Guide to understanding door hardware finishes.


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Guide to understanding door hardware finishes.

By emily.bailey

Friday, November 18, 2022

Matte black bathroom door knob | Schlage

Schlage wants to make your decision easier so that when you choose the high-quality door hardware you need, you also get a look you love. Here’s our guide to understanding door hardware finishes.



Choosing the right door hardware finish sounds simple until you realize how many options there are. It’s great that you have lots to pick from. Everyone’s personal taste and the style of their home is different, after all. Schlage wants to make your decision easier so that when you choose the high-quality door hardware you need, you also get a look you love. Here’s our guide to understanding door hardware finishes.
Matte black bathroom door knob.

What is a matte finish?

You’re probably more familiar with matte finishes when it comes to paint. A paint with a matte finish absorbs light rather than reflects it. It’s the same with door hardware. If you’re not a fan of the glitzy and shiny look, matte is for you.


Schlage’s Matte Black is one of the most popular finishes for door hardware. For starters, it’s extremely versatile. The dark tones make it beautiful on more traditional homes where you might expect to see wrought-iron details, but because the finish is matte or flat rather than distressed, it also has a bit more of a modern feel. The matte finish is also less likely to show fingerprints, particularly compared to some brighter finishes.

Satin brass living room lever.

What is a satin finish?

If finishes were on a spectrum, satin would be next. It’s more reflective than matte but still less so than a bright finish. Satin finishes are frequently described as “lustrous” or as having a “medium sheen.” It might help to think of satin as a finish with a subtle shine.


Not all satin finishes are the same, though. You also have to consider the tone – gold versus silver, for example – when choosing your door hardware. Schlage’s Satin Brass finish is typically seen on more traditional homes, especially those inspired by the Victorian Era. It works in these homes because of the gold undertones mixed with the softer, almost patinaed, satin quality.


Schlage’s Satin Chrome and Satin Nickel finishes, on the other hand, are more contemporary. You’re more likely to pair them with Mid-Century Modern style, particularly when using colors popular in the 1950s and 60s, such as olive or turquoise.

Bright chrome bathroom lock.

What is a bright finish?

A bright finish is even more reflective than satin. The lighting in the room will bounce off your door hardware to give sparkle and shine. This makes bright finishes especially popular to fans of the Art Deco or Hollywood Regency styles.


Bright Brass, which many of us associate with the 1980s and 1990s, is gaining new life in the 21st century. Its gold tones means it pairs beautifully with those glamorous accessories and rich jewel tone colors. Bright Brass door hardware is perfect whether you want to add a single pop of glamour or take your room over the top, maximalist style.


Schlage’s Bright Chrome has a mirror-like finish that was inspired by the roaring 20s – 1920s, that is – but it also works with less flashy styles as well. Today, you might see it in contemporary, Scandinavian design, where measured amounts of shine add warmth to an otherwise minimalist décor.

Polished nickel kitchen door knob.

What is a polished finish?

Polished finishes are usually associated with countertops and other stone features. When it comes to door hardware, a polished finish is another highly reflective option.


The Schlage Polished Nickel finish offers the most amount of shine. This silver-toned finish can sometimes change color slightly depending on the room’s lighting. It’s also popular to mix other finishes with a polished nickel to balance the high sheen.

While these are some of the more common door hardware finishes, they certainly aren’t the only ones. You can see all of Schlage’s finishes on our website. And when you’re ready for more inspiration, check us out on Pinterest and Instagram.