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November 08, 2021 3 min read

The Difficulty of Matching Finishes

Coordinating finishes between faucets, cabinet hardware, bathroom hardware, and other metal design elements has become increasingly difficult with the increasing popularity of gold color tones.

These tones are known by many different names, such as Brushed Brass, Champagne Gold, Satin Brass, Brushed Gold, as well as many others.

To complicate matters further, a finish of the same name (for example, "Brushed Brass") may be slightly different from one manufacturer to the next.

If you are purchasing online, you must rely of product photos that don't always accurately convey the real-life appearance of the finish.


Coordinating versus Complimenting

It important to make a distinction between the design ideas of coordinating and complimenting.

Coordinating generally means that the finishes of two items match, or are so similar that one would have difficulty discerning the difference of one to the other when observing a design space in it's entirety.

Complimenting, on the other hand, means that two finishes might not necessarily be exactly the same, but work with each other to the benefit of both. There are elements of each finish that will appear the same when viewed under certain lighting or at a specific angle, and the finishes can be used to satisfy the similar tones and characteristics of each.


Professional Product Photos Versus Reality

It is the clear intention of every manufacturer to showcase product photos that are an accurate representation of both the product itself, and the finish or color. This is true whether the product is a faucet, a light fixture, bathroom hardware, or cabinet hardware.

Product photos are normally taken by professional photographers. For larger manufacturers, this could be done in-house, and for smaller companies, it may be outsourced to a 3rd-party.

In either case, the environment created to capture a stunning photograph of a product is often not representative of it's essence to the naked eye under normal conditions. Professional photography is done using studio lighting, light-boxes, and white backgrounds. Additionally, high-powered cameras are used, which can create a level of exposure that is different than the human eye would normally perceive.


Finding The Right Finish

All of this said, our intention is to find cabinet hardware that coordinates with specific faucet finishes. This article will focus on Kohler's Vibrant Moderne Brushed Brass finish.

First, we must determine what the true finish is. As you can see from the official product photos below of the Kohler Crue™ Single-handle Semi-professional Kitchen Sink Faucet, the studio photo looks somewhat different than the more natural setting.


When we first started analyzing the Vibrant Moderne Brushed Brass based on the studio photography, we assumed that the matching cabinet hardware would actually be something close to Gold Champagne, because the studio photo looks like it has deeper tones, such as hints of rose gold, or even bronze.

We then made a visit to a local Kitchen and Bathroom showroom that had multiple displays of Kohler faucets.

When comparing the cabinet hardware that we had brought with us, the closest coordinating finish was  Brushed Brass by Cosmas Hardware.


We placed the Cosmas 755-4BB Brushed Brass Cabinet Pull at the base of the Kohler Crue™ Single-handle semi-professional kitchen sink faucet and from virtually every angle, the Cosmas Brushed Brass finish coordinated well with the Kohler Vibrant Moderne Brushed Brass finish.

It is important to keep in mind a few things when selecting cabinet hardware. First, the finish of the cabinet hardware should coordinate with other fixtures such as faucets - not be a perfect match. Second, in a finished kitchen, the cabinet hardware is never directly next to the kitchen faucet, such as in the photo that we took in the local showroom.


Cosmas Brushed Brass 755 Series Cabinet Pulls
It's All About The Style
Now that we have found a perfect coordinating finish for the Kohler Vibrant Moderne Brushed Brass, it's time to think about which cabinet hardware styles would pair best with a small sample of Kohler kitchen faucets in that finish.


The previously mentioned Kohler Crue™ Single-handle semi-professional kitchen sink faucet has a contemporary, professional design, and would work wonderfully with the Cosmas 161 Brushed Brass Bar Pulls

The more straightforward design of the Crue™ Pull-out single-handle kitchen faucet might pair better with more traditional knobs and pulls, such as the Cosmas 4392 Series Brushed Brass Cabinet Pulls.
The elegance and simplicity of the Kohler Crue™ pull-down kitchen sink faucet offers a straightforward style, and coordinates perfectly with the Cosmas 305 Series Brushed Brass Euro Style Bar Pulls.
Have you found any cabinet hardware that coordinates perfectly with a specific faucet finish? Please leave us a comment and let us know!

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