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Top Silver Hardware Finishes and Key Differences

Clockwise from far left: Dover | Knob in Chrome,  Dover | Knob in Satin Nickel, Skylight | Knob in Stainless Steel, Bungalow | Knob in Polished Nickel Choosing the right...

Clockwise from far left: Dover | Knob in ChromeDover | Knob in Satin Nickel, Skylight | Knob in Stainless Steel, Bungalow | Knob in Polished Nickel

Choosing the right finish on hardware for your space can be overwhelming with the wide array of choices we have available. With this educational blog series, I’m setting out to cover our bestselling Hickory Hardware finishes while explaining the differences so you can make a more informed decision. We always encourage our customers to take advantage of our Sample Program to try before you buy!

A fair disclaimer: finishes can vary widely by brand, manufacturer, and supplier. These blog posts will strictly be focusing on Hickory Hardware finishes and their respective names.

We’ll start the series off with the silver finish family. Silver finishes come in a wide range from warm to cool toned, polished to brushed, smooth and textured. Let’s start with one of the finishes you may be most likely familiar with:


Chrome is a smooth and durable mirror-like finish. It’s what many of us would associate with car trims and rims. Chrome is a cool icy toned silver with a slight blue undertone. The differences between Chrome, Polished Nickel and Satin Nickel is much more apparent when they’re placed next to each other. See how much warmer Satin Nickel, Polished Nickel and Stainless Steel appear in comparison to bluer Chrome?

Clockwise from bottom: Skylight | Knob in Stainless Steel, Bungalow | Knob in Polished Nickel, Dover | Knob in Satin Nickel, Dover | Knob in Chrome

Chrome is most suitable with interior spaces that already utilize a cool or neutral color scheme. Chrome coordinates best with other chrome and reflective finishes. Deep blue-based blacks, bright and cool whites or blue-undertone grays would complement Chrome well. 

On the other hand, Chrome tends to clash over warm toned yellow and orange woods or cream or off-white cabinet colors. Try to think of hardware almost like jewelry for your cabinets. People with warm undertone skin tend to complement gold jewelry while cool undertone skin looks great with silver jewelry. 

Although the juxtaposition between warm and cool is sometimes intentional in a design, understanding how undertones differ can go a long way in understanding what colors and finishes work together so the final design of your space looks intentional rather than a mistake.

Our new and  top performing collections are typically available in Chrome: American Diner, Bar Pulls, Bridges, Dover, Forge, Karat, Maven, Midway, Piper, Veranda, Williamsburg and Woodward.


Polished Nickel

Polished Nickel is virtually the same color as Hickory Hardware’s Satin Nickel and Stainless Steel, the only difference being that Polished Nickel is a smooth and highly reflective finish with a glossy protective coating. 

Similar to Chrome in its mirror-like reflectivity, Polished Nickel is also in the silver family but with a warm, very slight yellowish-brown undertone. See the comparison below. This warm undertone complements a large variety of interior colors and cabinet fronts including true neutrals like white and gray.

Left: Bungalow | Knob in Polished Nickel, Right: Dover | Knob in Chrome

In the event that Chrome is not available within our most popular collections, Polished Nickel usually is. Here are a few examples: Bungalow, Greenwich, Skylight, Streamline (Glossy Nickel), Studio, and Twist.

Satin Nickel

Satin Nickel is in the same color family as Polished Nickel and Stainless Steel, it is a warm toned silver but with a brushed finish that will complement stainless steel appliances and most silver fixtures. 

Left: Skylight | Knob in Stainless Steel, Right: Dover | Knob in Satin Nickel

The differences between Stainless Steel and Satin Nickel can be compared above. While both finishes have a protective coating, the coating on Satin Nickel is glossier while the coating on Stainless Steel is matte. The brush direction of both finishes also differ. 

While not obvious on a square or round knob, the brush direction on Satin Nickel is typically parallel to its length (or the longest side), whereas the brush direction on Stainless Steel is perpendicular. See an example of Woodward in Satin Nickel below, where the brush direction is down the length of the part.

Woodward in Satin Nickel

Satin Nickel is a staple finish in many of our top and new collections including: American Diner, Bridges, Bungalow, Cottage, Dover, Forge, Karat, Maven, Midway, Piper, Studio, Twist, Veranda, Williamsburg and Woodward.

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel is in the same color family as Satin Nickel and Polished Nickel. As the name implies, this finish will coordinate with most silver fixtures and stainless steel appliances. As discussed previously, Satin Nickel and Stainless Steel are both brushed except the brush pattern is perpendicular on Stainless Steel with a matte coating, vs. Satin Nickel which is glossier. 

Within top collections that don’t feature Satin Nickel, Stainless Steel is usually the available choice such as with these collections: Greenwich and Skylight

That’s it for our top silver finishes! To recap:

To learn more, check out our other posts by finish color families:


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