Faucets That Function
Modern faucets deliver high style without sacrificing function. Here are the features to shop for when selecting your kitchen's most fashionable fixture.
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Two-handled faucets allow you to adjust water temperature more precisely and may the perfect fit for a retro or period-style kitchen. But there may be a better reason to choose a single handle, says Schlesser. Aging boomers, who may have less mobility 10 to 15 years in the future, might want a faucet that will be easier to use as they mature.
Most faucets are made of cast brass and are chrome-plated, says Bloom. But newer, higher-end faucets by several manufacturers (KWC and Hansgrohe, for instance), are made entirely of stainless steel, which come from an entire block of stainless steel carved to form the design. A carved stainless faucet should last 15 to 20 years. Today's better faucets also have special coatings (and lifetime warranties) guaranteed to resist scratches and abrasive cleansers.
The finish itself can also dictate the style of your fixture, says Moody. Brushed or satin nickel finishes generally are considered modern. Chrome, depending on the design, works for both high-tech or vintage kitchen designs. Bronze, antique brass or copper usually say "country," whether your kitchen resembles a rustic cabin or a sophisticated Tuscan farmhouse.
Classic chrome faucets are usually the least expensive, but often have a bluish cast — not the ideal match for popular stainless steel appliances and fixtures. Instead, choose polished or satin nickel or brushed stainless, says Schlesser. These have a warmer, yellow undertone; they cost 25 to 40 percent more for the same design, but hide scratches and are more aesthetically pleasing.
Here's how to put in a sparkling new sink, faucet and countertop in a weekend.