Unlacquered Brass Kitchen Hardware

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Using unlacquered brass hardware in your kitchen evokes a warm and timeless look. Brass is also making a strong come back and it’s a material that’s been around a long time. It’s lovely, it’s warm, it’s classic; it’s also anti-microbial as well. Read on!

If you’re planning a kitchen renovation, choosing the right hardware is essential. Not only does it need to be functional, but it should also add an elegant touch to your space. Unlacquered brass hardware is increasingly becoming a popular choice among homeowners due to its unique properties.

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white kitchen with brass knob hardware and painting on counter

Let’s explore what unlacquered brass is and why it’s a wise choice for your kitchen hardware, the patina effect and how to mix metals with raw brass to create a unique and timeless look. Let’s dive into the surprising benefits of using unlacquered brass hardware in your kitchen renovation.

What is Unlacquered Brass?

Unlacquered brass is just raw brass or uncoated brass. Brass can be brushed, polished or satin but raw brass has no coating and no finish. Its raw and untreated surface makes it stand out from other metals used in hardware, such as chrome, stainless steel, or nickel. But what exactly is unlacquered brass? It’s brass that has not undergone any form of coating or plating, leaving it vulnerable to oxidation and natural wear and tear. Over time, the metal will develop a distinct patina that adds character and personality to the hardware.

Unlacquered brass hardware offers a classic and timeless look that can complement a variety of kitchen styles, from modern to traditional. Its raw finish can create a rustic or vintage feel, while also providing a contemporary twist to a classic look. Additionally, unlacquered brass hardware is incredibly versatile and can be paired with other metals such as copper, oil-rubbed bronze, or brushed nickel to create a unique and stylish mix.

marble kitchen backsplash and cutting boards with bowl of lemons

Why You Will Love Unlacquered Brass

  • DURABILITY – incredibly durable and resistant to corrosion, meaning it will last for years without losing its shine or finish.
  • ECO-FRIENDLY – brass is recyclable and has a low environmental impact.
  • ELEGANT – brass adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to your kitchen design. Its unique texture and raw finish create a warm and inviting feel.
  • ANTI-MICROBIAL – Copper and its alloys, such as brass, bronze and copper-nickel, are inherently antimicrobial. (more on this below)
white kitchen cabinets with unlacquered brass hardware

Brass is Timeless

Even though I say brass is timeless, nothing is truly timeless I guess. When we moved into our previous home in 2013, the kitchen had solid, unlacquered brass kitchen cabinet hardware. I immediately replaced them and donated the bag of brass knobs to the Goodwill. Wish I had them now.

During that time, gray, silver and white was all the rage. Everything was white and cold and brass was out. We have come full circle in the past decade and now we are focusing on decor elements from the past, warmth and vintage touches. That was not the case in 2013.

I have to admit, I like where things are now instead of then, but if you were to say brass was timeless in 2013 would you have been wrong? No, not necessarily. Brass and warmer tones has always been around and now it’s circled back through. Brass is still timeless. Gray and cold decor was trendy. In my humble opinion.

white kitchen cabinets with unlacquered brass hardware

Is Unlacquered Brass Anti-Microbial?

Brass is durable, timeless, elegant and best of all it’s anti-microbial. Say what? There are many benefits of using unlacquered brass hardware that go beyond just its beauty!

By using raw brass, the metal’s intrinsic protections are released. The absence of a lacquer coating releases the natural antibacterial properties of brass, helping to create a more healthful environment by effectively reducing bacteria and germs on the hardware surfaces. But how?

Studies have shown that surfaces made of uncoated copper, brass or bronze, begin neutralizing bacteria immediately, killing more than 99.9% within two hours. Unlacquered solid brass hardware or door knob actually has a chemical reaction that helps reduce germ build-up referred to as the“oligodynamic effect,” a term for the toxic effect metal ions in brass have on bacteria.

Copper and copper alloys like brass and bronze have recently been registered at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the first solid antimicrobial material. This is thanks to its natural ability to kill certain viruses on contact. That’s pretty cool!

white oak cabinet with brass hardware

The Patina Effect

Unlacquered brass over time develops a unique patina which means it will only add more character to your kitchen design. The patina effect is what makes uncoated brass truly special. As raw brass is exposed to air and moisture, it can develop a beautiful, aged appearance. The patina process can take years to fully develop, but it gives your kitchen hardware a one-of-a-kind look that can’t be replicated by any other material.

Unlacquered Brass is a “living finish” option that gradually changes color over time. It develops a warm patina due to exposure to the elements and natural oils from hands during daily use. Unlacquered hardware still needs to be gently cleaned regularly. It may be polished to maintain a particular look or allowed to gracefully age with vibrant, deep color.

The patina effect also adds personality and charm to your kitchen design. Instead of having shiny, uniform hardware, your kitchen will have hardware with individuality and character. Whether you prefer a vintage or modern feel in your kitchen, the patina effect can complement any style.

unlacquered brass kitchen faucet

How Long Does it Take for Brass to Patina?

Brass tarnishes when exposed to air and it will naturally age over time. You might be surprised at how quickly it will begin to patina. My husband was alright with the brass, but not the shiny. I told him to give it time and it will age and dull. which is exactly what it has done! I love it.

Minerals in the water – if your water is hard or soft, how often you touch the hardware or faucet, the oil in your hands and the humidity in your home all contribute to how quickly brass will patina.

white kitchen cabinets with unlacquered brass hardware

Mixing Metals with Unlacquered Brass

When it comes to designing your kitchen, mixing metals can add interest and depth to the overall look. A common misconception is that your metals need to be all be the same within a room, or even in your entire home. Not true. Unlacquered brass hardware pairs well with a variety of metals, such as stainless steel, copper, and black iron. The key is to choose complementary metals that don’t compete with each other.

Try to incorporate your metals as if you are searching for a main character, a supporting actor, and an extra. One metal needs to sing louder and brighter than all the others.

If you want a more eclectic style, try mixing brushed copper with unlacquered brass. This combination adds warmth and texture to the kitchen, making it feel unique and inviting. Black iron is another metal that pairs well with unlacquered brass, creating a modern and edgy vibe.

Mixing metals also allows you to experiment with different finishes. For example, combining a matte finish with a polished finish can create visual interest and depth. Just remember to keep the overall color palette in mind and choose finishes that complement each other.

In our kitchen our main character is the brass with the stainless steel appliances and a touch of copper. I do plan on adding a pot rack behind the stove to hang copper pots on which will bring in more warmth.

white kitchen with wood island and runner rug on the floor

Runner | Towels | Cutting Board | Range | Hood Insert

Unlacquered Brass Kitchen Faucet

Along with our brass kitchen cabinet hardware, we also chose an unlacquered brass kitchen faucet to complete the look. You could do another metal such as nickel or chrome to mix the metals, but since we have stainless steel appliances; we decided to keep the faucet brass as well to break up all the silver tones. The Waterstone brass faucet and hot water tap are luxurious and I love them. The ease of use of the one handle design and the overall vintage feel is perfect for our new space.

I love to watch the raw brass finish change over time and see the faucets take on a character all their own.

unlacquered brass faucet
unlacquered brass kitchen faucet

Our faucet is still a bit shiny since it was installed just a few months ago. It has already started to patina and have water spots, but it still looks pretty new. It won’t take long for that to change.

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How to Restore the Original Unlacquered Brass Finish

I prefer my brass to age with time, but if it gets too aged I will give it a nice polishing. However, I do wipe down the hardware and faucet regularly with a soapy rag.

If you like the natural changes of unlacquered brass than it is easy to care for. If the changes of the living finish is not for you, there are ways for you to get back that youthful glow. To polish your hardware or faucets, use a soft cloth and Bar Keepers Friend, which are specifically designed to remove tarnish from metal surfaces. A more natural cleaner is A-Ben-A-Qui.


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Final Thoughts on Unlacquered Brass

The benefits of using unlacquered brass hardware in your kitchen or other areas of your home are numerous. Not only does it add warmth and character to your space, but it also possesses unique properties such as antimicrobial qualities and the ability to create a beautiful patina effect over time. Mixing metals with unlacquered brass can create a stunning and unique look that will stand the test of time. As you consider your kitchen renovation, remember to select brass for a touch of elegance that will leave a lasting impression.

Let your kitchen hardware tell the story of your style and personality.

white kitchen with wood island and runner rug on the floor

Frequently Asked Questions

Is unlacquered brass a good idea?

As the finish ages, it develops a lovely patina over time. As a result, this finish creates a timeless and classic look wherever it is used.

Does unlacquered brass tarnish?

Unlacquered brass is not coated or sealed and will tarnish over time.

Is unlacquered brass more expensive?

Due to the popularity of unlacquered brass hardware it often comes with a hefty price tag, but it is a timeless finish.

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