More often than not, the style of your kitchen will dictate many of the choices you make throughout the room: what kind of cabinet fronts, what type of range, and even what kind of kitchen sink. But some choices are more obvious than others, and some are easier to overlook. It’s easy to put a lot of thought, planning, and budgeting into major purchases – like the cabinets, appliances, counters, and floor – and fail to plan for smaller finishing details that may have an even greater impact on the day-to-day use of the space, like your kitchen faucet.
The biggest obstacle to getting a kitchen faucet that’s both beautiful and easy and fun to use is budget, but by budget I don’t mean price: I mean having enough money left at the end of a project to afford one. The very most basic kitchen sinks can cost as little as $15, but while these provide the essential functionality, they don’t come with a whole lot of style or flair – and you’ll probably find that a basic on-off hot-cold control might not be all that you need. So even though it’s easy to opt for a bargain model, there are much better looking and more functional models out there – and it’s more than worth it to save a spot for one in your budget.
For example, a vintage kitchen faucet can really make a French country, cottage, or other period-inspired kitchen. While a basic chrome-and-acrylic-handles model will do the trick, a cross handled bridge faucet with an elegant spout and an antique metal finish can lend oodles of authenticity and style to the kitchen. The right faucet, paired with the right sink, can even become a signature focal point in the room – and easily one of the least expensive ones. Old fashioned faucets are charming and whimsical, and a beautiful finishing touch that shouldn’t be overlooked.
The same – or, I suppose, equal and opposite – is true in a modern kitchen. While a basic metal faucet will certainly match a modern decor, there are so many sophisticated, daring modern kitchen faucet designs out there that it’s practically a tragedy to pass them up. Stunning pieces from professional designers like Fima Carlo Frattini or Ramon Soler are sleek and elegant, and though they’re technically made of the same materials to do the same job, the visual difference is quite striking. Moreover, many modern designs come equipped with unique features that can enhance functionality as well.
Increasingly homeowners are tending towards professional style kitchens: restaurant quality ranges and range hoods, jumbo stainless steel kitchen sinks, dual dishwashers, multiple ovens, and the like. With this trend, many manufacturers have given residential kitchen faucets a commercial upgrade, too, equipping them with many features common in restaurant kitchens, like flexible pull-down spigots and built in high-powered spray nozzles, or even multiple faucet heads. These professional kitchen faucets can be a little pricier, but offer some of the finest and most sophisticated functionality of any type of faucet, and are prefect for rounding out a professional kitchen style.
Even if your kitchen doesn’t have a single obvious, dominant style that’s easy to pair with a particular style of kitchen faucet, it’s still worth giving the faucet you choose a little thought. After all, the faucet is one of the most oft-used fixtures in the whole kitchen, and one where the difference of even a hundred dollars in initial investment can make a huge difference in the day to day experience of actually using the faucet. Faucets with pull-out sprayers built into the body of the faucet rather than as a separate piece to be installed into your sink are becoming much more common and make dish washing and cleanup easy. Even a simple brushed finish can keep a faucet looking nicer than a basic chrome, which shows fingerprints and water spots.
In fact, in recent years a whole slew of high-tech faucets have come onto the market. These are simple but attractive, and though they don’t conform explicitly to any particular style, they offer a wide range of features designed specifically for a working kitchen. Touch and motion activated faucets with intuitive controls are among the most popular, allowing you to turn the faucet on and off without touching the handles (to avoid spreading messes or contamination when your hands are dirty), but you can also find pedal-activated faucets, ones with fully articulated nozzles, built in LED lights, or even digital touch screen controls that can do everything from control the water temperature to play music.
So while choosing a kitchen faucet might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re planning a major kitchen remodel, it should definitely make the list. There’s every reason not to skimp on your faucet, both for style and for substance. Still not convinced? As a last note, keep in mind that if you just plan on replacing your faucet later, a newer model – decorative, high tech, or otherwise – might not fit the same holes in your sink or counter top, which could turn a simple replacement into a pretty major job. What’s most important to you in terms of a kitchen faucet – functionality, appearance, or price?