Over the lifespan of the kitchen faucet it will be called to task over a million times, making it the fixture of highest demand and service in the home. There is little doubt, then, that this fixture must be capable of repeated use, day after day; and to do this without fail. It also must bear the burden of being a key component of a kitchen’s style and décor–to accomplish this gracefully and effortlessly. It must possess the conveniences of service and features that satisfy the whims of every member of the household. It must also be a servant to the homeowner and require a minimal level of maintenance in order to keep its ‘like-new’ appearance. Although these appear to be unrealistic expectations for any fixture, these are realistic standards by which kitchen faucets are measured; and standards that modern faucets readily achieve and surpass.
Start at the Finish Line
As your new kitchen is being pieced together and the theme is beginning to evolve into clear form a decision is going to be due as to the type of metal and luster, referred to collectively as ‘finish’, of the kitchen faucet is concerned. The decision-making process would probably be a lot easier if there weren’t so many finishes to choose from; but, sadly, that’s not the case with faucets. On display you’ll find faucets of chrome, stainless steel, nickel, brushed nickel, brass, bronze, oiled-bronze, gold-plated and even those utilizing two, or more, metals. The task at hand becomes more complicated when you notice that these faucets will also be available in high-sheen, mirror-like finish declining to the soft patina of a hand-rubbed oil finish–and all points in between. You’ll notice that some styles will often dictate certain uses of metals and sheen levels in order to satisfy the genre of the intended style; but many styles will simply alternate metals and sheen levels just to make your decision that much more challenging. This is why you Start at the Finish Line.
Choose a metal and sheen level that works with your cabinet hardware, lighting fixtures, the wood of your cabinets and the color and texture associated with your countertops. The kitchen sink area is a central focal point in your kitchen; and the faucet, in turn, will define that entire visual. Make sure the metals and gloss level of your faucet ‘candidates’ work well with adjoining metal finishes as well as other permanent features of your kitchen.
Express the Kitchen’s Theme with a Faucet’s Styling
The styles of kitchen faucets are going to inspire a host of décor ideas for you. It wouldn’t be uncommon for you to fall so in love with a particular style of faucet that you would retrace some of your prior clad decisions in order to accommodate this new fixture into a new, slightly-tweaked decorating scheme. Oddly enough, many of these faucet styles will transcend the range of multiple themes which could make your decision a little less cumbersome. For example, a relatively new concept in kitchen faucets is a truly retro reproduction appearance of a well ‘hand-pump’, often finished in oiled bronze, rendering a very unique antique feel. Although you’d expect to see this type of faucet in a country or eclectic themed kitchen, it’s as easily likely to be found in a modern, traditional, or casual themed kitchen.
Two features which will often designate a particular theme in faucet styling would be: the shape, length, contour and detail of the spout; and the type and number of controls used (knobs, levers). Typically speaking, the usage of control knobs will ‘date’ the faucet style, while a lever control will translate into more of a contemporary feature. The sleek lines of a more contemporary styled spout may work with a contemporary design but should be avoided when a more country theme is desired. The converse would be true with a more ornate, fluted spout–relegated to more traditional décor schemes.
Little Details that Matter
Back in the 1960’s, modern kitchen faucets were considered ‘modern’ if it arrived with a convenient, separate spray attachment; and, of course, these are still popular and available today. However, many new faucet designs have the convenience of this feature without having a separate appliance. The faucet head may have a control on it which regulates the water flow from stream to spray. This head may also be retractable, within the spout, and have a concealed hose attached to it. There are so many novel spray configurations available within the spout that it nearly makes the use of a separate attachment obsolete! A kitchen faucet may be accessorized with a motion sensor which activates the faucet flow, on and off, without ever actually touching a control. Integrated soap, hand lotion, or dish detergent dispensers can be found in several of the new faucet styles, eliminating any unwanted clutter of plastic bottles about the sink.
Remember: Finish-Style-Accessories… now go find the faucet that was made just for you!