After you have decided the type of faucet you want (single-handle, two-handle, pull-out, etc.) you’ll need to decide on the right type of finish. Of course, one primary consideration is to have the finish match the finish on other handles, accessories, etc. in your kitchen. But if you are starting from scratch, or don’t care, here are some options.

Polished nickel
Polished nickel provides a smooth, shiny and highly durable finish that is also easy to clean. It works well with a variety of styles including traditional, modern, contemporary and eclectic. On the downside, these finishes can be more expensive, and may be hard to match with other accessories. Also, polished nickel doesn’t coordinate well with stainless steel.

Brushed nickel
Brushed nickel has a warmer tone than polished nickel. It also works with any style, and is probably the most durable finish, keeping its smooth, metallic finish longer than chrome or an oil-based metal. It is also easy to clean and relatively inexpensive. This finish will match your stainless steel appliances.

Chrome is the most popular finish because its shiny surface stands out and works well with any style. It is also an inexpensive alternative which is durable and easy to clean. However, fingerprints and smudges show on chrome-finished faucets, so you’ll be spending more time cleaning them.

Matte black
This is a classic finish that has become increasingly popular. It has a more modern look, so it is suited for more eclectic and contemporary designs. Matte black works well with other metals, is easy to clean, and does not show water spots or fingerprints. However, if you want to match finishes with other fixtures, it might not be easy. It is also more expensive than other finishes.