A common question I get as a designer is "who has the best gold finishes?" This is a difficult question because tones can vary so much within the gold family. Does it have yellow undertones or orange? Does it look naturally aged or bright and modern?
So I have compiled a comprehensive range of gold hardware samples from top retailers to help you see the comparison outside of brand edited pictures. The priority of this test is to show gold color ranges and to help you determine where to begin in your hardware hunt.
Some of the best designs will mix fixtures and hardware across brands so my hope is you leave informed and empowered to purchase!
Gold Comparison Among Top Retailers
First, I think it's helpful to start with some of the more well known brands: Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, CB2, and West Elm. These vendors are the most accessible so it felt like a natural starting place for finding the best gold hardware finishes.
Below is a snapshot of all the colors compared by brand, finish name, and a side by side color comparison. After the chart, I give a detailed account of how each piece of hardware looks in person and which design combinations would work best for the tone.
West Elm only offers one shade of gold currently -- "antique brass". I find the name antique a little misleading as it's a bright and modern shade. The gold has the most yellow tone compared to the other options, but not necessarily in a bad way. If you love the mid century modern style, West Elm has definitely stuck to their niche with this color tone and style. Since the hardware is a lighter shade of gold, it's essential to pair it with a more saturated cabinet color that won't wash it out.
This online product image is slightly deceptive for the true hardware color. If you look back at the comparison chart, you will see that this brushed brass has more warmth than the West Elm knob. In person the brushed brass is more of a true gold with a good balance of yellow and gold. The hammered style of this hardware also shows off the color by catching the light in multiple ways. Overall, this is a beautiful shade of gold but the hardware face is a bit large and busy for certain spaces.
This antique brass hardware from Crate and Barrel has a slightly deeper, brown undertone than the previous brushed brass. This depth of color looks more aged and dull where as the brushed brass leans more contemporary. Overall, the color feels like a brass instead of a gold which would complement lighter cabinets really well. The knob style is on the smaller side and wouldn't be my first choice for soft close drawers that need more force to open.
The unlacquered brass is the most distinct from the bunch. The finish has an unprotected coat of gold that is high gloss. The hardware sheen makes the gold tone a little trickier to photograph and assess depending on the lighting. The true undertone most similarly compares to the brushed brass from Crate & Barrel with a healthy mix of yellow and orange. This hardware is perfect for adding a wet texture to a more modern space.
When I think of the perfect gold, this one hits all the marks. It is the right mix of warmth yet not overly brass. The "brushed" element of the finish also can be seen with a slight texture following the shape of the knob. I love how this effect seems slightly aged instead of too sleek. This knob also is offered in a 1.25" diameter which would be great for a space where you want the hardware to make more of a statement.
Pottery Barn's aesthetic is more traditional than the other retailers in our comparison. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that this gold hardware is a warmer hue instead of yellow. It has an aged yet refined look. Overall the gold feels classic and the edges are more rounded than the crisp, modern lines seen at Crate & Barrel or CB2.
This tumbled brass is by far the deepest color of the bunch. I would call this color more of a brown brass than a gold. It is even deeper in color than the antique brass from Crate & Barrel. This tone is very timeless but if you're looking for a true gold, it also may not be the best option for your space.
Best Gold Hardware Finish
As you can see, the gold category has a large range of finishes. So is it even possible to declare one gold as the best? For the sake of this comparison, I'm going to share my favorite finish but keep in mind that the best shade for your project also depends on the other colors in the space.
The best gold hardware finish and the most versatile of the bunch is the brushed brass from both CB2 and Crate and Barrel.
Now, this does not mean that you can simply Google "brushed brass hardware" and select a style from any random vendor. Each brand has their own mix for gold finishes. But when it comes to the major retailers, I have found Crate and Barrel's gold finishes to be tried and true.
Other Gold Hardware Sources
Now you should feel pretty informed on the gold offering at our 4 major retailers but keep in mind that there are thousands of other vendors outside of our comparison. Below I have listed a few more sources that we've used in past projects in case you want to expand your search.
We actually used these in our kitchen renovation. The color is very similar to the brushed brass at CB2 plus they are super affordable!
I often like to source hardware through Build with Ferguson for clients because of their wide assortment. If the number of options feels overwhelming, the brand "Top Knobs" has some beautiful options that are similar to the top retailers from our earlier comparison. I personally like their honey bronze gold tone the best.
Another great hardware brand is Rejuvenation. Now their products start at a higher price point but if you're just replacing hardware on a dresser then the cost isn't too prohibitive. This knob is in their aged brass finish and is similar to the brushed brass of CB2 as well.
Gold hardware has really made a comeback and I don't see it changing any time soon! The gold offering on the market is so much more authentic than what we saw 20 years ago. Due to this better offering, gold has become just as timeless as nickel and can be the perfect accent for any home.
Let us know what other product comparisons you would like to see for your home!