Understanding Hardware Finishes

Understanding Hardware Finishes

Brass, bronze, nickel, chrome or black – what hardware finish should you choose for your project?

Just as much as its overall design, the finish of your door and cabinet hardware will set the tone for your room. From warm and traditional to sleek and minimal, different finishes create vastly different effects.

Our finishes are all based on high-quality, solid brass, and each one has its own character and style.

Read on to find out everything you ever wanted to know about our hardware finishes.


Beautiful ‘living’ brass

Brass hardware offers a warm, gentle glow and has genuinely timeless appeal. Our ‘living’ brass finishes change as they age, developing a lovely character the more they’re used. Antique brass, which is waxed for protection, has a vintage feel, while polished brass exudes a more contemporary elegance and satin brass (also waxed) is a softer, subtler version of polished brass.

‘Living’ bronze and nickel

Our other ‘living’ finishes are dark and coppered bronze, which have a rich, aged appearance for a sense of opulence and depth, and antique nickel, which is timelessly traditional and has a warm, silvery tone.

Lacquered brass, bronze and graphite

We offer four finishes which are lacquered to prevent them from tarnishing or ageing – elegant polished brass, rich bronze (in medium and dark) and graphite, which is dark and dramatic for a bold look that works well in a contemporary room. Bear in mind that lacquered products are not recommended for external use.

Plated finishes – nickel, chrome and matte black

Our four plated finishes are satin and polished nickel, polished chrome and matte black. Paler than antique nickel, satin nickel has a gentle but opulent sheen, while polished nickel has a smart yet warm, high shine; both are wonderful in a traditional or modern setting.

Highly reflective, polished chrome has been the go-to choice for many an item of hardware for years and years, and fits well into many interiors schemes.

As for matte black, this eye-catching choice is popular for its modern, minimalist aesthetic. It can create a bold contrast against light-coloured cabinets or doors, giving a high-end, dramatic look.


How to choose a finish for your hardware

Whether it’s a pair of wardrobe door pulls, a traditional or contemporary door handle or a set of kitchen cabinet knobs, your choice of hardware finish can dramatically change the look of the entire room. Where to start? Think about what else is in the room and aim to complement the overall style, bearing in mind the finish of existing fittings such as taps or lights. Consider the colour scheme and whether it is ‘warm’ or ‘cool’ – chrome, for example, works better with cool tones, while nickel complements warm shades.

Do you prefer very shiny, reflective finishes or something more matte? Traditional or more in modern style? And something that stands out as an eye-catching detail, or that will blend into the background more gently? Our range of finishes provides plenty of choice. 


Looking after ‘living’, lacquered and plated hardware finishes

‘Living’ finishes will change in appearance with touch and according to the surrounding climate. The occasional application of beeswax will help enhance their appearance. Simply clean with a soft, dry cloth; do not use cleaning abrasives.

To clean our lacquered hardware, use a damp cloth and mild, soapy water, then give a gentle application of a good wax polish. Do not use cleaning abrasives.

Because each product will be exposed to a varying set of conditions, we do not warranty the finish of our ‘living’ or lacquered hardware.

Clean our plated hardware with a damp cloth and soapy water. Do not use cleaning abrasives. Our plated finish comes with a 12-month warranty.


What do the abbreviations mean?


PBUL - Polished Brass Unlacquered

SB - Satin Brass Waxed

AB - Antique Brass Waxed

DB - Dark Bronze Waxed

CB - Coppered Bronze Waxed

AN - Antique Nickel



PB - Polished Brass Lacquered

MBL - Medium Bronze Lacquered

DBL - Dark Bronze Lacquered

GL – Graphite Lacquered



SN - Satin Nickel

PN - Polished Nickel

PC - Polished Chrome

MBK - Matte Black (Up to 550mm only)


To find out more about Henry Blake Hardware’s superb range of finishes and how to care for them, speak to our expert team. 

Back to blog