding up a faucet or fixture finish sample in your bathroom to see it in the space before deciding.

Should I Choose Chrome or Brushed Nickel Fixtures for My Bathroom Remodel?

When choosing fixtures, think about the overall look you want for your bathroom. Chrome and brushed nickel evoke slightly different styles:

Chrome suggests: sleek, contemporary, modern, high-contrast, brightness

Brushed nickel suggests: traditional, ornate detailing, warmth, softness

So consider your bathroom’s current or planned style elements like:

  • Tilework – marble, glass, subway tile, or ultra contemporary?
  • Cabinets – solid wood, painted, or modern lacquer?
  • Counters – granite, concrete, or quartz?
  • Colors – cool grays, warm taupes, bright whites?
  • Hardware finishes – black? bronze? stainless steel?
  • Overall aesthetic – modern, traditional, transitional?

This can help you determine whether cool chrome or warm brushed nickel will coordinate best. I always recommend visiting a bathroom showroom to see the finishes in person on fixtures, rather than just ordering online. This allows you to get a feel for each and make the best choice.

Top Tips for Choosing Faucet Finishes

Beyond just chrome versus brushed nickel, here are my top tips for selecting faucet finishes:

  • Hold actual finish samples next to cabinets, countertops, tile samples, etc to visualize
  • Coordinate with cabinet hardware – match or contrast finishes intentionally
  • Consider the style of your sink – delicate vintage sinks suit brushed nickel, modern sinks pair well with chrome
  • Don’t overlook small details – make showerhead and cabinet pulls match faucets
  • Weigh durability – chrome and stainless steel finishes last longer than trendy brushed bronze
  • Choose a trusted brand known for finish quality and durability
  • Look for lifetime warranty that covers the finish to ensure longevity
  • Clean fixtures regularly to maintain the finish over time

Following this advice will help you end up with a cohesive, polished look and avoid finish clashing. Don’t underestimate the power of faucet finishes to make or break your new bathroom’s style!

Are Chrome Bathroom Fixtures Going Out of Style?

In recent years polished chrome fixtures have had to share the spotlight with newer on-trend finishes bringing warmth and softness to bathrooms. But does this mean chrome is going out of style?

In my opinion as an experienced plumber – chrome will never truly go out of style. It has been the go-to finish for good reason thanks to its sleek contemporary look, bright clean finish, and versatility. Chrome has maintained popularity for decades because it pairs beautifully with tiles, counters, cabinets, and colors.

Trends come and go. But quality manufacturing and versatile design stand the test of time. That’s chrome’s staying power.

While warm metal finishes like brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, and brushed gold feel fresh and on-trend right now, chrome will always have its place. Its just too useful of a finish to ever fully fade away. Manufacturers know this, so quality chrome fixtures will continue being produced.

Don’t overlook chrome just because newer finishes are trendy. It still looks modern, elegant, and luxurious in 2023 and beyond. If you love the brightness and contemporary aesthetic of chrome, choose it confidently.

Final Thoughts on Choosing Bathroom Fixture Finishes

The finish you choose for faucets, shower fixtures, towel bars, and accessories has a big impact on your bathroom’s overall look and feel. While trendy brushed metal finishes are having a surge in popularity, classic chrome still reigns supreme.

Chrome’s bright lustrous finish offers a timeless look. It works wonderfully in modern bathrooms with its sleek shine. And it also suits traditional bathrooms thanks to its decades of use.

Whichever finish you choose, select high quality solid metal products from reputable brands. Stick to companies known for durable finishes that will last. With quality fixtures properly installed, you’ll enjoy a cohesive, stylish bathroom look for many years.

Hopefully this overview gives you confidence that polished chrome is still a stylish, versatile choice for your bathroom today. So don’t feel you need to avoid chrome to stay on-trend. Its clean, bright finish will always have a place in stylish contemporary bathrooms.