Consumers looking to introduce individuality to their bathroom designs are embracing colour through their brassware with more muted metallics taking centre stage. Nicola Hanley finds out how they are giving Chrome, Brass and Matt Black a run for their money.
When it comes to bathroom brassware, it’s safe to say that chrome is still king. But with so many other beautiful finishes now available, its crown may be about to slip. “Chrome is still the most popular finish for brassware but there is a rise in people moving away from traditional finishes as they look to create a more unique bathroom experience that is tailored to their personal preference,” says Sarah Evans, head of product marketing at Hansgrohe UK.
Paul Bailey, leader, product management, LIXIL EMENA and Grohe UK, agrees. “Chrome still remains the staple but colour finishes are definitely shaking up the bathroom industry.”
Recent years have seen the popularity of finishes such as Matt Black, Gold and Brushed Brass soar, but now manufacturers are taking metallics to the next level with the introduction of even more options, including slightly more muted tones. “Brushed metallics are popular now,” says Ashley Sinclair, specification and design manager at the Sanipex Group. “When the trend originally appeared for brassware in finishes other than chrome, we typically saw demand for strong finishes, such as Matt Black and Gold. While these remain popular choices, the brushed metal effect has really started to take off, offering a slightly more muted take on things. This look works particularly well alongside many of the trending materials of the moment in bathroom design, such as stone basins and timber furniture. When used together they create a relaxed and calming vibe which is what consumers want from their bathrooms right now.”
“Metallic finishes are making a comeback and finishes such as Brushed Bronze are proving to be particularly popular with customers as they bring a warm, natural tone to the bathroom,” agrees Hansgrohe’s Sarah Evans. “The beauty of metallic brassware is that it offers a timeless look for those wanting a more simple, cohesive look and longevity in their bathroom design.”
It is their ability to add a touch of understated luxury that really sets the new generation of metallics apart says Grohe’s Paul Bailey. “Metallic finishes are a great way of adding colour in a subtle way and will add warmth and grandeur to the space, which is important when creating a luxurious bathroom.”
Along with brushed bronze, other popular finishes include nickel, which also helps to keep the overall design a little more understated, notes Bailey. Different shades of gold – think Rose or Red Gold – are increasingly coming onto the market while Gunmetal is also making its mark. “Gunmetal Grey is currently the most requested display finish going into showrooms over the past four months,” says Noel Daly, commercial director at brassware specialist Aqualla. “We expect finishes to surpass chrome in 2023 as consumer confidence in colour grows.”
The Sanipex Group’s Ashley Sinclair also thinks the market for metallic brassware will remain strong in 2023 and beyond. “Individualisation has a significant hold over bathroom design and the trend for metallic brassware fits into this with ease,” he says. “Certainly metallic-effect brassware is likely to continue to be a popular option for the foreseeable.”