Home Improvement

The 11 Most Popular Door Handle and Door Knob Finishes

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A blue door with a knob

Door handles and knobs are often overlooked elements of home décor, but they can have a significant impact on the overall aesthetic of your space. The right finish can elevate your home’s style, creating a cohesive and inviting atmosphere that reflects your personal taste.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the most popular door knob and door handle finishes, highlighting their unique characteristics and best usage scenarios.

The most popular door handle and knob finishes include chrome, brass, satin nickel, and matte black.

Chrome is known for its timeless elegance and modern appeal. It is a versatile finish that can complement a wide range of décor styles.

Brass, both polished and brushed, adds warmth and richness to a space.

Satin nickel is a refined and understated finish that offers a subtle sheen.

Matte black provides a sleek, sophisticated look that is perfect for modern homes.

These finishes are popular because they are timeless, durable, easy to maintain, versatile, affordable, and aesthetically pleasing.

Keep reading to learn more about the other popular finishes so that you can find the perfect match for your home. I’ll make it as easy for you as I can, I promise.

Before deciding on the perfect finish, first brush up on the various door knob and handle options available here.

Chrome

A chrome knobPin

Known for its mirror-like shine, chrome is the most popular metallic finish due to its contemporary style and affordable cost.

Offering high reflectivity and brightness, chrome has a cool, sleek look well-suited for modern bathrooms and kitchens. It also works well as an accent piece on cabinets, drawers and interior doors.

Benefits

  • Contemporary, sleek aesthetic
  • Bright, highly reflective surface
  • Durable and scratch-resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Most budget-friendly metallic finish

Best Uses

Chrome works beautifully in rooms with a modern style, including:

  • High-Traffic Areas
  • Contemporary bathrooms
  • Modern kitchens
  • Basement wet bars
  • Laundry rooms

It can provide a nice contrasting pop of brightness against dark walls or cabinets.

If you need help deciding between installing traditional door knobs or modern handle sets, check out our comparison guide on door knobs vs handles.

Satin Nickel

A satin nickel knobPin

With an attractive sheen softer than polished chrome, satin nickel brings an understated elegance to any space.

Often seen alongside stainless steel appliances, satin nickel suits both modern and traditional design motifs, and that’s why it’s one of my favorite finishes. Moreover, it resists fingerprints and water spots for easy maintenance.

Benefits

  • Subtle sheen reflects less light than polished chrome
  • Complements variety of settings from traditional to modern
  • Hides fingerprints and watermarks
  • Durable and affordable metallic finish

Best Uses

The flexible aesthetic of satin nickel allows it to enhance rooms such as:

  • Bedrooms and living rooms
  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms
  • Hallways
  • Entryways
  • Laundry rooms

Door handles with satin nickel finish pair equally well next to marble counters as shiplap walls, fitting modern farmhouses and urban lofts.

Keep your door knobs and handles shining bright with our easy-to-follow door hardware cleaning tips.

Oil-Rubbed Bronze

If you’re looking to cultivate an antique, aged aesthetic, oil-rubbed bronze brings a lovely dark, weatherworn style. Often featured in traditional, Tuscan, rustic and farmhouse designs, oil-rubbed bronze mimics the patina of aged bronze statues and décor.

The finish is created through an aging process to emulate a timeworn look. The dark color beautifully contrasts with natural wood tones and off-white cabinets.

Benefits

  • Distressed, vintage appearance
  • Pairs well with natural wood tones
  • Common in Tuscan, traditional and rustic designs
  • Develops patina over time
  • Durable, resistant to scratches

Best Uses

Oil-rubbed bronze shines in home styles such as:

  • Traditional décor
  • Tuscan themes
  • Rustic living rooms and bedrooms
  • Farmhouse kitchens
  • Entryway doors

Antique Brass

An antique brass door handlePin

Our fourth most popular door knob finish, antique brass features a deep golden tone. Often finished with a brushed treatment instead of highly polished, antique brass replicates the mellowed appearance of genuine antique lighting and décor pieces.

The softened patina works well in traditionally styled rooms and contrasts beautifully with dark wood tones.

Benefits

  • Traditional aesthetic with elegant patina
  • Pairs nicely with darker wood finishes
  • Distressed, aged appearance
  • Softer look than polished brass

Best Uses

Ideal for period homes or traditionally styled rooms, antique brass shines best in:

  • Foyers
  • Dining rooms
  • Libraries
  • Parlors
  • Den/studies

Polished Chrome

A step up in formality from satin chrome, polished chrome provides maximum shine and brightness for door handles.

Seamlessly blending with other polished metals like nickel and stainless steel, polished chrome offers a crisp, clean look. Often found in contemporary bathrooms and kitchens, this mirror-like finish acts almost like an additional metal accent.

Benefits

  • Ultra-reflective shine
  • Crisp, sharp contemporary aesthetic
  • Matches well with other polished metal finishes
  • Affordable and widely available

Best Uses

The sleek style of polished chrome enhances:

  • Modern bathrooms and kitchens
  • Contemporary laundry rooms
  • Basement bars
  • High-traffic hallway doors

Matte Black

A matte black knobPin

In recent years, the color black has emerged as a popular trend for hardware and fixtures wanting to emulate an industrial motif.

Matte black door hardware provides an undeniably bold, contemporary look, mimicking wrought iron accents and fittings seen in urban warehouse conversions. The flat finish avoids unwanted glare or reflection.

Benefits

  • On-trend contemporary industrial aesthetic
  • Fingerprint resistant
  • Adapts to a variety of décor styles, from modern to industrial
  • Flat finish without glare/reflection
  • Complements variety of color schemes

Best Uses

Make a striking impression by incorporating matte black hardware in settings like:

  • Contemporary living rooms
  • Bathrooms and kitchens
  • Industrial lofts and apartments
  • Dark colored walls and cabinets

Polished Brass

Known for its distinctly golden hue, polished brass provides a finish that is both elegant and timeless.

Often seen in bathrooms and entryways, polished brass offers a welcoming, formal aesthetic well-suited for period homes desiring a touch of luxury. The warm, yellow tones nicely complement classic color combinations like navy blue.

Benefits

  • Classic formal aesthetic
  • Timeless appeal suits variety of traditional spaces
  • Distinctive golden color, eye-catching shine
  • Matches well with navy blue

Best Uses

For a touch of timeworn sophistication, bring polished brass knobs and handles into settings such as:

  • Traditional bathrooms
  • Entryway doors
  • Master suites
  • Dining rooms
  • Libraries

Stainless Steel

A stainless steel handlePin

Known for its sleek, modern look pairing well with stainless steel appliances, a stainless steel finish brings contemporary style to door hardware.

Offering a neutral, silvery-gray appearance, stainless steel mixes well with a variety of color schemes from black and white to bold hues. Durable and easy to maintain, this scratch-resistant finish makes a versatile choice.

Benefits

  • Sleek, contemporary aesthetic
  • Pairs seamlessly with stainless steel appliances
  • Durable, scratch-resistant surface
  • Easy to maintain
  • Neutral tone complements variety of color schemes

Best Uses

For a modern metallic look, incorporate stainless steel hardware in:

  • High-traffic areas
  • Contemporary kitchens
  • Modern bathrooms
  • Basement entertainment spaces
  • Apartment/condo units

Pewter

Sometimes called distressed nickel or weathered bronze, pewter door handle finishes have an aged, darkened silver appearance mimicking tarnished silver. The subtly rubbed look features a mottled, streaky surface lending an antique feel.

Handling over time naturally develops a lovely patina. With an elegant, softened look between stainless steel and oil-rubbed bronze, pewter adds historic charm and casual elegance.

Benefits

  • Subtly weathered, antique silver aesthetic
  • Develops patina over time
  • Softer look than polished chrome/stainless
  • Often used in traditional and farmhouse décor

Best Uses

Pewter finish door hardware enhances rooms styled as:

  • Traditional living rooms and dining rooms
  • Rustic cabins and farmhouses
  • Coastal cottages and homes
  • Transitional spaces blending modern and traditional
  • Entryway doors seeking an aged, welcoming look

Antique Copper

Sometimes called rust or verdigris copper, antique copper replicates the aged, weathered look of naturally patinated copper.

Mimicking the oxidized greenish-blue surface of aged copper architectural elements, antique copper offers an elegant, timeworn appearance. The softened finish contrasts beautifully with natural stone and wood materials in traditional, old-world and farmhouse spaces.

Benefits

  • Oxidized, aged copper aesthetic
  • Lovely patina like old European architecture
  • Pairs well with natural stone and wood
  • Brings old-world charm to traditional settings

Best Uses

Antique copper shines in home styles such as:

  • Old-world traditional rooms
  • French country aesthetic
  • Tuscan or Italian décor
  • Rustic farmhouse styles
  • Entryway doors and lighting

Porcelain

Distinct from metal finishes, porcelain offers an ultra-smooth, glass-like surface resulting from its vitreous composition.

Porcelain features a bright white coloring, though dyes can be added to produce any shade desired. While more rare than popular bronze and brass finishes, porcelain door knobs provide a sleek minimalist look suited for modern and contemporary spaces.

Benefits

  • Ultra-smooth glossy surface
  • Can be cast in wide range of custom colors
  • Easy to clean
  • Distinct from metal finishes
  • Durable with proper handling

Best Uses

The modern aesthetic of porcelain pairs nicely with settings like:

  • Contemporary homes and rooms
  • Modern kitchens and bathrooms
  • Urban apartments/condos
  • Basements
  • Laundry rooms

How to Choose the Right Door Handle Finish for Your Home

With so many beautiful options for door hardware finishes, selecting the perfect match ultimately comes down to personal style.

Consider finishes that will integrate harmoniously with your:

  • Color scheme – Match metals to your wall colors, cabinetry, flooring and other hardware finishes used throughout the home. Satin nickel, for example, complements both cool grays and warm wood tones.
  • Interior design style – Match the amount of shine and overall appearance of the finish to your overarching aesthetic. For traditional rooms, consider an antique patina while contemporary spaces shine with reflective polished chrome.
  • Architectural style – Allow your hardware finish to emulate the overall style and era of your home’s architecture. Period homes often look best with oil-rubbed bronze, antique brass and similar subdued metallic finishes.
  • Natural vs. artificial light – The amount of light in your home impacts how finishes reflect and appear. Darker finishes like oil-rubbed bronze make smart choices for naturally bright, sunlit rooms while polished chrome amplified artificial lighting.
  • Personal style – At the end of the day, choose metals and patinas that make you feel happy, calm and inspired whenever you pass through your beautifully accessorized doorways.

No matter which finish you select, always buy door hardware from reputable dealers that provide a warranty on the finish protecting it from flaking, tarnishing or corroding prematurely with proper care and maintenance.

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About the Author

James Mora is the founder of DailyHomeSafety. He is a home improvement expert, contractor, avid DIYer, and security manager. He is passionate about home repairs, remodeling, and teaching. Read More

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